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Atticus vs Vellum Comparison: Which is Best?

Welcome to this Atticus vs Vellum review. Now, I have been an 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 use a Mac exclusively in order to use Vellum, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

But is Atticus actually better than Vellum?

Short Answer: 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?

Comparing the book formatting between Atticus and Vellum

On the surface, Atticus and Vellum look very similar to each other.

However, they are actually quite different.

Vellum is strictly a formatting software. It focuses on formatting beautiful e-books and print books that you can self-publish on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

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:

  1. Platform Variability
  2. Cost
  3. Chapter Theme Generator
  4. Volumes and Parts
  5. Number of Fonts
  6. Ease of Use
  7. Online/Offline Features
  8. The Word Processor
  9. 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:

  1. The check marks represent which one has the better feature
  2. Specific information I think is important to know in a side-by-side comparison
Featurevellum logo

atticus logo

H2 - H6 Headingsgreen-checkAtticus
Volumes and Partsgreen-checkgreen-checkTie
Large Printgreen-checkAtticus
No. of Fonts261,500+Atticus
Platform VariabilityMacWindows
Pricing$199 for ebook
$249 for ebook and paperback
$147 for ebook and paperbackAtticus
Chapter Theme Generatorgreen-checkgreen-checkTie
Ease of Usegreen-checkgreen-checkTie
Reusable Elementsgreen-checkgreen-checkBoth
Online/Offline Featuresgreen-checkAtticus
Word Processorgreen-checkAtticus
Goal Settinggreen-checkAtticus
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:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • Chromebook

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

theme builder in atticus

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: Number of Fonts

Being able to choose fonts is incredibly important to me. I personally love to be able to make my books unique and I have certain fonts that I just love.

With Vellum, you only get 26 to choose from. Clearly, you’re stuck with only those, and Vellum has never added any as far as I know. This doesn’t allow my romance book to stick out and shine.

However, with Atticus, there are over 1,500 fonts to choose from. I have already gone through and saved a couple of my favorites, and use them with glee. This alone would have been enough for me to ditch Vellum.

So, point for Atticus.

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

Comparing the writing processor of vellum and atticus

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

word goal tracking in atticus

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.

Check Out Atticus

4 thoughts on “Atticus vs Vellum Comparison: Which is Best?”

  1. Glenn A Grillo

    why in one point you say atticus is on all os’s but in the check one it shows only Mac ?

    1. Sam Howard

      Whoops..I just did a major edit of the article and got that line mixed up. Fixed now. Atticus works on all, Vellum only works on Mac.

  2. Quería saber si la interfase de Atticus puede adaptarse a otros idiomas como por ejemplo el español. Desde ya, gracias

    1. Sam Howard

      sí puede – yes it can be used with other languages 🙂

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