Ulysses vs Scrivener: which writing app is right for you?

Scrivener is a full writing and organization tool for writers, while Ulysses is a simple writing app.

As a writer, you need to choose the right writing tools to stay productive and creative. If you’re a writer, an experienced author, or just someone who loves putting words on paper, you’ve probably heard of Scrivener and Ulysses, the two best writing programs. Both have their own benefits and features that can help you be busy and creative. But which one is best for you to write and edit your draft?

I used and checked both platforms so you can make the best choice. So, in this piece, I’ll talk about what I like and don’t like about Scrivener and Ulysses. I will also talk about how I know they work best in certain situations. By the end of this piece, you’ll know more about how to choose the best writing software for your creative and professional goals.

Ulysses vs Scrivener: Pricing

Ulysses doesn’t have different prices or deals. You can use the Ulysses writing app as much as you want for

Annual Plan. $39.99
Monthly plan $5.99

Scrivener doesn’t have a plan for the short term. You can instead buy a license for Scrivener’s full version. Once you’ve paid for the product, you can download it. Scrivener only needs a one-time payment, and then you can use it for as long as you want. Here are the ways you can buy Scrivener:

The standard license for macOS$59.99
Educational License for macOS$50.99
Standard license for windows$59.99
Educational Licence for Windows$50.99
License for iOS$23.99
License for macOS and Windows$95.98

Ulysses vs Scrivener Comparison table

The changes between Ulysses and Scrivener are shown in this table. Ulysses has a simple writing environment with markdown formatting, which is great for simple projects. Scrivener, on the other hand, is great for complicated projects because it has powerful tools for organization and research.

PricingSubscription-based ($5.99/month)One-time purchase ($49 for Mac, $19.99 for iOS)
PlatformsMac, iOSMac, Windows, iOS
Writing EnvironmentClean and distraction-free interfaceFlexible corkboard, multiple writing modes
Document OrganizationLibrary with folders and filtersBinder with folders and subdocuments
FormattingMarkdown-based with rich export optionsCustomizable styles, rich text formatting
Export OptionsWide range of export formatsExtensive export options, including e-books
Research ToolsLimitedExtensive research and note-taking tools
CollaborationLimited (no direct collaboration)Supports collaboration and comments
SyncingCloud-based (Ulysses Cloud)Manual syncing via cloud or external drive
Learning CurveQuick and intuitiveModerate to steep learning curve
Mobile AppiOS app with full functionalityiOS app with robust writing capabilities
Ideal ForWriters focused on simplicity and MarkdownAuthors, academics, and complex projects
Visit Website Visit Website

Ulysses vs Scrivener: User Interface and User Experience

Ulysses vs Scrivener

Ulysses has a more modern, simple layout. Instead of menus and toolbars, most things can be done with gestures and a markup language. This can be a nice change for people who want to write without being distracted. But it can take a while to figure out how to use Ulysses well, especially if you don’t know how to use Markdown.

Scrivener’s user interface is more traditional, with menus and toolbars that look like those in most word processing apps. This can make it easy for people who have used other writing software to learn how to use Scrivener. But the standard interface can sometimes be hard to use and take up more space on the screen than Ulysses.

User InterfaceModern, minimalist, gesture-basedTraditional, with menus and toolbars
User ExperienceDesigned to help you focus on writingDesigned to help you with all aspects of the writing process

Ulysses is made to help you concentrate on writing, which it does very well. The simple design and use of Markdown help you focus on your work by getting rid of distractions. Ulysses also has a number of tools that can help you keep track of your work and organize it. Scrivener is made to help you with every step of the writing process, from coming up with ideas and doing research to writing the first piece and making changes. It has a lot of tools that can help you organize your thoughts and ideas.

You can also use it to write different kinds of documents, like screenplays, blog posts, and manuscripts. I’ve used both Ulysses and Scrivener for different projects and found them to be very helpful. But for most of my work, I like Ulysses better. The simple interface doesn’t bother me as much, and I like how Ulysses makes it easy to order my writing and keep track of my progress.

