Scrivener vs Ulysses Cage Match! (2018) ⚔😮🏆

Scrivener vs Ulysses Cage Match! (2018) ⚔😮🏆

This is Scrivener. It’s the premier writing app on the market
right now. This is Ulysses. It’s the up-and-coming writing app that is
making a serious challenge to Scrivener with a radically different approach to how writing
apps should look and feel. Which one should you use? Both apps are excellent in their own right,
but this isn’t an easy decision. In this video I’m going to compare them, feature-by-feature
so you can decide which one is right for you. It’s time for
a Cage Match. *** What’s up, guys? This is Michael La Ronn with Author Level
Up, giving you the best tools and strategies for writing faster and reaching readers with
your stories. Don’t forget to subscribe to get new videos
from me every week to help you build your writing career. So, Scrivener vs Ulysses. The point here is explore the intersections
and differences of both apps so you can make an informed decision. We’re going to explore the following areas:
1. Design
2. Writing Day-to-Day
3. Features
4. Backup
5. Importing & Exporting
6. Mobile Version
7. Tech Support & Helpful Resources
8. Pricing Let’s jump into it. Design First, let’s talk about the design of both
apps and overall look and feel. Scrivener’s design hasn’t changed much
since its release, and that’s not a bad thing. The Scrivener design is the cornerstone design
that most major writing apps have adopted in some form. We take for granted that Scrivener’s design
was groundbreaking when it launched. Scrivener 3 introduces a slightly brighter
color palette and simplified buttons on what is a pretty tried and true design. A highlight here is that its full screen mode
is highly customizable, allowing you to even change the background image, transparency,
page position, size, and colors of your text while you’re writing. You can even jump to different chapters of
your book without leaving full screen. Ulysses has a similar core design, but aesthetically
it could not be more different. If I could describe Ulysses in one word, it
would be simplicity. This app is for writers who want some of the
bells and whistles of Scrivener but want to focus primarily on writing. Ulysses supports light and dark modes. I’m particularly fond of its dark theme. It just pops. Ulysses also supports additional wr iting
themes that you can download from its Style Exchange, where you can download custom themes
for your writing space. The only thing that bugs me a little about
Ulysses is that if you apply certain custom themes, they don’t apply to the entire app. Personally, if I download a custom style,
I want it to apply to the entire app. That’s a minor issue for me, because visually
it looks odd. The iOS app has the same issue. Design-wise, it’s hard to argue with Ulysses’s
elegance, theme flaws aside. Writers who prefer minimalism will be impressed
with the app’s design and will enjoy writing their words in it. Day-to-Day Writing Functionality Let’s talk about the key component of any
writing software, and arguably the only one that really matters: writing. Writing has never been easier with Scrivener
and Ulysses. It’s just a matter of what you prefer. Scrivener uses a writing engine very similar
to Microsoft Word. You’ve got a blank page, and the words you
type can be bolder, italicized, underlined, etc. You can also apply preformatted styles to
your text. If you’ve used Microsoft Word even for 10
minutes, you will have no problem transitioning to writing in Scrivener. The writing engine is reliable, easy to learn,
and easy to use. Ulysses is, at its heart, a plain text editor,
and it uses Markdown, which is a language that does practically the same thing as Scrivener,
but it looks radically different. Markdown is designed with conversion to HTML
in mind. If you think about ebook formatting and remember
that an ebook is really just a fancy HTML file, then writing in Markdown makes a great
deal of sense. Instead of using special keys to format your
work such as bold or italics, you instead use asterisks, brackets, and hashtags to style
your work. You’re probably thinking: how do I remember
all these Markdown elements: Hashtags, asterisks, brackets, oh my!
Ulysses makes learning Markdown easy by providing a key that you can use if you forget how to
format something. After a while it becomes second-nature. But Markdown scares people. Even though it’s not difficult to use, people
balk at the idea of learning it because initially, it looks complicated. We also need to spend some time on project
setup in both apps. Scrivener, like most word processors, is a
project-based format. If you want to edit a project, you have to
open that project. Projects don’t speak to each other and are
self-contained. Ulysses, on the other hand, utilizes a universal
library. Everything you write is accessible to you
at all times. For example, the novels I write are stored
in the same place as the scripts I write for my Author Level Up channel. The pros and cons of a universal library are
pretty obvious. A pro is that you can access all of your work
at the click of a button. The second pro is that you don’t have to worry
about file maintenance or having duplicate versions of your work in different files. It’s all right there in the universal library. A con of a universal library system is the
size. The bigger it gets, the longer it takes to
