I am new to Scrivener. It provides a very robust environment for writing. Very Well Done! That said, It would be nice if annotations could not just be ghosted, but be hidden. Take that a step further, and taking into consideration that writing is a lot of times several competing manners of expression, lines of thought, etc, that sometimes diverge here or there from what is otherwise the same. If annotations could be color coded, and revealed or hidden on the basis of the color, it becomes possible to juggle a number of different versions in the same draft, based on the color of the text you show or hide.


Hi onno,

You’re late to the party. :slight_smile: Hidden annotations have long been an ideal, and have been much discussed, but sadly it’s not possible - the OS X text system on which Scrivener is built just isn’t capable of hiding text in this way. Last year I took out a developer technical support incident with Apple to try to find a way of doing this, and one of the top Apple text system engineers tried to find a solution - and couldn’t (not without lots of errors and bugs at least).

Although the current annotation will remain (because I’m fond of it myself), for those who don’t like to see the notes in the text itself, Scrivener 2.0 will have a comments system, too, whereby you can associate comments with ranges of text and the comments will appear in the inspector (similar to Nisus or Pages’ comments systems).

Thanks and all the best,

I did look back to last Summer, to see if this had been discussed. That is probably why, when you make them completely transparent, the space is still there, and following what you say, it would be difficult to collapse that space.

One thing I did notice, on a different topic, is that when I copy links from sites that I have visited for research from the Safari history, I am not able to paste them in as links, whereas other programs do not have a problem with this. The work around is, of course, to paste it into another program first, and then paste it into Scrivener, but I was wondering if this too had come up? I could not find anything on it when I searched.

While I am at it, I might as well add another feature request. In playing back audio files, is it possible to do it at half speed? I speak very fast, and I often have to slow the audio down in order to keep up with my typing, While it is great that I can have the audio and my typing in the same program, it would be nice as well to be able to slow it down so that my typing can keep up. It is nice, however that I am able to start and stop it, which is probably how I should retrain myself. Did I just answer my own question? I think I did.

Hi onno,

Scrivener just uses the OS X text system, so links and the detection of links work exactly the same as in TextEdit. I have noticed that Snow Leopard seems to have made link detection worse, though.

There’s no way to play audio files slower at the moment, no, and it’s not planned for 2.0’s initial release (the boat has sailed for 2.0 features though). However, I am thinking of having a sort of pause-and-rewind feature, where if choose, hitting pause using cmd-return will also move back the playing time by a set number of seconds. I think this would be useful.

All the best,

Hi Keith,

I used TextEdit to covert the clip board to actual links, and then copy the text and paste it in scrivener with great success. My guess is that Apple does some manipulation in addition to their text engine, but the outliner I used, Opal, which I had mentioned to you before, also was able to paste the text as links. I’m ok with the work around, but I thought that you might like to know that, in case anyone else uses Safari to browse web sites and likes to paste the urls into a text document from the history as a record of where they have been.

I have also begun to work the audio as you have implemented it, and being able to cut it off easily enough and to shuttle back using keys works quite effectively, so going half speed is not nearly the issue it use to be.

I am slowly becoming used to Scrivener, it is a writing environment, and an excellent writing environment it is, if I may say so. Good job! It continues to become more powerful by the day, and is allowing me to be a much more effective writer. I did not know what I had been missing.


Hi onno,

Opal uses a different text system - from what I can see anyway - so I expect it would act differently.

It’s great to hear you’re getting used to Scrivener - thanks for your kind words, much appreciated!

All the best,

I have, by now, been using Scrivener for almost 10 years, I would not know how to write using another program. I use it not only to write my books but with the online version, I use it for all kinds of record-keeping. I also use Scapple to rough out the ideas. I recently dusted off the simple outliner Opal, which I used to use in a previous incarnation as ACTA, which goes way back to the first years of the mac, and found a fluidity that I have not found using Scrivener as an outliner. The ability to collapse topics and expand them, not only using titles and metadata but content as well makes it a very fluid experience to go from outline to writing content. Is it possible to create a special paste that would transfer the opal outline to Scrivener as organized scrivenings? That would be very handy. If not, could this fluidity between titles and metadata and content creation be explored so that the process could become more fluid in Scrivener? I understand I may be asking for a lot here, It may even be a personal failing, but I noticed that my outlines in Scrivener remain much more primitive and using the scrivening writing process less flexible than what this simple outline is allowing me to accomplish. I currently paste this outline into Scrivener and manually split it up into its constitutive parts.

Have you tried this?

