Drafts or Ulysses? - Library of frequently used plain text files

I have been organizing TXT files in Folders with Finder on my Mac. But really, with tags and Workspaces, Drafts is a very elegant way to organize this library of frequently used text files. I’m thinking of migrating all my text files into Drafts.

In addition to being a great place to start writing, and to capture ideas, Drafts seems like a good place to organize a Library of plain text.

Question ===>>>
Do you think using Drafts as a permanent location to organize a library of frequently used plain text files is beyond what it is designed for? Maybe Ulysses is a better ultimate destination to build a library of frequently used text files?

From my purposes, Drafts’ tagging and Workspace features allow a very similar environment as Ulysses for managing a Library of text files.

I’m totally down for using Drafts to capture and then moving to Ulysses for permanent location of plain text library. But…do you think this is ‘necessary?’ (I’m inclined to simply keep everything in Drafts and build a ‘permanent plain text library’ in Drafts)

Anything thoughts or advice?


It is certainly possible, but not “necessary”. There could be advantages around access to actions, version history, etc., but you lose access to working with the text as files and the advantages that has.

What is the driver for you for moving the content into Drafts and is there anything it would stop you from doing that you normally do?

I can find and use the content in Drafts faster than I can find the corresponding plain text files. Common use is copying/pasting the text to send as email or web form. For example, I use this text content as FAQ responses to my students and customers. I don’t need the actual text ‘files.’ Im happy working with the Craft database of plain text content. I’ve used note taking apps like Notion or Craft for this, but the formatting from these writing apps often does not translate cleanly back into an email client or web form. (which then requires manual editing to fix)

So, I would be using Drafts (or Ulysses) like a ‘clip board’ of text (ranging in length from one sentence to a couple pages max).

The only thing I would sacrifice using a Drafts database of text documents is that actual plain text files facilitate collaboration. But, the workflow (for my personal use) of the Drafts database is definitely faster than searching for files. And when I really need to collaborate with assistants, I can let them remote access my computer.

The more I use Drafts, the more I appreciate it. But, I’m wondering if Ulysses might be a better “vault” to store my database of text content? (seems like Drafts is fully capable)

If you are just using the content in places like emails and web forms, have you considered tools like TextExpander? TextExpander for example has a teams setup to allow you to share and collaborate (in a simple way, like text files), on content.

Drafts is obviously a brilliant tool, but I’m wondering if for your use case, another tool might be more applicable to what your ultimate use is?

Yes, I love TextExpander and have used it for years. Thanks for reminding me! :wink: TextExpander is great for creating macros and automating many things. But in this use case with PlainText/Drafts/Ulysses, we’re talking about longer form content. For example: Job Postings, Form Letters, Newsletters Announcements and various forms of communication that can be repurposed. (TextExpander is not so good for this)

Frankly, since originally posting this question 19 hours ago, I have used Drafts in just this way: a database of text content to help respond to various inquiries and ‘automate’ elements of my writing. I’m LOVING Drafts more and more every minute!

Regarding my question Drafts vs Ulysses: I like them both. So, I think my final question in this thread is ===>>> What is the easiest (quick, simple) way to send a single Drafts document to Ulysses? (I’m sure that is in the Drafts documentation, but if you could point me to the steps that would be appreciated) Is there a “Send to Ulysses” button in Drafts?


You have me intrigued on that. Usually it is perfect for text insertion, including very large blocks such as letters or even complex multi part combinations. I’ve had it work with dozens of paragraphs in the past without any issue.

What is it that is “not so good”?

Note, I’m a big proponent of Drafts, and not trying to steer you away from it, but rather make sure it is your best fit.

There are a variety of Ulysses related actions in the Action directory. You can pick what matches, and if nothing quite matches, if you are a Drafts pro subscriber, you can modify one to meet your specific needs.

Ulysses handles the tab key better IMHO, indenting the entire line. That in itself is enough for me.

For what it’s worth, you can modify the behaviour of the tab key in Drafts by associating it with an action.

For example there are a couple of actions in the ThoughtAsylum - Writing, TAD-Tab and TAD-Untab, for just this. They attempt to apply some logic on what to do based on if the cursor is at the start of a line, is around a bullet or number for a listed line, crosses multiple lines or is an entire line section. It tries to apply the most appropriate action based on the position and selection of inserting a tab, or prefixing spanned lines with a tab; the untab doing the reverse of course.

@dfay: see:

FWIW, I use Drafts in this way. I have a “Snippets” workspace, which shows only drafts tagged “snippet”, and grab longer text from it.

I use TextExpander also, but find my ability to recall and use text shortcuts is limited and it’s easier to look up these template texts sometimes.

I use my “Snippets” workspace for shorter things, too. It’s the only thing I use the Drafts iMessages app for on iOS, to auto-insert some frequently used responses.

1 Like

Thanks! That’s been driving me crazy.

Thanks everyone for chiming in with valuable suggestions and input. Much appreciated! I will continue digging in and using/learning Drafts. And will also keep Ulysses for some things.

TextExpander, with it’s abbreviations, is a different animal and workflow.

Drafts is amazing and so is this community.

1 Like