load. Also, it can feel cluttered the more you have
in it. Ulysses offers archiving tools to help you
manage this, but when you have over 40 books, hundreds of scripts, and other things you
want to catalogue, your library can get messy really fast. It’s also worth pointing out that, in fairness
to Scrivener, you could in theory just keep all of your books in one project. But it would be slow and cumbersome. Next, let’s talk about managing your stories. Scrivener offers a number of modes to help
you stay on top of your story and what’s happening at all times. The corkboard feature lets you post virtual
index cards with chapter synopses on them, and the threaded corkboard feature lets you
see character arcs on a colorful timeline. Outline mode also displays this information
in a more traditional format. Scrivener also offers custom metadata to help
you manage keywords so you can organize your story better in outline mode. Ulysses does not offer any comparable features
to help you manage your story other than a button that will show you all of the headings
of your chapter. This is helpful for nonfiction authors, but
fiction writers not so much. Ulysses offers keywords, too, and its colored
keywords is a nice feature. Aside from this, though, Ulysses doesn’t
offer much in the metadata department. Scrivener offers more metadata options, but
I think Ulysses’s are more useful and practical for everyday writing. Next, let’s talk search. Both Ulysses and Scrivener offer good search
engines to find your work. Scrivener’s Quick search is blazing fast
and will return any instances of your search within the project. Ulysses’s search is just as fast and will
return any instances of your search within your entire library. But it goes a step further and allows you
to search for text styles such as bolder text or headings. In my mind this is a competitive advantage. Let’s say you write all your blog posts
in Ulysses and want to search for certain elements of your posts—say ordered lists,
for example. Select it in search and Ulysses will search
your entire library for every instance of an ordered list. That’s insanely powerful, and above and
beyond anything Scrivener can do. Features
Let’s compare the features of both apps now. This is where we’ll start to see a big difference
between the two. Scrivener has many, many features all geared
toward authors. The binder helps you organize your documents,
the corkboard and outline mode help you organize your story, Compile exports your book into
various digital formats. And there are many more features, such as
revision mode, screenplay mode, writing history, markdown support, and more. Scrivener has so many features that it’s impossible
to use all of them. You don’t have to, but it’s nice to know that
they’re there. Ulysses, while it may not seem to have as
many features at first glance, actually has a comparable number of features to Scrivener,
though it lacks a corkboard, for instance. If you listed every feature in Ulysses side
by side with Scrivener, you would see more similarities than differences. I just think Ulysses does a better job at
hiding some of its features. When I say hide, I don’t mean that in a bad
way—its focus is to help you write—everything else is secondary, but when you DO need it,
it’s easy to find. The key question here is what you want to
use your writing app for and what you value most at each stage of the writing process. If outlining is a critical part of your workflow,
Scrivener may be a better fit for you, as Ulysses doesn’t give you any effective tools
for pre-writing. If writing is your sole focus and you want
features but don’t want to be overwhelmed by them, then Ulysses might be a better choice. If exporting clean manuscripts for formatting
is important to you, both are viable options but Ulysses gets a slight nod due to its simplicity. Those are just a few ways you can think about
this. Backup
Backing up your work is an important element that authors don’t always think about. Scrivener and Ulysses both offer backup solutions
to make sure you never lose any work ever again. Both work in the background, unseen to the
writer. In Scrivener’s case, it’s a matter of selecting
a backup folder in your preferences and how often you want it to save your work behind
the scenes. If you ever need it, you can go into backup
mode to find an old version of your work. Ulysses backup is almost identical in look
and functionality. Select your backup folder, tell Ulysses how
often you want it to save your work in the Preferences, and access the backups when you
need them. In the eight years I’ve been using Scrivener,
I have only ever lost work twice. Both times, they were small chunks of around
2,000 words each. That’s a pretty impressive track record. With Ulysses, I only lost work once, and that
was my fault because I didn’t sync my desktop and mobile versions properly. I’ve only had Ulysses for a couple years but
I trust the backup feature since it’s so similar to Scrivener’s. Whichever app you choose, you can rest assured
knowing that your manuscripts are in good hands. Combine the in-app backup with regular backups
off-site on external USB drives or via a service such as BackBlaze, and you will give yourself
maximum protection. There’s nothing worse than losing your work,
and Scrivener and Ulysses both recognize that and help guard against it. Scrivener though, takes protecting your work
