When comparing Simplenote vs Ulysses III, the Slant community recommends Simplenote for most people. In the question“What are the best Evernote alternatives?” Simplenote is ranked 1st while Ulysses III is ranked 28th. The most important reason people chose Simplenote is:
Unlike alternatives (such as Evernote) that are laden with features, Simplenote is fast to use and sync. Reviews from the [Verge], [Lifehacker], and a variety of other sources all describe using the Simplenote apps as very fast. While it may not be as feature-rich as other apps, the responsiveness of the app and simple interface keep it easy to use while never slowing down the user when they need to quickly take a note. : http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/18/4741908/simplenote-reborn-first-great-notes-app-ios-android-mac-web : http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2010/07/the-holy-grail-of-ubiquitous-plain-text-capture/
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Geared towards fast usage
Unlike alternatives (such as Evernote) that are laden with features, Simplenote is fast to use and sync. Reviews from the Verge, Lifehacker, and a variety of other sources all describe using the Simplenote apps as very fast. While it may not be as feature-rich as other apps, the responsiveness of the app and simple interface keep it easy to use while never slowing down the user when they need to quickly take a note.
Pro "Time machine" style revision control on the notes
Each edit of a note is saved in order to allow the user to go back to a previous version of a document. This way, if mistakes are made or something is deleted, you can go back to the previous version without any hassle.
Pro Very simple and clean interface
Simplenote takes a minimalist approach to its interface. There are no toolbars full of formatting options or extra features like notebooks to group notes. The entire desktop interface consists solely of a sidebar with your tags and trash filters, the list of existing notes with search, a button to add a new note and a simple view for looking an existing note or writing a new one.
Pro Works offline
Users can edit and create documents offline, can then sync their content the next time they are online. This way a user can work even when there's no data connection without the worry of losing work.
Pro Markdown support via web interface
There is support for Markdown when using the web app. This can be convenient for those who want to use Markdown in a particular note.
Pro Wide range of great clients with great sync
Official native apps are available on popular platforms such as Android, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, OS X, Windows and Linux. Open-source clients extend this support even more widely to various other platforms, such as webOS and the BlackBerry PlayBook. These apps embody the core philosophy of Simplenote: minimalism and focus on the note taking.
Pro Linux client available
Pro Desktop app is open source
The desktop version of Simplenote is hosted on the GitHub and since it is open source, it can allow developers to fork the code in order to improve the app.
Pro Can export your data
The program enables exporting of notes as text documents.
Pro Excellent iOS app
Pro Collaborative features
Notes can be shared with others or worked on collaboratively.
Pro Excellent desktop client in the form of nvAlt
Pro Does not distract the user
Ulysses has a clean, unobtrusive, easy to overview interface that allows focusing on writing. By default it's split up in 3 panes with sidebar, sheet pane and content pane from left to right. Unnecessary panes can be hidden.
Pro Great tools for organizing and finding files
Ulysses saves everything in the app so there's no file management outside of the editor involved. It organizes content in groups (folders) and sheets (files), has a powerful, easy to use search and allows adding keywords to attachments to help them be organized and found quickly.
Groups can have an unlimited amount of subgroups and the title of subgroup shows up in the pane view. Sheets can be split up, merged, glued together and easily moved around in the sheet pane by dragging and dropping. Great for splitting up larger documents into manageable chunks while still keeping an overview of the whole project and having the ability to move sections around quickly.
Contents of a group can be filtered by text, keywords or change date within headings, code blocks, images or any other marked up text. Filters can contain a combination of conditions and be saved to make a new group. Saved filters can be moved around to different groups and will return filtered results for that group. Selecting multiple groups will show the combined sheets of those groups.
Pro Highly customizable
A few themes are baked in and a big selection of user-contributed styles to choose from are available on the Ulysses Style Exchange.
Pro Syncs via iCloud
Content can be synchronised across devices via Apple's iCloud.
Pro Comprehensive documentation
Ulysses comes with an excellently written documentation that covers everything there is to know about the software, including an extensive list of keyboard shortcuts as well as short and sweet introduction to Markdown and its benefits.
Pro Attachments can be added
Attachments such as images, text notes, keywords and writing goals can be added to content. And to organize them keywords can be added.
Pro Allows the user to work anywhere and on any Apple device of their choice
Ulysses is available for both macOS and iOS. This, combined with the cloud syncing allows users to work on their projects using any Apple device they have at the time.
