Evernote vs Ulysses: In-Depth Comparison for Writers

In today’s fast-paced world, note-taking apps play a crucial role in organizing thoughts, ideas, and tasks. Evernote and Ulysses are two popular choices that offer unique features and cater to different sets of users. As technology continues to advance, understanding the pros and cons of each app can help individuals make informed decisions regarding which tool best suits their needs.

Evernote has been a market leader in note-taking applications for years, boasting a wide range of features and platforms. Its flexibility and diverse functionalities make it a popular choice for those who need a holistic solution for note-taking, document storage, and collaboration. On the other hand, Ulysses is a focused writing app known for its simplicity, streamlined interface, and seamless integration with macOS and iOS devices. This makes it particularly attractive to writers, bloggers, and content creators.

When comparing Evernote and Ulysses, it’s essential to determine the specific requirements of the user, as both apps excel in different areas. Weighing the unique features, compatibility, pricing, and user experience will help in deciding which app contributes most effectively to one’s productivity and workflow.

Overview of Evernote and Ulysses

Evernote and Ulysses are two popular note-taking and writing apps that cater to different user needs and preferences. In this section, we will provide a concise comparison between the two to help you better understand their features and functionalities.

Evernote is a versatile note-taking app that allows users to create, organize, and sync notes across multiple devices. It supports text, images, audio recordings, and even handwritten notes. With Evernote, you can easily categorize your notes using notebooks, tags, and built-in search functionality. Additionally, it offers collaboration features, enabling users to share notes and work together on projects. The app is available for various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Evernote offers a basic free version with limited features, while the Premium and Business packages expand its capabilities and storage.

Ulysses is a powerful writing app designed specifically for writers who require a clean, distraction-free interface to focus on their work. It uses a unique Markdown-based text editor that keeps formatting simple and consistent across devices. Ulysses offers an organized library and customizable filters to help writers manage their documents and writing projects efficiently. While it lacks some advanced note-taking features present in Evernote, Ulysses excels in offering a seamless writing experience for long-form texts, such as essays, novels, or articles. The app is available for macOS and iOS devices and requires a monthly or yearly subscription.

Feature Evernote Ulysses
Platforms Windows, macOS, Android, iOS macOS, iOS
Pricing Free, Premium, Business Monthly/Yearly Subscription
Note Types Text, Images, Audio, Handwriting Text (Markdown-based)
Organization Notebooks, Tags, Search Library, Filters
Collaboration Features Yes No
Focus on Writing Moderate High

While Evernote caters to a wide range of note-taking needs, making it suitable for students, professionals, and general users, Ulysses is specifically tailored for writers who need a focused environment to create high-quality content. Depending on your needs and platform preferences, one of these apps might be a better fit for your workflow.

Note-Taking and Organization Features

Text, Images, and Media Support

Evernote and Ulysses both provide excellent support for text-based note-taking, including rich text formatting and Markdown. However, when it comes to handling images and other media, Evernote has an edge. It allows users to easily add audio, video, and images to notes, with OCR technology to search text within images. Ulysses primarily focuses on text-based content and does not offer native support for audio or video, though it can handle images.

Organization and Tags

Organizing notes is crucial in any note-taking app. Evernote uses a notebook system to categorize notes, with further organization possible through nested notebooks and tags. In Ulysses, notes are organized into groups and filters, with customizable tags available for better organization. While both systems are effective, Evernote’s nested notebooks offer a more intuitive and familiar organization structure for most users.

Organization Feature Evernote Ulysses
Nested Notebooks

Search and Navigation

Extensive search and navigation features are necessary for locating specific notes within a large collection. Evernote offers powerful search capabilities, including keyword search, search within specific notebooks, and search by tags or attributes. Ulysses also provides a comprehensive search feature, with quick navigation through groups, filters, and keyword searches. Both applications support keyboard navigation to aid in quick note retrieval.

