Tutorials

Keywords

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When you’re writing a book with many characters or locations, it’s convenient to be able to quickly identify all scenes starring the same character or location. Or you’re a blogger and want to keep track of which blog posts are rough drafts and which are ready for publishing. In these and many other cases, you might want to take a look at keywords.

Attaching Keywords

Let’s start with attaching keywords to a single sheet:

On Mac, open the attachment bar via the paperclip icon top right. Click in the keyword field – when you start typing, Ulysses will make suggestions for keywords you have previously used. If you have set favorite keywords (more on this below), you can access them via the + icon on the right. By the way, a keyword can consist of more than one word, and you can attach an unlimited number of keywords.

On iPhone or iPad, tap the paperclip to open attachments, then tap the tag icon to add keywords. Alternatively, you can also go to the sheet list, swipe left on the sheet in question and select the tag icon.

Keyword favorites – if you have any – will be displayed in the keyword overlay. Just tap a keyword to assign it to the current sheet. If you want to assign a new keyword, tap into the top-most field and start typing.

Managing Your Keywords

The keyword manager is a handy tool that helps you to use keywords as effectively as possible. It displays all the keywords you’ve used anywhere in your library. You can rename, merge and delete keywords, or customize their colors. You can also tag keywords as favorites so you can access them faster when assigning keywords to sheets. 

Please note: Any changes you make will affect all of the keyword’s occurrences throughout your Ulysses library. They will also sync to your other devices.

On Mac

To access the keyword manager, click the + icon in the attachment bar and select “Manage Keywords…”. Alternatively, you can open the keyword manager via the Windows menu.

Once the keyword manager is open, you’ll find your favorite keywords right on top and all of your other keywords underneath. To add a keyword to the favorites, select and drag it from the bottom to the top. This also works the other way round: To remove a keyword from the favorites, drag it back to the lower part of the keyword manager. 

Would you like to rename, delete or change the color of a keyword? Right-click it and choose the appropriate option from the context menu. You can also assign the keyword to favorites from here.

If you want to merge two or more keywords into one, select them while holding (command), and choose Merge from the context menu.

The following options are – for the time being – only available on Mac: 

You can sort your keywords alphabetically, by recency, by usage frequency, or by color. Click the gear icon in the bottom right corner of the keyword manager and select “Sort By”. 

On Mac, you can search for sheets that are tagged with a specific keyword directly from within the keyword manager. Select the keyword, right-click it, and choose “Reveal Sheets…” from the context menu. This will open a new Ulysses window with a view that displays keyword search (more on this below) and all sheets that match the keyword in question.

On iOS

On your iPhone or iPad, you can access the keyword manager by selecting “Manage Keywords…” at the bottom of the keyword overlay.

With the keyword manager open, you can assign and unassign favorites via Drag & Drop. Tapping a keyword will reveal various options at the bottom of the keyword manager (1): You can assign it to favorites or change its color (2).  To rename or delete a keyword, tap “Action…” and choose the appropriate option (3).

To merge two or more keywords into one, select them, tap “Action…” and then “Merge…”.

Keyword Search and Filters

On Mac, you can use the keyword search in the sheet list to display all sheets tagged with a specific keyword inside a group. For the time being, this option is not available on iOS, though.

In the sheet list, click on the search button in the toolbar, then select the tag icon on the right to display all keywords used in that group. Now you can restrict the search results, i.e., the displayed sheets, by clicking any keyword or by selecting a color.


If you hold (command) and select two or more keywords, the search results will include all sheets tagged with either one of them: keyword 1 OR keyword 2. You can also search for sheets tagged with keyword 1 AND keyword 2: Select keyword 1 from the keyword list. Set the dropdown menu from "Anywhere" to "Keywords" and enter keyword 2 in the search field.

Would you like to have a go-to-place for sheets tagged with a specific keyword, i.e., for everything tagged as “Urgent”? Then you should consider setting up a filter with a keyword match as a condition. Read more about filters here. 

Attaching Keywords to Multiple Sheets

Here’s an extra tip for working with keywords: You can edit the keywords of multiple sheets at once, too.

On Mac, hold (command) and select the sheets in question in the sheet list, then right-click to open the context menu and select “Keywords…”. 


On iPad or iPhone, tap Select at the top of the sheet list and mark the sheets in question. Tap “More...”, then “Keywords...”.

The keyword overlay will now display all keywords of all selected sheets. If a keyword is only attached to a subset of the selected sheets, it will be outlined with a dashed line. Right-click or tap a keyword to attach it to all sheets in the selection. You can also type in new keywords or assign favorite keywords here.

Keywords for Bloggers

Did you know that, as a blogger, you can assign your tags and categories from within Ulysses?  When you publish your blog post to WordPress or Ghost, the keywords attached to your sheet will turn into tags or categories if they match tags or categories already used on your blog. Other export formats will ignore the keywords.

This post was last updated on September 2, 2019.

Keywords

Categorize your texts with keywords, and find them easily