MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,121
15,927


Popular writing app Ulysses received its twentieth major update today, and gained new grammar and style checking tools as well as a redesigned dashboard.

GrammarStyleCheck-Mac-ulysses-20.jpg

The grammar and style check is an integration of the LanguageTool Plus service, and can analyze texts and provide informed suggestions in categories such as capitalization, punctuation, semantics, redundancy, typography, and style.
"The challenge was to integrate the text check in a way that feels both natural and easy to use," said Ulysses creative head, Marcus Fehn. "It was also critical for us that the users perceive all results as suggestions rather than corrections. Because what is a mistake? When it comes to writing style, that's up to the author."
Users can review the checker's grammar and style suggestions at once or per category, and apply or ignore them. The grammar and style check is available in over 20 languages, and for now it's available for Ulysses for Mac. The developers plan to add the feature to the app's iPad and iPhone version in another release this fall.

Dashboard-Overview-Mac-ulysses-20.jpg

Also new in this update is a redesigned dashboard, which offers convenient access to the new grammar and style check while consolidating many existing functions into a more organized overview.

The new dashboard contains an outline navigator where all headlines are displayed in a hierarchical order, allowing users to get an overview of their text's structure, and jump quickly between its various parts. Elsewhere, additional navigator sections list embedded images, videos, links, footnotes, annotations, and marked text passages.

Various views gather available information with a certain focus, such as all statistics, all comments and notes, all media items, and so on. The dashboard is also configurable, so writers can display only the information they need. A more compact version of the new dashboard is also available on iPhone and iPad that allows users to check their text's statistics, add keywords, and attach notes or images.

Dashboard-iPhone-ulysses-20.jpg

Ulysses can be downloaded for free on the App Store and the Mac App Store, with version 20 rolling out to existing users today. After a 14-day trial period, a subscription is required to unlock the app on all devices. A monthly subscription costs $5.99, while a yearly subscription is $49.99.

Students can use Ulysses at a discounted price of $11.99 per six months. The discount is granted from within the app. Ulysses is also included in Setapp, the subscription-based service for Mac applications created by MacPaw.



Article Link: Ulysses Gets Redesigned Dashboard With Style and Grammar Checker
 
Last edited:

hellosil

macrumors regular
Feb 11, 2013
178
392
Great features, but I’m looking for a Ulysses like Markdown supporting content editor app that supports real-time co-working like in Pages.

Suggestions are very welcome.
 
Comment

jchap

macrumors regular
Sep 25, 2009
171
242
The new dashboard is pretty slick. It's a useful new feature that adds value, since you had to use keystrokes to access the stats individually before, and the information would disappear once cursor focus changed and the user returned to text editing. (Edited: The pop-down infopanels in version 19 and earlier could be detached. That functionality has been modified in version 20.)

On the other hand, the Web-based grammar checking feature is nothing I'd want to use. The app does warn you that the data will be transmitted to a third party and the user is pointed to the app's privacy policy, but I'd wager that many users don't feel comfortable sending their text to a third-party service over the Web each time they want it checked. (What is the deal with making every little service Web-based, anyway? Is the inclusion of a grammar checking engine into Ulysses such an unwieldy undertaking? Why would I have to use my Internet bandwidth to farm out grammar checking to an unknown service, when I could do it for free in Word? That may be comparing apples to oranges, I know, but making something a Web app just because it's too much trouble to include it in your app's own codebase seems a little short-sighted to me.) iA Writer now has some [very] basic grammar checking functionality built in, and macOS already had some rudimentary grammar checking features, so I'm not too sure of the need to include it into Ulysses. Still, it might be of value to someone who doesn't care where their text goes, like bloggers or Web content writers whose text is eventually going to be published online anyway.

Anyway, it's good to see the app evolving. They do need to beef up their support team, though—it often takes several days to get a proper reply, and a few more days of going back and forth on top of that to resolve the problem. The app is worth it for me because of its clean design aesthetic, but it may not be worth it for users who just need a Markdown editor and don't care about the look and feel, or about the UX.