one step further. It offers snapshots, which allow you to take
a virtual “photo” of your work and save it for use later. If you need it, you can restore it or search
all of your snapshots for what you need. This feature is useful when you’re editing
or your novel has gone down the wrong path and you want to backtrack but accidentally
deleted key parts that you want to restore. Importing and Exporting Let’s talk about importing. If you’re new to Scrivener and need to import
a manuscript, it’s a simple process. You can import your manuscript wholesale so
that it shows up in one large document. Or you can import the manuscript so that it
comes into the Scrivener binder neatly, with chapter breaks and all. You can import Word docs into Ulysses by dragging
your word doc into the Ulysses library. At the time of this video, Ulysses does not
support smart importing, so you have to do some manual work to split your chapters up. Now let’s talk about exporting. Scrivener offers Compile for exporting. I discuss my thoughts on the latest version
of Compile in Scrivener 3 in my Ultimate Scrivener 3 Review video, but the gist of it is that
I think it’s clunky and counterintuitive, especially for new users. If you’re willing to take the time to learn
it, Compile can export ebooks that look pretty good CARD: ULTIMATE SCRIVENER 3 REVIEW. There are plenty of books, YouTube videos,
and courses out there that will help you wrap your head around the Compile feature, but
expect to put the time in to learn. As far as paperbacks go, the latest version
of Compile doesn’t do a good job of exporting industry-standard paperbacks. Personally, I would not recommend Scrivener
to format a paperback. I did this once or twice a few years ago,
and it was more trouble than it was worth. Maybe it was just my fault—that’s entirely
possible, I ended up having to reformat those paperbacks again a few years later. Ulysses also has an export feature, though
it doesn’t have a Compile like Scrivener’s. In general, it’s much easier to export an
ebook from Ulysses. It’s just a matter of clicking the share
button, choosing your format, previewing it, and then saving. Ulysses offers custom templates that will
serve most people’s purposes right out of the box. But if you do want to customize those templates
or build your own, you have to update it via CSS (known as Cascading Style Sheets). You have to use the correct CSS syntax, or
your formatting efforts won’t work. This is enough to send most people running
away screaming. If you have no CSS experience, this feature
might stop you cold. A couple caveats: you can download premade
Ulysses styles that do most of the work for you. Like I said, they will be adequate for most
people without needing any updates. CSS isn’t terribly difficult to learn, but
you do have to learn it in order to produce the ebook style you want. If this isn’t in your skill territory, then
you’ll get frustrated quickly. So in my mind, the exporting on both of these
programs is a wash. Scrivener’s Compile is easier for the average
person to use, but there’s a big learning curve. It’s not a set-it-and-forget feature, either—it’s
easy to make errors in compiling even if you know what you’re doing, and you have to
compile different formats such as Kindle, ePUB, and PDF separately. Ulysses’s export feature is easier and simpler
to use, but the CSS has an even bigger learning curve. But once you’ve set it, you can forget it. Unlike Scrivener, you don’t need to make
many changes to your CSS once you’ve found a style you like. Because the CSS editor is accessed from the
preferences and not the export window, there’s little chance of making an error that would
require you to reformat your book. At this time, Ulysses does not support paperback
formatting. Format-wise, Scrivener supports more formats
to export to, but Ulysses has more one extremely practical export format—it will publish
directly to WordPress or Medium. But let’s talk about the real truth about
these writing apps. Exporting just isn’t where it needs to be. Writing apps can do it, but it’s not their
specialty. Apps like Vellum have proved that writers
want simplicity and convenience when it comes to book formatting, not complexity. If you own a Mac, all you have to do is buy
Vellum and it will handle your formatting in half the time, and generate you an ebook
and paperback edition with little to no errors. Just 1 click. That’s a problem. If you use Vellum or another formatting software
to format your books, the final version of your book will live in the formatting software,
so then you’ll have two versions of your book out there, and you can no longer use
Scrivener or Ulysses to edit it. And let’s talk about another problem with
export that bugs me about both Scrivener and Ulysses. To date, there is still no easy way to collaborate
with an editor. You have to export your manuscript to Microsoft
Word, have your editor edit your book in Word. Then you have re-import your manuscript back
into your writing app. Then you have to format the book, and if you
use Vellum, you have to export it again to another place. I don’t know about you, but this is a headache
and you’d think someone would find a solution to this. In the future, I’d like to see Scrivener
and Ulysses support collaboration with an editor and improve book formatting so that
