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Ulysses' Companions' Odyssey (provisional app review)

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Apr 20, 2022 at 04:12 PM


Well, that is better than nothing, but in Ulysses, you can edit any of the sheets in the editor. This is very helpful when you are putting the final touches on your work and you need to smooth the transitions between sheets.

Dormouse wrote:

>Stephen Zeoli wrote:
>By concatenating I mean that you can select multiple sheets in Ulysses
>>and view them as if they are one document in the editor. I don’t think
>>you can do this in Inspire Writer.
> >You can: Select, Export, Preview. No need to export, it’s just a reading


Posted by Dormouse
Apr 20, 2022 at 04:38 PM


You just select the sheets you want.
They have to be from the same document, but any sheets you want. So, if you have a series, you could have all th books within it, and choose any scenes you want to view together from anywhere in the series. And, if you want sheets from another doc, you’d just move them in.

I don’t think it’s quite as flexible as Scrivener in this regard (stretching my memory to remember) but good enough for nearly all purposes. Which was more or less the philosophy Ulysses followed.


Posted by Amontillado
Apr 20, 2022 at 11:11 PM


I have fond memories of Ulysses. Scrivener was my first foray into a writing studio application. It was great, but it lacked styles back in Version 2.

When Version 3 came out, I found I didn’t like some details of Scrivener’s styles. For instance, the no-style style. The three different editors (main window, copyholder, and quick reference editors) each have somewhat different capabilities. I recognize I’m being nit-picky.

Compiling is a great thing in Scrivener. However, most of what I need from the compile process I can do by swapping style libraries in Nisus, the more so in Mellel, since it supports page styles, and that’s a lot simpler than compiling in Scrivener.

Markdown was already on my radar. Ulysses seemed to be just what I was looking for - and then I got nit-picky again. At that time you couldn’t create separate Ulysses files. Everything went in one data store. I’m not keen on the cloud, either.

That led me back to where I’d started. Conventional word processors plus more Markdown than I used to do.

Macs, by the way, are excellent tools. If they ceased to exist I’d return to a Linux-centric life. Windows, only under duress. :-)


Posted by MadaboutDana
Apr 21, 2022 at 08:51 AM


For those seeking a nice, cheap replacement for Ulysses (on macOS) that does the same concatenation thing that Steve’s just been trying to describe, Novellus is a good option (and has very good grammar/style checking features as well). It’s nowhere near as sophisticated as Ulysses, but is pleasant to work with. Unfortunately the developer has, I fear, become rather discouraged, so it hasn’t been updated for a few months. But I use it fairly regularly to write stuff. There isn’t an iOS version, unfortunately.

The Ulysses concatenation is difficult to appreciate unless you’ve actually worked with it. Ulysses allows you to view multiple sheets (= notes, documents) together – but not just view them, actually edit them, too, just as if they were a single sheet (note, document, whatever). So it’s not to be confused with a preview function (Ulysses does that too, of course). It’s probably the single most powerful feature in Ulysses, because you can shift the documents (notes, sheets, etc.) around however you like, and then view or edit them as a new “group” (i.e. with surrounding documents) in their new context.

I was wondering if Inspire Writer did that – there’s no mention of it on their website, so I suspected (and Steve has just confirmed) that it doesn’t.

Scrivener is amazing, but the learning curve is steep and some of the features are definitely somewhat confusing. Even Charles Stross (a highly intelligent sci-fi author who features on the Literature & Latte blog) admits that he doesn’t use more than the basic features in Scrivener (which rather amused me, I must admit).



Posted by Dormouse
Apr 21, 2022 at 10:30 AM


MadaboutDana wrote:
>you can shift the documents (notes, sheets,
>etc.) around however you like, and then view or edit them as a new
>“group” (i.e. with surrounding documents) in their new context.
IW does do that.

MadaboutDana wrote:
Ulysses allows you to view multiple sheets (=
>notes, documents) together – but not just view them, actually edit
>them, too, just as if they were a single sheet (note, document,
I take it that this is akin to editable transclusioons. If so, IW doesn’t have that. You can move, split, join, copy as much as you want, but it’s not the same as editable transclusions.  I know many people structure workflows around these, but they’re something I use only occasionally even when they are available.

It’s not a must have feature in writing for me. Two main reasons:
1. I prefer to writie in a single document with headings and folding. I would like better outline features to be more widespread, but can work with things as they are now. IW’s outline isn’t great (only has go to a heading, not move headings around; I assume that both it and Ulysses follow the same credo as Scrivener in making a mosaic out of small chunks - which means that none of these programs suit me ideally.
2. By the time I reach the stage, I’m into first review/edit mode. That I prefer to do in docx with colour.


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