In this article, we have shared the Atticus vs Vellum comparison with features, pros, and cons, and pricing comparison.
Vellum is considered to be the best formatting software for authors for a long time. Despite this, it has always had problems because it only works with Macs, and it is very expensive.
Vellum has publicly stated that they are not planning on making a PC version and advises authors to either own a Mac or use a Mac in the Cloud.
But then there is Atticus, which is not only as good as Vellum, but it is also a much cheaper option.
Thus, people are left wondering if Atticus is actually as good as it seems, and how does it compare to Vellum?
For this question, I will do a side-by-side comparison and examine the pros and cons of each, in order to determine if Atticus can replace Vellum.
Let’s take a closer look.
Atticus is the all in one formatting tool to help you get your book print and ebook ready in less time.
Vellum is a book creation tool for Mac that allows you to professionally format books for publication.Vellum is a book creation tool for Mac that allo
Overview Atticus vs Vellum 2023
Overview of Atticus
Overview of Vellum
I wanted to begin with a list of major features because not all features in a product are really relevant to most authors.
I consider the following aspects of each software essential, or nearly so, to the point where the lack of anyone would be problematic.
As I compared Atticus to Vellum, I found the following features to be most notable:
- Ease of Use
- The Word Processor Itself
- A Theme Builder
- The Support Team
- Platform Availability
- Online and Offline Use
- Exporting/Importing Options
Let’s examine each of these separately:
Ease of Use Comparison
Measurable metrics such as ease of use are hard to quantify. However, I will try.
There is no need to follow complicated instructions, courses, or anything else to use Vellum to format books. You can find anything you need with ease.
The downside of this is that it doesn’t have the same kind of advanced features as Adobe Indesign. Vellum, however, was not designed to be one of those programs nor to appeal to their respective audiences.
With Atticus, all features can be found with the same minimal number of clicks as with Vellum.
While Atticus aspires to have more features than Vellum, so far, it has done an excellent job of meeting the needs of both novice and advanced users – more about that in a bit.
But overall, they operate very similarly, and their ease of use is the same.
The Word Processor (and related features)
Input your book into that space using the word processor so we can see what capabilities it has.
Atticus and Vellum both have roughly the same number of features in the word processor, so I would say this is a tie. Atticus has the edge over the other two because it’s specially designed to be a word processor.
Even so, Atticus still needs to add several features before it can truly compete with Vellum’s word processor, so for now I’ll call it even. Each program has the following features:
- The spelling check in the app
- Footnotes are not saved by Vellum; only endnotes are).
- Separation/merger of chapters
- Count of words
- The style of buttons (bold/italics/links, etc.)
Custom Chapter Theme Builder
There is no theme builder in Vellum because…Vellum does not have one. A major complaint with Vellum is that with only eight themes available, each book looks the same and is easily identified as having been created with Vellum.
Vellum has announced that they will have something similar by the end of December, which they are testing at the moment. However, a quarter of a year cannot be considered “soon.”
However, at its infancy, Atticus has already produced a Custom Chapter Builder that makes Atticus books unique and allows their users to truly create beautiful books.
In Atticus’s theme builder, you have the option of starting from scratch or using an existing chapter theme.
A variety of fonts, sizes, locations, and even images may be selected. By doing so, you will be able to make chapters look and feel as though they are your own.
Atticus vs Vellum: Minor Features
Atticus stands out as a clear favorite here as the deal-breaker.
In order to use Vellum on a PC, you will have to use a service called Mac in Cloud, which is slow, expensive, and difficult to use.
The rest is up to you. Definitely. There are no exceptions. Vellum is built as a Mac-only program, which means they would have to rewrite it from scratch if they want a Windows version, and it’s clear from their website that this is not a priority.
As opposed to that, Atticus is available on every platform under the sun, not just because it’s a web browser-based service. By using a progressive web app (PWA), Atticus can be used on:
There are a lot of devices there. In addition, it can be used on a variety of computers (your desktop, or laptop while traveling) since it works download or in the browser.
There is no doubt that it is superior in terms of accessibility to the largest network of authors.
Online and Offline Use
To determine which is better for online and offline use, I ask myself the following questions:
- Does it have a cloud backup?
- In-browser versions are available?
- Without an Internet connection, can I use it offline?
Here is what Atticus needs to know
- With Atticus, everything is automatically backed up to the cloud, and it has an auto-save feature, so in case of an accident, your computer might be toast, but your work is still safe.
- As long as you have an Internet connection, you can access the in-browser version from anywhere. As a result, you can use it when you are on the go on your laptop or Chromebook.
- You can use the program offline if the program is installed on your computer (note: you will need to restore an Internet connection if you want to sync any work done while offline with the cloud). You only need an internet connection with Atticus when you first log in, when uploading a new doc, exporting a book, or when using a future Atticus feature – collaboration.
For Vellum, here are the answers to the same questions.
- Availability limited. Vellum files can be saved in the cloud using a third-party system, but it is not a native feature.
- The in-browser version is not available. In addition, your license is only valid for two computers, so you cannot use it on another computer (work or travel laptop for example) without paying another fee.
- Yes, the program operates offline and doesn’t require an Internet connection, and that’s the only way it works
By the answers here, it is clear that Atticus is the clear winner since you get the best of both worlds with some minor limitations:
There are reasons why export and import options are important, which I will explain below.
There is an EPUB and a PDF export option in both programs. The two formats are the most widely used for ebooks and print publications.