the manuscript never needs to leave the app’s ecosystem. I’d also like to see both writing apps do
a better job of exporting so that you don’t have to 1) spend a lot of time learning how
to export and 2) skip formatting altogether and use a formatting app. At a minimum, if they can’t do exporting
better, I’d at least like to see some sort of integration or partnership with a program
like Vellum that allows you to push your manuscript to Vellum for formatting. Ulysses sort of does this by offering a Vellum
export style, but not quite. Programs like Vellum do a lot of things right,
but they’re not writing apps. If Vellum ever decided to get into the writing
software game, it would be a game-changer overnight. Don’t believe me? Ebook formatting is such a pain point that
people are willing to spend $300 on Vellum at the time of this video. Think about that. *** Mobile Apps Now, let’s talk about the most innovative
feature of both apps, and that’s their mobile versions. Right now, Scrivener and Ulysses have iOS
apps that can be used on iPads and iPhones. You can sync your work between your desktop
and mobile devices so that you can take it with you on the go. Both apps are similar in functionality, and
look great. Both sport the core writing functionality
of their mothership desktop versions, and they also have dark modes for people who like
that. It took Scrivener years to develop its iPhone
version, with many users giving up on it ever becoming a reality. It launched in 2016. The app was worth the wait. While it doesn’t have as many features as
the desktop version, it has enough to write your next novel on the go. Ulysses was the first kid on the block with
an iOS version, and it’s gorgeous. Feature-wise, it’s a lot closer to its desktop
version. This is just speculation on my part, but the
fact that Ulysses offered an iOS app before Scrivener is one of the reasons Ulysses has
grown in popularity. The app developers innovated, and they were
rewarded for it. Scrivener iOS runs in tandem with Dropbox
to sync your work. You have to drag your sync-able Scrivener
project files into a special app in Dropbox in order for them to sync. This was a little jarring at first since you
have move files to a new place, and if you lose your Dropbox folder, you’ll lose your
work. In order to sync your work between your Scrivener
devices, you have to manually sync them. It works, but it can be a little annoying. If you have a lot of projects in your Dropbox,
the sync can take a really long time, sometimes stop altogether until you move projects out
of the folder. You’re better off only using projects on
your mobile version that you’re actually going to be working on. Trust me on that one. Ulysses sync runs on iCloud which syncs automatically
without you having to initiate it. It’s zippier, works better, and overall
nice that you don’t have to think about it too much. Ulysses also gives you the option to sync
with Dropbox, but it comes with a different set of guidelines that can be difficult to
manage. Unlike Scrivener, which requires a dedicated
folder within Dropbox to sync, Ulysses just uses your iCloud account. Pricing-wise, if you ever reach a point where
you need to upgrade your Dropbox or iCloud plans, the pricing on both services is affordable
and comparable, so in my opinion, this shouldn’t be a major factor in your decision, though
many people may already be using Dropbox for other things, whereas iCloud may be less common. Prices are always subject to change, but iCloud
definitely is more value for the money as I record this video. But here’s the thing—you’re going to
be using mostly text files, so whether you have 1 Terabyte or 2 is kind of irrelevant. Personally, I would make your choice based
on the cloud storage app that’s most convenient for you to use. An area where Scrivener wins in the mobile
space is the fact that you can sync projects between the Mac, iOS, and Windows versions
of Scrivener. Compatibility-wise, Scrivener desktop is available
on Mac and Windows. The iOS version is for iPhones and iPads only,
unfortunately. [Holds up phone and shakes head] If you don’t
like iPhones and iPads, you’re out of luck. Ulysses is Mac-only at this time. As far as I know, there are no plans to expand
to Windows or Android. It seems more likely that Scrivener will make
the jump to Windows and Android devices before Ulysses does, especially now that the Scrivener
team has a dedicated team of Windows developers working on the Windows version of the app. I’d like to see both of these apps available
on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android, just so that people can write on the go without having
to worry too much about the software piece. For example, I refuse to buy an Android phone
simply because I wouldn’t be able to use either Scrivener or Ulysses. Writing on the go is that important to me,
even though I’ve been tempted to buy an Android phone for years. *** Support Next, let’s talk about support that you’ll
receive when you purchase the apps. Both apps offer helpful in-app tutorials for
basic questions. Scrivener’s helpful resources are a little
more robust. The Literature & Latte forums are a great
place to see commonly asked questions and ask a question of your own. Scrivener also receives great third-party
support. There are a good number of websites and blogs
