Comp mode, oh, yeah. Let's make it even better.

I love Composition Mode.

I use it to compose—oh shoot! That’s why it’s called Composition Mode! Go Figure!

But another thing I like about it is it’s a great reading mode for editing.

But here’s where that could be even better: set up a way to toggle this with a keystroke:

Let’s call it ‘Reader Mode’. All it would have to do is make the separators invisible, and insert actual images where the coded $img stuff appears in the main Editor.

That would be awesome. The one feature iBooks Author has that Scrivener doesn’t have is WYSIWYG. Do this, and that would be the final nail in IBA’s coffin.

Scrivener is not a WYSIWYG editor, and does not attempt to be.

That’s the whole point of the Compile command.


You’re breaking the cardinal rule of fiction writers: telling the reader what they already know.

And why is that? WHY is Scrivener against being WYSIWYG? That stock answer seems to be in total conflict with the mission statement of helping writers. Every time that answer is parroted, it just underlines how hollow it is.

This is a total no-brainer: Having a WYSIWYG option would only help writers. It would certainly not hurt them, and it certainly would not hurt Scrivener.

Is Scrivener really about being a platform that helps writers? Or is is just that Scrivener could never find a way to add a feature like this? All the pieces to do it are right there inside Scrivener. I have faith that the engineering wherewithal is there, too. After all, Apple did it in their sleep. What I don’t have faith in is whether the powers that be can extricate themselves from a state of denial.

And what good is a wishlist forum if Scrivener won’t consider the ideas carefully, and with respect?

Not all writers want WYSIWYG.

I’m one of a group of Scrivener users who would prefer less WYSIWYG in Scrivener, not more. If it helps you feel any better, my wish was summarily dismissed as swiftly as yours. :smiley:

It’s kind of L&L to let us each know, quickly, that our requests are doomed. I for one prefer to not keep beating my deceased equine… :smiley:

The whole point of Scrivener is to help writers. Formatting is a task for publishers and designers.

Even if the writer and the publisher happen to be the same person, the formatting preferred by the author does not necessarily match the formatting needed for the output document. You can write in double spaced 16 point Comic Sans if you want, then send 12 point Courier to one publisher, and format a single spaced 10 point Times Roman paperback for another, without touching the underlying manuscript.

Scrivener is not WYSIWYG because what you see isn’t necessarily what you want to get.


Ah, the muddier and muddier waters of Scrivener not being WYSIWYG but offering a vast range of formatting options and layout tools that users partly get to see and partly have to imagine: the full WYSIWYG has to happen in the user’s head until compile, and then it has to be reimagined and recompiled endlessly to be perfected. It’s a very odd hybrid that frustrates and alienates a lot of users (or former users). If layout and formatting are meant to be done elsewhere, why offer them at all, beyond the absolute basics of bold, italic, underline, etc?

Personally think it is disingenuous not to acknowledge that Scrivener is at least partially a WYSIWYG tool. Sure, people can write in Comic Sans and compile in Baskerville, but most (from the people I have helped) don’t. They work on their styles and their typography in Scrivener. They do a lot of core WYSIWYG work on the screen in front of them, and they don’t leave it all to the compile stage … in fact it is hard to leave it until compile because a lot of the time Scrivener “pushes” users to use styles while they are writing so that the compiler can then make better sense of their work. Even the choice of output narrows down how users have to write in Scrivener, encouraging users to make design decisions before they start writing. That is all WYSIWYG thinking and processing.

The ribbon of formatting options and onscreen rulers also encourage users to think about and use quasi-WYSIWYG tools. And yet anytime anyone asks a question that touches on WYSIWYG issues, they get hammered with the “Scrivener is not a WYSIWYG environment” mantra. Think that is really unhelpful and far from the reality of what the app offers.

Scrivener is great for writing and structuring and restructuring. Users are told it is not a WYSIWYG tool, and yet it offers a panoply of layout and design options that make users focus on WYSIWYG-related ways of thinking and working.

I don’t think uses are in a muddle about what Scrivener is and can do. I think the muddle is on the other side of the fence. Until that fundamental truth is acknowledged, it will be impossible for people to have an open debate that is based on actual facts and reality. Unfortunately, the same tortuous round of threads like this will carry on ad infinitum.

