Mellel vs Nisus question

It seems to be on this Forum that many here find that Mellel does footnotes better than Nisus. I guess I’m stumped about why any word-processor program wouldn’t be good at doing footnotes. I need them, so I’m wondering, do you generally find Nisus more user-and-Mac friendly than Mellel. Is Mellel worth just having…just in case, since it’s on sale from MacZot today? I’d appreciate some opinions.

Nisus does footnotes and endnotes, while Mellel has a free number of note streams. It depends on your needs if you can live with the one, or want the other.

Also, Mellel has a much more powerful system of cross-references, inspired and improved over the one in FrameMaker. Nisus has a way more limited system, similar to Word.

But Nisus is indeed a lot more user-friendly (or, at least, compliant with Apple’s UI guidelines) than Mellel, and you might prefer this simplicity.

I tend to use Nisus the most, but create my final printout with Mellel, because it prints even better than a dedicated publishing program.


They’re both very nice programs. There was a review of Mellel 2.6 here: … html?t=201

Out of the two, I would say that Nisus is the most Mac-like and easy to use; it also allows things like margin comments, and also plays especially well with Scrivener RTF files (although Mellel does a good job of RTF too). I think Mellel has the advantage when it comes to academic work, especially with non-Western scripts, but I wouldn’t know much about that so can’t really say. But I like how Nisus saves to RTF as its standard format (making it an especially good and easy counterpart for Scrivener). The developers of Nisus are really helpful too. So my own preference definitely lies with Nisus, but I haven’t got anything bad to say about Mellel. Both are superior to Pages in many ways.

All the best,

P.S. I’ve moved this to the “Software by Other Folk” forum where it belongs.

I prefer Nisus. I’ve been told Mellel is more powerful, but Nisus has been able to do what I need it to, and it’s user interface is a lot more intuitive (in my opinion).

Both of them have academic pricing available (if you qualify). I’m more of an ease of use type of person, and Nisus has many items I want to use readily available. Mellel doesn’t feel as friendly to me, which is why I tend not to use it. I also like the marginal comments (as mentioned earlier), and it’s thesaurus. The thesaurus updates as you type and offers several alternatives which can be applied with the click of a button.

I don’t have Nisus, so I can’t compare them, but I do use Mellel, primarily with long documents. My favorite Mellel feature is its stability. I’ve had it two years and it’s never crashed.


I use both and enjoy both for their strengths.

In addition to its stability (Mellel has never crashed for me in the last five years), Mellel allows me to use Hebrew (and Greek) efficiently, offers multiple note streams and auto-titling, provides an adequate outlining capability and rigorous style sheets.

Nisus Writer Pro has been a workhorse for every day for small amounts of writing etc. I use it because of its interface, it feels like a writing program, and the naive .rtf file format for easy exchange of files. It too is very stable, although I have had an occasional crash (once a year?).

Bottom line: I like both and will continue to use both.

Note: It is amazing how many people, no matter the word processor/page layout, do not learn to use style sheets. I think it is mandatory to do any kind of consistent formatting and exchange of files.

Which is were I fall out with Mellel because their styles won’t export e.g. to Word or Indesign etc. I too prefer Nisus because it can be used as an end or a go-between. And its sort of comfy.

I’ve been looking at Nisus and think it’s very attractive, especially in filling the gaps in Pages.

Does anyone know if you can make outlines in Nisus? Wasn’t able to tell from the online docs.


There’s probably something that I’m missing here, but I haven’t had any problems going from Mellel to Word. I just export the document from Mellel as a rtf and then import it into Word. It seems to work ok. I HAVE had problems going directly to Word, but the two-step isn’t a big deal to me, since I only use Mellel for long documents and thus don’t often have a doc that I need to move to Word. Of course, the things I’ve done in Mellel so far are simple one-column documents with footnotes/endnotes, zero graphics, and no tables except bibliographies and tables of contents.

I bought Mellel when I moved to Mac from Windows because I got a combined price of Mellel and Bookends that seemed like a good buy. I had never heard of Nisus. I didn’t like Mellel much at first, but it grows on you as time goes by and you experience how it works.