solely dedicated to it. There are also books on the market, though
many of them have become dated over the years. And of course, no Scrivener resource mentions
would be complete without mentioning Joseph Michael’s Learn Scrivener Fast course, which
is the gold standard of Scrivener instruction. It’s not cheap, but there’s no other resource
on the market that will help you learn the inner works of Scrivener faster. I highly recommend this course and have used
it myself, so check out the video description for a link. Ulysses does not have a forum. Instead, it offers a very limited knowledge
base. But the developers are very active on Twitter
and are pretty responsive to emails. Currently, there are few, if any tutorials
on how to use Ulysses. Not sure if this is a market opportunity or
if it’s because Ulysses doesn’t yet have the market share to warrant third parties
investing into support for it. Pricing And last but not least, let’s talk about
pricing. Scrivener 3 costs $45, with the iOS version
costing $20. If you buy both, you’re looking at around
$65, which isn’t bad considering the time and effort you’ll save by using it. Ulysses has a subscription model, costing
$4.99 per month or $39.99 per year. The subscription allows you to use Ulysses
on any device. The developers of Ulysses caused some heartburn
in the writing community when they switched to this model, because it was previously a
one-time fee to own the app. Here’s what I think: both the one-time fee
and subscription-based models have their pros and cons. Neither is better than the other. With one-time fees, you pay less to own the
app until the next major update, but you run the risk, like we do with Scrivener, of there
being a long time between new versions of the app. Seven years passed between Scrivener 2 and
3. With subscription-based models, you pay yearly,
but you tend to get faster iteration. But you run the risk of just paying for bug
fixes and compatibility rather than major features if the developer doesn’t devote
time and expenses to innovation. That does not appear to be the case with Ulysses
as they are iterating regularly, but it’s a concern that a lot of people have because
they’ve been burned on this in the past. Cost is a barrier here regardless of which
app you use. The key is to use the one that works best
for you. If price is a barrier for you, Scrivener might
be a better fit, but even though people are upset over Ulysses’s pricing, I still think
that the app provides a tremendous amount of value and isn’t worth writing off. *** So let’s recap the rounds. Round 1 was design, and I’d give the edge
to Ulysses. Round 2 was writing functionality, and you
know, both are about equal, but I’d give the edge to Scrivener because it has more
features that you would use Day-to-day such as the corkboard, outline mode, and revision
mode. Round 3 was features, and Scrivener wins there,
hands down. Round 4 was backup, and this one is a tie
in my mind. Round 5 was importing and exporting, I will
give this one to Ulysses for focusing on simplicity. While importing takes a little bit more work,
the simplified export saves you a ton of time. Round 6 was mobile apps, and while both are
fantastic, this again is a tie in my mind. Round 7 was support, and Scrivener wins here
simply for being on the market longer and having more books, blogs, and courses dedicated
to it. Round 8 was pricing, this again is a tie for
me. So, here’s the thing: one app isn’t better
than the other. Deciding whether Scrivener or Ulysses is better
for you comes down to personal choice. Both apps offer the features and flexibility
that most writers need, and at affordable prices. In my mind, there are 4 questions that you
have to ask yourself: -Do you prefer features or simplicity? -Do you outline extensively? -Do you blog primarily? -Will you format your books inside the software
or with a separate app? If you prefer features, Scrivener will probably
be a better fit. It has more features per square inch. If you prefer simplicity and want to focus
on the writing, Ulysses does simplicity incredibly well and helps you get out of your own way. If you outline extensively and do other things
outside of the writing process that you want to preserve in your project, such as research
or character development, then Scrivener can help you do that. If you blog, it’s hard to argue with Ulysses. With Markdown support and easy publishing
to WordPress, it’s a no-brainer. If you’re going to use either app to export
your ebooks, you’ve got to be willing to put in the time to learn their respective
features. If you’re willing to pay for formatting
software like Vellum, it doesn’t matter. So use the info in this video to make the
best choice for your style and your writing career. If you’d like to grab your copy of either
app, check the video description for links. I’ve also included some helpful links in
the video description like keyboard shortcuts and other review videos I’ve done that will
help you make a buying decision. I’d love to hear from you. Do you use Scrivener or Ulysses, and why? And of course if this is your first time watching,
I’d love to have you subscribe. Every week I publish videos just like this
one with writing and marketing advice to help you write better and grow your influence with
readers. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you in the next video.

