Alternatives to Drafts

About a year ago I decided to migrate from using a proprietary notes system like Apple Notes to using text files with Dropbox.

There are tons of apps that connect to my dropbox files, whether on mobile or Mac, including:
• Ulysses
• 1Writer
• Byword
• Sublime
• Atom
• nvALT

So I can essentially have a full use to access my files however and wherever I want, which is pretty cool.

My issue is that Drafts doesn’t sync with Dropbox, so I need an alternative for it. The ability to export from Drafts to Dropbox is not helpful enough because I am in the habit of re-accessing old files in my Drafts inbox and there is no way to auto export them to Dropbox it’s always a manual press which means inevitably I have leftover files on Drafts. Not to mention that it’s my favorite text editor anyways more than those other apps listed above.

Here are the three things I love about Drafts and wonder if there is an alternative that syncs with dropbox:
(1) The ability to put custom actions on top of the keyboard
(2) Drafts loads very fast compared to apps like Ulysses
(3) Apps like Ulysses and 1Writer keep trying to remove my navigation bar when I start writing. I personally find this bothersome and no way to turn it off in settings

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This is probably the number one reason to stay in Drafts…I don’t know if any of the other text editors have this feature.

Hmmm… I prefer going into all text mode without any navigation bar or other user interface widgets showing.

When you’re asking about the navigation bar in Ulysses, what is navigation to you? Access to the library and the different documents?

I do have to make sure that my window is wide enough so that the Library and Sheets panes stay open. If the window is too small, it will slide and hide away.

In Ulysses, I can navigate between different sections in my sheet. Each section has a heading with the hashtag #.

I can open a floating window that allows me to quickly jump between the different sections (headings) in the sheet.

I think I got lost in the terminology when you are talking about navigation.

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Before there was Drafts, there was Editorial… (, which if I remember correctly will sync via Dropbox, and has a similar philosophy of keyboard-plus-actions. (But not quite as nifty and, unlike Drafts, no macOS app.)


It sounds like you’re looking for a clone of Drafts with Dropbox sync instead of iCloud. You’ve basically listed all the apps I’d recommend in the situation you’re in. 1Writer is the one that comes to mind most. Editorial I don’t think has had a meaningful update in years, so not sure I can recommend that one.

Alternatively, have you reconsidered how you use Drafts?

One major mindset shift I’ve had to make is using Drafts as a capture bucket versus a notes tool. For me, notes don’t ever live in Drafts. I capture ideas, sometimes flesh them out, then send them to the appropriate bucket where they will live using an action.

Having this mindset allows a person to leverage all the benefits of the tool without feeling like everything has to live there. Thoughts on that, @Tyler_Weitzman?

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@Wilsonng by navigation I meant the navigation bar on iOS. If you start a new note on Ulysses on 1Write mobile app the navigation bar disappears, the purpose of it is to let you focus on on the note, but I’m not trying to write a lot just capture a thought so this feature is distracting. I didn’t know about Ulysses navigation feature for markdown headers that’s pretty neat.

@Hugh1 I’ll take a look at Editorial

@justindirose I have reconsidered this mindset, but your comment makes me reconsider it again. I will try it a little more, but the issue is that I actually really like Drafts as an editor. I enjoy it better even than Ulysses, so it is hard for me to justify exporting! I am already in the habit of keeping things on Drafts!

Once per month I select all drafts and run save to drop box action on all, but then they do not get the proper date created / date modified attributes.

Now you could say “if you like Drafts so much, why not just keep using it” - the issue is that it divides my system in two. When I need to access a draft more than a month old I need Ulysses and when I need to access a draft less than a month old I find it on Drafts. This lack of centralization is a real pet peeve for me. I suppose I could import all my notes into Drafts but then I’d be undoing all my work of migrating out of Apple Notes for an open system on dropbox


ah, ok! I see if I have my iPad in widescreen orientation, I can add a new sheet and the left pane still remains open. But if I go to portrait (tall) orientation, it disappears.

It would be nearly impossible to keep the navigation open on a smaller device like an iPhone.

I think this is only available on the Mac. I don’t think they added this to the iOS version yet.

If you click on the Navigation button at the top of the toolbar, it will open a window showing the list of headers. If you drag this Navigation window to another part of your screen, it will become a floating window.