Vellum flower icon Vellum Help

The Text Editor

Vellum’s Text Editor — shown in the middle of the main window — allows you to edit the content of your book. Need to fix a typo, add formatting, or write your entire novel from scratch? You can do it all here.

Editing Text

The Text Editor shows the content for the currently selected chapter. If you need to fix a typo, change some character formatting, or use one of Vellum’s advanced Text Features, you can do it all within the Text Editor:

Vellum’s Text Editor is a full-featured word-processor and includes:

All of these features are accessible from Vellum’s Edit menu.

Checking Spelling and Grammar

Vellum utilizes your Mac’s built-in spelling and grammar to flag and fix mistakes. Words that Vellum thinks may be misspelled are underlined in red:

A misspelled word in Vellum’s Text Editor indicated by a dotted red underline

If a word is incorrectly flagged as a misspelling, right-click (or Control-click) on it to bring up a context menu. Then, choose Learn Spelling so that you won't be warned about it again, in any document. You can also choose Ignore Spelling if you only want this misspelling to be ignored in the current session.

The Text Editor’s context menu with Learn Spelling selected

You can also check Spelling and Grammar by going to Edit ▸ Spelling and Grammar ▸ Show Spelling and Grammar:

Vellum’s Spelling and Grammar dialog

Configuring Spelling and Grammar

To adjust the language used for spell check, go to  ▸ System Preferences and select the Keyboard section. There, you should see an option for Spelling that allows you to choose a different language.

Note: On macOS Ventura, this will be found in the Keyboard pane of your Mac’s System Settings. There, you can Edit the Input Sources and change your Spelling dictionary.

If you don’t want Vellum to check spelling or grammar, or if you’d rather not use automatic typo correction, you can configure Vellum’s behavior using the Edit ▸ Spelling and Grammar submenu.

Smart Quotes

Professionally typeset books should use “curly” quotations marks, also referred to as typographer’s quotes. When you type quotation marks into the Text Editor, Vellum will replace any straight quotes with the proper, curly quotation marks.

Example text showing straight quotes (top) and smart quotes (bottom)

Vellum will import any smart quotes that were used in your original manuscript. If smart quotes weren’t used, select the text with the incorrect quotes and choose Edit ▸ Transformations ▸ Apply Smart Quotes.

Special Characters

Special Characters can be used to fine-tune how words break or to insert symbols not shown on your keyboard. You can find the most common ones in the Edit ▸ Special Characters menu:

The Special Characters submenu, located in Vellum’s Edit menu
Non-breaking Space
Words separated with a Non-breaking Space won’t split across two lines
Non-breaking Hyphen
A word with a Non-breaking Hyphen won’t ever split at the hyphen
Soft Hyphen
Indicates where a word should be hyphenated, if necessary
Thin Space
A narrow space character typically used in non-English typesetting, e.g. after a guillemet in French
Redaction Block
A character that can used to indicate that some text has been removed, e.g. “In 19██, Mr. ███████ was 20 years old.”

Special Characters will be shown in the Text Editor as light blue symbols:

A screenshot highlighting the light blue symbols that represent special characters in the Text Editor

Formatting Controls

Within the Text Editor Toolbar, you’ll find buttons that allow you to add Text Features, apply character formatting, or perform a find operation.

The formatting toolbar in Vellum’s Text Editor

Adding Text Features

The Add Text Feature button can be used to add any of Vellum’s Text Features.

Vellum's Text Feature menu

Character Formatting

The bold, italic, and underline toolbar buttons should be familiar from most word-processing programs.

The formatting toolbar with a highlighted Italic button

Next to those is a small popup menu that contains other character formatting options, including small caps, monospace, and strikethrough:

The Additional Character Formatting popup menu

Find and Replace

On the right side of the toolbar is the Find button, indicated by a magnifying glass. Pressing this button will toggle the Find Bar.

The Text Editor’s Find Bar

The Find Bar allows you to perform powerful search (and replace) operations across all of the text in your book.

Syncing with the Preview

The Text Editor is optimized for ease of editing and therefore does not display the styling that will appear in your finished book. To see that, use Vellum’s Preview.

You can sync the Preview to the Text Editor’s current paragraph by choosing Chapter ▸ Show Current Paragraph in Preview, or by using the ⌘Y hotkey.

Changing the Editor Font

You can customize the font used in the Text Editor, either to switch to a different typeface or to make the text bigger:

To choose a different font, go to Vellum ▸ Preferences in the main menu. Then, select the Text Editor tab to view the available controls.

Note: On macOS Ventura, this will be found in Vellum ▸ Settings

The font used in the Text Editor is for editing only and won’t affect your book.