Danny Hutson

61 thoughts on “Scrivener vs Ulysses Cage Match! (2018) ⚔😮🏆

  1. Are you on #TeamScrivener or #TeamUlysses?

    Me: Scrivener for fiction, Ulysses for blogs and YouTube scripts. Splits my focus but works really well for me.

  2. Have you heard of yWriter writing software by spacejock? Last time I used it it was a free software but that's been a while.

  3. I blog and write creatively and I just use OneNote and Trello. I have never needed anythig else but Scriviner sounds great to me. Still, I have no use for anything else than my current loves

  4. Your videos are seriously high quality, Michael. This is a great comparison review. I think I'm going to have to try both apps. I actually use Byword currently, which is a Markdown editor that's very stripped down and simple. I love it for blogging, but it has no way to organize larger projects, so I know that's going to become problematic for me down the road.

  5. Great summary. It is reassuring to see you have the same exporting issues as me. The amount of cutting and pasting time I have wasted from Scrivener and Vellum is heartbreaking. I do my own typesetting in InDesign and InCopy – more cutting and pasting. Also – I use AutoCrit for editing – more cutting and pasting. If one app can’t be the best at everything, integration has to be better. It’s fantastic you are back. You were missed.

  6. I have a Linux machine but can run Windows apps using the Wine interface.

    I've written a few short plays, short stories and am working on a novel. I've been using Scrivener, but under protest. It's a bit complex for my needs and has a few bugs they're not going to fix. It seems they're focusing 100% on the Mac version.

    I used yWriter, and though Mr. Spacejock is nice, he's not going to update version 5, which is the only version that runs right for me. I'm not sure he's even working on version 6 any more.

    I've tried Bibisco and Plume Creator & they don't quite do it for me. I missed some formatting features and note cards in Bibisco. I don't think either of those is supported any more either.

    I'm trying WriteItNow (cheap) and WriteWay (free). They are similar to but simpler than Scrivener and have nicer user interfaces. I may settle on one of those. I think WriteItNow is still supported. I think WriteWay is done with updates, since he just made a public key for everyone to download it for free.