Export your Opal outline to OPML format. Then in Scrivener, import the .opml file using File->Import->Files. You should get a hierarchical import as desired. There are some Scriv OPML options under Preferences->Sharing->Import which you’ll want to look at and adjust to get exactly the results you want.

Hope this helps!

It’s awesome that I can import the outline from Opal. I do wish that it could be done as content rather than in the synopsis and title. Is there an easy way to do that? That would be more than awesome. It would be perfect.

Just look at Preferences->Sharing->Import. Down in the OPML section, there’s a drop down menu next to Import notes into: . Just select Main Text instead of Synopsis. But there’s no way to make the title part of the text. You’ll have to hand-copy that if you need it.

Hope this helps!

You are good, but none of the options make the difference I am looking for. They all import the outline into the title. It might be a good feature request, to turn titles into the content.
I am not sure how you would deal with what replaces the title. Also, the synopsis shows only one line of the title. It would be nice for it to show the whole thing. Is that a preference setting as well? I could not find it.
In looking at the file structure, the file format uses xlm and ends up as the title because there is a need for a title and that is how Scrivener manages outlines,

  <outline text="Choice is the engine of metaphysics. ">
    <outline text="Choice becomes possible when there is enough wealth “oversurvival” to facilitate it. Why? 

It might be nice to have a choice in the preferences to put a copy of the title in the body as well.

As far as putting title into the body, that would be a great option. If you don’t add it to the Wish List, I will!

Let me play with this a bit. I use iThoughts, which gives me similar problems on import. All the modern outliners and mind-map apps use titles and notes rather than just one blob of text, but I stuff everything into into the “title” so I can see it without having to open a “notes” window. Maybe there’s a possibility with HTML output… I’ll get back to you.


I have a workaround!

Advantage: it will definitely get the entire “title” into the—ta daa!—main text of created Scrivener documents.

Disadvantage 1: While this method preserves order, it doesn’t preserve hierarchy. OTOH, Scriv makes it pretty easy to re-create a hierarchy by selecting documents in the binder and using the level arrows. (I always keep them on my toolbar). It seems to me to be far less onerous to select multiple documents and indent them in the binder than it is to copy. Every. Single. Danged. Title. To. The. Main. Text.

Disadvantage 2: It uses Scapple as an intermediary between Opal and Scrivener. I own a licence ($18 USD from L&L) but I almost never use it as I find its lack of structure… disturbing. :open_mouth: But for this job it’s a grand utility.


  1. In Scrivener, go to Preferences->Sharing->Import. Down at the bottom, uncheck the box Import first lines of notes as titles only . This will ensure that the entirety of each note will be copied into the document text. Leave the Scrivener window open.
  2. In Opal, export your outline as any of the rich text or Word formats. Save it on the desktop; it’s only a temporary file.
  3. Open Scapple, and create a new document. This too will be temporary; no need to save it.
  4. Drag your exported outline from Step 2 and drop it into the empty Scapple document. You will get a dialog asking what you want to use as a separator between notes. Tell it one (1) return character. You will see your outline appear as a stack of text boxes.
  5. Still in Scapple, use command-A to select all the text boxes.
  6. Drag those text boxes and drop them into Scrivener’s Binder where you’d like them to appear. Behold! All your outline topics appear in separate documents, in your Opal order, with titles, text, and synopses populated. The text will retain some of your formatting.
    [list=a][*]Don’t want your titles? Select all the documents and choose Documents->Auto fill->Clear titles.
  7. Don’t want your synopses? You’ll need to clear them by hand.
    ]Finally, bring up Opal and use it as a guide for structuring all those docs in Scrivener.[/*:m][/list:o]

You are very good Silver Dragon, That’s quite an accomplishment, I do have Scaple so I could try it out and it worked well enough to transfer the outline to the content pages. You do lose hierarchy but that’s easily fixable. I do think Keith could make this happen easily enough and hope he takes a look, but maybe no one else has this problem.


You’re quite welcome!

I am thinking about how Kieth could adjust Scrivener to be more fluid in the transition from outline to writing and thought he could create an option of putting the second line of writing into the summary, there could be an option where the first line is the title and the second is the concent, That way the content could hold much more type. It would end up looking different, but function both as an outline and allow me to write while in outline form. Just an idea. Not sure if anyone else feels this way.

Well, I have this problem, so it’s not unique. :wink: With you, it’s your tool. With me, it’s the way I use my tool. iThoughts looks very different from Opal on screen, but my OPML exports look much the same as yours.

Best not to speculate on whether it will be easy or hard for Keith, nor how popular it might or might be, nor yet whether it will fit his plans for the app. He’s quite capable of saying “Heck no!” Best just to post in the Wish List and find out.

Will Do