Ulysses Makes Pasting Smarter

Did you ever paste some text and didn’t get the expected result? Then you should know about Smart Paste, available with the shortcut shift-cmd-v (⇧⌘V). For example, Smart Paste can help when

  • you like to paste a snippet of Markdown, HTML or Rich Text and convert its syntax or formatting , or
  • you’re writing a technical documentation and need to paste a code snippet that should be preserved.

Smart paste helps you to paste text the right way: It detects all appropriate ways for pasting to your sheet and lets you choose the one that fits your purpose.

Let’s give it a try and convert some custom Markdown into Ulysses syntax. First, select and copy the following text with cmd-c (⌘C).

Paste *this* snippet to [Ulysses](http://www.ulyssesapp.com/)!

Read …

Adjust Ulysses’ Markup to Your Needs

Markdown is great for focused, productive writing. But it might happen that it gets in the way of your specific writing task. In Ulysses, there is a simple solution to this problem: Just change the markup.

Let’s assume you’re an academic who writes a lot of references in [square brackets]. Ulysses is using these to mark up links. You can escape this by writing \[, but you’ll probably find it inconvenient to do it over and over again. The alternative: adjust the Link markup.

Creating New Markups

To customize your markup, go to Ulysses › Preferences and switch to the “Markup” tab. Click on the markup selection pop up button in the upper left corner and choose “New Markup…”. Select a name for your first personal markup and a template to use as basis. For now, you should stick with “Markdown XL”, Ulysses’ default markup language.

Editing Definitions

Once this is done, you’ll see an overview of all definitions in the markup. Scroll down to get to the Link markup, then double-click it to modify it. You can now, for instance, change the Link tag to use angular brackets < > instead of the square brackets. An alternative could be switch to double square brackets [[ ]] – just choose what suits you best.

The Markup Switcher

To use your new markup, switch back to the editor. Then, open the menu Edit › Convert Markup and select the markup you’ve just created. Voilá: Square brackets will no longer be considered as links – but angular links (or double squares) will be, from this point on. (Please keep in mind that you will have to switch the markup for every single sheet. Glued sheets will not update automatically.)

What’s more, all existing links in your sheet will be automatically converted to the new markup. And of course, you can apply this tip to all other tags in a markup, not just links.

Please note: Markup editing is currently only available On My Mac and in iCloud.

Turn Back Time With Ulysses’ Version History

Do you know this? You delete a sentence in your text, and a couple of days later you change your mind and would like to turn back time to restore it? Probably most writers have already been in this situation. With Ulysses you don’t have to rely on your capacity to remember – the history of your writings is just two clicks away.

Go to the File menu and select Browse All Versions…. This will open a time tunnel with two windows.

Versions Browser

Left, there is the current content of your sheet, while the right window displays an older version. On the right side of your screen you can easily navigate through your sheet’s history. Just choose a particular point in time to display the respective version.

If you want, you can now bring back an entire version by clicking Restore at the bottom of the screen. If it is only a particular sentence you wish to revive, just copy it from the older version and paste it straight to your current sheet on the left side. When you’re done, click Done. And that’s it.

Using Tables With Ulysses and Marked

One important benefit of plain text editing is that you’re never locked in to some particular tool or file format. And so it happens that if you’re missing a particular feature from Ulysses, chances are good there is a great tool for just that feature out there.

As it happens, creating and exporting tables is a common task of writing not yet supported by Ulysses. Luckily, thanks to the nature of plain text, working with tables is still possible. If tables are an important part of your work and you happen to be publishing to the web, Marked 2 might be just the right assistant for you. It is a swiss-army knife for exporting Multimarkdown to HTML. You will be able to write in Ulysses and use Marked for exporting.

Setting Up

To get started, either download Marked from the Mac App Store or install the free trial version from the developer’s site. Please make sure you’ve started it at least once after installing. Then, switch back to Ulysses and paste the following text to a blank sheet:

## Cities in Saxony

| City        | Population    | Area      
| Leipzig     | 520,838       | 297.60km² 
| Dresden     | 525,105       | 328,8km²  
| Chemnitz    | 241,210       | 220,8km² 

This is a simple table written in Multimarkdown. Each row is placed on a line and columns are separated by vertical bars |. The table’s headline and the body of the table are separated by a series of dashes -.

Exporting Tables

Click the export button in the upper right corner and select the plain text exporter tab. Please make sure that Markdown exporting is selected on the bottom of the window. Finally, click the arrow on the right side of the „Send To” button and choose „Marked”. Ulysses will export the document and send the result straight to Marked.

Marked 2 Export

Marked will open up a preview of the generated web page. Inside Marked, you can select among different styles or tweak your style using CSS. When you’re satisfied with the results, just save your document as an HTML file and upload it to your blog.

Marked 2 Table

You can create more sophisticated table layouts as well of course. You’ll find all details in the table documentation on the Multimarkdown website.

PS – We recommend Marked because it is an elegant tool for the described workflow. But you’re not bound to use it. Other tools supporting the export of Multimarkdown to HTML will also do, e.g. MultiMarkdown, MultiMarkdown Composer, or Byword.