a [critical] feature request from gimpusmaximus

(Bear in mind first and foremost that this feauture request stems from a necessity perpetuated by the permanent physical disability and the one arm and hand i can move under my own power detailed at great length previously)

Keith -
First and foremost please forgive me for asking you for a feature this complicated, but I FINALLY scored a bonifide book deal with a publisher that must remain nameless because I signed a nondisclosure and this happens to be a public forum – bottyom line – i now have to deliver a shitload of manuscript in a timeframe that would inspire any sertious writer with ten good keyboard fingers instead of my four to tremble with fear and inspire nightmares of breach of contract and the end of the world as we know it. Being the balls to the wall badass I happen to be however I chose to hold true to the mantra and doctrine that shall either reap me fame fortune and glory or doom, and my writing doctrine dictates the following essentials be procured when facing an unthinkable deadline —

buy three or four bottles of Jack Daniels, a shotglass, four cartons of cigarettes, and take the painkillers that give me sustainable typing speed in groups of six, wash them down with a double shot of J.D., lock the door to my writing room, block out sunlight entirely, keep my macbookpro plugged in so i dont have to worry about power, turn off airport so i cant get caught up in wasting time online and work in shifts of manuscript construction that end when you cant move your fingers anymore.

…i broke the airport rule to write this request for help however (and will have a secondary console likve on the internet so can get email from you or view any and all responses to this message) - and in my case its a genuine need - but the major problem with making this request is that its a need necessitated by the scope of my physical disability- furthermore i already know for certain its a complicated prospect from any coders point of view and there may not be another user that would want or benefit from the following feature which means you may decline on those grounds alone – and you’ve already done so much for me already that ill never hold it against you if you decline my request regardless. Heres what I need:

Dialogue necessitates open and close quotes which are a real bitch to put in place when your using one hand to type because you have to reach a long way to hit the shift key and the quote key - write the dialogue and then close quote the segment… Its not that big a deal if you dont have a whole lot of dialogue - but I’m at a point in my story where four characters – the primaries of the entire trilogy have been betrayed and are suddenly faced with no alternative but to fight, and they are outnumbered 25 to 1… There are well over five thousand badly trained but heavily armed combattants headed their way at a dead sprint and the 4 primaries are saying their warrior flavored oaths of love and farewell because none expect to survive but they arent the type to retreat or turn away from battle - which means theres lots of talking going on as they load clips and cock shotguns and such and as far as I know theres no auto-replacement feature is Scrivener that allows me to type one key and have that key instantly replaced with open and close quotes and it would certainly have a feature of that type available… it would save me a lot of time and increase my effectiveness dramatically… Obviously theres search and replace but in this case i dont think thats viable - it might replace in places where it shouldn’t… anyway i hope you now understand what it is i need – a way to make it so that i can replace double or triple key combinations with a single (hot)key. Now heres what I offer in return:

I now use Scrivener for everything important – manuscript generation, blog post creation as well as all necessary research organisation. It is, without question the finest piece of word processing software created since Microsoft Word. In fact, besides Adobe CS3: Design Premium – Scrivener is the most important piece of software on my hard disk besides Omnioutliner Pro and therefore its in my best interest to see to it that you are compensated above and beyond the $35 I paid for a license and are provided with necessary assets to perpetuate its distribution and success. Thus I offer you the following:

1.) I pay a flat yearly fee for 27gig of online storage and 750gig of transfer bandwidth a month. Im using about 5 gig of the storage space but i use less than 2% of the transfer bandwidth a month - therefore I’m willing to dedicate 200gig of transfer a month as a mirror for the download of Scrivener application files and/or shouldering some of the workload associated with the forums – wherever you need the extra bandwidth, though you should bare in mind that while I do indeed own a copy of dreamweaver and have grown quite adept with the blogging application Wordpress its a stretch to call me a professional web developer, though I hope to be at the point of deserving such a title by this time next year after finishing all the online training ofgfered by both totaltraining and lynda.com.

2.) The Scrivener documentation is certainly adequate, but its not spectacular, and I’m willing to spend the time needed to create new cutting edge indesign layouts of the bundled documentation that ships with the download archive of the software – and Im willing to do all the work completely for free as long as you allow me to use the documentation I create as an example of my skill as an adobe professional and add it to my professional portfolio dossier.

3.) Scrivener isn’t the only creative application I use – Im a Ulysses user as well, though not nearly as much because it doesn’t have my mission critical square cursor. However it should be blatantly obvious that I truly appreciate, depend upon, and have placed a lot of my creative future on the shoulders of your application and am therefore willing to use my other talent as a professional wordpress blogger to create a L&L blog… If your already working on one then I have no qualms with making it a secondary usergroup blog or something that includes tutorials complete with screenshots that show the uninitiated how to get the most out of your application… Unless of course you seeno need for one and don’t want me to bother putting one together, though it should be made clear right here and now that unless you have no problem with me using a prefab wordpress theme that we’re going to have to find an artist because even though I’ve invested in CS3 I cant draw paint or sketch by any stretcxh of the imagination – I am after all, severely handicapped and thus holding pens and pencils are not easy for me and are in fact quite painful in any other application than my signature in very abysmal cursive. We’ll need to find a good artist to fill in that gap.