For many people—most in my experience—Scrivener is largely used as a WYSIWYG tool (with headers and footers and footnotes added during compile). Telling those people that Scrivener is not a WYSIWYG tool is not helpful and not in touch with the reality of how many users use Scrivener. It just blames them for using tools that Scrivener provides for them. It’s not a real-world response, irrespective of how many times it is repeated.

But iBooks Author is already pretty much dead: … uthor/amp/

You are confusing WYSIWYG with WYSIHIL, “what you see is how it looks” right now. The ribbon of formatting facilitates my writing because it makes it possible for me to have a peaceful writing environment, to see some parts more clearly, etc. It definitely helps my writing not having to bother about margins, headings, indents, space between paragraphs, etc.

Scrivener is not open-source. It’s not a joint effort of a community of developers. Users can have any debate they like, but Scrivener is still essentially the product of a one-man-band. And that one man makes the decisions, no matter what kind of debate the users indulge in.

Would you prefer that L&L didn’t comment wishes in the Wish List, not even saying if they will contemplate the suggestion or not?

Because Scrivener’s design philosophy starts with some key properties that, as it turns out, are incompatible with a true WYSIWYG experience.

All hardware design, all software design, is the result of selection, compromise, and consequence. You select the traits you want to emphasize, you make compromises that favor the emphasized traits, and you take the consequences of the incompatible traits that result.

Quickly telling us “this is not compatible with Scrivener’s core design goals,” is treating the ideas carefully, and with respect. Especially when the entire history is sitting there in the forum, waiting for anyone to go read and see all of the discussion hashed out in the past, instead of requiring KB and the rest of L&L to say it all again and again and again.

Yes, exactly. In my own work, I use exactly the same default formatting for all projects, regardless of topic, genre, or intended destination. This gives me a consistent environment that matches my particular preferences.

As it happens, I dislike both Courier and Times Roman, the two most commonly requested “submission” fonts. But even if I didn’t, I don’t necessarily know when I start a project what the ultimate destination will be, or what formatting that destination will require. Scrivener’s approach lets me get down to the business of writing, and defer formatting questions until I know what the answers are.


It’s not even possible to choose your ultimate output format until you compile the document.

While many people do use Styles to visually distinguish the text, it’s entirely possible to use them purely as semantic “tagging” for specific sections, and to change all aspects of the Style via the Compile command.

In my experience, the more aggressively users try to “make design decisions before they start writing,” the more likely they are to encounter frustration at the output stage.


That’s because the functionality has been integrated into Pages. Pages has always had DTP functionality and can produce quality output.

I’d never use Pages as a writing program but for tidying look after compile, yes.

Actually, there’s a wish, a compile to Pages option.

Pages is also a better program to bring editor suggestions back into Scrivener. Doesn’t seem to have some of the nasties of copy/past from Word. Of course, only helpful to Mac users.

If I remember correctly, Apple has not made the Pages format available. I found this comment to that effect from 2017 and don’t think the situation has changed any since then.

I’m going to take great delight in breaking that cardinal rule again.

Now listen carefully, dear Authors ; the 'Y’s in WYSIWYG stand for ‘You’. Both of them, and therein lies the rub : At least for published, mainly textual works, the first ‘Y’ doesn’t refer to the same person that the second ‘Y’ refers to. The first ‘Y’ is ‘You’ - the Author; the second ‘Y’ is Your Reader (but the same applies to Your Editor, or Your Publisher).

I guarantee (or your money back) that You the Reader doesn’t have the same unique combination of monitor, applications, device hardware, screen resolution, font preferences and eyesight prescription as You the Author (unless you’ve cloned both yourself and your IT setup for improved productivity… :wink: )

I’ll leave You the Author to figure out the rest of the telling. But let’s just say the virtues of expending hours of pixel-twiddling effort creating visual perfection for satisfying the whims of the first You, whilst completely ignoring the second You, who is merely your paying Customer, are vastly over-rated. That’s why we use graphic designers for Your page zeroes and proofreaders and typesetters for the rest. If you think this is fiction and are still not convinced, just ask anyone in the book marketing or paper recycling industries what ‘pulp’ means to them.

Ah, yes, I remember now. I’ll talk to Tim. :wink: