Welcome to this Atticus vs Vellum review. Now I have been a avid user of Vellum for many years, but when I learned about Atticus and everything it could do, especially the fact that I would no longer have to buy Macs exclusively in order to use Vellum, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.
But is Atticus actually better than Vellum?
Yes. Atticus is, undeniably, better than Vellum. It does everything that Vellum does (plus more), it’s cheaper, it’s available on more platforms, and much more. Mic. Drop. You should go get it now.
But if you’d like more explanation, here is my breakdown.
What is the Difference Between Atticus and Vellum?
On the surface, Atticus and Vellum look very similar to each other.
However, they are actually quite different.
Atticus, on the other hand, is much more than a formatting program. While it did start out with formatting as its primary feature, Atticus is gearing up to be the end all be all for writers. Not only will the format your book, but you can also write your book within the program, and you will eventually be able to collaborate with editors and other authors as well.
There are other unique differences, such as the design, and whether it works online or off-line, but will save those for the in-depth feature analysis below.
Atticus vs Vellum: Features I Will Grade Them On
In order to provide you with the best possible review, I will be comparing Atticus and Vellum on the following features that I feel are most important:
- Platform Variability
- Chapter Theme Generator
- Volumes and Parts
- Reusable Elements
- Ease of Use
- Online/Offline Features
- The Word Processor
- Goal Setting
I like to get the most value for my money, so I’m excited to dive in and see which one of these is better. On to find the winner…
Vellum vs Atticus: Side-by-Side Comparison
The below Vellum vs Atticus comparison table demonstrates two things:
- The check marks represent which one has the better feature
- Specific information I think is important to know in a side-by-side comparison
|H2 - H6 Headings
|Volumes and Parts
|$199 for ebook
$249 for ebook and paperback
|$147 for ebook and paperback
|Chapter Theme Generator
|Ease of Use
|Check it Out!
|Check it Out!
Okay, so now that you can see some of the specifics of the two platforms, and my overall winner for certain features, below are the specifics on why one or the other is best for that specific feature.
Atticus vs Vellum: Platform Variability
Platform variability is where you see the biggest difference between Atticus and Vellum.
Atticus is available on a wide variety of platforms, including:
I tried to see if there was a mobile version, and it doesn’t appear that there is at this time. And it definitely doesn’t look good on mobile if you use a browser, so don’t count on that method.
Vellum is only available on one platform: Mac.
In fact, I actually know some authors who literally shelled out over a thousand bucks just to get a Macintosh computer so they could run Vellum.
That’s what happens when there is no good competitor on the marketplace. But now that Atticus is around, you don’t have to do that anymore.
Atticus wins this round.
Atticus vs Vellum: Cost
The second biggest difference between these two programs is pricing.
Atticus is available for a lifetime fee of $147. That means that if you buy it, you get all future upgrades at no extra cost.
Vellum also has a lifetime fee, but it costs $199 for e-book formatting, and $249 if you also want to format print books.
Given the fact that Atticus is more than just a formatting program, and it costs significantly less than Vellum, I’m definitely giving this point to Atticus.
Atticus vs Vellum: Chapter Theme Generator
One of the cool things about both programs is that they have a chapter theme generator. This lets you incorporate images, full bleed background images, fancy fonts, etc. into your chapter headings.
Vellum originally didn’t have this feature, then Atticus came with it right out of the gate, and it didn’t take long for Vellum to add the same feature.
But which one is better?
Atticus has a wide variety of themes, and an insane customization tool to create and save new themes. The level of customization is extremely robust, which makes it stand out a bit.
Vellum has many of the same features. Though they have more theme templates than Atticus, their level of customization is not quite up to the same level.
For that reason, I’m calling this one a tie.
Atticus vs Vellum: Volumes and Parts
When formatting a book, having the ability to sort by volumes and parts is an important feature, especially if you’re looking to build box sets.
Atticus has volumes and parts, plus they also have a way to divide chapters up by scene, similar to what Scrivener does. It’s also easy to take multiple books and place them into a box set.
Vellum does have volumes and parts, and they make it quite easy to just drag and drop books together in order to form a box set.
