The Ulysses Toolbar
Since Ulysses is a plain-text writing tool focused on simplicity and providing a distraction-free writing environment, there aren’t a lot of buttons or menus. The Ulysses interface has a single tool bar with just a couple of options available. Let’s break these down one by one.
The first option is Quick Export. One of the big advantages of Ulysses is that it allows you to export your text in just about any format, which allows you to easily import that text into just about any program. To export your text, either click the Quick Export button in the tool bar or hit Command-6. You can also right-click on a group filter or sheet in the sidebar and then select Quick Export.
This will open a menu that offers several options for exporting your text out of Ulysses. You can preview your text, copy it to the clipboard, save it to a file, open it in another application, or send it somewhere using a service like email or messages. You can also choose the format of the text that you want to export. You can select plain text, HTML, ePub, PDF, even docx from Microsoft Word. Let’s break these down.
If you want to export just the text from Ulysses, you have a couple of different options available. You can choose between plain text, rich text, markdown and the text bundle format. First select Text from the dropdown menu and then select the appropriate option. Plain text will strip out all the markdown styling tags, all the comments, all the annotations, and all the images, and only export the text itself.
Rich text will provide a simple, rich text-formatted file, with basic text formatting like italicized text and bold text.
Selecting markdown will keep or convert all of your tags and export the text in markdown syntax.
Text bundle is a new file format which was developed alongside Brett Terpstra, the maker of Marked. This new file format facilitates the exchange of markdown text files between sandbox apps, and it supports embedded images inside of your plain text files.
You can also export your text as HTML, which is perfect for publishing to the web. To publish as HTML, select HTML from the dropdown list and then choose an export style to be applied during export. You can choose between snippet and single-page output. Selecting snippet will just convert all your tags to HTML and then export the selected text. This is great for pasting into a code editor or putting it into the text edit window of WordPress. Selecting single page will create a complete HTML document, including the header, body, CSS links and so on.
You can also publish straight to ePub, a popular ebook format. To publish to ePub, select ePub from the dropdown list and then choose an export style to be applied during export. You can also set title and author metadata, and you can drop an image in here to be used as the cover image for your ebook. You can also publish straight to PDF. Select PDF from the dropdown menu and then select the export style to be applied during export and the paper format. You can also export as docx from Microsoft Word. Select “Docx from the dropdown and then select the export style to be applied during export as well as the paper format.
Once you’ve selected the format you want to export, you then have a couple of options for actually exporting that text in the desired format. You can preview the text. This will open up a preview window so you can see what your text will look like before you choose to save it somewhere. To preview your text, click the I icon. Second, you can copy your text to the clipboard. This allows you to paste your text in your desired format into another application.
Next, you can save the text by clicking on the folder icon. This will open the Save dialog box and ask you where you want to save the file on your computer. You can also click the App icon to open the text inside of another app. Click this icon to reveal a list of other applications that you can send the text to.
You can also send the text using the share sheet. Clicking this icon will reveal the standard Mac share sheet allowing you to attach the text to an email or even print it in the desired format.
You can also select Publishing from the dropdown list if you’d like, which allows you to skip the intermediary step of getting the text into another program and publish it straight to the web.
The next option in the tool bar is the statistics. This section holds detailed text statistics, such as the number of characters, words and pages, even the average reading time.
The next section is the navigation. This section shows you a basic outline of your sheet based on the headers that you have added. Simply click the section that you want and you will instantly be taken there in the Editor pane.
Next is the markup button. This button provides a quick reference of the Markup XL language that Ulysses uses, so you don’t have to worry about trying to memorize everything about Markdown before you can start working with Ulysses. You can focus on figuring out one specific element at a time if you’d like.
Last is the attachments bar. Attachments allow you to set supplemental materials, like images, text notes, keywords and even writing goals. The writing goals are a particularly handy feature inside of Ulysses. With writing goals, you can track your progress in relation to a certain word or character limit or even target a specific reading time. For example, you can set your sheet’s goal to be something specific, like at least 1,000 words or more generic, like about 10,000 characters. You can select words, sentences, paragraphs, lines, pages, even the average reading time, and the colored circle shows you close you are to hitting your writing goals.