  7. Do you have any information on when Ulysses will be available for Windows? I wish that was stated before I watched the entire video.

  8. Wrote my first novel in Google docs. Given my equipment limitations, I'll be giving Scrivener a try soon. Thanks for the info! I was sold on Ulysses until I learned I didn't have a device for it.

  9. I used to use Scrivener. I took a class in its use, got a book. Then I lost a project. I opened up a project I had been working on the night before and it was empty, 39,000 words gone. Not to mention the whole outline. I went for the backup, which Scrivener has a convoluted way of storing and reinstating, and it was just a bare outline. I backup my files to a cloud service in case of a drive crash, but it was just a copy of what Scrivener called a backup. I contacted my instructor, got on the forums no one could tell me where my project had gone or what I did wrong. It was just gone. Since I do not know what if anything I did wrong I just do not trust Scrivener. But, I love Scrivener's features. So, now I write in FocusWriter or Bambo Paper and cut and paste it into Scrivener. So, I can still use the features I love but if Scrivener pulls another Houdini I have another copy. I also backup the FocusWriter to the cloud. I also cut and paste to OneNote as well, color me paranoid.

  10. I have the one month Scrivener trial but have only opened it a few times, meanwhile I've been using Ulysses for over a month, and so far have no intention of stopping. The reason Ulysses works best for me is that, although I'm a planner, I get easily distracted and therefore must use the barest, least cluttered software. Visually, Scrivener has too much going on. With Ulysses I can swipe the screen on my ipad a couple of times and just see the large block of my unformatted text. With the typewriter feature I can also choose to highlight only the lines I'm working on, since I'm a compulsive edit-while-i-type kind of person. These features helps me stay focused.
    As for planning, I've chosen to do most offline. I write on notecards, file them, draw, keep a journal, etc. The only stuff I keep on my computer are online links/resources that I don't want or need to have physical copies of.
    I would have liked to only pay a one-time fee, but $5 a month isn't breaking my bank, so it's fine. For most people that would be the equivalent of one less coffee. I don't even drink coffee, so there's that.

  11. Hey man, I really love your way of explaining this topics for us. Thanks a lot. I am about to give Scrivener a try. ( I only have Windows & Linux available ). Btw Can you do something on Ubuntu- Linux writing tools please. Thanks thumbs up. Great way of teaching you have.

  12. Incredible. I never write comments but this is the best app comparison breakdown I have ever seen anywhere. Do you have a how to video for making videos?

  13. Hey! Trying to decide between Scrivener and Ulysses. I’m planning to write a book full of poetry and also pursue songwriting. Also plan on posting poems to a blog. Thanks!

  14. I might check these out but I’ve been really enjoying using Bear for writing as it treats its tags like folders and you can have an endless sub folder setup. Very clean and simple. And syncing is effortless.

  15. I appreciate the clear delineation 'twixt opinion and facts. Good job. I found this informative, helpful, fair and easy to view. It was also edited well.

  16. Very helpful, thanks. I was leaning towards Ulysses for iCloud syncing, but do not want another subscription service. I'm going to keep looking.

  17. Thanks so much for a fair and balanced review. Your sum up of which app works best for different writing goals is perfect. I've been looking for some good quality software for fictional writing, so i will try Scrivener. Thanks again

  18. For those who recall the dark days of DOS & Apple II, WYSIWYG was a BIG step up & markdown seems a return to those dark (dark) days. If you need to convert to markdown later for WordPress or whatnot, convert it later; there are plenty of ways to do that.