But I do know that Scrivener has more functions and is a more powerful program. Scrivener may be a better choice for you if you are working on a complicated project or if you need a program that can help you with all parts of the writing process.

Ulysses vs Scrivener: Writing and Editing Features

Scrivener is a more powerful and flexible tool, which makes it a good option for writers who need a lot of ways to organize their work. It is also harder to learn than Ulysses, but once you know how to use it, it is a very useful tool. Ulysses is a more simple and easy-to-use program, which makes it a good choice for writers who want to write without being distracted. It also puts a lot of effort into supporting Markdown, which makes it a good choice for writers who want to format and export their work quickly.

Writing Features

  • Scrivener: It has a lot of tools for writing, such as a corkboard view, an outline mode, a split-screen view, and a word count tracker. It also has a study tool and the ability to write scripts.
  • Ulysses:The writing tools in Ulysses are simpler, but it still has everything you need to write and edit your work. It also has a mode for writing without interruptions and a live preview that lets you see how your work will look when it is released.
Writing featuresCorkboard view, outlining mode, split-screen view, word count trackerDistraction-free writing environment, Markdown editor, live preview
Editing featuresSpell check, grammar checking, snapshot toolSpell check, grammar checking

Editing Features

  • Scrivener has a strong set of editing tools, such as a spell checker, a grammar checker, and many more. It also has a tool built in that lets you see how your work has changed over time.
  • Ulysses: Like Scrivener, Ulysses has strong editing tools, but they are not as complete as those in Scrivener. It does have spell check, grammar check, and a few other tools, but it doesn’t have a snapshot tool or the same amount of customization options.

I’ve used both Scrivener and Ulysses, but for most of my writing projects, I like Ulysses better. I like how clean and simple the interface is, and the mode that lets me write without getting in the way is very helpful to me. I also like how much emphasis is put on supporting Markdown, which makes it easy for me to format and share my work. But I do miss some of the ways that Scrivener helped me organize my work, like the corkboard view and the planning mode. I usually switch to Scrivener when I’m working on a big or hard job.

Ulysses vs Scrivener: Collaboration and Syncing

Ulysses vs Scrivener

Scrivener makes it easy to give other people access to your project and work on it together in real time. You can make a shared project on Dropbox or iCloud and then ask other people to work on it with you. Once they’ve joined the project, they’ll be able to see and change all the files in the project, and you’ll be able to see their changes as they happen.

Scrivener also has a number of features that make it easy to keep track of changes and handle different versions of your project. You can make snapshots of your project at any time, and you can compare different images to see what has changed. You can also make “change notes” to keep track of what has been changed in a file.

SyncingYesYes (text only)
Real-time collaborationYesNo
Change trackingYesNo
Version controlYesNo
Cross-device syncingYesYes (text only)

On the other hand, Ulysses doesn’t have any built-in ways to work together. You can share your Ulysses project with others by exporting it to a different file, like Word or PDF, but you won’t be able to work on it at the same time. When it comes to sharing, Scrivener is also better than Ulysses in a number of ways. Scrivener can keep all of your devices, like your Mac, iPad, and iPhone, in sync with your project. This means that no matter where you are, you can always get to your job.

Ulysses can also sync your project across all of your devices, but it only syncs the text of your project, not the project files themselves. This means that you won’t be able to sync your project files, like images and documents. Overall, I think Scrivener is a much better choice than Ulysses for working together and keeping everything in sync. With Scrivener, it’s easy to share your project with other people and work on it together in real time. It also has a number of features that make it easy to handle different versions of your project and keep track of changes.

Ulysses vs Scrivener: Exporting and Publishing

Ulysses is a great app for writing and organizing your work. However, it can be hard to export your work in a file that other software can read. To export your work from Ulysses, you must first make a “sheet” for each document you want to export. Then, you can choose from several export forms, such as PDF, Word, and HTML.