Also, for users who really like the app but complain about the price (and who use other subscription-based apps), Ulysses is available on Setapp, so that's another inroad to using the app in consideration of the total value of other apps offered in the Setapp package. (I'm still on an App Store subscription because I was paring down on my subscriptions at the time and got rid of Setapp, but it may be a good value for some people who use several of the apps in the Setapp package.)
 
Last edited:
Comment

anakin44011

macrumors newbie
Jan 6, 2004
28
116
Every time there's a blurb about Ulysses, people feel the need to explain why they think the price is outrageous. I just don't get it. After trying a dozen writing apps over the years, it is currently my 'go to' app for getting the myriad thoughts out of my head and entering the often-brutal phase of organizing and editing.

If you don't see the value in the software, don't buy it. But calling it a "pos" (really?) or comparing it to software suites that serve a completely different market and purpose appears to be almost intentionally obtuse or strangely short-sighted about the actual market for this software.

Why post anything at all? Oh, never mind. It is 2020 and everyone's opinion matters.
 
Comment

InGen

Contributor
Jun 22, 2020
218
748
I stopped using this app the day they went to the subscription model. I don’t know why they don’t offer customers an option to pay a higher once off fee and own the app permanently with updates instead of these subscription models. Oh wait I know why, $$$$$$

the same applies with adobe but at least with adobe you get different products included with a single subscription, Ulysses is a stand alone type writer, let us buy it outright!
 
Comment

bwintx

macrumors 6502
Jul 17, 2002
352
289
Whenever there's something on MacRumors about Ulysses, all the subscription haters flock in. (Sigh.) It's very simple, folks. If you're offended by paying for Ulysses on a subscription basis (even if the price has gone up, after staying the same for nearly three years), you: (a.) don't write for a living; (b.) aren't the target customer; and/or (c.) are free to choose something else. There are plenty of free writing apps, as well as non-subscription paid writing apps, out there; I use some myself, in fact. All the reflexive negativity in the world will neither change this app's sub model nor deter those of us who love and use Ulysses on a regular basis. And, as @jchap noted earlier: if it's just the price and not the subscription model, you can get Ulysses and a lot of other stuff via Setapp.
 
Last edited:
Comment

johannnn

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2009
1,934
1,762
Sweden
People want innovative software that keeps adding new features, keep up to date with Apples new system features each fall, constantly do bug fixes, and constantly have perfect security. But they want to pay like $5 and then use it for life.

Yes, it’s expensive at $50/year. But this money is going to more developers which in turn result in a more awesome app.

If you want to have something cheap, then there’s plenty of writing apps for you. But why come here and whine just because this isn’t the product for me? I don’t go to Tesla forums and whine how expensive the cars are.
 
Comment

Traverse

macrumors 604
Mar 11, 2013
7,233
3,652
Here
I’ll be curious to see how this stacks against the free tier of Grammarly for very light usage.

Regarding the subscription, here are my thoughts (not that anyone asked): I’m on the migration $30 a year tier, but yes, I do think that $30-$50 a year for a (very good) text editor/writing app is a bit high. However, the application is actively developed, has great integration with iOS and macOS including Shortcuts, and is an enjoyable tool to use.

I use Ulysses every day and have not found a tool that fits my needs better or is as actively developed. Given this, I have no issue paying a subscription because I get value from it with the bonus that hopefully the developers make enough to sick around and not let the app become abandon-ware like so many applications on the App Store.

If you don’t see value in it, there are many cheaper options.
 
Comment

sw1tcher

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2004
2,400
4,706
Ulysses can be downloaded for free on the App Store and the Mac App Store, with version 20 rolling out to existing users today. After a 14-day trial period, a subscription is required to unlock the app on all devices. A monthly subscription costs $5.99, while a yearly subscription is $49.99.

$49.99/yr to subscribe?

