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New in Ellipsus: Q1 2024

The writing process is collaborative—we use editors and beta readers to punch up phrasing, cut out fluff, and refine our creative vision. Why should product development be any different?

Product collaboration happens in two phases. There’s the collaboration that takes place within our team: debating priorities, sharing technical and design specs, testing, and so forth. Then there’s the collaboration between us and our writers.

The way you use (or don’t use!) Ellipsus, the product ideas you vote on, the feedback you share on Discord … it all has an outsized impact on how we prioritize and develop new features.

Here’s everything we’ve built—and everything you’ve helped inspire—since January.

Written by
  • Kate Donahue
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Text editing: from default to deluxe

We want to help writers build new worlds—and that requires a rich text editor to help words pop off the digital page. Our OG text editor prioritized simple, intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing defaults. But your stories deserve more than default options—so we’re prioritizing improvements to our editor that give you full control over text styling.

Choose from six new fonts

We initially chose Literata because it’s elegant, easy to read, and felt quite—if the name wasn’t clue enough—literary. But we always knew one font could only get us so far—typography is personal and can add to (or take away from) the writing experience. Over on Discord, writers shared a multitude of reasons for needing additional fonts, ranging from accessibility to inspiration to fun.

Our newest batch of fonts addresses all three points. Open Dyslexic caters to the needs of readers with visual processing disorders (and looks pretty rad); Courier Prime is a monospaced font that works great for screenplays; and Comic Neue is casual and fun (but not distractingly so).

Customize line height and spacing

The spacing between letters, words, lines, and paragraphs can impact everything from readability to rhythm to tone. It makes sense that writers would want to manage any elements that contribute to a better reading experience.

Open your main document or any draft to set line height, letter spacing, word spacing, or paragraph spacing for any paragraph style (e.g., Heading 1, Paragraph, Caption, etc.). When you merge a draft, your main document will inherit the new styling.

Find and replace text

We’re constantly amazed by how prolific our writers are. Many of you have been kind enough to give insight into the sheer amount of words you’re writing—often documents with 50,000+ words! So, we can appreciate how frustrating it was when you wanted to make a large-scale change, like renaming a character or location.

Now, you can find and replace text in an individual document or draft without any extra hassle. Click the magnifying glass in the right-hand panel (or tap it if you’re on mobile), search, and switch to your heart’s content.

Faster formatting on mobile

Another surprise to us? The amount of time writers spend writing on their smartphones, whether it’s jotting down a few ideas during a break or an epic writing session before bedtime.

To make it easier to add and format text from your phone, we’re adding a persistent formatting bar to the bottom of the editor. In its default state, you can quickly undo (or redo) past actions; bold, italicize, or underline text; or open the formatting panel. If you’ve selected text in a draft, you can also tap the panel to add a comment.

Collaboration: stay on top of edits

Non-writers often ask us: Do writers collaborate? The answer is, of course, YES. But collaboration looks different for every writer. Some co-author, some tap an editor for an extra pair of eyes, others rely on beta readers. We want Ellipsus to work for every kind of workflow.

Our latest improvements make it easier to work together, process feedback, and safely iterate without losing important changes.

Review your version history

Writing is never just writing. It’s also revisiting, rewriting, and retooling. Before, you could look at active and merged drafts to see how a document evolved. Now, you can look at the version history for any document or draft to see what changes were made, when they were made, and who made them. And if you want to resurrect a previous version, all it takes is one click (okay, maybe three).

See your collaborators’ activity

When you’re collaborating in real-time, stepping on your collaborators’ figurative toes is almost inevitable. With live cursors, you can see where your collaborator is in a draft so that you can see their changes as they’re made, swarm on a section together, or give them space to do their thing. Combined with chat and comments, working with editors, beta readers, or co-authors has never been easier.

Get notified about new comments

We want Ellipsus to make real-time and asynchronous collaboration fluid and effortless. To that end, we want to offer notifications that are useful without being overwhelming. Our first step toward a better notifications experience is comment notifications.

Whenever someone leaves a comment on one of your drafts—or replies to a comment you’ve left on any draft—we’ll send an email notification. Most email platforms will thread these emails so that even drafts with a deluge of comments won’t disrupt your inbox.

Sign-up, sign-in: simpler than ever

Last but not least, we’ve worked out a few important kinks in our sign-up / sign-in flows, making it easier for new folks to get started with Ellipsus and for existing writers to get back to their work.

Let your readers skip the waitlist

When you share an Ellipsus link, anyone can view (but not edit) that draft or document. Now, readers can click the Sign up button and enter their email addresses to skip the waitlist and get immediate access to our beta.

Log in faster (and less frequently)

We’ve increased session lifetime to 100 days if you’re actively using Ellipsus, meaning you should see our sign-in screen less often. We’ve also added one-time login codes to our email previews, so you can easily see the code without having to open the email.

What’s next

As we head into spring, we’re intently focused on two key themes and a suite of features and improvements to support them:

  • Large document management: Working on large documents—alone or with others, on your desktop or on your smartphone—shouldn’t be cumbersome. We’re working on performance and navigation improvements to make loading, reading, and writing in large documents much, much nicer. This includes tables of contents, folders, and rebuilding mergeing to support section-by-section editing.
  • Flexible collaborative workflows: We’ve learned a lot about how our writers get feedback on their work. Working with editors, distributing chapters to beta readers, Roleplaying in-document with a co-author… these all have different requirements when it comes to setting permissions, tracking contributions, and incorporating changes. We want to make it simpler to share drafts and solicit feedback without worrying about privacy, AI, or—in the case of your collaborators—signing up for yet another service.

Want to help us shape these themes? Drop by Discord or our ideas board to share your feedback. If you’re ready to join the beta, sign up below and keep an eye on your inbox.

Join the beta

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