Changing default background colour of comments

First of all, 2.0 was certainly worth the wait. What an amazing and beautiful piece of work. It is such a great pleasure to use. I switched to a Mac a couple of years ago, mainly to be able to use Scrivener and DEVONthink Pro. To say that I have no regrets would be a gross understatement.

I have one low-priority question. I realize that I can change the background color (colour) of individual comments, but I haven’t found an option to set a default color for all new comments in the Appearance pane of Preferences. Am I right in assuming this option does not exist or am I missing something?


You are right, at present they always default to yellow. You can change a bunch at once though by selecting them all in the sidebar and right-clicking on them to change the colour.

You see, when you inflate my ego by praising Scrivener in that way, you get “Add preference for default comment colours” added to my development to-do list. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the kind words!

And thank you, Keith, for the future tweak!

And here’s a little more praise for the excellent customer service and support. Wow. A low-priority item addressed in record time by both you and Ioa!

All the best,

Just came on line to see if I could find out how to do this. Actually, I’d also like comments created by converting inline annotations to comments and comments inserted directly into the inspector to be the same color. Might that be rendered possible, too?


If I understand you correctly, that would be less friendly, I think, for the application to do. Reason being: inline annotations can all have their own colour as well. A user might have put considerable time into formatting these by type, and if the conversion routine just Yellow-ified everything that would be undesirable.

Not sure I understand, but if I do, [1] I’m suggesting an option, not the default behavior, [2] I don’t see how changing the color of a comment created by converting an inline annotation, however elaborately formatted, would affect the formatting of the comment. [But then I’m not a software designer/developer!]

If making both types of comments the same color is not possible, making the colors, whatever they are, a bit more subtle, would be appreciated. The bright red of both the text block and the comment is distracting. Pastels would be better. The preference is mine, of course.


You can change the color for inline annotations, if that’s all you mean. Once you change the color, that will be your default color until you change it again. Just select the text of your annotation and then change the text color.

Also, to batch-change the color of inspector formats, you can open all your documents in a Scrivenings session and open the inspector. All the comments for all the documents contained in the session will appear in the inspector, and you can just select them all and change the color to whatever you want. Any footnotes that get selected will retain their color, so you don’t have to worry about that. It’s quite sweet.

Nope, that’s not what I want. Comments inserted in the inspector are yellow. Comments put in the inspector by converting inline annotations are dark red. I’d like them to be yellow, too – or some other color.

Thanks. That’s helpful, as a last resort. I’d rather them be the color of my choice when I create them. I’d especially like to have annotations converted to comments not be dark red.


Right, sorry, I wasn’t thorough enough. The comment color from converted annotations is whatever color the annotation was, so if you change the annotation to, say, pale yellow, then when you convert them to inspector comments they’ll be pale yellow in the inspector. Once you change the inline annotation color, it will continue to be that color for new annotations, meaning the converted comments will continue to be pale yellow.

Once you set it this way, it will stick for that project (or until you change it again). Just put the cursor anywhere inside the annotation, and press Shift-Cmd-C to bring up the colour selection palette. Changes made in there will be implemented on the inline note in real time so you can find the right level of pale yellow notation.

You must have the eyes of an owl though! :slight_smile:

Yeah, I don’t think my preferred pastels will work very well.

There’s a conflict between what’s needed for inline annotations and what looks good in a comment. Annotations need to be dark so they can be seen, but linking the color of comments converted from annotations to the color of the annotation means both the block in the text that identifies the reference of the comment and the comment itself will also be dark. Again, I find that distracting. [Actually, I just find it ugly.]

Why do comments converted from annotations have to be the color of the annotation? Why can’t they be the color of comments?

There’s a simple solution to this problem: Just put my notes to myself in comments instead of annotations. As annotations they just clutter up the text anyway.

Sorry to put you to so much trouble for nothing, but I appreciate the help.


Some people color-code their comments/annotations, so for them this is an incredibly useful feature. But I see that if you don’t do that, it could perhaps be less useful.

