| By

iMac standing on a desk. On screen Ulysses is visible.

We’ve designed Ulysses to be the home of all your texts, no matter if they’re notes to self, white papers for your business, or blog posts. If you’re a busy writer, these can easily add up – and that’s why Ulysses offers a number of organizational features. Here are some tips to get your text library straight and keep track of your writing tasks.

1. Categorize into Groups (and Subgroups and Subsubgroups, etc.)

To add a group, move your cursor to your current library section (i.e. iCloud) and click the + icon. On iOS, tap the + icon at the top of the library. Each group can have as many sheets as you want. If you select a group in the sidebar, you will get an overview of all its subgroups and sheets.

Screenshot of the Favorites section of Ulysses for Mac

2. Filter for Keywords

Save time on maintaining to-do lists! If you’re working on different projects at once, you can use keywords and filters to keep track of your tasks. Just think up a keyword indicating “Work in Progress” and add it to the respective sheets ➀. (The keyword may consist of more than one word, so “Work in Progress” would work just fine.) With a dedicated filter ➁ you can then display all sheets with that very keyword ➂.

You can add keywords via a sheet’s attachment bar. Access it via the paperclip icon at the top right corner.

Screenshot of the attachment bar of Ulysses for Mac. “Work in Progress” has been entered as a keyword.

Screenshot of a newly created filter in Ulysses for Mac. One condition has been set: “Keywords match ‘Work in Progress’”.

Screenshot of the resulting filter in Ulysses for Mac.

Adding a new filter works the same way as adding a new group. By the way: Searching for keywords is not the only thing filters are capable of – available filter criteria include text matches and change/modification dates.

3. Favor Frequently Used Sheets

If you want to spare yourself assigning keywords and setting up filters, you can also use Favorites to mark sheets you’re currently working on. Or you make use of Favorites for texts you need to refer to time and again; a snippet describing a client’s product, for example.

On Mac, switch to the sheet list, right-click on a sheet and select “Add to Favorites” from the context menu to do just that.

Screenshot of the Sheet List’s context menu with “Add to Favorites” selected

Screenshot of Ulysses’ Favorites section

On iOS, go to the sheet list, touch and hold a sheet and select Favorite.

4. Sort Your Sheets (and Your Groups, too)

You can choose whether to sort your sheets according to change date, modification date, title, or manually. Manual sorting lets you easily arrange the chapters of a novel or several parts of a complex strategy document, for example.

Screenshot of a group’s header in the sheet list, showing the fifferent sorting options “Manually”, “By Title”, “By Modification Date” and “By Creation Date”.

You can change your sheet sorting in the sheet list, next to the group name. On iPhone or iPad, tap the circled ellipsis in the sheet list, select Sort and choose the appropriate sorting.

Of course you can also rearrange the groups and filters you set up in step 1 and 2. On Mac, just drag and drop. On iOS, go to the library, tap the gear icon, and select “Edit Library…”. Then, hold the three lines next to a group, and drag and drop it to the desired position.

5. Hide the Sections You Don’t Need

Your library has several sections, but you can choose to show only those you actually use. This is probably iCloud, if you’re editing your texts on more than one Mac and/or on an additional iPad or iPhone, or On My Mac / On My iPad / On My iPhone, if you’re limiting yourself to a single writing device. As a beginner, it certainly makes sense to keep the introduction at reach, but later you may want to hide it for the benefit of better focus. You will find these options for the library setting in Ulysses’ preferences.

Screenshot of the Library tab of Ulysses for Mac’s Preferences. Only iCloud and External Folders are enabled.

And don’t you worry – you can reverse this at any time.

6. Don’t Bother, Just Write

Are you more of the laid-back type? Do you think organizing is procrastinating, and even find inspiration in a slight chaos? Well, then leave it. Just hit the New Sheet button and start writing. And if you ever lose orientation? On Mac, hit the shortcut ⌘O (command-O), on iPad or iPhone tap Quick Open at the top, respectively. Then type into the search field what you are remembering, find the sheet – and write on. It’s as simple as that.

Screenshot of Quick Open in Ulysses for iPad. “Organize your lib” has been entered and one sheet called “6 Tips to Organize Your Text Library” has been found.

7. Let Your Library Help You Focus

If you’ve got multiple projects but have trouble concentrating on one, you have the option to hide all groups except the one you’re working in (iOS only): Touch and hold the group and select Focus to hide everything else except that group and its subgroups. The All, Last 7 Days and Favorites filters will also only show sheets that are part of the selected group. To exit the focus mode, just touch and hold the group again and select Unfocus.

This article was last updated on October 15, 2020.


Keep your text library in order, and become a well-organized writer