So even though Atticus technically has the edge on this one (since it also includes scene divisions), I’ll be nice to Vellum and make it a tie.
Atticus vs Vellum: Reusable Elements
Okay, you guys, this is one of those features that I am most excited about.
This is kind of a first-world author problem, but have you ever created your Also By page with a list of all of your books, then you have to update it everywhere else?
Wouldn’t it be easier to have one Also By page template, and that if you update that template, it will update everywhere automatically?
This is not a feature that has existed anywhere until now.
Atticus includes reusable elements as part of their core features.
Vellum, as of this writing, does not.
Simple as that, and Atticus gets this point.
Atticus vs Vellum: Ease of Use
I played around with both Atticus and Vellum extensively. I have formatted pretty much my entire back catalog in both programs.
I can therefore say that the overall design and ease-of-use for each tool is about the same.
Both have really intuitive designs, formatting is a breeze, and I have no trouble at all figuring out how to do things.
That’s why I’m making this one a tie.
Atticus vs Vellum: Online/Offline Features
Offline and online features are an important component to programs like these. And I’ll be honest when I say that many authors do not agree on which is better.
Some authors like a program that they can access online, so they can access it anywhere in the world, such as at work or while traveling.
Others prefer the privacy of keeping everything offline so they don’t have to worry about getting hacked, or so they can turn off the Wi-Fi and still get work done.
Atticus is the best of both worlds. It uses a progressive web app (PWA) that allows you to install on your computer and use it offline, while still being a predominantly online platform, accessible from anywhere with a web browser and an Internet connection.
Side note: I understand that in order to use Atticus offline, you still need to be online for your initial login, and anytime you export a book. But if you’re just writing or formatting, you will need to do this.
Vellum only has one setting: offline. While this may be more attractive to some, I personally prefer the hybrid approach because it means my work has less of a risk of being lost if my computer crashes somehow.
Atticus vs Vellum: The Word Processor
As with almost any other writing program, there is a word processor where you input all your text.
Atticus is word processor has a bunch of fancy features that make it stand out, including the ability to change the font you are writing in, the font size, etc. plus it has all of the standard bells and whistles to format your text.
Vellum has many of the same features, but lacks little details like being able to change your font. And if you’ve worked with Vellum, it’s clear that it is not meant to be a writing software. It is a formatting software.
For that reason the point here goes to Atticus.
Atticus vs Vellum: Goal Setting
If you’ve used Scrivener in the past, you may have used some of its goal setting features, things that help you stay on target and motivate you to keep writing.
Atticus includes these features, which allow you to set project-based goals and daily habit goals. Personally, this has significantly increased my output because now I see how much I’m getting done every day, and I don’t want to lose my streak.
Vellum, because it is not a writing platform, does not include any goal-setting features.
One more point to Atticus.
Atticus vs Vellum: H2 – H6 Headings
For you nonfiction folks, Atticus gives you something truly useful – multiple heading levels. This means you can have main headings, subheadings, sub-subheadings…as many as you need!
Atticus lets you create heading levels 2 through 6, and customize each one however you want. Make the fonts bigger, smaller, italicized, underlined – go crazy with it!
But what’s cool is that headings aren’t just for nonfiction. Fiction authors can get creative with them too.
By using a specific font style, you could make headings look handwritten, like a text message, or whatever fits your story. The possibilities are wide open.
So don’t think that just because you write fiction, headings aren’t for you. With Atticus, headings add awesome flexibility no matter what you write!
Vellum doesn’t give you the same options. You only get one subheading style that has to match the rest of your formatting. Totally limited.
Yet one more point for Atticus.
Which is better, Atticus or Vellum? My Conclusion
I think I can say, from the absolute depths of my soul, that Atticus is by far the better program here.
That’s not to say that Vellum isn’t great, especially if you are a Mac owner already. But let’s be real, guys. Atticus is just as good at formatting, it’s way cheaper, and it’s available on all platforms.
You just can’t beat that.
Plus there’s the fact that Atticus is shaping up to be more than just a formatting program, if all goes to the plans that Dave Chesson and and his team have made public, there will not be a better writing software out there.
In other words, I would invest in Atticus now, because it’s going to be huge.