Ack! Scrivener lost all my work!

Now wasn’t that frightening?

Certainly was for me.

Of course it had done no such thing, but I thought it had. Allow me to explain, while Keith is being rescuscitated.

I’m writing a big chapter; loads of emotional angst, heart-felt yearnings; you know the sort of thing.

I reach for an exclamation mark, and I hit the command key instead of the shift key (I’m learning to touch type).

The whole chapter, which I have been writing for three days, vanishes before my very eyes. I tell myself not to panic. I look for an ‘undo’ rescue; there is none available.

I start my Chi breathing exercises, and click on the previous chapter. That is blank too.
I step away from the keyboard and grab a glass of water. This is not a bug. It would not have got this far.
Think man! Think!
The synapses in my keen computer like mind fire, lighting the path to an answer.
I slam my fist, somewhat overdramatically, against the kitchen worktop; the cat, startled, jumps down; he knows he’s not allowed up there anyway.
The Outliner! Of course!
I race back into my office and hit the outliner button.
My chapters reappear.

The day is saved.

… or alternatively, I could have reverted to the backup I take at the start of each session.

Keith, would it be possible to add some kind of visual clue that will tell you that you are in outline or corkboard mode. Make the button flash, some kind of electric shock …anything! I nearly ruptured something vital!

And I would just like to take this opportunity to remind folk to:

  1. Back up your work regularly
  2. Check the backup to make sure it is readable.

This goes for every app, not just Scrivener.

[Stands up shakily after major heart attack.]

You would not believe how many times I have been asked for something like this. :slight_smile: There is a lengthy reply somewhere about why I don’t really want to change the way the icons look in the toolbar depending on mode (which would not help if you had the toolbar hidden anyway), but basically it is because they are toggles which bring down the outliner or corkboard over your text, and toggle toolbar buttons never change their visual appearance in Cocoa programs. They would also have to switch on and off and shift about depending on which split you are in.

Hmm… This is a frequently asked-for thing, though.

All the best,


See - I knew the highlight finder wouldn’t be enough for you. :slight_smile:


Yes, I can imagine. A tricky one to solve. You don’t really want to go jumping around the browser.

How about just displaying a note in the window, like you do with the inspector?

Not ideal, but a little less scarey … :slight_smile:

Right, this one comes up all of the time, it is even in the beta section of the FAQ. I still side with Keith in that messing with the toolbar buttons is a can of worms – and for various reasons it wouldn’t be enough anyway. The fact that it does come up constantly though, is indicative of a problem in the way the application communicates. I said it before, and I’ll say it again, the Outliner just looks way too much like the Editor. The only thing setting it apart is the column row at the top, which visually disappears for me. It is not obvious enough.

Now it may be that in B3 this issue will be gone, depending upon how you have the preferences set up for contextual vs. literal display in Corkboard and Outliner. Empty Corkboards and Editor look-alike Outliners could be a thing of the past, unless a user wants it that way. Even then, should something more be done? I can think of a few visual cues that would help. Until we have something fancy available with Leopard’s tools, that is.

One would be some subtle vertical lines to delineate the columns. This is fairly normal table behaviour, and if done right, is not visually cluttered. It would also be very obvious that you are no longer looking at what should be your text. The lines would catch your attention, and if you are new to the application, even draw your eyes up to the column headers, where the real proof sits.

Slightly more visually intense would be alternating row colours – another standard that I must admit I am not a huge fan of in large spaces. It works in places like the Keywords meta-data area. Would it look bad in a large area like the editor viewer?

Another idea, which would also help accentuate the concept of overlays at the same time, is give both the Corkboard and Outliner a very subtle transparency, so you can see your text as a ghost behind the current overlay. This might look really dodgy with Corkboard though, and also, it would solve nothing in the case of an empty editor and an empty Outliner.

Well, lookee here, it turns out that Apple have changed the way selection looks in unified toolbars. I didn’t even think to try this because I just assumed it would look like it does in pin-stripe toolbars. See what you think:

Hmm. I still think it is a risky direction to go, given the multiple document state angle. Apple’s selection graphics do look very nice aesthetically, though, and would negate the pixel jumping problem. So flickering between states would be less distracting. What about the concern of context? In other words, why should the toolbar reflect what only part of the program is toggled to, when those parts are equally variable and equally important? A toggle on the Keywords HUD button is one thing, because it only effects one part of the application’s visibility, but this single button can effect multiple parts of the application.

I like it, Keith, though it is probably not ecessary. This was initially a problem for me, as it was for Rayz, but the simple solution (as more than one person here has suggested) was to make the background of my text a pale yellow brown (R=255, G=236, B=203, for example) so that it would always be obvious to me if I was in this mode. I read long ago, that a dark brown text on this sort of background was easiest on the eyes, and it works for me. Might even be worth making this sort of background colour the default in SCRIV.