As well as exporting as a DOCX file, Atticus can be used to collaborate with editors, audiobook narrators, beta readers, etc. This feature is not available with Vellum.
Nonetheless, Vellum can also export to MOBI, which Atticus is currently working on. It is still useful to have MOBI files on hand, even though Amazon no longer requires them, for instance when giving a beta reader the correct file type. This point goes to Vellum.
Although Atticus does not yet support exporting to MOBI, you can still use a program such as Calibre to convert from EPUB to MOBI.
In Atticus or Vellum, you can import DOCX files, EPUB files, or other versions of your manuscript that you created earlier. Can I import EPUB files?
Vellum imports only DOCX files, while Atticus currently supports DOCX, RTF, MOBI, and EPUB.
Atticus and Vellum both have book reviewers.
Vellum’s chapter previewer features pagination, but Atticus’ previewer only allows you to tab between chapters.
This makes it easier to simulate how a book looks on each device. Therefore, it has an advantage at the moment.
As a result, Atticus will soon have a more advanced previewer that will be able to paginate and be more comprehensive than Vellum.
Available Chapter Themes
There are eight different chapter themes that you can use in your book with Vellum.
The Atticus platform not only has more than double this number, but it is constantly adding more. Additionally, a custom chapter theme builder is available (see next section).
This means that your chapter headers can look however you like, and you can differentiate your book from those written by other authors who use the software.
The themes themselves look great, and they cover a variety of genres better than Vellum. Additionally, Atticus allows for full-page image bleeds.
Minor Features Atticus vs Vellum
Usually, minor features are not deal breakers but are still important to most people. Even so, I think you will discover Atticus excels here as well.
1. Word count options:
The apps let you see the whole book’s word count as well as the word count for each chapter. For fairness’ sake, I will give this point to both, though I would say it’s a little more intuitive in Atticus to access this information.
2. Chapter elements
If you’re formatting a book, then you should know what parts of the book are in the body and on the front and back. There are currently as many chapter elements for Vellum as Atticus, so this is a tie.
It does not differentiate between footnotes and endnotes in Vellum. In this situation, Atticus takes the lead.
There is no clear winner in this category as both apps offer in-app spellcheck, however, Atticus is working to add ProWritingAid integration. For now, I’ll give both apps a point.
4. Large Print:
It’s true that Vellum is able to create larger fonts for your print books, but large print actually requires more than Vellum does (to be compliant with all the organizational guidelines) on its own. In contrast, Atticus does it all.
In smaller features, Atticus leads by 6 to 4. The updated score is 14 to 7 in favor of Atticus when considering the major features.
That’s just what Atticus already has. Are there any features it does not have (yet)?
Furthermore, Atticus is a relatively new piece of software, and is expanding and growing every day. Thus, there will be a TON of new features in the near future.
Dave Chesson, the creator, has said it’s not just a book formatting software, but an all-in-one package that lets authors plan, plot, collaborate, and format books.
As for Vellum, it hasn’t changed much over the years, and while I’m not privy to any upcoming improvements they plan to make, I have no reason to believe this will change anytime soon.
Having said that, I’ve given Vellum some credit for upcoming features that Atticus doesn’t have yet, but Vellum does. Atticus will expand soon, so keep that in mind.
Among the upcoming features that I am looking forward to are:
Find and Replace:
Using this tool, you’ll be able to find any word within a certain chapter or throughout the entire manuscript, and you can replace it with anything you want.
They are working on it right now. The point will be given to Vellum.
Volume and Parts:
Volume, parts, and scenes help you group sections of a manuscript together, but they can also help you create box sets. The feature is nearly completed for Atticus at the time of this writing.
For now, I give the point to Vallum (though they don’t include scenes, whereas Atticus will).
By using this feature, you can have reusable elements (such as a universal Also By page) that you can use across multiple books. Whenever you change anything in one book, Atticus will update all the books in it.
It would allow those of us who are night owls to have a mode that reduces eye strain when the environment is dark.
Goal Setting/Tracking Goals:
With Atticus, you get everything in one place. Among the things it needs to do is to have goal-setting and tracking tools, so you can input writing goals, see word counts, and so on.
The written text is only one part of a story. As well as planning, outlining, worldbuilding, etc., there is a great deal of preparation involved. Vellum does not have these features at present, but they will eventually be incorporated into Atticus.
The only tools I’ve seen for spell checking in Atticus or Vellum so far are standard spell checking tools. We recommend ProWritingAid as the best editing tool, and Atticus plans to ultimately partner with ProWritingAid, putting it above Vellum in this area as well.
Over time, Atticus will provide tools for co-authors to collaborate on their manuscripts without having to constantly send and receive files back and forth, or worry about which version is which.
You can save multiple versions of a manuscript without downloading them all separately, making keeping your work safe and secure even easier. In short, you will see a lot of great features coming in the future. Vellum can’t compete with most of them.
Customer Reviews of Atticus vs Vellum
Atticus vs Vellum: The Bottom Line
Atticus is clearly the better choice, even if your sole purpose is to format books (it does much more than that). That’s without mentioning Atticus’ upcoming features, which are sure to make things even worse.
All in all, Atticus has the exact same features as Vellum, but it does not sacrifice quality, with a number of additional features (such as the theme builder) that Vellum sorely lacks. The best part is that it costs almost half as much as Vellum.
See my master guide on formatting if you want to learn more about it. I recommend Atticus otherwise. Do not compromise!