Online Tools for Writers: Ulysses Reviewed
Each week, the Education Techie reviews tech tools that can help students and teachers. This week, the Techie is reviewing writing tools. Today's review: Ulysses.
What Is It?
When you start a new document in Ulysses, the window displays a large word processing pane in the center, flanked on both sides by informative toolbars that you can minimize or expand. These toolbars include document info, which continuously displays the file's title in addition to character, word, paragraph, line and page counts. You can label your document with a status and put it into categories that include concept, plot and chapter - or you can create your own headings for outlines and other projects.
Ulysses allows users control over formatting and appearance. You can also choose from 12 languages to write in. Other features include a finely calibrated search-and-replace function, the ability to work from templates and a full-screen editing pane. The program's interface is relatively simple and the design is clean and uncluttered.
Ulysses is a downloadable program priced in Euros. You can purchase a three-seat license of Ulysses for about $30. An educational discount of about $7 is offered, though you must confirm your affiliation with an educational institution.
What Makes It Cool?
Ulysses has a lot of unique features - too many, in fact, to cover in this review. One interesting element is the text trash function. When you delete text from your document, it doesn't automatically disappear. Instead, it goes into a special trashcan space for deleted text. You can get this text back if you want it, or you can delete it forever. Another cool feature is the bookmarking function, which allows you to tag certain areas in your work so you can easily return to them. There are a lot of similar features that seem to directly target serious writers.
Another plus for this program is the fact that its free trial lasts for 60 days, rather than the standard 30. This lengthy trial can allow users to really get a feel for the program. On the Ulysses website, the program is described with passion by its developers. I appreciate this dedication in a product; the company also seems intent on responding to user feedback.
In the description of the program's current version - version 2.0 - Ulysses' developers list bug fixes as one of this version's greatest improvements. Presumably those bugs were reported by users, and it seems that you can purchase this product with some confidence that serious problems will be addressed.
What Are Its Drawbacks?
This program is only available for computers running a Mac operating system. The current version of Ulysses requires that you run version OS X 10.5 or later. One potential drawback that I see is that the program's more advanced features may require advanced technical understanding. This will likely only challenge computer novices, though, and it won't likely take long for willing users to learn how to use all of the program's ins and outs. If you're looking for a very straightforward, very simple program, this might not be the one for you. But overall, I think Ulysses is a great writing tool.
Where Can I Find It?
Click here to check out a description of Ulysses' features and download the program.