In 2011, two German entrepreneurs, Marcus Fehn and Max Seelemann, founded the company behind Ulysses (opens in new tab). Before that, they had spent more than a decade creating word processing software for macOS users. As the story goes, Marcus wanted to write a novel but struggled to find a suitable resource. He then built a personal word processing tool that turned into Ulysses over time.
Ulysses was initially a macOS-only app, and versions for iOS and iPadOS came later. The app won an Apple Design Award in 2016, giving it formal recognition from the company for whose software system it develops apps.
Tens of thousands of people worldwide chose Ulysses as their note-taking app and often praise it for helping them write productively. We decided to check for ourselves whether the app deserved the honorable mentions.
Ulysses: subscriptions and prices
The Ulysses app is strictly paid, with no free version, and you can pay monthly or annually. It costs $5.99 per month and $49.99 per year, which is a significant discount if you choose the annual plan. You can take advantage of the 14-day free trial for any subscription.
Not having a free version is a drawback because many competing apps offer free versions to lure users and entice them to upgrade to a premium version if they are satisfied. But we don’t think it’s a big deal given the app’s professional writers target market.
There is no web-based version of the Ulysses app, which we consider to be a drawback. You need to download it on your iPhone, iPad or MacBook to use it. To do this, go to the Apple App Store, search for the app and download it right away.
Taking notes on Ulysses is easy. The app’s text editor has a minimalist look and fewer distractions than typical word processing software. The idea is that you should focus on writing when using the editor, then handle the formatting afterwards.
A great feature of Ulysses is the built-in grammar and style checking tool. This tool checks your writing and points out grammatical errors that you can correct. It also analyzes your text and makes suggestions regarding capitalization, punctuation, semantics, redundancy, and style. In short, it helps you become a better writer, and it is available not only in English, but in over 20 other languages.
When you’re done creating your text, you can save it as PDFs, Word documents, or eBooks. You can also export it as an HTML code (opens in new tab) ready for any website on the web. Likewise, the Ulysses app has direct integration with blogging platforms (opens in new tab) such as WordPress, Ghost, Medium and Micro.blog. The integration allows you to post articles to these blogging platforms directly from the Ulysses app, with a built-in preview for proofreading before submitting.
The app has full iCloud sync, so any text you type will be saved automatically and you can pick it up on all your Apple devices. It also supports Apple Family Sharing, which means you can share your subscription with up to five other family members.
Ulysses: interface and usage
Ease of use is a criterion in which Ulysses scores excellently. The app has a minimalistic interface with few distractions that makes it pleasant to use, especially for those who write long pieces. With iCloud sync, you can pause writing and continue wherever you left off on all your Apple devices.
The app makes it easy to write and edit notes from anywhere at any time, which is essential for professional writers who often get writing ideas at any time.
If you have any issues with the Ulysses app, you can contact the company directly and wait for an email response. You can do this through a form available on the official website or in the downloaded app.
Likewise, there is an official Help Center with user guides and solutions to common problems. This Help Center is ideally the first place to consult before seeking direct customer support if you cannot find satisfactory answers.
Ulysses: The Competition
Ulysses’ main competitors are Evernote (opens in new tab), Bear and Dropbox Paper. Ulysses is better than these competitors in terms of usability. But the app is limited to the Apple ecosystem, while most of its competitors support third-party operating systems like Windows and Android.
Ulysses: Final Verdict
Ulysses is a great note taking app for Apple users. It is feature-rich and has an interface that is pleasant to work with. The built-in grammar checking tool and integration with third-party blogging platforms are the features we most recommend. The limiting factors are that the app is expensive and only available to people using Apple devices.
We’ve highlighted the best iPad Pro note-taking apps (opens in new tab).