When comparing Byword 2 vs Ulysses III, the Slant community recommends Ulysses III for most people. In the question“What are the best Markdown editors for OS X?” Ulysses III is ranked 2nd while Byword 2 is ranked 4th. The most important reason people chose Ulysses III is:
A few themes are baked in and a big selection of [user-contributed styles](http://styles.ulyssesapp.com/) to choose from are available on the Ulysses Style Exchange.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Great Markdown support without being intrusive
Byword de-emphasizes the syntax itself while emphasizing its effects. It appropriately adds style, like italic and bold, to text that's designated by markdown and dims the syntax so it does not get in the way of comprehension. Additionally, there are commonly used hotkeys (⌘b, ⌘i, etc) that can be used to apply style without having to know the syntax or having to type it out each time.
Pro Extremely simple
Byword is as simple as Markdown editors can get. Even though Markdown itself is not hard, Byword offers assistance to make it even easier with very little configuration required.
The UI is minimalistic and un-intrusive, the syntax auto-completion is excellent, and there are multiple small but helpful features that make writing Markdown with Byword a breeze.
Pro Available for all Apple devices
Byword is available on a Mac, an iPhone and iPad.
Pro Syncs using iCloud and Dropbox
Documents can be synced using iCloud or Dropbox from within the editor for use across all devices.
Pro Direct publishing to web platforms
Byword allows users to publish their markdown files directly to web platforms such as Wordpress, Tumblr, Blogger and even Evernote.
Pro Word count support
Has a built-in word counter.
Pro Multiple export options
You can export to HTML, PDF, RTF.
Pro A dark theme is available
For people who enjoy working during the night, there's a dark theme available that reduces strain on the eyes.
Pro Includes features that speed up writing
For example, while authoring a bulleted list hitting return automatically prepares a new bulleted line.
Pro Live update support
Byword has a "Preview Markdown" option where it does exactly what it promises. It immediately compiles and displays the rendered Markdown file, making it easy for the user to understand how they are actually formatting their document.
Pro Supports Multimarkdown
Byword supports all the table types in Multimarkdown including table captions. MathJax support is added via metadata at the beginning of file was well as support for various diagrams. Table of Contents is also supported.
Pro Supports iCloud Drive and Handoff
One of the few (well, Ok, only for far) that has been updated for Yosemite features. Jan 2015.
Pro Updated frequently
Byword gets frequent updates which add new features or fix existing bugs.
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 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 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 Can paste rich text and import from Word
Pasted rich text and imported Word documents keep their formatting when converted to Markdown.
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 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 Keyboard navigation
You can operate Ulysses via keyboard only. No need for mouse.
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 Inline formatting
There's no live-preview pane or an external previewer necessary. Ulysses displays styling inline.
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 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 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 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 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 Helpful support
Staff is helpful in answering questions on how to use the app.
Pro A demo version is available
A time (10hrs) and usage limited demo for Ulysses III is available.
Con Publishing requires additional in-app purchase
The feature to publish Markdown files to web services costs an additional $5 of in-app purchase.
Con Limited customizability
One of the things that makes Byword so easy to use is the fact that it needs very little setup and option-tweaking. However, that severely limits the ability to customize the editor itself. For example, there are only two themes available, a light one and a dark one.
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 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 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 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 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 No proper right-to-left support in PDF
Ulysses lacks right-to-left support that was available in the previous incarnation of this software.