These applications have a lot of very powerful features like code completion and multiple cursors that are great for coders and developers, but unnecessary for people who just want to write. Our Favorite Pro Writing App is Ulysses Ulysses is an extremely powerful writing tool with well-thought-out features that will provide great support for any writing project. It provides everything you need to be a more productive writer and still maintains a simple UI that limits distractions so you can focus on accomplishing your writing goals.
This can be handy if you use another location or app to capture ideas but you want to flesh them out and do the actual writing in Ulysses. For example, maybe you use a note taking application on your iOS device to capture ideas to plain text files in a Dropbox folder. This flexibility allows Ulysses to fit perfectly into my writing workflow: When I get an idea i. Your writing workflow may differ, but with the ability to add text from many different sources iCloud, Dropbox, local Mac storage, etc.
Ulysses is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of workflow implementations. I would argue this is not only necessary in order to keep the design simple and clean, but actually helps you focus on using the tools that are available which are specifically chosen to assist you in the writing process.
In our opinion, the features the developers chose to include are powerful, useful, and easy to use. One of these tools is Goals. There are a lot of apps that offer a word count, but Goals in Ulysses are a little bit different. Here are the progress metrics you can select from when setting a writing goal: number of words number of characters with or without spaces number of sentences number of pages estimated reading time Once you select your progress metric, then you need to select the specific measurement you want to use.
You can also set a deadline if you have to finish your writing project by a specific date. Check the box to add a deadline and select it from the date picker, and Ulysses will automatically calculate the amount of text you have to write each day to finish in time.
You can also see a much larger version of your sheet goal located in the Attachments pane. Once you set a goal for a group, Ulysses will track your writing history so you can see the daily progress you are making on your larger writing goal. Keeping Everything Organized Ulysses also gives you everything you need to keep all your writing organized.
One way to do this is by using Groups. Groups are kind of like folders on your Mac, allowing you to store related sheets together in a single location.
You can even create subgroups inside of groups. Ulysses also lets you apply keywords to your sheets. Keywords are basically tags, giving you another way to group your files without the confines of folders and physical locations. Keywords are very flexible and allow you to quickly search for related things, regardless of their location.
Filters are kind of like Smart Folders in Apple Mail and allow you to create living folders that have content in them based on specific criteria. For example, a Filter might include documents that contain certain keywords or be based on when you wrote or modified a document, etc. Filters look almost exactly like Groups in your Ulysses Library, but the contents are automatically updated based on the criteria.
The minimal interface is sharp, and every feature is carefully considered. Writing in Ulysses is based on Markdown formatting, allowing you to style your text as you write without all the clutter of something like HTML tags for web writers. The visual markup style makes it easy to see things like bold and italicized text, and you can also customize just about every aspect of the app to your liking.
You can change the theme, change the font or upload your own , even select different colors for individual style elements for both light and dark themes.
Ulysses also has a beautiful, distraction-free Full Screen Mode. Full Screen Mode makes it easy to block distractions and stay focused on your writing. Once enabled, Typewriter Mode can be very beneficial for helping you concentrate on your current position as you type. You can set Typewriter Mode to highlight your current line, sentence, or paragraph, which causes the rest of the text in your document to fade into the background, while remaining legible.
When combined with the Mark the Current Line feature, this makes the the words you are currently focused on really pop. Ulysses also offers a feature called Fixed Scrolling. Fixed Scrolling fixes the current line vertically on one spot while you type. You can choose this spot to be on the top, in the middle or at the bottom of the screen, or opt for variable. When using Variable, you can freely move your cursor with the mouse or arrow keys, but once you start typing the current line will remain fixed.
Ulysses also has a gorgeous built-in Dark Mode. The Dark Mode in Ulysses matches the look and feel of other pro Mac apps and can be easier on your eyes as you write. The Quick Export window has a couple different sections. The first section is the format switcher, which lets you choose the format of your text output. In the center of the Quick Export window are the export settings.
These vary depending on the format you select. You can, for example, choose an export style and a page size when your output is going to be a PDF document, but not when exporting as text or HTML.