I do agree… But I tried showing vertical lines in the outline view and I hate it. Having faintly transparent text beneath is not a possibility, either, not to mention that it would be rather ugly (in my opinion, at least).

I can live with it either way - but it seems that a lot of users have a major issue with this. I guess the difference between these toolbar items and the others is that there are two buttons that toggle the state rather than just the one. Though lack of consistency is a concern.

Nod And any sort of visual addition to the outliner will, in the end, subtract from the cleanliness of the design aesthetic.

Back to the concept of transitions (which knocks about two ducks with one pellet): How difficult would it be to have something similar to the way some virtual desktops (and Apple’s own variety, soon) signify desktop changes? The face precisely the same problem. Accidentally hit the wrong key, and it appears as though your entire workplace has been destroyed. Likewise, they are also limited in just how much they can indicate, in a permanently visual way, that desktops have been switched. Fancy transitions aside, most them access what appears to be a standard Apple messaging system, to display a bit of information that fades in and out over the space of a second. I believe it is referred to as the bezel appearance; a round edged flash with a bit of text in the middle of it, large enough to be obvious. Something like this, marking the transition between Corkboard, Outliner, and Editor, would alert the user that the mode has changed – and then step out of the way.

It would be a thin line between obnoxious and informative. Done with nuance, rather than bravado, it just might work. I lack the abilities to really test the idea, though – so I am just visualising this in my head. Optionally combined with a minute (really minute) amount of cross-fade. The latter would cue the user that something different has happened. An accidentally deleted document disappears suddenly, it does not fade away (except in films!).

Back to a steady-state reminder, there are a few things that could be done in the Header bar. The document icon could acquire a small overlay graphic, signifying mode and accentuating that the view is now pertaining to a larger scope than just the document itself. Or, a text label could be prefixed to the title: “[Outliner] Title”, or “Outliner : Title”. The advantage here is that it remains contextual, without adding clutter to the Header bar, like a separate icon that appeared there would do. The addition of text, or the modification of existing graphic elements would be less of a visual impact.

Hmm. None of these really stand out as superb ideas to me, but perhaps somebody will take a thread and run with it.

Or… We could just stick with the selected toolbar item. :slight_smile:

All good ideas, but functionality is where it is at right now. A quick bezel overlay window that fades in and out is not a bad idea, but when you switch between workspaces etc, you are holding down keys - the bezelled indicator only appears so long as the keys are held down (like when you are cmd-tabbing between apps). It would be more intrusive in an instant switch like the ones in Scrivener. So… I think we’ll leave things as they are for now. I quite like these new unified toolbar selection indicators.

Keith, the toolbar selection could be manna from heaven for a lot of people.

Personally love the selected toolbar item. Looks great in the (very mean) screenshot you provided in another thread too. It’s simple, tells you what you need to know. Does its job!

Can I vote for the selected toolbar item too. I agree with alexwein. So easy, so elegant.

Looks like a nice solution you’ve found there Keith.

Having seen your mockup, I have noticed other Mac applications have started to use the toggle effect. The latest version of Office for the Mac uses it quite extensively to show the state of the bold and italic buttons. It also toggles the buttons that activate the tool windows (like page borders, formatting etc.), but I reckon that’s overkill; if the tool window is being displayed, then you can assume that the button is toggle on.

Keith, I know you nixed the toggle for the italics and bold in another post, but I can’t resist giving them another bump. :slight_smile: (What can I say? I like my visual cues!)

As for giving the outliner a different look, what about differentiating the various columns with the slight shading you use to differentiate alternate documents when editing scrivenings? I think the shading in scrivenings is subtle enough to be unobtrusive but pronounced enough to be noticed, i.e. perfect.


To clear things up:

There will be NO toggle button for bold, italic or underline.

There will be NO toggle button for Edit Scrivenings.

For a start, the Apple “selected toolbar item” mechanics only allow for one toolbar item to be selected in the toolbar at any one time, so this is simply not possible without taking a different route. Secondly, it is not really customary for Mac apps to have bold, italic and underline toggle buttons in a toolbar. Yes, word processors often have toggles for these buttons, but not in a toolbar - they have them in utility panels (such as the ones in Word, which emulate Windows toolbars, which are not the same as Mac toolbars in a number of ways). Thirdly, Edit Scrivenings has a pull-down menu to choose the mode. There are four different Edit Scrivenings modes, depending on context. You can tell you are in Edit Scrivenings because there are alternately-coloured text blocks. Edit Scrivenings is really no different from Editor mode anyway - you are just viewing more text. I really see no need for a toggle button for this at all, even if there were not technical limitations. :slight_smile:

Anyway, thanks for the positive feedback regarding the view mode toggle indicators - guess I’ll keep them, then!

All the best,