Is this rtf thing what you’re talking about, or do you mean something else?


I was just referring to Mellel’s unwillingness to export its styles.

There is a good thread here on the Nisus forum: … =outlining

Thanks everybody! And keep the opinions coming. I did buy Mellel because it was 50% off and it doesn’t hurt to have both programs. Now I just have to wait til Nisus goes on sale. :smiley:

Thanks for your opinions, I learned some good things. Styles…okay, I’ll take those more seriously. I’d really like to know how to set up a page so I know exactly how many words I can type from page to page.

Thanks again!

Much depends on what kind of writer you are.

If you are the kind of person that writes articles of medium length, with some footnotes, illustrations, tables etc., then Nisus will be an excellent choice.

But if you are the kind of person that works with documents of hundreds of pages, with a thousand footnotes, a host of cross-references an so on, then I would definitely go for Mellel. Mellel’s outlining too is far superior to Nisus’.

But, be aware: if you choose Mellel, you choose a word processor which is in many ways different from Word and its lookalikes. Then you must read at least part of the manual, and especially study the working of styles in Mellel.

If you definitely hate reading manuals, and if you want something like Word but more user friendly and less feature crowded, then Nisus probably is the best choice.

It’s sold with a student/educator discount: $39 for Nisus Writer Pro
You need a campus e-mail address and a campus ID number.

I bought Mellel when I first got a Mac. It and I were much younger then. Since then I’ve used just about every WP out there. The biggest difference for me between Mellel and Nisus (aside from compatability - Nisus is all but seamless with Word. Mellel is a better WP but a bit snotty with its interactions) is the style sheets thing.

Mellel separates its style sheets from its templates, and its very very easier to change the entire of a document in literally a couple of clicks by changing its stylesheets. Nisus - well I’ve never really figured out how to have more than one set of styles, the template model is clunky, and I really don’t like that you can’t change styles in situ, you have to go into ‘style view’ to do it.

But Mellel is quirky and a bit of a pain to figure out. Once you’ve a figured it out though, it’s basically Latex with a very sophisticated front end. Doesn’t look great, takes some getting use to, but it’s powerful, fast, and very very stable.

At the moment, though, my quest for a WP is involving Pages. I know it’s not a heavyweight, but it’s pretty and very simple to use for my modest needs. But then the huge file sizes really irritate me.

Hi Spinningdoc,

The best way seems to me to have more templates, each one with a different set of styles. When you need a style set, either start from that template, or open it and drag its styles to the style sheet of the document you want the new styles to be applied. This also work well for copying a style set from an existing document to another one.

Wait for the new version, and see if you like it a little better. I find it greatly improved, even if I obviously cannot reveal how.

Actually, you can do any change to a passage, and then tell Nisus to Format > Para/Char Style > Update Style Based on Selection.


Is there a template chooser? I suppose I’ve never quite figured out how you open a template as a new document. I think I prefer Mellel’s concept of having separate style sheets - once you grasp it, it’s way more logical. Then again, there’s plenty Nisus does better than Mellel and it’s way more Mac-like. As I say, I tend to bounce from WP to WP as my whim takes me.

In the current version, not as such, though I and others have requested it a number of times. But you can put templates in the Document Manager … in fact that’s precisely what I use the Document Manager for … and access them pretty easily from there. I seem to remember the Document Manager is found under the “Windows” menu, but I’m not sure as I’ve set a shortcut Cmd-DM* to open it.


  • I LOVE Nisus ability to set up multi-key shortcuts like this!

Note that Nisus Writer Pro has been upgraded to 1.3. Mostly refinement and fixing many bugs with some new features.

… including a much better Document Manager system which allows you to access any files, including templates saved in the DM, without having to open the DM window first, and to build up a library of styles which can be imported into any document, also accessible through the DM.



I searched for, found, and used a discount code for Nisus Writer Pro. In conjunction with the release of v1.3 they are offering a 20 percent discount with the coupon code “fourthofjuly” until July 6, 2009. Brings the price down to $63.20 USD (from $79). Still not cheap, but NWP works so nicely with Scrivener, I took the plunge.