It’s easy to leave notes to yourself with the inspector comments too, though–cmd-shift-8 will create a comment when you’re typing away in the document and think of something to jot to yourself, then esc will jump you back to where you left off.

I use the two for different purposes. Inline annotations for me are quick little things I want to clutter up with vivid colour because they represent stuff I need to fix in the prose. The prose is broken, I don’t want to forget that, so a red/green/blue/whatever beacon in the text is great for illuminating that. I also use inlines for functional text, like defining a tip box or an indented section of the book—basically like a typesetting shorthand. I use this information later on in a programmatic fashion.

For comments in the side; great for long, rambling musings; and because of their “bookmark” characteristics, I also use them as flags, like pieces of coloured tape sticking out of a stack of paper. I highlight figure captures and common the caption, mark these as purple and print the figure name. Now when I load up a section of text, I have a neat table of figures in the inspector. I can jump right to any of them with a click. Table captions get another comment colour.

But overall neither was designed to be easily portable between types. The tools are really meant to be more one-shot. In fact you’ll find colour shifting if you go back and forth a lot—a rich colour will end up muted and brownish after a few generations. I don’t recommend using this feature as a way of temporarily “hiding” inline annotations if colour is at all important to you. It would be nice if this could be flawless, but it’s really difficult to actually pull that off consistently—the computer isn’t that smart, and the big divide between pastel looking good in the sidebar and illegible in the text is going to mandate some shift occur.

Footnote on the other hand, suffer no generational degradation since they are all grey always, and I could definitely see how transitioning from inline to columnar footnotes at different phases of writing would be beneficial.

Yep, that’s what I’m doing now. You can even do it while you’re in full screen mode without terminating the full screen session.

This combination of being able to focus on the actual writing provided by the full screen mode, while still being able to capture “side thoughts,” about the topic at hand or the document or project as a whole, is really powerful.

Might be getting carried away here, but some ways I think writing has already changed for me: I write more slowly. I’m more reflective about how to put what I want to say, about what it is I want to say. I don’t rush ahead as much. Im more concise – fewer sentences, fewer words, fewer commas. I’m more satisfied with the result. I don’t have to go back and clean up so much. I feel like I’ve made progress. I’m not still “up in the air” about my subject.

Can this be? Have others had this experience? Am I just fooling myself? Is there more to come?


I can see that now. So far I’m doing mostly commenting, and as proper comments rather than inline converted to comment. And I can see the value of inline annotations as reminders of things that need to be fixed. [I’ve discovered I can convert text to inline annotation by selecting it and then executing the keyboard shortcut, which I imagine being helpful in using annotations this way.]


Yes, in fact that usage makes annotations quite nice for “soft deleting” text. You can effectively remove it from the compile but leave it sitting there right where it was in case you change your mind later.

So, won’t say +1 (I’m not rude) but I will strongly think it ! Being able to customize your default linked comments color would be a great minor improvement, really ! At least for my workflow… By the way, for now, I just customize my default footnotes color and use footnotes as if they were comments. It’s work fine as long as I don’t use footnotes for anything else.
Thanks Scrivener Team for your care !

I’ve been wishfully thinking of this possibility to change the default comment color as I go through a round of revisions and would like to use a distinct color for the comments to make it obvious where they date from in the draft’s life cycle. So the possible future implementation of that delights me. Since I have to be difficult, though, I’d like to suggest that the default comment color remain separate from the comment text formatting so that if you select a comment and choose to convert it to the default formatting, the background color doesn’t change. It doesn’t switch currently, and there’s already an easy way to select a group of comments and switch the color just by the color swatches or the wheel, so it probably wasn’t even on the table to include it with the default formatting. But just in case.

While I’m being difficult, could we also search by comment color, a la searching by annotation color? And when is Scrivener going to start making me that latte in the mornings? I’d like the holiday edition “Crème Brûlée” variety, please. :wink: