Last Updated on June 30, 2020

Share this post:

Express Scribe or FTW Transriber? Which one is better?

Frankly speaking, I can’t give a straight answer when it comes to choosing the best audio or video transcription software.

I’m a big fan of the Express Scribe transcription software but I’ve also heard really nice things about FTW Transcriber.

For this reason, I’ve decided to do some research and highlight the best features, similarities, and differences for each one.

Let’s start with Express Scribe

Express Scribe Transcription Software

Express Scribe is an easy-to-use transcription software that can work both on PC and Mac computers. and has the following features and benefits.

1. Variable playback speeds


playback speed

When working on certain files you will realize that a speaker or a number of speakers are either talking too fast or too slow. In such a case, you can use the Express Scribe playback feature to increase or reduce the speed to whatever percentage you like. It is recommended to have the speed at 90% if the speaker is talking faster than normal.

2.  Express Scribe Supports Both audio and video file formats

One thing I love about Express Scribe is that it accepts both audio and video recordings. FTW Transcriber has a similar function but you can’t access it with the free version.

express scribe videos

3. System-wide hotkeys

system-wide hotkeys

With Express scribe you can configure the hotkeys in such a way that you don’t keep switching between the word processor and the software. You just hit ‘play’, ‘stop’, ‘rewind’, or ‘forward’ until you finish whatever you are working on. Doing this cuts the amount of time you take to transcribe in half.

3. Supports USB Foot Pedal.

foot pedalsIn addition to hotkeys, Express Scribe supports USB Foot Pedal configurations. If you have the capital to invest in a foot pedal it is highly recommended that you do so. This will increase your speed and overall productivity.

4. Easy integration with Word Processors

Microsoft Word

I love how easy it is to integrate this software into Microsoft Word documents. With just a few clicks, you are ready to go. Other Word processors are also compatible.

5. Express Scribe Has a Typing area

typing area

The software has a typing area that you can use if you do not have Microsoft Word installed on your computer.

6. Volume adjustment

volume bar

There are times when you will receive files that have low volume. In such cases, raise the volume until you can understand clearly.

7. Load multiple files

load multiple files

You can load multiple files on Express scribe with ease. If they are 10 files in the ‘My Documents’ section just highlight them and click ‘upload’ and they will all be uploaded together.

8. Store and manage many files

If you finish working on a file just hit a drop-down menu that says “Done (No Reply)” and the file will be removed without necessarily having to delete it from your computer drive.

9. Set to delete files after a certain period

Speaking of files, you can change a setting to automatically delete a file after you are finished with it.

10. Express Scribe Mini button

express scribe mini

When working on a file, I find it necessary to just hit the mini button and reduce the size of the interface to avoid unnecessary distractions. I can do this with just a click of a button, unlike FTW Transcriber where they ask you to upgrade before getting access.

11. Timestamps


If a client requests timestamps, insert them into your Word document using Express scribe.

  1. It can automatically download recordings on demand from a folder on your computer, via email or FTP server.
  1. It is able to automatically send finished work to the person who dictated it. Ensure you get this set up the right way.

email attachment

  1. It has the ability to dock portable recorders to load audio/video recordings.
  2. The software interface is organized and easy to navigate. FTW has its buttons in a disorderly manner.

organized play stop buttonsCons of Using Express Scribe

  1. Express Scribe lacks the ability to play files instantly like FTW does. You must first download and then upload them to the software.
  2. If you download the Pro version it expires in 15 days and limits you on what you can do with it unless you download the older free version that still supports features like video files.
  3. You have to pay $7.95 per license if you want Silver Support and $57.95 per license for Platinum Support. This is  not fair to the transcriber considering you pay for the software itself.

customer support

FTW Transcriber Software

Price is $1 per month if you pay for 24 months in advance, $0.86 per month if you pay for 36 months in advance, or $10 per month if you choose to pay for just one month.

FTW Transcriber is a transcription software that offers great time-saving features like automatic timestamps and superior sound quality according to their website.

Let’s look at features and benefits.

  1. They claim to have superior audio quality meaning the files will be clearer in their program than they would be in other programs.

audio quality enhancer

  1. You can automatically add timestamps and frames to your transcription just like you would with Express Scribe


  1. It has the ability to save different timestamps and hotkey settings for different clients. I think this is such a clever idea if you are working for various clients.


