Annotations Question

I’m a newbie to Scrivener, and writing in general. I can’t figure out how the annotation feature works. What is its functionality. I selected some text and clicked “annotate” and then typed in some jiberish into the window that popped up, closed it, kept typing, but couldn’t figure out how to get out of the yellow highlighted annotation. I’m so confused. Can someone explain annotations to me? If someone can enlighten me I’d be in great thanks. :slight_smile:


Yes, do read the documentation on this score. The developer recommends you stay clear of using the annotation feature, as there is no assurance that your notes will be transferred to the new system that will be featured in 1.0. Instead, if you need to keep notes, use the comment feature. It allows you to set a paragraph as a “comment.” It will be coloured in red in the application, but otherwise just be ordinary text that can be transferred to any application later, including S1.

Making a comment is super easy. Just put “>>” at the beginning of the paragraph.

It’s useful to know what you’re saying. I have been using a lot of annotations - and it was something that I wished improovment on. I need a lot of possibilityes of marking text with different colours, etc. I hope that there come a lot of easy possibilities to mark text with light colours. :blush:


Having written the SG->1.0 importer only a few days ago, I can tell you that any annotations you have created in SG will be imported into Scrivener 1.0. However, because of the differences in annotations systems, they will just be appended to your text, so you will need to do a little work if you want to turn them back into annotations.

Scrivener 1.0 offers the ability to change the colours of annotations. If you just wish to highlight text in different colours, you can do that too. There is a highlighter pen tool much like the one in Nisus Writer, which allows you to pick from five preset highlighter colours (the standard orange, yellow, pink, blue or green).

Whilst I appreciate that not everybody will find inline annotations ideal, the fact is that there is no real ideal solution. Most apps have a different approach at the moment. AmberV’s suggestion of collapsible notes is probably the best suggestion, but it’s just outside of the scope of Scrivener 1.0 at the moment.

The thing is, what do you want to use the annotations for? This was the question I asked myself when implementing the new system. When I’m in the flow of writing, I just leave notes to myself in places where I can’t think of the right phrase at that moment but don’t want to interrupt my flow, and in places that I know will need a rewrite. I highlight the text I want to change, and then leave notes after the highlighted text inside square brackets. Scrivener’s annotation are really based around this model. Instead of using square brackets, you just turn your notes into an inline annotation. That way, you can print off or export your document without the annotations, if you so wish, or you can export it to word with the annotations as a comment. The idea is that when you are ready to change the text, you get rid of the annotation altogether. At this point, you will probably take a “snapshot” of your text. That way, even after you have deleted the annotation, you can go to “Show Snapshots” to see your old version with the annotation intact to check you did everything you meant to if you so wish.

And if you really hate inline annotations, there are other options - the notes pane, for one. And there’s yet another feature you can use in Scrivener 1.0, but let’s not give away everything just yet. :slight_smile:

You mean I’m not the only one who does this? (I use asterisks, not brackets.) :slight_smile: It was helpful to ‘hear’ your thoughts on how annotations might work. Makes sense!

While your implementation of annotations might not be totally satisfying to everyone, what I’m sure is appreciated by all is the thoughtfulness with which you are approaching the development of Scr. It sounds to me like the program will offer multiple ways to manage information and the process of writing and enough options for us all to develop our own system within it.

It gets more tantalizing all the time!



Perhaps an annotation feature could be implemented as follows:

  • a right mouse click followed by a selection of one of the elements of the menu which then appears (c.q. a certain key combination) marks the selected text with a predefined (but changable) colour, and opens at the same time a little (but ‘elastic’, expandable) window, in which to write the annotation.

  • closing the window makes the annotation invisible, but it appears as a tip tool as soon as you hover over the highlighted text with the mouse (without clicking!).

  • deleting an annotation should be easy with a right mouse click followed by a selection of one of the elements of the menu which then appears, c.q. a certain key combination.

  • it should be possible to jump from one annotation to the other, in order to be able to inspect / revise quickly all the elements in a text which are in need of inspection / revision.

  • the above could be refined in various ways, for instance by making it possible to create and to revise separately various ranges of annotations in various colours.

  • in one of the pull down menus there should be an option to temporarily hide all the annotations; because none of use will want to see them all the time.

Very interesting (though not perfect) is the annotation feature in Papyrus, which for instance offers the possibility to create various ranges of annotations and to jump quickly from one annotation to another.

Way back when, we discussed the possibility of annotations being based on some character code, so that they could be imported and exported easily. Is this something that eventually made the grade? I ask because I am creating a little script that will convert a Ulysses text document into a Markdown file, and it would be keen if I could convert Ulysses “%%” level paragraphs into annotations. The alternative would just be to convert them to block quotes, and require a little manual labour after importing into Scrivener. The same goes for footnotes, too. Something like:

/%A/This is an annotation./A%/ /%F/This is a footnote./F%/

Yes, there are internal tags that I use in the RTFD file that are just text and get converted using custom methods on load/save - this way the annotations and footnotes can just be stored inside the RTFD rather than in a separate file. It shouldn’t be too hard to do what you want.

I will post the tag format tonight when I get back from work.


Sorry, forgot to do this last night. Here are the tags:

First, there is the footnote tag. Footnotes are just prepended by a “{\SCRV_FN=” and appended with a “\END_SCRV_FN}”, like this:

Annotations work pretty much the same, but they also contain RGB colour information. The following would create a red annotation:

If you typed this into a document in Scrivener, next time you opened the project, you would have an annotation or footnote.

Hope that helps with converting your projects.

All the best,


That is perfect, thank you. It might even come in handy for other situations too. I’ve been balking at the thought of manually colouring by annotation type, but now I see a script could accomplish that pretty quickly, too.