| By Philip

Ulysses’ goals help you keep track of your writing progress. You can set a goal of 50,000 words for your NaNoWriMo novel project, for example. You can use goals to stick with determined character limits and deadlines or to trim the length of blog posts or speeches. Goals may even support you to build a daily writing habit.

Goals can measure your progress according to the following metrics:

  • characters (including or excluding spaces)
  • words
  • sentences
  • paragraphs
  • lines
  • pages
  • reading time (slow/average/fast/aloud)

Writing goals can be attached to either single sheets, or to groups. You can (but you don’t have to) assign them a deadline: the date until when the text needs to be finished.

For group goals, there is an additional option to set a daily writing goal. You can, for example, resolve to write 500 words every day, and set this as a goal to a group Diary. Group goals, in general, allow you to review their history, that is, you monitor how much you've written every day.

Furthermore, goals allow you to easily share your progress with your fellows.

Attaching a Goal

On Mac

To attach a goal to a sheet, click the paperclip button top right in the toolbar to open attachments, then click the goal icon.

You can also right-click on a group in the library or on a sheet in the sheet list and select "Goal..." from the context menu.

On iOS

To attach a sheet goal, tap the paperclip icon top right of the editor to access attachments, tap the goal icon and then the goal itself.

For a group goal, swipe left on the group in question, and tap the Detail icon. In the group's settings, tap “Add Goal...”.

Goal Settings

Now, you can specify in detail which goal to set for a sheet or group. Does your goal indicate a minimum, a maximum or just a guidance value? Is your goal based on characters, words or pages? Whatever it is, enter the amount you want to meet into the respective field.

If your goal is based on reading time, you'll additionally need to specify a metric. A reading time goal can be set through hours, minutes and seconds using the international standard time notation.

  • 01:10:10
  • 1h 10m 10s

If you only type a number, it will automatically be interpreted as minutes. Ulysses also recognizes common time notations in all of its localized languages (English, French, German, Italian, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Korean).

Deadlines and Writing Days

Do you have a deadline until when you need to finish an article or a blog post? Activate the Deadline option, and enter the day your project is due. Ulysses will automatically calculate the amount of text you have to write each day to finish in time.

Tip: If your deadline is at night and you plan on writing that very day, select „Write on Due Date“, so the additional writing day gets taken into account. But wait! Do you never write on weekends? Ulysses can consider that when calculating your writing portions, as it allows you to determine the writing days of the week.

On macOS, detach the goal window by dragging and click on the little gear icon. Now you can disable certain days by unticking their respective checkboxes. 

On iOS, tap on the date of the deadline in the goal's settings, tap on the gear icon at the top and uncheck the days when you don’t write. Note: Writing days are set globally, that is, they affect all goals with a deadline you’ve got in your library.

Measuring Your Progress

Click or tap on “Done”, and your goal is set.

It will be blue when you start writing and turn green when met. By becoming red it is indicating that you’ve overreached.

In case you've set a deadline, the goal will also indicate the amount of text you need to write per day to finish in time. The progress bar visualizes the part of the daily portion you've already written today. If you want to know the exact number, click or tap on the bar to display it. 

For every goal, a small circle appears either in the library, when the goal was attached to a group or in the sheet list and on the sheet itself when the goal was attached to a single sheet. These tiny icons indicate your progress and let you access your goal in one click or tap.

Handy if you need to track your writing progress very closely: When working on Mac, you can drag goals off and place them anywhere on the screen. When you start typing now, you can monitor the state of your goal in real-time. The arrow in the upper right corner of the goal will show you to which group or sheet it belongs, should you ever forget. The circled cross icon top left will hide the floating goal again.

Daily Goals

Do you want to make it a habit to write a certain amount of text every day? Set yourself a daily goal! This option is only available for group goals. Select “Every day” as the goal type, enter your target count and select a metric.

A daily goal will be reset every night, waiting for you to fill it with text during the next day.

Session History

Are you advancing with your aim to build a writing habit? Do you manage to work regularly on your novel or your thesis? Find out with Ulysses! For group goals, you can review the session history.

On Mac, click on History top right for a dedicated view visualizing the quantity of text written daily, for today and ten days back. There you can also check your best day’s performance and your daily average.

On iOS, you find this view in the group's settings (only when a goal is set!) Swipe left on a group, tap the settings icon, and select History.


If your goal is a daily goal, the progress bars turn green on the days when you have reached it.


Good to know: You can delete single sessions just by right-clicking on a bar and selecting Delete (Mac) or via "Show All Sessions..." (iOS).

Also, Ulysses tracks your whole writing session history from day one and lets you export it as CSV file by clicking on the share icon.

Share Your Progress

Goals also let you share your writing progress on social networks, or via Messages and Mail. On Mac, use the Share icon on the goal circle for this.

On iPad or iPhone, use the “Share Progress…” command at the bottom of the goal editor.

You can also add a personal message if you want.

Enjoy writing towards a goal!

This article was last updated on June 10, 2018.


Set word or character limits and deadlines to your texts, or pursue a daily writing goal