  1. If you are working with a team you can easily send them timestamp/hotkey settings to ensure uniformity in all of your work.
  1. FTW Transcriber can now play a huge range of file types including DSS/DS2
  1. It is created in such a way that it is compatible with all word processors but the default processor is Microsoft Word. That is more customized and looks a little different than the normal blank word document that we all know.

default ftw word processo

  1. With Express scribe you have to start your timestamps from [00:00:00] but with FTW you can start at any point you choose.


  1. You are allowed to set hotkeys for common transcription words/phrases like ‘unclear’ or ‘overtalking’.


  1. It has the ability to play video files with images displayed. The videos are shown in the same way you would view them on VLC or Windows Movie Maker.


  1. This is one feature that I loved about this software, the ability to play files either on your local drive or on remote servers without downloading them first.
  1. It can either be controlled with hotkeys or foot pedals.
  1. If you have local files on your computer they will start playing instantly. No need to upload them like you would on Express Scribe. DSS/DS2 files cannot play instantly
  1. Permanent customer support is prompt and friendly. In case of any issues, message customer support for assistance.

FTW help

Cons of Using FWT Transcriber

  1. Annoying advertisements at the bottom of the FTW interface if you are using the free version.


  1. It lacks noise filtering ability.
  1. If you pay on a monthly basis it is more expensive compared to Express Scribe. It is $120 per year unlike a $50 one-time payment made on Express Scribe Pro.

payment plans

  1. You must download Media Player Classic HC with Adobe Shock Wave in addition to having this software.
  1. Files will play up to 15 minutes in the free version.

15-minute mark

  1. You cannot minimize the software in the free version.

Getting started with Express Scribe Software

If you are looking for free open source transcription software that is both convenient and easy-to-use, go for Express Scribe. I would not recommend a beginner buy FTW Transcriber just yet. Express Scribe has so many features that are free that cannot be accessed in the free FTW Transcriber.

However, I would recommend FTW Transcriber to experienced transcriptionists who handle a wide range of projects, and who need more features that this software can offer.

Do you use Express Scribe transcription software or FTW Transcriber? Feel free to share your transcription software experiences in the comments area below.


Share this post:

About the Author

Virginia Nakitari is a full-time blogger and a work from home expert. Join Virginia and 200,000 monthly readers on EarnSmartOnlineClass to learn how to make money online, even as a beginner. Before starting this blog, Virginia worked as a freelancer, specializing in general transcription and virtual assistance. Her wide clientele comprised of business coaches, podcasters, bloggers, and other online entrepreneurs. It's through these interactions that Virginia developed a knack for writing and showing people how to work from home, make money online and attain financial freedom.

  • Hello Virginia,

    Would you please give me tips about my issue here? My most recent client made me sign an NDA for the audio he wants transcribe. Thing is, the file is 4GB, a video, and uploaded on Google Drive. Help?

    (Keep in mind that I signed an NDA so there’s literally nothing I can do about it but try downloading the file and cross my fingers that Express Scribe will load it up.)

    All the best,

  • After Express Scribe switched to requiring purchase after a certain amount of time, I started using an out-of-date version that continued to work for free as long as I didn’t update it. When I upgraded to Windows 10, though, that wouldn’t work anymore. I went searching, and found FTW Transcriber, and absolutely love it. The time-stamping features alone make it superior to Express Scribe. It does seem the audio is clearer, as well. I was happy to purchase it right away, when I never would have paid for Express Scribe.

  • Hello Lucille,

    I’m happy to hear that you found this information useful, and that you are loving your new software. Yes. FTW Transcriber mention on their website that they have a very friendly customer support team. Now I believe their words after hearing your testimonial. Just like I had mentioned earlier, Express Scribe is good for beginners. But, I encourage experienced transcribers to purchase FTW Transcriber. Regards.

  • Really liked this information! I did purchase the FTW Transcriber and do like it very much. I contacted the company and was in touch with Patrick. I was having a glitch with the automatic time stamping when using it in Word 2007. They were very helpful and got me going. I did find that the audio was not clear enough when I used Express Scribe so I am reluctant to purchase their product. And I think that now they require a purchase after a certain amount of time.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}