Sorry, but I will never subscribe for a writing app. I prefer the old model where I buy software and can use it whenever, however, and as long as I want without it needing to phone home. And if there's an update I like, I'll buy the upgrade or new version.

I hate the subscription model with a passion.

/rant
 
Comment

johnnytravels

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2019
130
420
All the reflexive negativity in the world [...]

Well at least it's ‘reflexive negativity’, right? ;)

So, yeah, maybe I am just overreacting because I don't want to afford paying extra for a text editor that has no reference manager support at 30-50 p.a. on top of what I already paid for for the former standalone apps.
Half of their feature upgrades have been adjustments to OS level functionality. They developed split screen for the iPad and then scrapped their arguably better version again for the OS wide support (for their own convenience, in order to not have to maintain it in the future, that is literally what they told everyone).

And now that a few actual improvements come around, “the cost of sustaining a robust feature set and advancing it on a regular basis” (or whatever Max wrote exactly to justify the subscription) has suddenly risen by over 20%.

I think it's not so much the fact that it's a subscription model but more that the devs are just total hypocrites.

I still have access to the previous buyers sub price, and I am still letting it lapse, writing between devices in Bear (which I think is totally worth it for 15 a year), and then putting everything together in Typora before inevitably having to export it into Word anyway for inserting links to my reference manager, review comments etc. because Ulysses simply does not cater to that crowd (researchers and, you know, students at other institutions than the ‘school of life’).
Typora in particular has been such a game changer for me. They already have a more robust feature set in beta state than Ulysses after years of perpetually taking our money for things like spotlight integration, tags, splitscreen and dark mode and some eye candy.

But yeah, if you're writing for the web and you want to show it to your fellow writer in your favorite Starbucks, by all means, get Ulysses.
 
Comment

MacHiavelli

macrumors 65816
May 17, 2007
1,184
775
new york
One strategy for a business that knows that it and its core business-model is failing is to make a minor change in terms of product offering, that is announced as being a big deal, and to hike prices accordingly. You then fleece what clients you have for one last payday. You then get out with as much as you can salvage.

A 25% hike is huge at any time, let alone during COVID. If they had enough subscribers, they wouldn’t need such a hike in prices. Whether you like subscriptions or not, this change sounds very iffy. As someone above pointed out, their support leaves a lot to be desired and they seem to have a turnover of staff: suggesting what?

People think they are supporting a developer by paying a sub for an app, but if there aren’t enough people paying, you’re just delusional.
 
Comment

Puonti

macrumors 65816
Mar 14, 2011
1,238
791
People think they are supporting a developer by paying a sub for an app, but if there aren’t enough people paying, you’re just delusional.

That's a curious take. So if I like a song enough to pay the busker, but nobody else is paying, there's something wrong with me?

I don't think it works that way.

If I pay for something, that's supporting the people involved regardless of if it's sufficient to keep them in the business. It's not my responsibility to make sure their product or business is viable - just that when I find a product or service that does what I need it to do, at a price I'm willing to pay, that I pay it. If it's a sub then it's a sub.

What everybody else does or doesn't do with that product is none of my concern, and certainly doesn't change the validity of my choice.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: anakin44011
Comment

ignatius345

macrumors 68040
Aug 20, 2015
3,861
5,315
The new dashboard is pretty slick. It's a useful new feature that adds value, since you had to use keystrokes to access the stats individually before, and the information would disappear once cursor focus changed and the user returned to text editing.

Not true. There was a tear-away window you could park anywhere you want on the screen and which would update in real time. That functionality is now lost and you have to open that huge sidebar to see the same information. We lost a bit of UI that worked beautifully on a Mac and gained and chunky iPadOS version.

Anyway, it's good to see the app evolving.

Ulysses was essentially feature-complete years ago. They've mostly spent time noodling and tweaking with little things since they went subscription. Comparing it with their closest competitor, Scrivener, where's the screenplay support, for instance? (And no, that fake output style they tout doesn't cut it for real screenplays). Instead we get little UI tweaks like rearranging the sidebar, or offering a grammar checker, or options for embedding images or code. Sure, those things are fine I guess, but are they worth the price?

