Scrivener vs Ulysses: Which One is Better for You

September 21, 2023 2.2K views

In the realm of writing, the tools we choose can significantly shape our creative process. Enter Scrivener and Ulysses, two renowned writing software applications tailored to distinct writer profiles and work styles. The question that often arises: which one suits you best? Amidst this choice, uncertainty can loom. Fret not. Within these lines, I'll guide you through straightforward methods to discern which option aligns seamlessly with your writing endeavors. Let's embark on this journey to find the perfect fit for you.

Part 1:What is scrivener and ulysses?


Scrivener is a writing software application for macOS, Windows, iOS, and iPadOS. It is designed to help writers organize their thoughts and materials, and to write more efficiently. Scrivener uses a binder metaphor to organize your work. Each project is represented by a binder, which can contain multiple folders, documents, and other assets. This allows you to store all of your research, notes, and drafts in one place, and to easily find what you need.

Scrivener also has a number of features that are specifically designed for writers, such as:

  • A corkboard view for brainstorming and organizing your ideas

  • A outlining mode for creating a detailed structure for your work

  • A split-screen view for comparing different drafts of your work

  • A word count tracker and other productivity tools


Ulysses is a writing app for macOS and iOS. It is designed to be a distraction-free writing environment, with a focus on minimalism and productivity. Ulysses uses a tabbed interface, with each tab representing a different document. This allows you to easily switch between different projects and drafts.

Ulysses also has a number of features that are designed to make writing easier, such as:

  • A built-in Markdown editor

  • A powerful search tool

  • A live preview of your document

  • A backup and sync system

Airtable and Notion are both project management tools that can be used for a variety of purposes, including writing. Airtable is a spreadsheet-based tool that is known for its flexibility and customizability. Notion is a more visual tool that is designed to be a single place to store all of your notes, ideas, and projects.

Both Airtable and Notion can be used to organize your research, notes, and drafts. They can also be used to create outlines, track your progress, and collaborate with others.

Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between Scrivener, Ulysses, Airtable, and Notion:







macOS, Windows, iOS, iPadOS

macOS, iOS

macOS, Windows, Web

macOS, Windows, Web

Fundamental working principle

Binder metaphor

Tabbed interface


Visual tool

Features for writers

Corkboard view, outlining mode, split-screen view, word count tracker

Distraction-free writing environment, Markdown editor, live preview, backup and sync

Flexibility, customizability

Single place to store notes, ideas, and projects

Best for

Long-form writing, complex projects

Short-form writing, distraction-free environment

Flexible project management

General-purpose project management

Part 2:Scrivener vs. Ulysses – Airtable and Notion: Comparing the Features?

When it comes to professional writing software, Scrivener and Ulysses are two of the most renowned applications. Let's delve into their features to help you make an informed choice.

Here is a table that compares the features of Scrivener and Ulysses:




Organizational tools

Binder metaphor, folders, documents, assets

Folders, tags, keywords

Document management

Progress tracking, deadlines, word count tracker

Live preview, back-up and sync

Non-linear writing



Markdown support



Export options

HTML, PDF, EPUB, Microsoft Word

HTML, PDF, Markdown




Learning curve




One-time purchase (Mac and Windows) or subscription (iOS)

Subscription (Mac, iOS, and iPadOS)

Pros and Cons





Powerful organizational tools, support for non-linear writing, Markdown support, export options

Clean and minimalist interface, Markdown support, organizational tools, live preview, back-up and sync


Learning curve, interface complexity, subscription-based model (for Mac and iOS)

Lack of advanced formatting options, subscription-based model

Which is better?

The best writing software for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for a powerful writing tool with a lot of organizational features, then Scrivener is a good option. If you are looking for a distraction-free writing environment with a clean and minimalist interface, then Ulysses is a good choice.

Ultimately, the best way to decide which writing software is right for you is to try both of them and see which one you prefer.

Part 3: A Free Alternative Choice - WPS Office

WPS Office is a versatile and free office suite that offers a compelling alternative to traditional office applications like Microsoft Office. It empowers users to create, edit, and manage documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with ease. Here are some key advantages of WPS Office:

Pros of WPS Office:

  1. Free Download and Usage: WPS Office is available for free, allowing users to access essential office tools, including Word processing, Excel spreadsheet management, and PowerPoint-style presentations without any cost.

  2. Powerful PDF Toolkit: WPS Office includes a robust set of tools for working with PDF documents. You can create, edit, convert, and secure PDF files seamlessly.

  3. Rich Template Store: WPS Office offers a wide range of templates for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. These templates help users kickstart their projects with professionally designed layouts.

  4. Rich Functions: It provides a comprehensive suite of functions and features, making it suitable for a variety of tasks, from simple text editing to complex data analysis.

  5. Lightweight: WPS Office is known for its efficient use of system resources, ensuring that it runs smoothly even on devices with modest hardware specifications.

  6. Support for Online Documents: WPS Office facilitates collaborative work by enabling users to access and edit documents stored in cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and more.

  7. Safe and Stable: It has a strong reputation for stability and security, ensuring that your documents and data are safe while you work.



WPS Office- Free All-in-One Office Suite
  • Use Word, Excel, and PPT for FREE, No Ads.

  • Edit PDF files with the powerful PDF toolkit.

  • Microsoft-like interface. Easy to learn. 100% Compatibility.

  • Boost your productivity with WPS's abundant free Word, Excel, PPT, and CV templates.

5,820,008 User


Algirdas Jasaitis

How to Download WPS Office for Free

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to download WPS Office for free:

Step 1: Visit the official WPS Office website: WPS Office Download

Step 2: Choose the appropriate version for your operating system, whether it's Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS.

Step 3: Follow the on-screen instructions to download the installation package.

Step 4: Once the download is complete, run the installer and follow the installation prompts.

Step 5: Launch WPS Office, and you're ready to start creating, editing, and managing your documents.

WPS Office is a user-friendly and feature-packed office suite that offers a compelling choice for those seeking a free alternative to traditional office software. It's suitable for students, professionals, and anyone in need of reliable office tools.


1. Do real writers use Scrivener?

Yes, many real writers use Scrivener. It's a popular writing software known for its organizational features and flexibility, making it particularly useful for authors, novelists, academics, and other professional writers. Scrivener allows users to manage large projects, arrange content, and easily navigate through different sections, which can be especially valuable for long-form writing like novels, theses, or research papers.

2. What are the cons of Scrivener?

  1. Learning Curve

  2. File Compatibility

  3. Interface Complexity

  4. Cost

  5. Limited Mobile Version

  6. Limited Collaboration Features

  7. Lack of Real-time Cloud Syncing


In summary, choosing between Scrivener and Ulysses largely depends on your specific writing needs. Scrivener excels in its organizational capabilities, making it a go-to for large-scale projects. Conversely, Ulysses offers a minimalist interface with strong Markdown support. Finally, consider WPS Office as a free alternative that provides a comprehensive suite of office tools for your writing endeavors.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.