| By Rebekka

When you’re writing a book with many characters or locations, it’s convenient to be able to filter 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: Open the attachment bar via the paperclip icon top right. The tag icon will let you add keywords.

Screenshot of the empty keywords attachment in the attachment bar in Ulysses for Mac

On Mac, this option is also accessible as part of the Edit menu (“Edit” › “Attach” › “Keywords…”). On iPad or iPhone, you can alternatively go to the sheet list and swipe left on the sheet in question.

A keyword can consist of more than one word, and you can attach an unlimited number of keywords. If you start typing, Ulysses will make suggestions for keywords you have previously used.

Would you like to add keywords to multiple sheets at once? You can do that, 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...”.

If the selected sheets have different keywords, the keyword editor will feature two parts. The field at the top contains all keywords that are attached to all sheets you’ve selected. To add more keywords simply enter them here. The lower field is a collection of keywords that are only present in a subset of the selection. Clicking or tapping on one of the keywords in the lower half will add it to all selected sheets.

The Keyword Manager (Mac)

The keyword manager is a panel that displays all the keywords you’ve used anywhere in your library and lets you organize them. For the time being, the manager itself is only available on Mac, but the changes you make will of course sync to iOS.

Open the keyword manager via the Windows menu. Alternatively, you can open an existing keyword in the sheet list or in the attachment bar, right-click it and select “Manage Keywords...” from the context menu.

Once the keyword manager is open, you can select any keyword, and you’ll be able to delete or rename it using the buttons on the bottom. Hold (command) to select multiple keywords, and you’ll be able to merge them into one.

While all the keywords you add are initially grey, their color can be changed afterward. This is particularly handy if you want to keep track of your characters’ points of view or mark the stages of your writing. Changing the color is also done via the keyword manager: right-click on a keyword and select between the seven colors of the rainbow and a light grey.

On iOS, you can change the color by tapping the keyword in the attachment bar and selecting “Color…” from the list of actions. No matter where this change has been made, it will apply to all occurrences of this keyword in your library.

From within the manager, you can also search your library for sheets with a certain keyword: Just right-click it and select “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.

Finally, the keyword manager features a couple of sorting options, which are accessible via the gear icon bottom left. You can sort your keywords alphabetically, by recency or by usage frequency.

Keyword Search and Filters

You can also display all sheets tagged with a certain keyword inside a group without opening the keyword manager. 

In the sheet list, just click on the search button in the toolbar to open group search. 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. 

This post was last updated on March 12, 2019.


Categorize your texts with keywords, and find them easily