Questions & Answers
You just started using Ulysses and want to know how you can transfer your documents and notes to our app? No Problem! In this tutorial, we want to show you how to import your notes from Apple Notes, Evernote, and Bear and also how to finish projects you initially started in Microsoft Word or Scrivener.
Please click on the following links to jump directly to the instructions:
Import From Apple Notes
Did you previously use Apple’s built-in Notes app and are you looking for a way to transfer your notes into Ulysses? We’ve built a macOS app specifically for that purpose.
You can download our Notes importer by clicking on the download link below. For easier access, you can place it directly in the Applications folder.
After pressing Start, the importer will automatically add all of your Apple Notes folders and notes to Ulysses’ library, converting them to groups and sheets.
Please beware: Your notes will preserve only basic formatting, e.g. headings, lists or bold text. The importer doesn’t retain images or checklists. Also, password locked notes won’t be imported.
The Notes importer only works with Ulysses for Mac. After import, your notes will be synced to your iOS devices just like your other sheets.
Import From Bear
If you want to get your notes out of Bear into Ulysses, the best option is to use the Textbundle export format, as it preserves your images and formatting.
First, open Bear, select the note you’d like to export and go to the “File” › “Export Notes…”. Select a location, choose “Export as Text Bundle” and click “Export note” to create the file. As the last step, drag the resulting .textbundle file into Ulysses’ library or sheet list, and you’re all set.
If you want to export more than one note, press and hold shift while selecting the notes in question or press ⌘A (command-A) to select all your notes at once.
Open Bear, go to the Notes view and swipe left on the note you would like to export. Tap on the “MORE” button, select “Export note” and choose “Text Bundle” from the selection.
In the upcoming share sheet, select “Copy to Ulysses” to import the file and open Ulysses:
If you want to export more than one note, you can do so via drag & drop: Tap and hold one note, move the selection around and tap and “collect” the other notes with your thumb. Drop your selected notes in the “DROP TO” menu at the bottom and follow the steps from above.
Do you want to migrate your notes completely from Bear to Ulysses? to swipe right in the “NOTES” view, tap on the round slider button at the bottom and select “IMPORT & EXPORT”.
Once you’ve adjusted the export options to your liking, select “Export all notes” and choose “Copy to Ulysses” in the share sheet. Depending on the export options you set before, your notes are either imported as single sheets or merged together into one sheet.
Import From Evernote
Ulysses lets you import notes from Evernote on both macOS and iOS. Our built-in importer aims to import your contents and metadata in a way that preserves as much information as possible while stripping away formatting not available in Ulysses. In particular, Ulysses can handle:
- multiple notes from a single ENEX file (Ulysses will create a new sheet for every note)
- the most common formatting (e.g. bold, italic, highlighted, underlined, strikethrough, ordered and unordered lists, text dividers)
- pictures, videos, PDFs
- metadata (e.g. titles, tags, attached URLs, creation and modification dates)
However, you should keep the following limitations in mind:
- Encrypted text won’t be imported and will be removed during import, which is why you may want to decrypt everything before exporting it.
- Different fonts will be ignored.
- Since Ulysses doesn’t support tables and todo lists, they will be imported as plain text.
First of all, export your notes from Evernote to the ENEX format. You can do this by selecting the notes you want to export, right-clicking and choosing “Export Notes…“ from the context menu:
Store the exported file, then open Ulysses. Now drag the ENEX file to your library and drop it. Ulysses will automatically start the import.
Ulysses will create a new sheet for each note and convert the contained formatting into the corresponding markup tags.
On iOS, there are a couple more hurdles involved. The first is the fact that Evernote’s iOS app doesn’t provide a way to export multiple notes at once.
To export the note of your choice, select it, tap on the “Share Note” button at the top, select “More sharing options” and then “Share outside Evernote”. Do NOT select “Ulysses” in the upcoming share sheet, otherwise, you’ll only get a shareable link. Instead, tap on “Export Note” in the lower option row:
Evernote will open a new email with the exported file attached. Unfortunately, Evernote doesn’t allow a direct export to other apps, therefore you have to send that email to yourself (or someone else), in order to open the exported file in Apple’s Mail app.
After receiving the email, you can select the attachment and tap “Copy to Ulysses”. Ulysses will now open up and take care of the rest.
Import From Microsoft Word
Are there any half-done writing projects you initially started in Microsoft Word? You can import them quite easily to Ulysses and finish them there. Important text elements like headings, emphasis, footnotes etc. will get transformed into Ulysses’ Markdown XL syntax.
Ulysses can convert DOCX files into Ulysses sheets. So, if you’ve saved your texts in this format, you’re good. Otherwise, save it again via “File” › “Save” or by pressing ⌘S (command-S), and make sure to choose “Word Document (.docx)” as the file format.
Open Finder and drag the DOCX file into any of Ulysses’ groups or into the sheet list.
In Word for iOS, tap the File icon (sheet with three dots) and select “Send a Copy”.
In the upcoming menu, select “Send with Another App” and tap “Copy to Ulysses”.
This will open Ulysses and add the DOCX file as a sheet to your inbox, waiting for you to work on it:
Import From Scrivener
Scrivener saves your work in proprietary project files (.SCRIV) which Ulysses can’t handle directly. You can still import your works though: by exporting them as MultiMarkdown files in Scrivener first.
First, open Scrivener and reveal your Binder by going to the menu “View” › “Layout” › “Show Binder” to see a list of all your documents. Select the document you want to transfer to Ulysses and open Scrivener’s export menu by clicking on “File” › “Export” › “Files…” or by pressing ⇧⌘E (shift-command-E).
In the “Export text files as” popover menu choose ”MultiMarkdown (.mmd)“ and a location where you want to store your document. In the “Options” tab, make sure “Convert Rich text to Markdown” is checked, otherwise, your document will lose its formatting during export.
After hitting “Save” you can drag the newly created .mmd file into Ulysses’ library.
You can also export all of your Scrivener documents at once: Drag the mouse over all your files in the Binder or press ⌘A (command-A) after selecting any document in the binder. Again, go to “File” › “Export” › “Files…” or press ⇧⌘E (shift-command-E) and save a folder of your choice.
Scrivener will then create a folder which you can drag into Ulysses’ Library. This will create a group for the folder and sheets for your texts.
After opening Scrivener, choose the document you’d like to export, tap the share icon in the lower-right corner of the screen and select “Compile Draft”:
In the upcoming dialogue, choose the file format “Plain Text” and make sure “Titles Use Markdown Levels” and “Convert to Basic Markdown” are activated. Then tap “Compile” on the top right side. In the export preview, tap the app icon in the top-right corner and select “Copy to Ulysses” from the share sheet.
Ulysses will open and your document will show up as a sheet in your inbox.
If you want to export an entire project, select it in the Binder and tap the “Export All” button in the lower-left corner. The export settings are the same as for a single sheet.
This article was last updated July 11, 2018.