Task Management

While neither Evernote nor Ulysses are specifically designed as task management tools, they do offer some features to aid in managing tasks and to-dos. Evernote includes a to-do list feature with checkboxes and reminders, plus integration with other task management apps. Ulysses allows users to create custom to-do lists within notes, but it lacks built-in reminders and native task management integration.

In summary, both Evernote and Ulysses excel in text-based note-taking and organization features. Evernote offers more advanced support for media, while Ulysses focuses on text and images. Organizationally, Evernote’s notebook system may be more familiar to users, but Ulysses’ groups and filters are also effective. Search and navigation capabilities are strong in both applications, and while neither is a dedicated task management tool, each provides basic task management support.

User Interface and Design

Customization and Themes

Evernote and Ulysses both offer a range of customization options to tailor the user interface to your preferences. Evernote provides a clean and straightforward design with the ability to customize toolbars and choose between a light and dark theme (source). Ulysses, on the other hand, offers a sleek and user-friendly interface with multiple themes, customizable fonts, and layout options to suit various workflows (source).

  • Evernote
    • Light and dark theme
    • Customizable toolbars
  • Ulysses
    • Multiple themes
    • Customizable fonts and layout options

Interface and Usability

When it comes to interface and usability, both Evernote and Ulysses provide simple and efficient tools that cater to different user needs. Evernote is designed to work seamlessly across different devices such as iPhone, iPad, and desktop, allowing users to access and manage their notes easily (source). Its design focuses on optimizing user experience by making it easy to create, organize, and search for notes.

Ulysses, on the other hand, excels in providing a focused writing environment with a minimalistic design. It boasts a clean and distraction-free interface, ideal for writers who prefer a more streamlined experience (source). Ulysses also offers robust support for iPad users, integrating with iOS features, including split view, drag and drop, and keyboard shortcuts.

Feature Evernote Ulysses
Device Compatibility iPhone, iPad, Desktop iPhone, iPad, Desktop
UI Design Clean, straightforward Sleek, minimalistic
Cross-device Sync Yes Yes

In summary, both Evernote and Ulysses offer adequate customization options and user-friendly interfaces for their purposes. Evernote works well for users looking to manage and organize notes across various devices, while Ulysses is an excellent choice for writers seeking a focused and minimalistic writing environment.

Compatibility and Integration

Multiple Platforms and Devices

Evernote and Ulysses differ in terms of platform compatibility. Evernote is available on a wider variety of platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. On the other hand, Ulysses is primarily designed for Apple devices, with its application available on macOS and iOS.

Both note-taking apps support features such as markdown formatting, blocks, and text organization. Additionally, they offer offline access to your notes, allowing you to view and edit content without a stable internet connection.

Syncing and Cloud Storage

Synchronization and cloud storage options for Evernote and Ulysses also vary. Evernote allows syncing of notes across all devices using its cloud-based storage. It can also save web content using the Web Clipper, streamlining online research and bringing web content offline.

Ulysses, on the other hand, utilizes iCloud for syncing and storage. This feature makes it well-suited for Apple device users, ensuring seamless integration within the Apple ecosystem. Ulysses does not have a built-in web clipper but supports live preview options that allow users to see real-time changes in their writing.

Features Evernote Ulysses
Platforms Windows, macOS, Android, iOS macOS, iOS
Syncing Evernote Cloud iCloud
Markdown Yes Yes
Blocks Yes Yes
Offline Access Yes Yes
Web Clipper Yes No
Live Preview No Yes

In summary, Evernote and Ulysses differ in their platform compatibility and syncing options. Evernote supports a wide range of devices, while Ulysses is mainly designed for Apple users. Both applications offer markdown formatting, blocks, and offline access. However, Evernote includes the Web Clipper feature, while Ulysses offers live previews for more real-time editing.

