Character Name Database

I’m a longtime user of Final Draft, but I like how Scrivener “feels” to work with, so I’ve recently started using it almost full time.

However, the one thing I really, really miss from Final Draft is pressing TAB to enter the character field, and as soon as I type the letter “B”, I get a list of all my characters that start with B. “BA” reduces a list of “Bart, Bill, Bob, and Boomer” down to just “Bart” and another slap of the tab key completes the name. In that example, it doesn’t seem like much, but once you’re dealing with several characters with long names, you start to appreciate that you’re typing a fair bit more than you used to.

I’m bridging this gap with TextExpander now that I’ve found out about it, but it requires setting up the characters in TE ahead of time, and it’s a feature I’d happily pay more for were it native to Scrivener.

If you go to Edit > Auto-Complete List, you can add your own words for auto-completion in the current project (such as character names). When you type “B”, for instance, you would hit cmd-period and then get a list of all entries you have added for “B” at the top of the regular dictionary entries.

Technically, in the new 1.08 beta, you could add character names as an auto-complete list for the “Character” element so that it worked exactly as in Final Draft. The only problem there would be that the character names would then become part of the script template, which you would need to change every time you changed the script template. Hmm…


Oh cool. I’ll give that a shot.

Actually your post gave me an idea - I’ve kind of linked the features now.

In the next beta (1.09b), there is a checkbox at the bottom of the “Auto-Complete” pane of the Script Settings panel saying, “Override with project auto-complete list”. If you check this, then only the words you have entered in Edit > Auto-Complete List will appear in the auto-complete list for that element (provided they match what has been typed so far), and they will pop up automatically (without need of pressing cmd-period) if you have automatic completions checked in the preferences.

This should provide exactly the functionality you want - to be able to enter character names into a list that will then appear when you type a letter in the character part of a script - whilst at the same time not getting in the way of those who aren’t script or fiction writers.


Well, I appreciate that! Right now though, I just tried your previous suggestion and it works like a charm. I don’t mind having to set up separate files since I have different ongoing comics projects, and I’ll keep re-using those files in much the same way that I used to open up a previous issue in Final Draft, select all and delete so I’d keep the updated character lists.

One thing I thought of as I was setting this up-- It would be nice if I could type the name into the character field while writing the script, then control-click the name and have “add to auto complete” in the menu. That way you could add to characters or scene headers, etc whenever the thought occurred to you.

I’m with Brian on that one. It has my vote as well.

Wait, does that mean that it wouldn’t read the template auto-completes as well? Because I have about ten in my comics template (BALLOON, NO DIALOGUE, CAPTION, LOCATION, etc.) that I need for every project. if you still have to enter the project-specific values (character names, etc.) manually, what advantage is there to the 1.09b method?

Not to induce gnashing of teeth, but it would be even nicer if it automagically added a Character Name to the list whenever you typed it into a CharName Paragraph for the first time. FD, MMS and NovaMind all do this.

It’s all about the creative flow…

Thanks for considering,

Only if you check “Override with project auto-complete list”. Otherwise, it uses the list you set up in the Script Settings. Come to think of it, it might be better to have “add words from project auto-complete list”, which fixes situations like yours - I’ll fix it up later before 1.09b comes out.

As for the rest of the suggestions - no, sorry, you’ll just have to enter them manually like everyone else into Edit > Edit Auto-Complete List. Certainly, nothing else is getting added to the ctrl-click menu of the text view. That menu is a nightmare to manage technically as it is and already has too much in it in my opinion. And having words get added to the auto-complete list automatically would also not only be difficult, but not always desirable, given that the auto-complete list doesn’t have to be a character list.

So, on this one, I will fix it so that the project auto-complete list only gets added to the element auto-complete list if the checkbox is ticked, but that is all I’m doing. 1.1 is nearly complete and I’m not changing much else. Sorry.


Sounds like the perfect solution. Thanks :slight_smile:

Huh. And I was hoping that if I selected auto complete it would finish my project for me.

oh well…


PS: Sounds like a nice feature (Override with Project Auto Complete List)