Ultimate wish: replace Word entirely

Scrivener has been a genuine life-saver, but I would love to see the creators go the final step, and give me something that can lay out books and save me from the great satan, MS Word.

So my wish list is:

An application - either a bolt on or a fresh product - which can typeset/ lay out books. I’ve been told that this is not what Scrivener is for. Understood, so please consider serving that need/ market.

I need something intuitive and user-friendly that can easily do runnings heads, mirror margins, gutter, intelligent page numbering (understanding when to skip pages, when to use numerals) and so on.

In my ignorance it doesn’t seem like a difficult thing to pull off. It could start with simple but vital functionality and grow from there.

And the sales, if it works well, would be colossal. I would think that a large number of people get baffled and almost broken on the wheel of Word. And it cannot be necessary.

Thanks for your consideration.

In the publishing industry, there is almost no way around Microsoft Word. It’s part of the production process.

The OP may be interested to know that Nisus Writer Pro, a pretty good MS Word substitute that comes without much of the Word bloat, is currently on sale for the next few hours on MacUpdate for half its normal price i.e. $39.50: http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/24669/nisus-writer-pro

Or to better satisfy the OP’s typesetting and layout requirements, there is Mellel: http://www.mellel.com/mellel/

That all depends on which publishers you work with. “The publishing industry” is large and varied, not some monolithic entity, and nowadays it includes self-publishing (aka publisher for a single client) as well as all sorts of smaller houses who have the luxury to set up their production processes around their desired tools.

Sure, that’s why I wrote “almost”. But I can speak from experiences with a lot of the biggest German publishing houses plus some foreign, among them American, and sadly, “Word-Doc” happens to be what is demanded ultimately, while “RTF” is only tolerated. But as soon as the editing process, the back and forth with your editor, begins, most likely your RTF-file will return as a doc-File or, even worse, a docx-file.

The good news is that all versions of the OpenOffice-project deal with these file formats easily (and for free). So, you don’t have to buy Microsoft Word (AFAIK, it can’t be bought anymore anyway, you have to rent it now?), just download OpenOffice or LibreOffice, and you’re done.

No, you still very much CAN buy Office as a standalone, non-subscription version.


I agree with Hugh. As the OP is a Mac user, I’d recommend Nisus Writer Pro, or even Mellel. Mellel is cheaper, but even at $79 (£51), Nisus, which, if you install it as a single user, the same licence can be used on any machines for which you have an account, and if you need spreadsheets, Numbers is only £15 (whatever that is in dollars), and Keynote, which beats the socks off Powerpoint in my opinion, is another £15. So for under £90, well under if you go for Mellel, you can get the lot, compared with $229.99 (£150) for one machine for Office.

And NWP and Mellel both import .doc and .docx; I have to admit, though, that very occasionally, badly set up tables in .DOC/DOCX can be a pain in NWP and are easier to sort out in Pages. And both export to .DOC(X) … it’s merely a matter of “Export” rather than just “Save” as NWP’s native format is .RTF and Mellel’s is proprietary, but really, that’s no big deal.

As for OpenOffice/LibreOffice (I see the latter is now $29 or something), I don’t use either, though my wife has used OO. In my memory, as their native format is .ODF, you have to export too. They are also very ugly and un-Mac-like in my estimation. But cost-wise a good option.

So, unless the OP is also needing Word/Office for other purposes, and it doesn’t sound like it, I’d go for NWP. I have nothing against Mellel; I own a copy, but I find it rather quirky though powerful, and for years I couldn’t use it as it turned .DOCs in Chinese into gibberish on import. That was solved in v. 3, but NWP remains my word-processor of choice, and it is the most Mac-like of all — leaving Pages aside.

My 2p’worth.

Mr X

OK, thanks. Thought they had finally fulfilled Bill Gates’ old dream, but obviously not so. Not that I’d care much, as long as alternatives exist.

2 cents from a Scrivener newbie here…

I would argue that this doesn’t really match the subject of this thread. In my opinion, MS Word isn’t the right tool for this anyway 8) For layout/typesetting, don’t use a word processor, use layout/typesetting software. InDesign would be an example.

Errr… both OpenOffice and LibreOffice are free software (free as in freedom and free as in beer). Where did you get the idea that either one costs 29$?

My bad :blush: … I was checking it out in terms of putting LO instead of OO on my wife’s computer as it is getting more development, I understand, but somehow I must have been directed to a site which was imposing a $29 charge. I can’t remember how I got there. Needless to say, I didn’t follow through on it.

So now I’ll go and download it from the real site and have a look if it’s worth changing the w-p on the GLW’s computer.

Mr X