Pro Can paste rich text and import from Word
Pasted rich text and imported Word documents keep their formatting when converted to Markdown.
Pro Multiple preview and export options
The editor can export to Plain Text, RTF, Word, HTML, ePub and PDF with customizable styles for each option. It can also preview HTML directly in the browser.
Pro Keyboard navigation
You can operate Ulysses via keyboard only. No need for mouse.
Pro Displays statistics including how long it takes to read the document
The editor tracks statistics that shows how many characters, words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages a document contains and estimated reading time for slow, average, and fast readers. The statistics display in a popover that can be torn-off so it's constantly visible.
Pro No Markdown syntax knowledge required
Markdown formatting can be applied from the right-click menu, with keyboard shortcuts or from an optional markup bar. Necessary elemants to links, images, and footnotes are added by filling in a popover.
Pro Helps get stuff done
Goals such as how many characters, words, sentences, paragraphs, lines or pages should be written can be set to help get motivated.
Pro Powerful organization features
Groups, tagging, and notes for each document.
Pro Includes features for not losing place
Ulysses has options for highlighting current line, showing line numbers and enabling typewriter mode. Typewriter mode defines a place on the screen where the cursor should be so eyes are kept focusing in one place on the screen.
Pro Helpful support
Staff is helpful in answering questions on how to use the app.
Pro Inline formatting
There's no live-preview pane or an external previewer necessary. Ulysses displays styling inline.
Pro A demo version is available
A time (10hrs) and usage limited demo for Ulysses III is available.
Con Search is limited to one tag
There seems to be no way to find notes that have both tag X and tag Y. This isn't a big deal until you have a large library of notes, and want to cross-search for two things at the same time to vastly narrow down your search.
Con Limited ways to reorder notes
You are able to sort your notes alphabetically, date modified, or by last created. There is no way to drag and drop the notes to create a custom order.
Con No Widgets on Android
There is no way to view a list of the notes in Simplenote via a Widget on Android
Con No support for file attachments
Simplenote doesn't provide support for embedded attachments. This can limit the use for some as many other note-taking apps do support this type of feature.
Con No reminders
You cannot set reminders to revisit a specific note or complete a task.
Con No 32-bit version
Con The search function doesn't see tags
If you search for 'foo' you won't find notes with tag foo. In that regard, tags are completely isolated from the search.
Con No way to bulk-apply a tag
This is a typical workflow action in other apps: Do a search, multi-select notes among the matches, then apply or de-apply one or more tags to all these notes at once.
There's no way to do this in Simplenote. The only bulk operations are Delete and Pin-to-top.
Con No notification when changes made on a shared note
Currently, there is no way to be alerted when a change is made by another contributor on a shared note.
Con Save-to-disk feature is poor
The only way to download your data off Simplenote is via a "download zip" feature that unfortunately loses all the semantic structure of your data (tags, for instance).
Con No integrated social media sharing
The only way you can share notes with others is with a link you're given when you publish your note. There is no integrated social media sharing if you directly want to post your note to Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Con Lack of color impacts usability
There are two themes available, the default theme and a dark theme.
Both use only the single solid color (either white or black) for the background, so there is a lack of visual cues to separate what you're looking at.
Ulysses now operates on a subscription-based model. $4.99/month or $39.99/year. It is not currently possible to pay once and keep it.
Con Overwrites imported markdown files
When previously written markdown files are imported, they're converted to Ulysses' version of Markdown and original files are overwritten.
Con Proprietary file format
Text is saved in a database in proprietary format. Meaning, your notes can't be accessed other than through the app, and cannot be moved other than by exporting them.
Con Cannot render code blocks
You can go around this limitation, but it is complex and not so pretty looking as it is in other Markdown Editors.
Con iOS and Mac versions have to be bought separately
The iOS version costs $24.99 and the macOS version costs $44.99. They have to be bought separately in order to be used on those devices.
Con Automatic switching of sheets can be confusing
Scrolling down when at the bottom of a sheet will switch to next sheet. When unexpected, this behavior can be confusing to some.
Con Lacks a LaTeX-exporter
Con Proprietary Markdown extensions but no MultiMarkdown
Con No proper right-to-left support in PDF
Ulysses lacks right-to-left support that was available in the previous incarnation of this software.