I downloaded the trial version of Scrivener and it seems like a good program, but I’d really like to change the color scheme of the editor. Specifically, I’d like to use light gray text on a black background, since this is the color scheme I use when I read ebooks in my kindle app (and also what I’m used to using when I program in Vim). I’ve gone to Preferences > Appearance > Editor > Text Background and made it black, and Preferences > Formatting and made the text light gray, but I can’t see the cursor on the black background. Is there any way around this, or should I learn to use black text on a white background like a normal person?
You should perhaps be a little more “normal” in the main editor settings. It is possible to kind of force it like you did, but as you note there are some rough edges with the concept (not least of which the fact that your text is literally light grey). Any use of highlighters, links and annotations will also be a bit abrasive. This is a design decision: there should be at least one place in the software you can see what your text actually looks like.
Have you tried out Composition Mode, yet (View/Enter Composition Mode menu command)? That one is designed for a wider range of settings, and light text on a dark background is no problem at all. Note it has its own preference tab and colour settings, separate from Appearance. There is a “Text Color” setting in there, which will let you override the appearance of all elements in the text editor to that one colour.
I hope you enjoy the trial!
There are very good reasons for changing colour schemes in Scrivener. At least two are medical. Firstly those who have Scotopic sensitivity syndrome so the default black text on white background is hard to read. Other names for the syndrome include Meares-Irlen Syndrome and visual stress syndrome. Changing the presentation to something that is more suitable to the individual is necessary and should be application- not project-wide. If light grey on black or puce on yellow is what an SSS person needs then there’s no argument however much it might appear to be gaudy to other users of Scrivener.
Secondly degenerative eye conditions. Cataracts, for example, affect how one sees things. A good example is Monet and how he painted his pond lilies over time. Cataracts can cause problems with glare most noticeably when driving at night but the brightness of application backgrounds could also cause problems.
There are other medical conditions that need this form of personalisation but the two above are those I’m familiar as I have Scotopic sensitivity syndrome as a component of my dyslexia and my wife has cataracts induced by her very short sight (she wears glasses with -32 dioptres lenses; average for shortsightedness is -3).
I’m not sure what you are angling at, since Scrivener already has forty-billion colour settings, and the only thing I stated was that some of those settings do not work terribly well together if you push them a certain way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. You just have to be aware of the fact that the main editor shows your text as it is, so if your default text formatting is bright pink, that’ll be how it prints unless you strip all colours out of the text during compile, and that may not be an acceptable compromise. Composition Mode is a better place to be writing if you prefer light on dark.
But if you need light on dark, fortunately Mac OS X has a pretty decent set of accessibility features for this kind of stuff (never mind third-party tools). You argue that settings like this should be application-specific, not project (or file) specific, but I would strongly disagree for the majority of programs. Accessibility is the domain of the operating system, and the only onus upon individual developers is to ensure their software works well with those mechanisms.
When you say a colour scheme “does not work terribly well” you mean it does not work for you but for someone with Scotopic sensitivity syndrome (aka Meares-Irlen Syndrome or Visual Stress Syndrome) it could be perfect.
Yes an o/s is the correct place for accessibility functions to be provided so all applications can use them but those are good enough. Some people with Scotopic sensitivity syndrome need colour changes every page (or screen) of both background and text but they are not provided for by even the best o/s out there.