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Ulysses vs Scrivener (best writing apps for mac)

User Interface
Writing Tools
Document Organization
Distraction-Free Writing
Export Formats
Template Availability
Scrivener opts for a one-time purchase, costing $49 for macOS and Windows versions 💲.
Ulysses operates on a subscription model, with pricing at $4.99/month or $39.99/year 🗓️.

Scrivener offers robust features 📚 for long documents and novels 📖, and a complex interface may be appealing to advanced writers 👨‍🎓.

Ulysses 📝 excels with a clean, intuitive interface, excellent syncing 💫 and minimal distractions, perfect for writers 💭 of all kinds.

Scrivener Pros & Cons

Top Pros
  • Superior Organizational Tools 🗄️

  • Powerful Writing Outputs 💪

  • Good for Large Projects 📘

  • Customizable Scripts 👀

  • Rich Text Format Support 📜

Ulysses Pros & Cons

Top Pros
  • Minimalist Interface 👌

  • Excellent Markdown Support 🙌

  • Great Syncing across Devices 📲

  • Integrates with Apple’s Shortcuts 💡

  • Very Intuitive for Note-taking 📝

  • Multiple Export Options 🔄

Top Cons
  • Steep Learning Curve ⛰️

  • Lacks a Distraction-Free Mode 📵

  • Complicated User Interface ❌

  • Inconsistent Syncing 🔄

  • Lacks Web and Mobile App Supports 🌐

  • Limited Inline Image Handling 🖼️

Top Cons
  • Subscription Pricey 🚫

  • No Direct Collaboration Options 👥

  • Limited Text Styles 🎨

  • No Out-of-box ePub Preview 📚

  • Poor Windows Support 💻

Other best writing apps for mac


Pages stands as a free, high-quality word processing app 📄 with seamless iCloud syncing 🌐 and intuitive usability ✅ for Apple enthusiasts 🍏.


iA Writer promotes a simple, distraction-free writing interface 🖋️, making it an outstanding choice for bloggers and short-form writers 💡.


Final Draft reigns supreme for screenwriters 🎬 offering specialized features and professional-grade tools 🛠️ designed for screenplay creation ✔️.


Some of the top writing applications available for Mac are Ulysses, Scrivener, Pages, iA Writer, and Byword. They all have distinct features and capabilities to suit different writing needs.

Ulysses is a highly streamlined Markdown-based writing app, designed for writers who want to concentrate on their work without distraction. It offers a distraction-free interface, a sophisticated document management system, and features such as seamless iCloud synchronization, publish-to-WordPress capabilities, and various export options.

Scrivener is a comprehensive writing tool designed for authors, novelists, and scriptwriters. It provides invaluable tools for planning, research, outlining, and drafting, and includes robust features such as split-screen mode, corkboard view, templates for different types of writing, and extensive compile options for exporting.

Ulysses operates on a subscription model and charges $5.99 per month, or $49.99 annually. They also offer a 14-day free trial for new users.

No, Scrivener is not free. However, a one-time purchase of $49 offers lifetime access to the software, including all minor updates.

While both are effective writing tools, Ulysses tend to have a more minimalistic and user-friendly interface compared to Scrivener, which has a slightly more complex and feature-heavy design.

The document management system of Ulysses is one of its strongest features. It allows you to organize your texts in groups and hierarchically nested groups, filter them by keywords, and save searches as smart folders. This helps keep your work organized and easily accessible.

Scrivener boasts its robust features such as split-screen mode that shows multiple documents at once, corkboard view that enables visual organization of notes, and compile feature that offers extensive control over the formatting of outputted documents.

Yes, Ulysses includes a feature that allows you to directly publish to WordPress and Medium. It makes the process of blogging and online publishing much easier.

Scrivener supports planning and research through its Research Folder. You can import various documents such as PDFs, web pages, images, and more into this folder for easy reference while writing. Scrivener also allows you to create detailed character and location sheets for novels and screenplays.

Ulysses supports seamless and effective iCloud synchronization. It automatically saves and synchronizes your documents across devices, ensuring your work is always up-to-date and accessible wherever you are.

Yes, Scrivener is a great tool for scriptwriting. It provides several scriptwriting templates and supports standard scriptwriting formatting for plays, films, and television scripts.

Yes, Ulysses provides multiple export options. You can export as a PDF, ePub, Word document, or even as basic text or HTML. The app also supports a wide range of preformatted export styles.

With its extensive feature set, Scrivener may take time to master. It’s recommended to go through their tutorials and user manual when starting to make full use of the software. However, once familiarised, it can be a profoundly effective tool for long-form writing projects.

Yes, Ulysses is also available on other Apple devices like iPhone and iPad, making it an excellent option for writers who work across multiple devices.

Yes, Scrivener is not limited to Mac. It also has versions for iOS as well as Windows, making it usable on a broader range of devices.

