Changing Comments default text

With every new comment Scrivener reproduces the author, date and time of the project. Is it possible to change this? I would like to have it copy the very word that holds the rectangle comment.

The author, date and time are the default comment only, and are already highlighted so you can start typing your actual comment straight off.

I’m not sure why you want the comment to be the actual selected text? That’s not what comments are for - it sounds as if you want another function instead. Can you explain more exactly what you want to achieve?

(Chapter 18 of the Manual may repay a read - it sounds as if Inline Annotations may be what you need?)

Yes, I want a different function for comments. You see, I write in LaTeX so my footnotes are in the running text. I’m creating a comment for each key indicator of my footnotes (for example, John2000) so as to have more control over their location for easy review and editing through the Inspector. Otherwise it’s hard to locate them in a long project. Inline annotations are useful but not for the purpose described. What I’m doing right now is putting the desired key into the clipboard, creating a comment, then pasting it. I was just wondering if there’s a quicker way.

If I’ve understood your requirements properly — and apologies if I haven’t…

One way to get round it is to use something like Keyboard Maestro[^1] which can change commands like this together on a single keystroke.

But… there’s already a way in Scrivener to make what you want to do easier than your current workaround. Just use Inline annotations while you’re working, then convert them to Inspector Comments in one go at the end of a session. I.e

  1. At the relevant point John2010, repeat and rinse.
  2. At the end of the session, select the relevant documents in the binder and convert them all to Inspector Comments. [^2]

Will that work for you?

[^1]: If you don’t already use Keyboard Maestro, then it’s really worth trying the demo of it. It’s a brilliant program for getting round issues like this. I use it with Scrivener a lot…

[^2]: I don’t use V2 anymore so I can’t remember exactly where that function is: I think it’s on Documents > Convert > Convert Inline Annotations to Inspector Comments, but if it isn’t, then just type Convert into the Help Search Box and you’ll find it.

BTW, step 2 isn’t strictly necessary because you can

a) Edit > Find > Find by Formatting and set it to search for inline annotations and it will go through the entire project highlighting them; and
b) You can tell Compile to ignore Inline Annotations so they won’t print out anyway.

But there’s of course no harm in converting them to Inspector Comments (and back) if you wish.

Yes, you have understood my idea, thanks. I did not know Keyboard Maestro (KM) could do that. I was able to figure out the right keystrokes in KM so it’s working like a charm. I would like to keep inline annotations separate from the use of comments for this project, so I’m favoring KM. Thanks for the comments, very helpful. I am sending the macro for your delight.

Sorry for the delay in replying… Glad it worked for you. That macro looks very useful and it’s a nice trick to use the mouse click to anchor the text location.

As you explore it more, Keyboard Maestro can make your workflows much smoother, so it’s worth exploring to see what else it can do. It’s the third program I install on a new / reinstalled Mac after dropbox and 1Password, because Macs without it feel very clunky…

If you’re interested, have a look at the following:

  1. Create a ‘Macro Palette’ – this is popup menu which you populate with your KM macros, and it can be restricted to a specific application. Eg I have a few Scrivener-specific palettes: the one for Collections collates simple actions to make using collections easier – so I press Ctl-opt-c to bring the palette up then a single letter to choose the action (b - Binder, h - Hide Collections etc).

The beauty of this is that once you’ve set everything up, you only need to remember the palette shortcut – the actions and their shortcuts are there in front of you. Secondly, it saves on shortcuts – because the palette only works in Scrivener, I can reuse ctl-opt-c elsewhere with no conflicts. Also individual actions can have meaningful single letter shortcuts without conflicting elsewhere.

This is really powerful if you hate using the mouse, as I do…

  1. Secondly, you can sync macros across Macs via Dropbox or iCloud – once you’ve written a macro it’s immediately available elsewhere.

Anyway, enough proselytising… (I’m only a satisfied KM customer, not an employee!)

Keyboard Maestro has been very useful. Thanks to your encouragement I bought it and started using it right away. I have created other more detailed macros and they have been saving me time! I use dropbox and 1Password as well. Yes, I started using the Global Palette recently, and it’s better because it does not cause shortcut conflict with other apps. I will try the other ideas you mentioned. will try to create additional palettes for each app as well. I love the proselytizing, God bless you!

Glad it’s helped!

Hello, @brookter – since you seem very knowledgeable about this, I was hoping you can answer another question. I am also looking to edit the auto text generated by every comment – it seems very cumbersome to me that it repeats my own name to me every time it generates a comment, and I really don’t need the precise time stamp, the date alone would be quite enough. I am using comments very extensively (as comments, not as anything else), and all that extra text is just clutter… Any tips on how I might edit that “in box” text after all?

Thank you!

Sorry for the delay in replying – only just seen your message.

I don’t know a way of editing the autogenerated text, sorry.

To enter the date automatically instead, I’d use Keyboard Maestro to create a macro chaining the two actions together (ie Insert Comment + Insert Short Date).


As a free alternative to Keyboard Maestro, WordService ( … 2312?mt=12) provides services to insert long or short dates, which you can then assign keyboard shortcuts to through macOS System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services.

For example, I have CMD SHIFT [ for the short date.

When you create a comment, the default text is already selected, ready to be edited or replaced.

So, CMD SHIFT * to create the comment, then CMD SHIFT [ to replace the default text with the short date.

Thanks for the tips, @brookter, @JoRo. I’ve not been using either one of those two services, but I will give it a try.