Building a Newsletter With Ulysses

The key is the share sheet and merging/splitting sheets.

Putting together a newsletter on my Mac is a piece of cake. Even building a list of links with commentary is easy with the Keyboard Maestro macros I have on hand, but on the iPad Pro, or even the iPhone, these tasks were a new challenge to figure out.

There’s two particular issues:

  1. My newsletter has a WYSIWYG editor which only takes rich text, or a code editor which only takes HTML.
  2. I often need to clip the title, selected text, author names, link, etc from an article. This is a pain for me even on the Mac.

After a lot of playing around, I’ve come up with a system that works fantastically well, and the best part is that I didn’t have to write any scripts or build any workflows to do it.

The first part of the flow starts in Instapaper, where I am once again doing all my reading. When I find something I want to share I select a passage and use the share option to send it to a ‘Newsletter’ group in Ulysses, using the Ulysses share extension.


Well I mean done with that part. It’s so simple.

Once I get everything together I pop over to Ulysses. Each item is there as a separate sheet within the Newsletter group. I then can build out my thoughts and format each item as needed. The only missing part is the author name, but a quick peak at the URL usually gives me that info. I get all the links formatted and written up how I want them.

In the sheet list I can look at the order of all my sheets, and drag sheets around to get them in the exact order I want them to appear in the newsletter.

Once there I create three new sheets:

  1. Intro
  2. Closing
  3. Begging for money

I then place those where they need to be in the order and select all the sheets I want to include in the newsletter, and merge them to one sheet.

Now with them all on the same sheet, I export them to html and copy that to the clipboard. Open my newsletter editor in html mode and paste it in at the right spot. Strip the headers and styling from Ulysses and I am done. I can fine tune in the editor if needed, but it’s all typically in order by this point.

There’s other ways I can do this, but it’s nice that I don’t have to pop over to Workflow or rely on anything else to do it. The merge sheets feature of Ulysses is something I never used much before this, but it is fantastic. The added bonus here is that you can exclude something very easily if you want to push it back a week or more just by dropping it off, or cutting it out Of the post with the “split here” command in the Ulysses editor.

Oh, I also hit send when I am all done — that’s an important step to remember I have found.


Reader Cyril Myshkin writes in to say:

When you go paste it to the newsletter editor you won’t need to strip anything if you chose “Snippet” in the pop-up.

I had no clue. This is great.

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