Ah, Vellum. The book formatting software that many authors love — if they have a Mac. But let’s assume, since you’re reading this right now, that you don’t have a Mac. This means you can’t use Vellum! Or does it?
There are a couple of workarounds (only one of which I recommend) that will allow you to use Vellum on PC. However, many authors find that this is more of a headache (and more expensive) than it needs to be. But since I’m not here to judge, I’ll give you the rundown on how to use Vellum on PC.
Vellum is Not (and never will be) Available for PC
It’s sad, but Vellum has officially acknowledged on their website that they have no plans for a PC version of Vellum. This is likely due to the fact that they have built Vellum on a coding platform that only works on Mac, so they would have to build it again from the ground up.
So naturally, a workaround IS going to be necessary. There are a few ways to do this:
- Use a better and cheaper program: Atticus (see my review of Atticus as well as my blow-by-blow comparison between it and Vellum)
- Use a service like MacInCloud (which costs more!)
- Buy a Macintosh computer to run Vellum (which costs a ton!)
A Legit Alternative to Vellum: Atticus
Before we get into how you can use Vellum on Windows, I would be remiss not to mention a better book formatting alternative. It’s called Atticus, and it has all the features people love about Vellum. Plus, it’s cheaper and (some say) easier to use.
Many in the indie author community love Atticus because it’s an affordable, powerful, and user-friendly alternative to the Vellum software. Plus, you can use it on PC, Mac, Linux, Chromebook, and even through your web browser of choice.
This is all helped by the fact that it comes from Dave Chesson, the guy behind Kindlepreneur and Publisher Rocket.
More on Atticus later. For right now, I just wanted to tell you that you don’t have to jump through the hoops I’m about to outline below just to access a great formatting tool. But for those Windows users out there who want to use Vellum without buying a Mac, I’ve got you covered, too!
Using Vellum on PC with MacInCloud
Using MacInCloud is the most straightforward way to access Vellum to format your books if you don’t have a Mac. Essentially, you pay MacInCloud a fee to access someone else’s Mac through your internet browser. You’re able to get on, format your book, send yourself the file, and then get off.
I may be oversimplifying it a bit here, but that’s the basic tenet.
Of course, even though you can access Vellum on someone else’s Mac, you’ll still have to pay for your own license — that’s $199.99 for ebooks and $249.99 for ebook and print book files.
Now, let’s get into the step-by-step process of using Vellum on PC through MacInCloud.
Step 1: Sign Up For a MacInCloud Plan
The first thing you’ll want to do is head over to the MacInCloud website and sign up for a plan. There are other services like this, but MacInCloud seems to have the best combination of price and support. Just keep in mind that there are similar services out there!
At the time of this writing, there are three primary plans on offer:
- Pay as you go – $1/hour (Minimum $30 preload) or $4 per day with a monthly commitment.
- $25 per month for basic users.
- $49 per month for advanced users.
I’d suggest sticking with the pay-as-you-go option until you see how it goes. If you like it, you might be able to save some money with the $25 a month option. It really depends on how much you’ll be using the service and how many books you’ll be creating!
Step 2: Check Out the Options
Once you decide on a plan, you’ll be taken to a page where you can check out the options. You’ll be able to pick user seats, server location, the macOS version you want, and which platform model. Then you’ll reiterate how much you’ll pay and the plan you want.
If you’re just using this to access Vellum, you should be able to leave all these options at their default. Just double-check that your payment preferences are correct before you continue!
Step 3: Pay and Verify
This step is one you’ve probably done many times before on other websites. Just fill out your contact information and then check your email inbox for a confirmation email. Easy!
Step 4: Read the Email and Follow the Steps
Once you get the email, read it carefully because it will explain how you sign into a virtual Mac via MacInCloud!
Once that’s done, you’ll have access to a Mac desktop through your browser. Then all you need to do is find the Vellum app. To do this, look for the Vellum flower icon. If you don’t see it on the desktop, check the toolbar or click on the little blue and white face to search for it.