Exporting, Sharing, and Collaboration

Export Formats and Options

When it comes to exporting documents, both Evernote and Ulysses support a variety of formats to suit your needs. Evernote allows you to export your notes in either HTML or as ENEX files, which are XML-based representations of your notes, for easy archiving and import into other note-taking apps. Ulysses, on the other hand, offers more export options, such as PDF, HTML, EPUB, and even DOCX formats, making it more versatile in terms of content publishing.

App Export Formats
Evernote HTML, ENEX

Sharing and Collaboration Tools

Evernote has strong collaboration tools, with built-in support for sharing notes and entire notebooks with others, either through a public link or an invitation sent to a specific individual or group. You can also grant varying levels of access, such as view-only or edit permissions. Evernote’s API allows for third-party app integration, expanding its collaboration capabilities even more.

However, Evernote’s collaboration features are limited to its premium subscription plans, restricting some users from taking full advantage of these tools. Moreover, Evernote does not have a native integration with OneNote, which could be an issue for some users who may want to work across both platforms.

Ulysses has less emphasis on collaboration compared to Evernote. While you can still share exported files in various formats, real-time collaborative editing is not natively supported. A workaround for this limitation is using external cloud storage services, such as iCloud or Dropbox, to share documents with your team and collaborate on them. Although this approach lacks the elegance of Evernote’s built-in sharing capabilities, it provides a sufficient solution for simple teamwork scenarios.

In summary, Evernote excels in sharing and collaboration features, offering more robust tools for users who frequently work in groups or require real-time editing capabilities. However, it is important to note that some of these tools are limited to Evernote’s premium subscription plans. On the other hand, Ulysses offers a more focused writing experience with fewer collaborative features, and users may need to rely on external tools to manage teamwork effectively.

Pricing and Subscription Models

When comparing Evernote and Ulysses, it’s important to consider their pricing and subscription models, as they cater to different budgets and user requirements.

Evernote has a tiered pricing model which provides three plans:

  1. Basic (Free): This plan allows users limited access to Evernote’s features, such as the ability to create notes, notebooks, and tags, and synchronization across two devices only.
  2. Premium ($7.99/month or $69.99/year): This plan offers more advanced features, such as the ability to annotate and search within PDFs, access notes offline, and integration with third-party apps, as well as increased storage and device synchronization.
  3. Business ($14.99/user/month, billed annually): Designed for teams and organizations, this plan includes all Premium features together with team collaboration tools, centralized administration, and priority support.

Ulysses, on the other hand, offers only one subscription plan:

  1. Ulysses Subscription ($5.99/month or $49.99/year): This plan grants access to all available Ulysses features on both macOS and iOS devices, such as powerful writing tools, organization, and markdown support.

Regarding their medium of distribution, both Evernote and Ulysses are available for download from their respective websites and their associated app stores (Apple App Store or Google Play Store).

In terms of license proprietary, both Evernote and Ulysses are closed-source software, with proprietary licenses for their users. This means that their source code is not made available to the public, and any modifications or usage of their code outside of the provided software requires permission from the respective companies.

Evernote Basic Evernote Premium Evernote Business Ulysses Subscription
Monthly Price Free $7.99 $14.99/user $5.99
Annual Price Free $69.99 (billed annually) $49.99
Available Features Limited Advanced All Premium + Team Collaboration tools All Ulysses features
License Type Proprietary Proprietary Proprietary Proprietary

Taking both the pricing and subscription models into account will help users determine which note-taking app fits their needs and preferences in terms of budget, device compatibility, and desired features.

Alternative Note-Taking Apps and Tools

In the world of note-taking apps, Evernote and Ulysses are top contenders, but they aren’t the only options available. There are several alternative apps and tools that offer unique features to cater to different user requirements and preferences.

Bear is a popular note-taking tool available for iOS and MacOS users. Its minimalistic design and markup editor make it easy to create, edit, and organize notes. It also features a tagging system to keep everything tidy.

Another straightforward yet powerful tool is Google Keep. As part of Google’s suite of apps, it allows users to create checklists, text notes, and voice notes while syncing everything across devices.

