This post and video first appeared on my blog over at https://paulteague.com/
I made it available free after discovering that I could use the fabulous Vellum software on my PC.
However, there was not enough detail in that original video for some users - it's not difficult to set up, but it does require a bit of knowledge.
So I decided to create a full and detailed course, showing every aspect of the process.
If you can manage the set up via the free video, please accept it with my compliments and I hope that it helps you to discover for yourself the wonderful software that is Vellum.
However, if you need a bit more help, you'll find everything that you need in this training.
How To Use Vellum On A PC
If you're a self-published author, you've probably heard of Vellum by now.
It's the wonderful formatting software that Mac users gloat about when they inform you that it can't be used on a PC.
But what if you hate Macs like I do (see my archive post here as to why) but still want to use Vellum?
Up until now, the bad news was that the creators have no intention of releasing a PC version.
Interview: Beautiful Ebook Formatting with Brad Andalman from Vellum on Joanna Penn's podcast here
But now there is a simple way around that problem – and it doesn't involve hacks, scams or geekery.
Note: Full ‘how-to' video at the bottom of this post
You can now use pay-as-you-go services which give you access to a virtual Mac.
The service that I use is called MacInCloud: https://www.macincloud.com/
I've never tried any other services, that one just worked for me straight away and I'm very happy with what they provide.
My recommendation is to go for the PAYG option, it's only $30 for 30 hours of use … that's a lot cheaper than having to fork out for a Mac!
Once you have set up your account, head for the My Servers menu links [1 in the image below], select Managed [2 in the image below], then click on the Actions menu [3 in the image below].
There are two options in that Actions menu:
1: Connect Now [this allows you to access your virtual Mac via a browser]
2: Download Connection Files [this allows you to access your virtual Mac via a window on your PC] Recommended!
The connection files are downloaded as a ZIP file, open it up and select the screen resolution which suits you best – I just use full screen:
You will then be able to access your virtual Mac – hurrah!
Not so fast … there are some peculiarities of a Mac which you need to know.
1: Your Windows keyboard won't work quite the same as it does with your PC.
The biggest problem is that you'll need to use the ” key to write a @ … which you'll do every time you enter an email address.
2: The other really annoying thing about Macs is that you can't CTRL A/CTRL C/CTRL V to cut and paste.
On a Mac you use the CMD key instead of CTRL … and we don't usually have one of those (grrrrrrrrrrr).
As we're not using a Mac all of the time, it'll just mean that you have to type in passwords and the like manually.
Before you access Vellum, I suggest that you open up your emails in Chrome or whichever browser you prefer and also, set up Dropbox so that you can easily move files between your Windows PC and your virtual Mac.
You'll need your emails open on the virtual machine to access the welcome email that you received when you purchased Vellum – that email also contains your licence.
Life will be much sweeter if you set up Dropbox/Google Drive/OneDrive on your PC and virtual Mac – it'll make document exchange between devices much smoother (watch the video below to see how fast this is!).
I'm hoping that you already have at least one of these cloud-based back-up systems – if not, how are you making sure that you never lose your valuable work?
When you login to Dropbox on your virtual machine, you will be able to ‘selective sync' files – that means you choose what's copied between your own PC and your virtual Mac.
This is what it looks like on a PC … it's the same process on a Mac, the menu just looks a bit different:
I created a special folder on my own PC called #MacInCloud and that's the only folder I synced onto my virtual machine:
Having this set up enables you to easily move a file from your PC over to your virtual Mac, and once you export your files from Vellum, so long as you save them to the #MacInCloud folder on your Virtual Mac, they'll immediately appear on your PC [see my video below to watch this in action].
Finally, download and licence your copy of Vellum – if you have any problems, use the official Vellum Help area here
You're now good to go – you really can use Vellum on a PC and it's very easy to do.
Vellum will output your beautifully formatted files into your #MacInCloud folder, magically transferring them over to your PC via Dropbox, and they'll be all ready to upload to Kindle, Draft2Digital, Smashwords or wherever it is you intend to list them.
And next time somebody says to you that you can't use Vellum on a PC, you can smugly smile and congratulate yourself that you were clever enough to figure out a workaround without having to go through the ridiculous expense of buying a Mac