Organise prose with Ulysses

Advanced decluttering for writers.


The ultimate writing app


Ulysses has a simple interface to help you focus on the written word, but it also has powerful features that will boost your efficiency. Here are five pro tips to get the most from of the app.

Key in keywords

Ulysses comes with advanced management functions, including keywords. Select a sheet, then click the paperclip icon in the top right corner (or press Command-4) to open the attachment pane. Attach a keyword by typing it into the text box.

A keyword can be anything that makes sense to you. You could, for example, tag sheets according to their progress status, like “Draft” or “Final”. Right-click on a keyword and you can assign it a colour to make it easier to spot.

To edit keywords, click Window > Keyword Manager or right-click on a keyword and choose Manage Keywords from the contextual menu. Delete or rename keywords in the manager; if you select multiple keywords you can merge them into one. You can also right-click on a keyword to customise its colour.

Press Shift-Command-K to go directly into the Keywords text box.

Set your filters

Filters are smart groups that narrow down your content according to specific criteria. When paired with keywords, they give you more clarity because you can filter texts according to their keywords. For example, you can set up a filter that lists all sheets tagged with the keyword “Draft”.

To create a filter, select New Filter in the File menu (or press Control-Command-N). Name the filter, then define its conditions. In addition to matching keywords, for example, you could filter for new sheets that are less than seven days old.

Ulysses’ filters let you sort by text, keywords, modification and creation date.

Manage lengthy text

It’s not easy keeping track of a long text block, but with Ulysses, you can split it into smaller portions. Using the sheet preview in Ulysses’ middle pane, you can easily rearrange parts of your text. Right-click in the text and select Split Here to turn one text into two. Merging various texts into one is just as easy: select the sheets, then right-click and choose Merge Sheets from the menu.

Once you split a text into separate sheets, you can rearrange their order in the Sheets pane. Select the split texts and you can view them in the Editor pane as if they were a single sheet.

Find what you need

If you don’t remember where you put a specific sheet, Ulysses has an easy way to find it for you. Use the shortcut Command-O to open a panel where you can search your entire library. Type a few words, see the text in question and hit Return to open it instantly.

You can also click Search (the magnifying glass icon) to search within the selected group of sheets. Clicking the tag icon next to the search bar will list keywords that you can use to filter your results.

Type Shift-Command-F to search within the current group. Type Command-O to search your entire library.

Pick a goal

Ulysses’ Goals is an indispensable feature if you write on a character or word limit. To attach a writing goal to a sheet, open the attachment pane via the paperclip icon, then click the round target icon.

Besides word count, Ulysses can also set goals for metrics like a number of pages and reading time.

Choose between three types of goals (About, At least or At most) and key metrics (like characters, pages or reading time) for your writing goal. You can also add a deadline. A goal symbol will visualise your progress and show what’s missing for you to meet your writing target.


    The ultimate writing app