Scrivener VS Ulysses – War Of The Writing Software
At some point, most of us make the leap to using a specialist writing software.
There will always be people who swear by Google Docs, Microsoft Word or even their vintage typewriter (yes, seriously), and that’s fine. But, for most of us, we eventually reach the point where we need a specialist solution suited to our requirements as serious writers.
Often, our choice boils down to Scrivener VS Ulysses. Both are considered to be ‘major names’ within the world of writing software, and both have a lot to offer.
However, finding an easy to understand comparison of Scrivener and Ulysses can be difficult. A lot of the time, you will stumble across a passionate diatribe from a writer who has an emotional, rather than logical, view of the software.
Today, Scrivenerville proudly presents a simple, side by side comparison of Scrivener and Ulysses to help you find the best software for your situation.
Scrivener – Key Features
Scrivener is one of the most popular and fully featured writing software applications on the market. It offers a wide range of research, writing, and export features, and is compatible with both Mac, Windows and iOS.
Scrivener is famous within the writing world for being incredibly complex. It often takes writers a long time to get familiar with the Scrivener environment, to understand everything it has to offer, and to figure out a way to make it work for their own process.
The sheer amount of functionality and flexibility Scrivener has when it comes to research and composition means it really is a total solution for researching, writing, and managing a book project.
Some of the key features which may make you more inclined towards Scrivener than Ulysses include –
- Corkboard environment for visual mind mapping and project overview
- Wide range of templates and add-ons supported by the Scrivener user community
- Compatible with Windows
- Syncs across devices, including to iOS for Ipad
- Preferred by famous names such as Michael Hyatt
No software is perfect though and Scrivener definitely isn’t right for everyone. Some of the reasons Scrivener may not be right include –
- Steep learning curve (requires a willingness to really explore and learn the software)
- Higher level of functionality than needed (not everyone likes to carry out complex research)
Ulysses – Key Features
Ulysses describes itself as the “ultimate writing app”. The focus of the software is on writing and writing alone. While it does offer some research and project management features, there is far less emphasis on these than there is in Scrivener. Rather than trying to do everything, as is the case with Scrivener, Ulysses aims to make the actual experience of writing as simple and painless as possible.
Some of the key features which may make Ulysses the most appealing choice of writing software for you include –
- Clean and simple environment (more intuitive than Scrivener)
- Direct publishing to WordPress from within the app
- Easier to share your progress on social media
You might find Scrivener to be a better fit, however, if you –
- Use Windows
- Require a higher level of research and project management options
There is really nothing that Ulysses does better than Scrivener – it’s more a case of doing it differently.
If you want a simple and clean writing environment, without the complex research and project management capability of Scrivener, Ulysses might be the way to go.
Scrivener VS Ulysses
Now that you have a quick overview of the key features of Scrivener and Ulysses, let’s see how they compare in a few key areas.
Scrivener VS Ulysses – Price
Choosing a specialist writing software is an investment, so it’s important to consider the price of each option and decide whether you feel the benefits you receive will be worth the cost.
- Mac Version – $45
- Windows Version – $40
- iOS Version – $19.99
- Mac Version – $45
- Windows Version – NA (Ulysses is NOT Windows compatible)
- iOS Version – $25
As we see here, there is no major difference in price when it comes to the desktop versions of Scrivener and Ulysses. If you use Mac, the cost is the same for either software. It’s arguable that you get more for your money with Scrivener, as it has a wider range of features.
When it comes to the iOS version of the software, Scrivener is slightly cheaper than Ulysses. Due to the higher level of functionality, it’s also better value for less cost.
Overall, price isn’t a major factor between the two pieces of software. For Apple users, Ulysses is slightly more expensive than Scrivener, if you want both the desktop and mobile apps. For Windows users, Scrivener is your only option.
Scrivener VS Ulysses – Compatibility
- Windows Compatible – YES
- Mac Compatible – YES
- iOS Compatible – YES
- Windows Compatible – NO
- Mac Compatible – YES
- iOS Compatible – YES
If you’re an Apple user, you can choose from either Scrivener or Ulysses, depending on which is a better fit for your needs.
If you’re a Windows user, Scrivener is your only option.
Scrivener VS Ulysses – Research
Scrivener is very much an all in one writing suite, allowing you to carry out complex research and project management functions alongside the core writing environment.
Ulysses offers a much more limited feature set. You can still attach research files to writing projects, but it lacks the popular corkboard visual overview provided by Scrivener.
If a powerful research and project management ability is a key reason for you upgrading your writing software, we’d suggest Scrivener is a better choice than Ulysses.
Scrivener VS Ulysses – Writing
Scrivener and Ulysses both offer similar features when it comes to their core writing environments. Some of the most useful aspects include –
- Both Scrivener and Ulysses offer full-screen writing modes to allow you to zone in on composing and block out distractions
- Both Scrivener and Ulysses offer a ‘typewriter mode’ allowing your text composition to stay centered, in the style of a typewriter
- Both Scrivener and Ulysses allow you to set progress targets to measure your writing goals
Although the two are incredibly similar, there are some areas of difference.
- Scrivener supports rich text AND Markdown, whereas Ulysses supports plain text and Markdown
- Ulysses allows you to share your writing target progress to social media, whereas Scrivener does not support this
Ultimately, there is not a lot to choose between Scrivener and Ulysses in terms of their writing capability. If you are happy working with Markdown and plain text, Ulysses is fine. If you want a rich text environment, Scrivener is the better choice.
Scrivener VS Ulysses – Final Thoughts
So what exactly is the takeaway from all of this?
Ultimately, both Scrivener and Ulysses offer advantages over default writing options like Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
The price is similar for both Scrivener and Ulysses, so we suggest you make your choice based on which option is a better fit for your particular needs.
Our final recommendation is as follows –
Choose Scrivener If –
- You use Windows, or may wish to in the future
- You want to pay less for the iOS version of the software
- You would benefit from complex and powerful research and project management capabilities
- You are willing to overcome the learning curve and learn the software’s ins and outs
Choose Ulysses If –
- You want a simpler, cleaner writing software
- You don’t want to carry out in-depth research
- You don’t use Windows, and aren’t planning to
Overall, Scrivener is the more powerful software. It offers a lot more functionality than Ulysses. As there isn’t any real difference in price, our suggestion is to go for Scrivener, as it’s better to have and not need the extra functionality than vice versa.
Learn More About Ulysses and Scrivener
If you want to learn more about Ulysses, and how it shapes up against Scrivener, check out this video –