Yes, Ulysses supports Markdown syntax, which allows writers to format text using simple punctuation marks. This makes it ideal for writers who focus on web writing or content creation.

Yes, Scrivener offers impressive outlining capabilities. You can use its built-in corkboard and outliner to structure your work, create complex hierarchies, and rearrange parts of your documents with ease.

While both can be used for blogging, Ulysses is probably a more suitable choice because of its seamless integration with WordPress and Medium, streamlined interface, and Markdown support.

Both apps are effective for authors and novelists, but Scrivener with its advanced planning, outlining, and drafting tools is often cited as a preferred choice for long-form writing and large-scale projects.

Ulysses is a favored writing app for Mac users because of its clean, distraction-free interface and its powerful writing tools. It allows seamless syncing across different devices, making it possible to take your work wherever you go. Ulysses also conveniently flaunts a feature-rich markdown editor for swift, efficient writing and formatting. Moreover, it supports exporting to different file formats like PDF, DOCX, and HTML. Learn more about it here.

Yes, Scrivener is designed to accommodate all types of writing. From simple notes to full-blown novels, scrivener offers a wide array of features like project management tools, outlining capabilities, and advanced corkboard view to visualize content structure. It caters to the unique needs of different genres and writing styles.

While both Ulysses and Scrivener are powerful writing apps designed for Mac, they differ in various ways. Ulysses offers a more minimalist, focused writing environment and is ideal for those who value simplicity without compromising powerful writing tools. It shines for shorter works and regular content like blog posts. On the other hand, Scrivener features more intricate project management tools, making it a go-to choice for complex, large-scale projects such as novels or research papers.

Yes, Ulysses operates on a subscription model. It offers a free trial period after which you must subscribe to continue using their service. The subscription includes access to their full suite of tools and regular updates. You can view their pricing structure on their website.

Scrivener requires a one-time purchase, which provides lifelong access to the software. It introduces major updates from time to time, which may or may not have an upgrade cost. Compared to other premium writing apps with recurring costs, many users find Scrivener to be economically priced. You can check their prices here.

Definitely, Ulysses supports automatic iCloud sync, enabling you to work on your content across different Apple devices seamlessly. This makes it very convenient to access and continue your work from anywhere.

Scrivener supports a wide range of exporting options, catering to various publishing requirements. You can export your work in formats such as DOCX, RTF, PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and more, without sacrificing the intricate formatting you’ve done within the app.

Yes, Ulysses includes a built-in publishing feature that connects directly with WordPress. You can write, edit, and format your blog posts in Ulysses, then push the content directly to your WordPress site without leaving the application.

Absolutely! After purchasing Scrivener, you are allowed to install the software on any machines you own and are the primary user of, allowing you to access your content from different devices.

Yes, Ulysses supports the use of templates, allowing you to keep a consistent structure in your work. Users can create their own custom templates or use the built-in ones available within the app.

Yes, Scrivener houses a set of comprehensive organizational tools that allow you to effectively manage your research and notes. It gives you the ability to keep your writing, notes, keywords, metadata, and research, all in one place, enhancing your productivity and making the writing process more organized.

Absolutely, Ulysses’ goal setting feature lets you set targets for word count, character count, or reading time. The progress towards your goal is displayed as you write, motivating you to stay on track.

Dealing with long, complex documents is one area where Scrivener particularly shines. Its specific features like corkboard and outliner views, organizing files into folders, labeling and status tools, allow you to manage and navigate complex, multilevel texts with ease. It’s one of the reasons Scrivener is a go-to tool for authors, researchers, and screenwriters.

While Ulysses is primarily a single-user app, it allows exporting and sharing your work in various compatible formats. However, it does not directly support multi-user collaboration within the app.

Yes, Scrivener has a mobile app available for iOS users, offering a streamlined version of the full software for on-the-go convenience. As of now, there’s no app available for Android users.

Yes, Ulysses allows you to work offline. Your changes will be saved locally on your device and then synced to other devices via iCloud once you reconnect to the internet.

The complexity of Scrivener can seem daunting at first, particularly for beginners. However, its ability to manage intricate projects and its wide array of features are worth the learning curve for many. The company provides a comprehensive tutorial script within the app to ease the transition for new users.

Yes, Ulysses does support the export of e-books. It allows you to export your documents as EPUB or PDF files directly, providing flexible options for self-publication.

Scrivener includes an automatic backup feature that saves older versions of your documents. You can also set it to backup your work to an external location such as Dropbox. Thus, it ensures you do not lose your work due to accidental deletions or modifications.

Some of the features that make Ulysses a standout writing app include: a focus mode that lets you concentrate only on your current sentences, fast and efficient search and navigation, comprehensive text statistics, and the ability to attach notes, keywords, and images to your documents.