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Notebooks as a Ulysses replacement

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Aug 18, 2017 at 05:20 PM


I’ve been looking for a replacement for Ulysses (due to its change to subscription model—just adding this in case someone reads this months from now without the benefit of the long thread about Ulysses moving to subscription). I tried Bear and MWeb, both very good markdown editors, but neither quite makes it for me. Bear lacks the ability to segregate work into a folder structure (though you can simulate that with tags—but I don’t like relying on tags). And MWeb is packed with a lot of features for writing code, which is just a distraction to me.

Since I bought Notebooks for iOS and Mac years ago, I am able to pick up and use them again without any hassle (or subscription), but I will be purchasing a license for the Windows version if this experiment works out.

Unlike Ulysses, Notebooks was originally written for iPad, so the iOS version is slicker than the Mac version, but the latter seems pretty solid. While Notebooks didn’t stick with me when I first tried it, I am now putting my nose to the grindstone—somewhat out of necessity—and learning it.

I’ll start by acknowledging that there are several things Notebooks does not do as well as Ulysses, or doesn’t do at all. The ones I’ll miss the most:

- It doesn’t allow you to concatenate separate documents (sheets in Ulysses parlance) for viewing or export.
- It doesn’t allow for adding non-printable comments to the text.
- It has fewer and less elegant export options.
- It is generally not as elegant in many aspects, especially the Mac version
- I suspect that general syncing is not going to be as seamless as Ulysses.

But there are also advantages to using Notebooks over Ulysses beyond the subscription issue:

- Documents are individual files stored on your computer like any other file. And they are readable by many other apps.
- You can create task lists within Notebooks
- There is a Windows version, so I can access my work easily on ALL my devices. The Windows version is a bit rough around the edges, but is perfectly serviceable.
- It’s easy to sync Notebooks to Scrivener (well, that’s the claim—I haven’t tried it yet)

As a writing environment, Notebooks has been perfectly fine so far. You can learn more about the app, here:


Anyone else using Notebooks to a significant extent?

Steve Z.