For writers and bloggers, platforms like WordPress and Ghost are more suitable. These tools are geared towards content creation with a focus on publishing, offering customizable templates, SEO features, and website integration.

Notion is a versatile tool that combines note-taking with project management and collaboration functions. It offers the ability to create wiki-style pages, databases, and even task boards, making it suitable for team settings.

For users who prefer handwriting their notes, Nebo offers an excellent solution. It can convert handwritten notes to digital text, and it’s compatible with tablets and stylus pens for a seamless experience.

When compared to Evernote, some alternative note-taking tools can offer more specialized features tailored to specific needs, while others provide a simpler user interface.

Here’s a table comparing different alternative note-taking tools:

Tool Main Features Supported Platforms
Bear Minimalistic design, markup editor, tagging system iOS, MacOS
Google Keep Checklists, text notes, voice notes, device sync Web, Android, iOS
WordPress Customizable templates, SEO features, website integration Web, Android, iOS
Ghost Content-focused, SEO features, website integration Web, Android, iOS
Notion Wiki-style pages, databases, task boards Web, Android, iOS
Nebo Handwriting conversion, tablet compatibility Android, iOS

These alternatives, like Bear, Google Keep, WordPress, Ghost, Notion, and Nebo, offer a variety of features and can be used depending on individual preference and specific requirements.

Performance and Reliability

When comparing Evernote and Ulysses, it’s essential to consider their performance and reliability to determine which app better suits your needs.

Bugs and Issues

Both apps have been reported to have some issues, but their development teams have been proactive in addressing them. Evernote users have mentioned occasional syncing issues, and its rich text editor can sometimes cause formatting inconsistencies across devices. On the other hand, Ulysses has proven to be more stable, with fewer bugs reported by users.

App Known Issues
Evernote Syncing issues, formatting inconsistencies
Ulysses Fewer bugs reported

When it comes to performance, Ulysses offers better speed and responsiveness, due to its focus on providing a distraction-free, streamlined writing environment. Evernote is versatile and feature-rich but can feel more cumbersome, especially when handling large amounts of text or numerous notes.

Feature set comparisons reveal that Evernote provides a broader range of features, including web clipping, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for images, and robust search capabilities. On the other hand, Ulysses focuses on the writing experience, offering customizable themes, typewriter scrolling, and a unique markup-based editor providing full control over the document’s structure.

In terms of Markdown support, Ulysses holds a strong edge, as its native editor is built around Markdown. This provides users with live previews and seamless rendering of Markdown-formatted text. Evernote supports basic Markdown formatting; however, it is not as robust or integrated as Ulysses.

Overall, both Evernote and Ulysses are solid tools for writers, researchers, and creatives. It’s important to weigh the particular features and performance aspects that matter most to you when deciding which application to use. While Evernote caters to a broader audience and offers an extensive feature set, Ulysses provides a more focused and refined writing experience with better Markdown support.


In the battle between Evernote and Ulysses, it’s essential to consider individual needs and preferences when deciding on the most suitable note-taking and writing tool.

Evernote stands out for its versatility and wide range of features, making it an excellent choice for users looking to keep track of various types of information. The application’s multimedia support allows for easy organization of different materials, while its web clipper function and compatibility across devices make it a convenient tool for those on the go.

On the other hand, Ulysses shines as a sophisticated writing application tailored to writers, content creators, and professionals who focus on long-form content production. The program’s clutter-free interface and powerful markup-based writing system ensure a streamlined writing experience. Ulysses also features seamless exporting and publishing options, enabling users to format their work for multiple platforms.

While it’s not feasible to provide a definitive winner in this comparison, it’s important to weigh the trade-offs between the two applications. Be mindful of the nuances within Evernote and Ulysses’ feature sets and how they align with particular use cases, workload requirements, and personal preferences. In doing so, users can confidently select the tool that best supports their needs and enhances their productivity.