Mac versus Windows

I need a new PC - I really want a Macbook, principally because I always write with Scrivener on a Mac. But the new Mac may be out of my budget (unless I can figure a way around that). I’ve downloaded the PC demo version but it feels strange to me. I’ve had good reports of the Windows version, but other writers tell me the PC version isn’t as intuitive, flexible and feature-rich as the PC one. But that may be simply down to familiarity. I tried the PC demo and first thing I noticed is that the paragraphs don’t format correctly - everything just mashes together - unless I’m missing something?

can I get user feedback here, pro and con, to inform my decision to either a) sell my soul to the devil to buy a Mac or b) go the cheaper route and just get a PC?

As a Windows user for many years, Scrivener was the first “killer” application that made me seriously approach the Mac world.

Although advancing at a regular pace, the Windows version is still, IMHO, quite behind the Mac version (most of it is documented here).

If you use advanced compile options (like compile contents filters) or extensive use of Scrivenings and the Outliner, I think you’ll really miss the Mac environment.

There’s also a third option, if you’re somewhat technically inclined: run Scrivener inside a MacOS virtual machine on Windows. I do it that way and it works very well for me.

Hope this helps!

That’s a big help, thanks. If I can get the cash together it’s going to be a Mac, but I am sure I can make it work for my needs on PC (I don’t do anything too sophisticated - just write novels and output them manuscripts, though I want to get more sophisticated with character sheets and outlining, so I need to become more of a super user.)

Editor formatting in the Windows version is customisable just as in the Mac version, so I imagine this is just that the default settings aren’t matching what you use on your Mac. I’m not quite sure what you mean by “mashing together”–perhaps you just need to adjust the before or after paragraph spacing? Format > Text > Spacing… or “More…” from the line spacing drop-down in the format bar. You can change the default editor formatting in the Editor tab of Tools > Options…, similarly to how it’s done on the Mac.

Thanks, Mimetic.

What I meant by “mashing together” was that when I hit paragraph return, all that happened was that Scrivener created a new line, with no indent. The default on Scrivener Mac has a nice font, automatically creates indented paragraphs - no need to format anything.

The Windows version also has a default first-line indent in the factory settings, so perhaps this got changed when you were testing things (or if you imported or pasted formatted text, it could have been overridden, just as would happen in the Mac version). Just set it in the Editor options by dragging the top left indent marker to .5in or wherever you want it.

Thanks, MM

In my experience, Macs are far cheaper than Windows machines.

We still have 3 Macs we bought in 2008, 2 of which running the latest version of OS X (though all 3 still work and are still used every single day). No OS upgrade fees, a free suite of work apps, free photo and movie apps, free calling and messages through FaceTime and Messages. No anti-virus. No slow down of the machines. No Windows or Office problems to sort out. Far greater productivity: greater working efficiency, and no time wasted troubleshooting the machines.

The Macs have saved us thousands of pounds. We used to replace 3 Dells every 2 years, spending £1500-£2000 on each machine. We would have gone through 12 Dells in the last 7 years, rather than the 4 Macs we have bought. No Windows OS fees, no Office fees, no anti-virus fees, etc. Don’t even have to use Skype.

Personally, I would never go back to Windows. If the choice was between a Windows PC or no PC at all, I would choose no PC. Would rather write longhand than use Windows. Would rather give up writing than use Windows.

Briar, I am inclined to agree…better than PCs in every way. That’s a good point, too…you save money in the long run. Need to save my pennies.

My laptop Mac is still an Early 2008 MacBook Pro. During the whole month of October I used it exclusively, working in InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop. Slow, but it worked great. If I had replaced the internal drive with an SSD, it would have probably also worked fast.

This computer has followed me across four countries and several travels. I had to replace the battery, but after a few years of heavy use I guess this should not be considered too annoying. It runs on Mavericks, but could run on Yosemite (if only I didn’t feel disgusted by its look). My (admittedly, much cheaper) Samsung PC laptop is from 2009, and it is sluggish under XP.


I pretty much agree with everything that has been said on this Mac vs Windows thread.