  19. This was an exceedingly well thought through, well executed video. Oh, and it was also helpful to this “eighteen-month in” Ulysses user — now subscriber — to see, in depth, the alternative that I only very briefly considered. After looking at Scrivener, and then seeing the Ulysses UI and philosophy of how they focused their product’s design as well as the problem that they were marketing it to solve, it was not a hard decision for me, being primarily a blogger who keeps lots of journal entries on the side. I’ll mention two things in closing. While Ulysses staff are usually fast on email responses (which pretty much always solve my issue on the first email, with only a “Thanks! reply back from me) I too wish that they offered a user forum with which to help their users. Finally, one thing that I don’t believe you mentioned in this video is the enormous helpfulness of Ulysses’ writing goals and live and running-as-you-type statistics. Whether you have a word count goal (including “at least” “at most” or “about” a specific number of words that the user dials in for a piece, or minutes required for the reader to read your post/chapter/etc. for a slow, fast, or average reader, and even how many minutes the piece should take to read aloud, Ulysses puts up a graphic circle that continues to fill toward your goal so that you can know at a glance how you’re doing. You can also count, for instance, characters, sentences, paragraphs, lines . . . I think you get the idea. Ulysses is quite helpful in the area of analyzing your work and presenting it to you both graphically and in a window with the details in text.

    Once again, yours was a really very well done work that I am quite sure will help many. I hope for you all the best.

  20. Very nice comparison.
    Unless I'm misunderstanding something (wouldn't be the first time:-) ) the attachments feature in Ulysses is not available if, like me, you want to store your files in Dropbox and have no wish to use iCloud.

  21. I gotta admit, im heavily impressed Michael. You must have an AMAZING time management to do all this. It even takes a lot of time to learn all the software to create a high quality video. But additionally make a own website, writing 40 books and tutorials is simply outstanding. And all this with being the dad of a family and working a full time job?? I give you all my respect. And my question is: How you do that? 🙂 Greetings from Switzerland

  22. Excellent video. Unfortunately I didn't know anything about Ulysses before seeing your video. 18 minutes in before you mention Ulysses is MAC ONLY!!!

  23. The opening screen shot of Scrivener where I saw the numbers listed.Bell went off in my head. Daily Journal.

  24. Great review…don't know that I have entirely decided…have used Scrivener more than U …I, like most writers I guess, want to write more than learn software and find 'the steep learning curve' is beginning to escape me as I get older. Food for thought, thanks for your frank style.

  25. You are great 👍 informative, relevant, good voice, and above all a Titan – you are not a quitter. I am your fan for life .

  26. Amen! The gap between Scrivener(/Ulysses) and Vellum makes me want to pluck my eyes out. Why hasn’t somebody grabbed the bull by the horns here? Scrivener is awesome in so many ways…until exporting. Vellum (like you said) is amazing—but not for writing, let alone outlining and index-carding.

  27. There is a workaround to use Scrivener on android phone: Scrivener to Jotterpad via Dropbox. In my opinion, it's not any more cumbersome than using the Scrivener iOS app. It takes longer to explain than to actually implement, so I recommend googling "Scrivener to Jotterpad." I actually bought the iOs app and didn't find it any easier than this solution, which freed me up to stick with android.

  28. Michael – you are a ROCK Star! Extremely professional videos and information. Keep up the good work.

  29. You've just earned a sub! Thank you for the detailed comparison! Ultimately, I chose Scrivener because I intend to utilize some of the extra features to help me get organized, and I also try to avoid subscription-based purchases as much as possible!

  30. I use a lot of images (cover art, imported horror fonts/images etc) that i want to incorporate into my thriller novels, but i plan to publish both as paperbacks and ebooks…
    At the moment i use Microsoft word to write, but i find it a pain for formatting since i use so many images – what IOS app(s) would you recommend? (PS i am a beginner so not tech savvy enough for Ulysses)

  31. Hi Michael, great work!

    This video helped me so much as I was deciding whether to upgrade an older copy of Scrivener 2, or switch to Ulysses.

    In the end, I just don't like the subscription model that Ulysses uses, so decided to go ahead and upgrade to Scrivener 3.0.

    I am enjoying learning to use it and creating a workflow for blogging on my website @

    Thanks again

  32. Did you really start a video by stating that it was brought to us by a book that you authored? I have to say this is a level of shameless plug that I haven't come across anywhere else. Author level up indeed, haha.

  33. The Ulysses Subscription model made me dump Ulysses – forever. Now I don't need it at all. I've lost my loyalty and have blocked their emails and notifications. Think Eternal Subscriptions and how your estate will be drained if you die!

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