Scrivener is also a great app for writing and organizing your work, and it is much easier to export your work in a file that works with other software. To export your work from Scrivener, just click “File” and then “Export.” Then, Scrivener will give you a list of export forms, such as PDF, Word, and HTML, from which to choose.

Ease of exportingMore difficultEasier
Export formatsPDF, Word, HTML, and othersPDF, Word, HTML, and others
Compatibility with other softwareLess compatibleMore compatible

I have written and published my work with both Ulysses and Scrivener. When it comes to exporting and sharing my work, I have found that Scrivener is much easier to use. I can export my work in different forms, like PDF, Word, and HTML, by going to the “File” menu and then selecting “Export.” This makes it easy for me to share my work with other people and post it on different sites.

When it comes to exporting and sharing my work, I have found that Ulysses is a bit harder to use. To export my work from Ulysses, I must first make a “sheet” for each document I want to export. Then I can choose between different export forms, such as PDF, Word, and HTML. But I’ve found that Ulysses’ export formats aren’t as compatible with other tools as Scrivener’s export formats.

Overall, I like to use Scrivener to export and share my work because it is easier to use and works better with other programs. Ulysses is still a great app for writing and keeping track of your work, though.

Ulysses vs Scrivener: Mobile Accessibility

Ulysses is easier to use with VoiceOver and other assistive tools because its interface is easier to understand. The app also has some tools that are made just for mobile users, like the ability to make and change notes while you’re on the go.

But there are some things that make it hard to read Ulysses. VoiceOver users can’t use the keyboard tools that come with the app, for example. Also, the mobile app doesn’t have all of the app’s features, such as the ability to view and change multiple documents side-by-side.

VoiceOver supportYesYes
Zoom supportYesYes
Dark modeYesYes
Custom keyboard shortcutsNoYes
Side-by-side document editingNoYes
Custom template creation and editingNoYes

Scrivener’s layout is more powerful than Ulysses’s, so users have more control over their writing process. The app also has some features that are made for long-form writing, like the ability to build and manage multiple projects and scenes. But VoiceOver and other assistive tools can make it harder to move around Scrivener’s interface. Also, some of the app’s features aren’t available on the mobile app, like the ability to make and change specific templates.

For writing on my phone, I like to use Ulysses. The app’s simpler interface makes it easier for me to move around with VoiceOver, and I like that it has a number of tools that are made for mobile users. But I do sometimes use Scrivener on my iPad to use tools that Ulysses doesn’t have, like the ability to make and edit custom templates.

Ulysses: Pros and Cons


  • Clean, distraction-free interface.
  • Markdown-based for streamlined writing.
  • Seamless cloud-based syncing.
  • iOS app with full functionality.


  • No direct collaboration features.
  • Limited research and note-taking tools.

Scrivener: Pros and Cons


  • Extensive organization and research tools.
  • Supports complex writing projects.
  • Collaboration and commenting features.
  • Available on multiple platforms.


  • Steeper learning curve.
  • One-time purchase cost for Mac version.

Ulysses vs Scrivener: which one should you consider?

You should choose between Ulysses and Scrivener based on your own writing needs and tastes. Ulysses has a simple, distraction-free design that makes it perfect for writers who want a clean, easy-to-use place to write. It is great at keeping all of your devices in sync and has a beautiful way to organize and export material.

Scrivener, on the other hand, is a powerful tool that writers and researchers like because it helps them organize their work with features like corkboards and split-screen editing. It helps a lot with complicated, long-form projects. In the end, Ulysses is great for simple, portable work, while Scrivener is great for complex, research-heavy work. Your choice will rely on how you write and what your project needs.


Which is better Scrivener or Ulysses?

When comparing Ulysses to Scrivener, it’s important to remember that Ulysses has an easy-to-use design and lets you set goals. If you want to concentrate, it’s a lot easier to do so here than in Scrivener.

Is Ulysses good for writing?

Ulysses is the best writing app for people who want to write without being distracted and who don’t want to sacrifice features.


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