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A major departure from its predecessor, Ulysses III is more reminiscent of Mail.
Despite the “III” in the name, this is a new product. Rather than iterate on Ulysses 2, the app reimagines the text editor in a way that visually resembles Mail and conceptually sits somewhere between iA Writer and the project-based Scrivener.
The three-pane interface becomes a management and writing solution for text files. Projects and sources are managed in the sidebar, and a second pane is used to select documents. The main pane is your workspace. Pop-ups and tear-off palettes then give access to flagged favorites, exports (to TXT, RTF and PDF), statistics (counts/reading times), and document navigation.
With its beautiful default theme, friendly launch screen and witty instructions, we found Ulysses III immediately usable. Although the app relies on Markdown, newcomers are eased in via a fourth pane for reference and adding structure to text. There is a hint of 1.0, though. Typewriter scrolling and global search missed the cut for this relaunch. The latter is the bigger problem in an app using a database storage system. Spotlight can sometimes find files, and you can create keyword- and text-based sidebar filters, but that shouldn’t be necessary for ad-hoc searches. This will be fixed in 1.1. The app also can’t compete with Scrivener for long projects, due to a lack of versioning, research stashing, and multiple-up views. For notes and short-form writing, though, it’s an excellent foundation.
The bottom line. Despite some shortcomings, this reboot should prove a prudent investment for Mac-based writers.
64-bit processor, OS X 10.7.3 or later
Beautiful, usable interface. Genuinely new thinking. Fast and efficient.
Lacks a global search.