On the top of the Quick Export window are the export actions. From here, you can: Preview to see what your exported document will look like Copy to Clipboard Save, to open Finder and save to a location of your choice Open in, which lists all available applications to which you can send your output Send, which allows you to export your output as a mail or iMessage, share via Airdrop, or print and Publish, which allows you to publish to a Medium account or a WordPress blog if you have your settings configured correctly.
The large button at the bottom executes the default export action. You can also trigger your default action from the Quick Export window by hitting the Enter key. Ulysses also has a very clever way of solving the image export problem inherent with Markdown files created in sandboxed Mac App Store applications. Ulysses uses plain text, and formatting is added using Markdown. Formatting is added using punctuation characters like asterisks and hash symbols , as seen in the screenshot above.
For example, you can set a minimum word count for each sheet, and a green circle will appear next to the document title once you meet it. I use this all the time, and find it very useful.
I can write notes and attach images and PDF files. When I want to capture information from a website, I will either create a PDF and attach it, or add a link to the page in a note. I will often brainstorm and outline ideas right there in the document.
For long articles like this one , I like to have a separate sheet for each section of an article. I can rearrange the order of those sections by a simple drag and drop, and each sheet can also have its own writing goals. I usually prefer the dark mode when writing. Once you have finished your piece, Ulysses gives quite a number of flexible options for sharing, exporting or publishing your document.
If your editor wants to track changes in Microsoft Word, you can export to that format, or a variety of others. Alternatively, you can create a properly formatted ebook in PDF or ePub format right from the app. You can choose from a wide number of styles, and a style library is available online if you need more variety. Each document is always up to date, ready for me to take the next step wherever I am. File names are avoided to keep things simple. Ulysses has never been cheap, and it is clearly aimed at professionals who make a living at writing words.
Last year the developers moved to a subscription model, which proved to be a controversial decision for many users, especially those who used the app more casually. I believe that for most people who need a pro writing app, this is their best choice, and the subscription price is worth the benefit you get from the app.
Many of my writing friends agree. Learn more from my Ulysses app review. However, if you prefer not to use subscription-based software, or you prefer not to use Markdown, or you write long-form content, then have a serious look at our other winner, Scrivener 3. The app is a bit of a chameleon, and can be adapted to some extent to work the way you do.
But those features are there when you need them, and are especially useful for long-form writing that involves a lot of research, planning, and reorganizing. This app will take you through each step of the writing process, from brainstorming to publishing.
A free trial is available that lasts for 30 days of use. Also available for iOS and Windows. Scrivener is the go-to app for writers of all kinds, used every day by best-selling novelists, screenwriters, non-fiction writers, students, academics, lawyers, journalists, translators and more.
If Ulysses is a Porsche, Scrivener is a Volvo. One is sleek and responsive, the other is built like a tank, both are quality. Either would be a great choice for a serious writer. I closely follow its progress and love to read reviews about it. Until recently its interface seemed a little dated, but all of that changed last year when Scrivener 3 was released.
Update: you can now read my full Scrivener review here. This is how it looks when you first open it. It has more features than Ulysses, and is especially suited to long-form writing.
The app does its best to keep those features out of the way until you need them, and tries not to impose a writing workflow on you. It offers two features that give you an overview of your document and allow you to rearrange the sections as you like. The first of these is the Corkboard. This shows you a group of index cards containing the title of the section along with a brief synopsis. You can easily move the cards around with drag and drop, and your document will rearrange itself to match the new order.
The other overview feature is the Outline. This takes the document outline you see in the left page, and reproduces it in the editing pane, but in more detail. You can see the synopsis of each section, as well as labels, status and section types.
Double clicking on a document icon will open that document for editing. Dragging outline items around will also reorder your document, whether you do that from the binder, or the outline view. One Scrivener feature that outdoes all of its competitors is Research. Each writing project has a dedicated research area that is not part of the final writing project you are working on, but a place you can write and attach reference material.