Step 5: Get to Know Vellum and Import Your Manuscript
Once you’ve found Vellum, it’s time to get to know it! Of course, if you’ve used it before, you’ll be way ahead at this step in the process. But if you haven’t, there are plenty of tutorials you can watch if you get lost in the features.
Luckily, Vellum isn’t like Adobe InDesign or other general design software that has a formatting option. For the most part, it’s easy to use, and it creates beautiful books. But before you can start messing around too much with it, you’ll need to import your manuscript. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as searching your computer’s internal storage and uploading it.
You’ll need to first upload your manuscript to a file-sharing service such as Dropbox. Or, if you have Google Drive, you can use that, too. Just make sure your manuscript is as a .docx word document. Any other file format will give you issues with Vellum.
Likewise, you’ll need to do the same with the finished PDF print edition file or the EPUB file for ebook. Just transfer the files to your cloud-based file-sharing service so you can access them from your own computer! And remember, to export your finished book, you’ll need to purchase your own Vellum license.
Step 6: Remember You’re Using the MacOS Interface
When using MacInCloud, it’s best to keep in mind that some things will be strange for a PC user. Keyboard shortcuts for copying, cutting, and pasting won’t work, so you’ll need to use your mouse.
So if something isn’t working how you’re used to, it could be because you’re not a Mac user! You can always google how to perform the specific thing you’re trying to do on a Mac.
Be Careful With Other PC-to-Mac Alternatives
I highly recommend that you use MacInCloud if you need to use Vellum on PC. It doesn’t violate any user agreements, so you can’t get into trouble using it. However, there are some shortcuts out there that aren’t strictly legal. Plus, things start to get more complicated with these other alternatives. Just FYI! I wouldn’t want to steer you toward a life of crime. 😉
Use Atticus Instead
So you want to turn your manuscript into a beautiful book, but you don’t want to pay for a service like MacInCloud. And you really don’t want to pay the $249 (or $199 for ebooks only) for the Vellum software.
I totally get it. And I have good news. Remember the writing and formatting tool I mentioned above? Yes, Atticus. It’s only $147 for lifetime access. That includes unlimited ebooks, unlimited print books, and every new update.
You can turn your Microsoft word file or Google Docs file into an ebook or print version in the time it takes to figure out how to use MacInCloud!
Seriously. It’s super easy to use. Mac and PC users will be super comfortable with it because it’s very intuitive. It’s the best thing to hit the indie author world since sliced bread. And everyone knows how much we love sandwiches!
As promised, here’s a little more about Atticus, including some of the tool’s features.
- Built-in templates for easy yet beautiful formatting
- Options for building your own templates
- Chapter heading customization
- Drag-and-drop sections — including chapters, front matter, and back matter
- Autosave and cloud storage — never lose your work!
- ProWritingAid integration
- Device previewer to see how your book looks before you export
- Print-ready PDF files
- Industry-standard EPUB ebook files for Kindle Direct Publishing, Google Play, Apple Books, and the rest!
- Writing goal setting and a built-in timer for writing sprints to keep you on track
- Export in .docx format to collaborate in MS Word with editors or co-authors
- In-app collaboration coming soon!
Here is a breakdown of how they measure up to each other:
|H2 - H6 Headings||Atticus|
|Volumes and Parts||Tie|
|Pricing||$199 for ebook|
$249 for ebook and paperback
|$147 for ebook and paperback||Atticus|
|Chapter Theme Generator||Tie|
|Ease of Use||Tie|
|Check it Out!||Check it Out!|
How to Use Vellum on PC: Conclusion
Vellum is a great book formatting software for Mac. And until recently (at the time of this writing, anyway), there was not a great alternative for PC. But since Atticus is now out, there’s really not much of a reason to go out and buy a Mac or jump through hoops to use Vellum.
Of course, if you really want to, you can use MacInCloud from your PC to access Vellum and format your books that way. No two indie authors are alike, and we all have different preferences. So I hope this article has helped you make an informed decision about how to format your books from now on!