That said, I do use a Windows Machine now and use the Windows version of Scrivener. I used it for the past year (I think I’ve used if for that long : ), and:

  1. It’s been very solid.
  2. Done everything (and more) that I needed in order to write (and keep organized, make changes, etc.) a book (working with a cover designer now).
  3. Easily created rtf, ePub, and mobi files. The mobi files work (and look) great on a Kindle. I even created a jpg “test” cover.

Did I find a few minor (for me) things that the Mac version does better? Yes.

Would I break the bank (go into serious debt) to get a Mac just to have the Mac version of software? No.

Would I be happy if I had to keep using the Windows version? Yes.

Are there other reasons besides the Mac version of Scrivener that are driving me to get a Mac versus a Windows laptop? Yes.

Now, my budget “is” going to allow me to purchase a new laptop (I currently have a desktop only). And I will probably get the Mac (I purchased the Windows and Mac licenses for Scrivener at the same time) this spring/summer (waiting to see if Apple rumors about a new laptop are true). But I will purchase from the low to middle end laptops that Apple make. It will cost roughly $1100 to $1400 (I’ll get a discount from where I work). Yes, I know I’m paying somewhat of an Apple premium. It’s worth it “for me.”


I built my own Windows PC in 2009 and it’s still going strong. No components have needed replacing, and any software quirks I’m able to fix on my own. Just because something didn’t work for you doesn’t mean that it won’t work for other people.

Last sentence, so true.

Second sentence, exactly. Windows regularly serves up software quirks. OS X invariably doesn’t.

My 76-year-old neighbour was a Windows user. For 8 years, he asked me to help sort out Windows/Office problems for him pretty much every week, and for hours at a time. Last year, he bought an iMac. He asked for help transferring his data from Windows to OS X. A few days later, he needed help setting up an old printer. Since then, he hasn’t had a single issue or needed any help at all. Nada.

Windows to OS X. Office to iWork. Not even one problem or difficulty. Everything intuitive. Everything just works. Windows/Office can’t make the same claim.

I hate MS for wasting hours of my life sorting out their poorly written software.

YMMV. :smiley:

Mac & Windows universes are quite different, and are prefered by different users.

Mac is easy, very expensive and do not allow users to put “hands in the motor” easily.

Windows PCs is quite cheap (comparatively), more buggy and offers some freedom (but not as much as Linux, of course, just far more than mac).

You can prefer the Mac. I prefers Windows (and Linux BTW)

So if you want to start this stupid old war (again), by stating for no use “how you hate Windows”, just do it… But maybe not in the “windows” zone of the forum ? Or is it that, trolling ?

It’s only me, who finds that the standard Mac command shell is more powerful that Window’s shell?


Not only you. :laughing:

It’s just Bash, the same shell most GNU/Linux users are familiar with, and only one of a few pre-installed options along with zsh and tcsh—and if you want more you can install an entire apt-get environment and pull down all kinds of open source software. :slight_smile: Using Terminal on a Mac is much more like opening an xterm session (which you can actually do, in X11, on a Mac—as well as install KDE, native!) than a “DOS” window.

It has always been a bit of a misnomer that Macs can only molly coddle its users. You can absolutely stick your hand right into the motor of a Mac and get it chewed off in a bloody haze.

I don’t see any cause to accuse them of trolling, the stated opinions appear to be coming from a very genuine place. We’ve all had varying experiences with different computer platforms (and community experiences trying to help everyone figure out their computers, if one is inclined and skilled enough to be “that person”). It’s anecdotal for sure, but that is kind of what the original poster was asking for: user feedback.

If you have anecdotal feedback of your own to suggest that the overall level of support required to keep a Windows computer operational is lower or equivalent to Macs, then go right ahead and spill it, and feel free to state that you hate Macs, too. :wink:

But let’s keep the emotions aimed at the software and OSes, not each other. :slight_smile:

Ok, sorry for the bad mood, Mac is cool too. I guess :smiley:
Also, I cant wait to have a 2.0, 2.5 and, well, 2.6 ? Windows version of Scrivener, it seems very cool ! :smiley:


Thank you, Ioa, for both of the posts above.