Like Ulysses, Scrivener allows you to create writing goals for each project and document. Scrivener goes a little further by allowing you to specify how long or short you can overshoot the goal, and pop up a notification when you hit your target.
Another difference between Scrivener and Ulysses is the way they handle documents. In the left pane, Ulysses shows you your entire document library, while Scrivener only shows documents related to the current writing project.
Here is a warning I received when trying to open the tutorial project on my iMac when I already had it open on my MacBook.
The Competition Alternatives to Ulysses The popularity of Ulysses has inspired other apps to emulate it. LightPaper and Write are the best examples, and give you the opportunity of many of the benefits of Ulysses at a cheaper price, and without a subscription. However, to be honest, neither offer as smooth a writing experience as Ulysses does, so cost would be the only reason to consider these apps. In particular, the way it gives a live preview of the Markdown syntax is almost identical, however there can be a bit of a delay before the text is rendered correctly, which feels a little cumbersome.
The way the left library pane works is quite different, too. The app does have a few interesting features that Ulysses lacks. The first is a Markdown preview window that shows how your document will look without the Markdown characters being shown.
A second feature I find much more useful: Multi-tabs, where you can have multiple documents at once in a tabbed interface, similar to a tabbed web browser. The Shadow and Scratch Notes feature is most interesting. These are quick notes you enter from a menu bar icon, and are automatically added to your sidebar. Scratch Notes are just quick notes about anything you want to jot down. A day free trial is available. Like Ulysses, Write uses a three-column layout, and you use Markdown to add formatting to your documents.
This app focuses on being elegant and distraction-free, and succeeds. The document library works and syncs well, and documents can be tagged. Your tags are also added to the files in Finder.Some are bloggers and dabble in small-form writing while end up somewhere outside the pro app app that you select. Full Screen Mode Resume tres court de madame bovary it easy for block distractions and stay focused on your writing. Export Options - Your words are ultimately essay to others are looking to writing full-fledged novels. The possibilities are endless. The app does have a few interesting features that Ulysses lacks.
In short, it makes your work look great while you focus on the content. Basically, it lets you focus on the art of writing itself and handles the rest. If Ulysses is a Porsche, Scrivener is a Volvo.
Writer: Have you ever wished to write on a typewriter that developed by the famous screenwriter? No matters, whether you are novice designer or a professional designer, with the simple yet robust online software you can organize and create powerful designs. Like Ulysses, Write uses a three-column layout, and you use Markdown to add formatting to your documents. One Scrivener feature that outdoes all of its competitors is Research.
You can generally extend their functionality with plugins, to add exactly the writing features that you need, for example: improved Markdown formatting with syntax highlighting, shortcut keys, and a preview pane. These vary depending on the format you select. For this article, I chose the novel template. The feature set is also huge.
Your writing workflow may differ, but with the ability to add text from many different sources iCloud, Dropbox, local Mac storage, etc. There are a couple of things to consider: First, do you currently make money as a writer? Ulysses also has a gorgeous built-in Dark Mode. On iOS, Ulysses keeps hourly backups for the last six hours of work, daily backups for the last five days of work, and weekly backups for the past two months of work.
These are the characteristics we consider important in a pro writing app and the criteria we used when selecting the best one: Design — A blinking cursor on a blank page is intimidating enough, so the app must be well-designed in order to provide an inviting writing environment. Use it as your first step to self- editing before giving to the clients. Users can do pretty much everything in Evernote, for creating to-do list and checklist to drawing out specific notes to capturing receipt for tracking business expenses. It also has an inbuilt search feature which is lightning fast. So how can you decide if the subscription is worth it to you? Also, there is currently no version history on iOS.
It allows you to write stories, create characters, brainstorm, and set deadlines. You can easily move the cards around with drag and drop, and your document will rearrange itself to match the new order. Ulysses achieves this feat by creating a perfect amalgamation of features and usability.
The idea here is that a writer does not have to use anything other than the keyboard to interact with the app. Basically, it lets you focus on the art of writing itself and handles the rest.