There's something pretty hokey about asking for $50/year blank check, forever, to do whatever they please. You're paying up front for improvements that haven't been made.

Defenders of the software rental model like to trot out this argument that indie developers need to stay in business. Sure, of course they do. But how about building another piece of software instead of expecting to live off the same one forever? If the Ulysses people built an email or calendar app I'd probably buy it in a heartbeat. I'd sure rather that than pay over and over again for something I already have.
 
Last edited:
Comment

drumcat

macrumors 6502a
Feb 28, 2008
795
2,077
Otautahi, Aotearoa
Sorry, but there are just too many free options.

Typora is excellent for the "just wanna write" folks.

VSCode is excellent as a text editor, and there are some very complete plug-ins. And it obviously has robust versioning.

If you want Notetaking and tagging with linking and such, Obsidian is a good go-to, again, free.

And if you're willing to pay, you can get MS Word for $139, RRP, one time.

Just boggles the mind...
 
Comment

dbong

macrumors newbie
Jul 14, 2020
2
2
I registered just to comment. I've been in this business for 30+ odd years.

This is not a big deal whatsoever and certainly not worthy of "feature" hype. Increasing the Ulysses product baseline purchase/subscription price to offer a weak non-private web-based grammar checker as a hyped feature is a big mistake that will come to haunt them later, and IMO, a desperate business decision. LanguageTool has always been an extremely weak free open source checker. "Free" gave it Google exposure. It's a very poor choice as a commercial product. Better private non-web based options exist.

LanguageTool's and other so-called grammar product's current popularity is because of consumer ignorance and "Grammarly". Most students are not interested in English grammar and wouldn't know a good grammar checker from a bad grammar checker. Grammarly's marketing model is an example of the perfect scam. Grammarly is a horrible product, but the company pushes its advertising marketing down your throat, offers a limited free trial to obtain your email address, and then phish-spam pesters you to death until you weaken to pay $139.00 per year subscription (without a cancel option). LanguageTool and other startups are following on consumer ignorance and Grammarly's scheme and popularity.



 
Last edited:
  • Wow
  • Love
Reactions: Bustycat and jchap
Comment

4jasontv

macrumors 601
Jul 31, 2011
4,713
5,574
MacRumors has made a mistake. @waxeditorial (Tim Hardwick)
The price is still $39.99
One time price of $39.99 is much better than $49.99 a year.
[automerge]1594766560[/automerge]
It’s $50 now?? I like it but I couldn’t justify the old $40 cost.

Honestly at this point the only thing I know about Ulysses is that it is overpriced. There is no reasonable feature they could add to justify their price. Every time MR posts these Macvertisements I scroll to the comments to see if they fixed their price scheme.
 
Last edited:
Comment

Apple_Robert

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
28,275
35,606
In the middle of several books.
One time price of $39.99 is much better than $49.99 a year.
That is true. However, we no longer have that option. I would pay a one-time lifetime fee of $50 - $75 dollars. They won’t go for that. I emailed them a few years back about it.

I have found that they make a lot of “to do” about each update. From a company marketing standpoint, I understand. From a user standpoint, the hoopla about an update is a lot louder than the update practicality (for me). I usually wait and get it on sale for less than $25. I may start look at alternatives for my writing.
 
Comment

4jasontv

macrumors 601
Jul 31, 2011
4,713
5,574
That is true. However, we no longer have that option. I would pay a one-time lifetime fee of $50 - $75 dollars. They won’t go for that. I emailed them a few years back about it.

I have found that they make a lot of “to do” about each update. From a company marketing standpoint, I understand. From a user standpoint, the hoopla about an update is a lot louder than the update practicality (for me). I usually wait and get it on sale for less than $25. I may start look at alternatives for my writing.
I thought you said it was a flat one time price and that MR got it wrong.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.