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iOS Customization

There are many details in Ulysses that you can adjust according to your likes and preferences, allowing you to create a writing environment fit for your creativity. Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to customize your text editor on iPad or iPhone. If you want to know how to do this on Mac, please head over to this article.

Before we start, switch to the editor view in Ulysses on your iPad or iPhone, open the editor menu via the circled ellipsis and select “Editor Settings”.. Spotted? Good. This is where the magic happens!

Step 1: Find Your Preferred Theme

Themes define the colors of your background, font, and markup. Think of them as virtual wallpapers for your virtual writing studio.

Ulysses’ default is D22, a simple and clean theme that combines a monochrome tint with classic revision colors. You can also choose one of the other pre-installed – carefully designed – themes. Each of them comes with a light and a dark version. 

If these are not yet what you are looking for, you can go to Ulysses Styles & Themes and select between a variety of themes created by fellow users. 

Here’s how:

  1. In the editor settings, tap Theme.
  2. Scroll down and tap “Visit Ulysses Styles & Themes…”. You will be redirected to your web browser.
  3. Choose your favorite theme and tap “Download”.
  4. The theme will be installed automatically.

Step 2: Find Your Preferred Mode

What do you prefer – Light Mode or Dark Mode? It depends, right? In Ulysses you can either adopt the appearance settings of your device or set an app-specific mode.

Step 3: Select a Font

Your default writing font is the iOS system font, San Francisco. It is undoubtedly an excellent choice, but you can always browse the other available fonts and choose your favorite. You’ll find them in the settings under Font.

You can also upload and use your own, here’s how to do it:

  1. Transfer a font file (.ttf or .oft) to your iOS device, e.g., by saving it to your iCloud Drive, sending yourself a message, or downloading it from the web.
  2. Tap it, select the Share button bottom left and choose Ulysses.
  3. Voilá! You will be redirected to Ulysses, where your new font is now installed.

Step 4: Edit Layout Settings

Text Zoom, Line Height, Paragraph Spacing, First Line Indent… adjust them under Editor, in the editor settings.

Let’s assume you need less space between lines, or you think they are too far apart. Try changing the Line Height. Or do you feel your paragraphs are too close together? Then alter the Paragraph Spacing. When you wish to signal the start of a new paragraph distinctly, customize the First Line Indent. And last but not least, increase or decrease the text size in Text Zoom. Try it out and find your preferred look!

Step 5: Set Image Previews and Toggle Counter

Under “View Options”  you can tweak the size of image previews to anything between three and eight lines, and choose to show them in full color (instead of black and white, which is the default). You can also turn off image previews completely; images in the text will then be indicated with a little tag.

On iPad, there are two additional settings under “View Options”. Usually, the editor toolbar will fade out as soon as you start typing — if you activate “Always Show Toolbar”, you can prevent it from doing so.

Also, did you notice the floating counter at the top right? It lets you access comprehensive statistics about your current sheet, with metrics ranging from characters to paragraphs to reading aloud time. However, if you’re not so much into numbers, you can turn it off under “View Options”.

Step 6: Enter Full-Screen Mode

Do you want to focus on your text and nothing but your text? On your iPad, you can use the full-screen mode to hide the toolbars and even the shortcut row if a hardware keyboard is attached. To enter full-screen mode, tap the circled ellipsis and select “Full Screen”.. To exit full-screen mode, tap the circled ellipsis again and choose “End Full Screen”.

Step 7: Tweak Your Sheet List

To adjust the viewing of your sheets, switch to the sheet list, open the sheet list menu via the circled ellipsis and tap Preview. You can set the preview to anything between one and six lines. Also, you can opt to hide the creation/modification date of your sheets, if it is not relevant to your writing.

Step 8: Collapse or Expand Your Groups

If you keep a lot of writing projects in Ulysses, your list of groups and subgroups can get long and hard to oversee. Luckily, you may collapse and expand subgroups whenever needed, by merely tapping the arrow next to a group’s name.

Step 9: Focus on a Group

You’re on a deadline and want to focus exclusively on a particular project? Forget about anything else? Then you may find the group focus feature helpful. To hide all groups except the one you’re currently working on, just touch and hold the group in question and select Focus.

When you’re done and want to show the other groups again, touch and hold the group again and select Unfocus.

Step 10: Consider an External Keyboard

External keyboards are great for many reasons. They effectively leave more space for your writing on the screen, and some find it more practical, especially when writing longer texts. Ulysses supports typing on an external keyboard and allows you to speed up your writing with a number of keyboard shortcuts.

Step 11: Use Mouse or a Trackpad

Starting with iOS 13.4, Apple supports using a mouse or a trackpad on the iPad, and so does Ulysses. So why not try it out?