bullets are completely incompatible between Mac and Windows

Mac Scrivener uses the Mac RTF approach to bullets:

  1. the bullet character is part of the text
  2. the bullet character must be preceded and followed by a tab character
  3. the ruler for a bulleted paragraph must be: first line marker, left tab stop (for the bullet), another left tab stop(for the text), the margin for lines 2 through n

I find the Mac RTF approach to bullets to be annoying, but once you have the hang of it, it works.

On Windows Scrivener, bullets work as they do in Word:

  1. The bullet is not part of the text: you can’t select it. Bullet characters are inserted by the formatting intruction to use bullets.
  2. The bullet is typically at the first character position of the first line.
  3. The ruler is first line marker, second line marker, typically with a tab in the same position as the 2nd line marker.

I noted that an outline I constructed on the Mac using the “custom” list feature (not available on Windows), doesn’t double up the level counter, but the alignment is different than on Mac. I can add a new point and it will be numbered correctly and the following points will be renumbered correctly. So, some of the plumbing is the same on Windows and Mac versions.

The problem is that the two different ways rulers are used are mutually incompatible. If you create the documents on the Mac, then on Windows the text will be mis-aligned. Something ugly probably happens in the other direction but I haven’t tried it yet.

Surprising that no one at Literature and Latte has ever seen this. Sort of fundamental that if you create a product that is cross-platform the most fundamental thing is that the data survives round trips with full fidelity. UI doesn’t have to be identical; feature sets don’t have to be identical. But, the data must either be identical or a conversion must happen on one side or the other (and of course, this requires that the saving “version” has to encode this so the other version knows to do the conversion–nasty–which is why identical data is much better).

Please, L & L: no excuses that you are using a contractor to do the Windows version. It’s pretty good and quite close to the Mac version, which is more functional and refined. Still, the Windows version does appear to the do the job with some non-critical missing features. Since the file format really must be identical for both platforms, you will need to do some munging on the Windows side (assuming you have many more users on Mac).

Generally there are a lot of problems with bullets and hanging indents. If you want people to do non-fiction work in Scrivener, best to really improve this.