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Express Scribe and FTW Transcriber

For a while now, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from my awesome readers asking, “Express Scribe or FTW Transriber? Which one is better?”

Frankly speaking, I can’t give a straight answer. Reasons? I’m a big fan of Express scribe but I’ve also been hearing nice things about FTW.

So, I promised to outline features/benefits/similarities and differences of the two softwares so you, as a professional trancriptionist, can make a conscious decision on the right one to use.

Let’s start with Express Scribe

Express Scribe

Price is one-time payment of $50 (Now goes for $34.99 until September, 15th 2015)

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

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 cases, use the playback feature to increase or reduce the speed to whatever percentage you require. Most preferable speed is 90% if the speaker is faster than normal.

2. Support both audio and video file formats

One thing I love about this software is that it accepts both audio and video recordings. FTW Transcriber has a similar functionality 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 word processor and the software. You just hit ‘play’ or ‘stop’ or ‘rewind’ or ‘forward’ until you finish whatever you are working on. Doing this reduces the amount of time you take to transcribe at least by 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 with Microsoft Word documents. Just with a few clicks and you are ready to go. Other Word processors are also compatible.

5. Typing area in the interface

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 with really low volume. In such cases, just adjust the volume to 100% or whichever percentage you desire.

Read:  How to Set Up Express Scribe Ready for Transcription

7. Load multiple files

load multiple files

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

8. Store and manage many files

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

9. Set to delete files after a certain period

Talking of files, you can set to delete files you finish working on in, say, a week or a month. After that specified period the files will be automatically deleted.

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 for timestamps you can easily insert them in your Word document using Express scribe. This can be 5 second, 1 minute or even 10-minute time stamps. FTW has this functionality, as well.

Read:  Timestamping in Transcription: Know When and How to Use Them

  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. Just ensure you get this set up right.

email attachment

  1. It has the ability to dock portable recorders to load audio/video recordings.
  2. The software interface is so organized and everything is in it’s perfect place. I feel like FTW has its buttons all over the place.

organized play stop buttonsCons

  1. Lacks the ability to play files instantly like FTW does. You must first download and upload them in the software. A feature that is highly praised by the program FTW program
  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. I personally do not think this is fair to the transcriber considering you pay for the software itself.

customer support

FTW Transcriber

Price  is $1 per month if you pay for 24 months at ago. $0.86 per month if you pay for 36 months at ago, 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 softwares.

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. Just like express scribe 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 which 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. There are no restrictions.


  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 just as is with Express Scribe. 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. This is not possible with Express Scribe.
  1. Just as with Express Scribe 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. But, DSS/DS2 files cannot play instantly
  1. Permanent customer support that is prompt and friendly. In case of any issues, just message customer support for assistance.

FTW help


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


  1. It lacks noise filtering ability that Express scribe has.
  1. If you pay on a monthly basis it is too expensive compared to Express Scribe. That would be $120 per year unlike $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. Just too many softwares to download, if you asked me.
  1. Files will play up to 15 minutes only in free version.

15-minute mark

  1. You cannot minimize the software in free version like you would with Express Scribe.


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

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

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



  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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,

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