Ulysses adds mouse and trackpad support on iPad, material sheets in version 19Source: Joseph Keller/iMore

What you need to know

  • Ulysses 19 is now rolling out in the App Store
  • Adds full mouse and trackpad support on iPad
  • Lets you add keywords to Markdown files, material sheets, and more

Ulysses, a popular text editor for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, has received a significant new update to Ulysses 19. A lot is going on in version 19, starting with the addition of mouse and trackpad support on the iPad.

But there's a lot in Ulysses 19 that impacts the app across platforms, so let's dive right in.

Mouse and trackpad support

If you're using a trackpad or mouse with your iPad, say on the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, you'll be delighted with this update. The cursor snaps to controls, two-finger swipes on the trackpad smoothly open and close the library and attachment menus, too.

Having been able to test it out prior to launch, I can tell you that this support feels excellent and is right at home on the iPad, especially if you're used to using Ulysses on a Mac, where these sorts of gestures have been available forever.

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Material sheets

The rest of Ulysses updates are available across iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

First, we have an intriguing aspect of the update. You can now mark certain documents, generally scratch notes, research material, and other extraneous bits of writing that shouldn't be part of your final text, as "material."

Sheets marked as material won't be a part of your final document. If you set goals for a particular group, any material sheets that you mark as such won't be counted towards those goals, either, at least by default. So if you plan to export a multi-document folder into which you've put a report and all related research, mark the extraneous bits as material, and they won't show up in your exported PDF.

Say, for instance, you're writing a book. You don't want all of your chapters to be in a single document, so naturally, you split them up into multiple sheets inside a folder for your book. When the time comes to export everything you've written, the export preview includes all of your chapter sheets as part of a single export.

If you had any additional sheets full of research material, those would also be included in that export unless you either deleted them or moved them out of the folder. Now, though, you can mark sheets as material, and any sheets marked as such won't be included in that final export document, nor will they count towards any goals you had for the folder.

Markdown file keywords

Ulysses has long had a keyword system, which lets you better organize your work. For instance, if I wanted to be able to find all of the articles that I've written about the Shortcuts app, I'd add a 'Shortcuts' keyword to the sidebar of the document.

Previously, you could only use keywords in native Ulysses documents. But in Ulysses 19, you can now use them with Markdown (.md) files. When you want to add a keyword to a Markdown file, add a '#' followed — without a space — by your keyword. When you go to export as Markdown, your keywords will appear at the bottom of the document.

If you export a Markdown file with keywords to another app, like Bear or iA Writer, those apps will recognize your keywords as keywords and organize those documents appropriately.

Everything else

There are a few other notable additions to Ulysses with version 19. You can now add external folders from the Files app directly into Ulysses on iPhone and iPad, such as from a cloud storage provider of your choice or a GitHub client, and edit the files in those folders in Ulysses. There's also the option to import or export backups of your text library.

There are also new filtering options for things like whether something has goals, or you can sift through your available material sheets.

Ulysses 20 beta program

Hot on the heels of this version 19 release, the Ulysses development team is opening registration for the beta program for the next major revision of the app, Ulysses 20. You can sign up to join the program on the Ulysses website, though remember that signing up isn't a guarantee. While the developers are tight-lipped on just what's in store for Ulysses 20, they do say that they're working on "a few awesome new features that need thorough testing," so if you have any interest, go ahead and sign right up.

Get the app

Ulysses 19 is available as a free download on the App Stores for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, though there is a subscription ($4.99 per month, $39.99 per year) to unlock the app for all of your devices after a free trial.

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One of the best writing apps available for iPhone, iPad, and Mac gets better with mouse and trackpad support for iPad, the ability to mark documents as material, and more.

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