I dont know what more to offer or say… If you refuse me the honor of helping you in any of the above proposed capacities then I’ll simply make peace with the fact that I proposed everything I could thats in my capacity to offer you. If none of the above are sufficient, or you have a better idea utilizing any of my bandwidth or resources Im open to suggestions – if nothing more I’d certainly like to be added toi the ranks of your beta testers! You can reach me directly through anyof the following pretty close to 24/7:

shadeofgrey2005 (AIM)
shadeofgrey@hotmail.com (MSN)
561-523-5434 (private direct line cell phone)

Your an awesome developer and a great person… If you can figure a way to work out the feature i asked for great… If not, then thats fine… If anybody else reading this message has any suggestions I’m all ears because its a genuine need stemming from a physical disability that is never going to go away. Please contact me as soon as possible with instructions detailing how to become a beta tester for future releases of your software at the very least.

Most Sincerely your friend and servant,

You may wish to consider editing your Scivener document in Textmate. Textmate has an automatic completion feature of quotes, braces etc… It also features an input manaager that is accessible via scivener (and other application) – control, command E. Type what you need, and save it. The file then magically appears back in scrivener or other compatible applications. Unfortunately, this may all change in Leopard as I understand that the input manger is going to be drastically altered and disposed of.

You might also wish to try AutoPairs, which creates pairs of items, like quotation marks, with a single keystroke. You can find it here:

John Robert

Just another thought, which may or not be useful, if the more technical solutions above don’t work:

If you are concerned about using auto-replace because you might replace something important, could you select a one-stroke character that you definitely won’t use anywhere else?

Maybe use a ~, or #, or | or \ (if it needs to be single-stroke). Then you could do a search and replace on this and be confident it won’t replace anything you don’t want.

By the way - I think I remember an announcement from Keith that he will be away until the 17th (look at the announcement forum). If that is the case, you may not get a response from him for some time.


That is correct, he is on vacation for the upcoming week. I second the TextMate suggestion. Not only does it have built-in tools for quotation matching, it has a lot of other neat things that would make writing a more simple task for someone who needs to absolutely minimise how many keystrokes they input. It is very easy to make macros, and “snippits” which can be set up to tab-expand. The only drawback is that it costs about as much as Scrivener costs, but it has a good trial: Fully featured, 30-days.

Plus, you mention that you do web page design. TextMate, while it is not marketed as such, is an incredible web design tool. If you are familiar with HTML and do not required a WYSIWYG interface, that is. The built-in HTML and CSS bundles (bundles are just modules) are a huge help, but most importantly it has a real-time preview, making styling and structural design an intuitive process. Excellent for learning as you can tinker around with CSS until you get the look you want. Even though you do work in raw HTML, the Bundles are rich enough in features that you do not actually type in that much code. You can type ‘img’ and press tab, for instance, or press Cmd-Opt-. to close any currently open element. Things like Cmd-B and Cmd-I act as you would expect them to.

Even if the input manager does fail to work under Leopard, copy and paste between Scrivener and TextMate is not that difficult. The only drawback is that since is a plain text editor, if you depend upon styles, footnotes, and annotations in Scrivener, that might be a deal breaker. If you use MultiMarkdown in conjunction with Scrivener, however, there really is no excuse! TextMate has a good built-in Bundle for Markdown, and you can download an extensive MMD bundle from Fletcher’s site that makes composing MMD a snap. As with HTML, you can quickly render MMD documents to preview them, though they are unfortunately not a “live” preview like HTML editing is.

Like Matt, my first suggestion was going to be that you use characters you simply know you won’t use anywhere else - ` or \ for example - so that you can find and replace without worrying about false positives.

However, there are two other solutions I can think of, that would work independently of Scriv (and therefore would be more useful):

1] Quicksilver. Using Triggers, you can set Quicksilver to type a certain character when a hotkey is pressed. It requires a little setting up, but only a minimal amount, and the beauty is that you can set the trigger to be invoked by anything you want - multiple keys, a single key, or even a mouse gesture.

I have QS triggers set to open Safari when I press F1, Mail on F2, iTunes on F3, and so on. I also have it set to launch iChat when I touch the top-right of my screen with the mouse pointer.

You could easily set QS to type " for you when pressing F1, for example.

Every Mac user should have QS anyway - it’s one of the most powerful utilities out there, and once you’ve had it you can’t live without it. Best of all, it’s completely free.


2] Isn’t this what Sticky Keys in the OSX Accessibility controls is for? It’s not as elegant a solution as Quicksilver, but it’s supported across the entire system.

I use codes like “ooo” & “ccc” etc for characters/places/things that I haven’t come up with a name/details etc for - I make a list and go back at the end and do a search & replace. I’ve used the same technique for replacing all sorts of things (like soft returns etc in word).

At the moment, I’ve got zillions (well, 20 or more) of them in one story, so I’ve got a page with them all listed so I can refer back to them when required.

I even use them for words that I just can’t think of, so I just put in a code and continue with the flow.

:bulb: I would as well suggest the use of a text expander application. I use TypeIt4Me, and I am very satisfied with it.

For example, I add an abbreviation for every character whose name I use often: I type /g and get Gandalf (in fact another name, of course :slight_smile: ) - a big timesaver for someone like me who never learned to use all 10 fingers on a keyboard; I only use 3-4 of them.

I use TypeIt4Me as well to insert special characters; to install an exchange between any easy key with " must be possible.