Character Name Auto Complete

In Scriptwriting Mode, it’d be quite nice to have Scrivener auto suggest/auto complete Character Names as you type them…seems like I spend a lot of time typing Character Names!

You can enter your character names into the auto-complete list by going to Edit > Auto-Complete List… Add the names there, then they will be available from the auto-complete menu that pops up.
Hope that helps!
All the best,

KB, is this your ultimate solution for this request or are you considering a more robust character-name completion scheme for a future version? Character name completion is one feature that would make Scrivener a “real” screenwriting solution, if that is something you’re interested in.


How does having a separate place to edit names for auto complete make it better than just having the one?

I’m afraid there are no plans for adding character names automatically, although 2.0 will allow you to select a name (or any other text), ctrl-click on it and select “Add to Auto-Complete List”. It also allows for auto-complete as you type. The manual adding of the character name via the auto-complete list is still an extra step to a dedicated scriptwriting program, but bear in mind that Scrivener is no such thing; it offers a (hopefully) decent scriptwriting mode (with some improvements for 2.0), but is designed to work for a a number of types of writers. The scriptwriting mode in Scrivener is not semantic; it is just regular rich text automatically formatted. So there is no real difference between any text element other than its formatting, which is why Scrivener has no idea of what elements you may or may not wish automatically adding to the auto-complete list.

All the best,

It works great for me, since I can’t spell my characters names consistently anyway!

Keith, thanks for the reply.

I know it’s not your intention that Scrivener should replace a dedicated screenwriting application such as Final Draft (which I use), but I would like to do more in Scrivener than I currently do, and a creature comfort such as character name auto-complete would help me do that.

The auto-complete enhancements that you describe for v2.0 sound like they will help, and in fact they could be enough. Although I am concerned that having auto-complete be always-on would get maddening for writing action and dialog.

On the issue of screenplay mode being semantic, don’t you already have element-specific behaviors, even auto-complete ones? When I start typing “INT.” at the beginning of a Scene Heading, I see some auto-complete choices.

You have to do what feels right to you, but to the user there is no sense that screenplay elements are not semantic. You see things from the inside out, so you might perceive distinctions that we don’t. To me, the behavior of the application changes depending on which type of element I’m in, as I would expect.

I wonder if you’d consider an option to have the auto-complete only activate automatically in the Character element type? That would fit with the current plans for 2.0 and seemingly not exceed the element-specific behaviors that you find acceptable.

Thanks for considering it,


Hi Stu,

I think in 2.0 it should work as you wish. There are options for:

  • Suggest completions as you type
    – Only in script mode
    – Only suggest completions from custom lists

All three of these options are checked by default. This means that only script elements with custom lists associated will have auto-completion happen automatically - scene headings etc, but also any words in the project auto-completion list will pop up automatically (character names, locations you have added). General dictionary words won’t pop up, so it doesn’t get annoying in Action elements etc. In practice, the only real different between auto-completion in Scrivener 2.0 and, say, Final Draft, is that you have to add the words you want in the auto-completion list manually in Scrivener (whereas FD will detect you have added a new character name and automatically add it to the character list).

In terms of semantics, the user can set up the formatting for each element via Documents > Scriptwriting > Script Settings. There you can add a custom auto-complete list for each element (for character names and locations you would want to add them to the project list rather than the element lists, though).

So, I think 2.0 will do pretty much what you want - auto-completion of character names or locations (you have manually added, or added via the contextual menu), but not of general dictionary words.

All the best,


That sounds great Keith, thanks! Add me to the list of users happy to pay for the 2.0 update.