macOS, Tutorials

How to enter editing dates in Ulysses for macOS the easy way

Entering edited date in Ulysses using Typinator

If you have the Ulysses text editor on your system, you’ll have noticed you can see your documents’ – sheets in Ulysses jargon – last edited date doesn’t have an option to show when you’ve last edited a document by selecting View > Sheet Preview > Dates . However, if you want to know the complete editing track in date format, you have to take a trip to the versioning feature. If you own a copy of Typinator, there’s a simple workaround for that.

Ulysses stores all your work in its library and that library is buried deep in your user’s Library. Sheets are stored as XML bundles inside one of the Container folders, to be exact. Even if you’d be able to directly edit a sheet in the Finder, that wouldn’t be very useful as it’s a bundle and the dates of your edits only need to be stamped on the sheet itself to be readily available.

There’s a fix for that, however. If you don’t have Typinator 8, you’re out of luck as the System Preferences don’t allow you to create shortcuts without an equivalent command in the menu somewhere. However, if you have Typinator 8 (review), you can easily create a date shortcut yourself and add it at the end of every Ulysses (review) sheet you finish writing.

If you only want to add the date, the Typinator code for that is:

{WW} {NN} {DD}, {YYYY}

If you want to add your own comment to it, you can add a description in front of it. I use “Last Edit:” in front of the code. And if you want to also add the date in another notation, you can do that too. For example:

D{JJ}.W{W#ISO}.M{MM}.Y{YY}

This give you the day, week and month in ISO notation. I use both to be certain I will be able to make sense of it all in the far future. My expansion for this piece looks like this:

++ Edit: — Wednesday July 31, 2019 — |D212.W31.M07.Y19| ++

The two pluses are essential if you don’t want your date to print at output time. The plus symbols designate a comment in Ulysses and comments don’t get output with any of its publishing formats.

To make the two final plus symbols are printed and your cursor is outside the symbols/code block, you’ll also need to add a cursor move. I add four positions, one for the space, two for the pluses and one for good measure. In Typinator 8, you’ll add:

{key:4*⇢}

The only thing you can’t do with my hack is order your sheets by date in the sheets view, but that’s not necessary as Ulysses allows you to order them by creation and modification date anyway.

The complete expansion looks like this (all in one row; no linefeeds or carriage returns):

++ Edit: — {WW} {NN} {DD}, {YYYY} — |D{JJ}.W{W#ISO}.M{MM}.Y{YY}| {key:4*⇢}

Note that I omitted the last two plus symbols as they are automatically added by Ulysses.