Confusion over lack of Linguistic Focus in Win version

I’m not really surprised that after a number of years, the Windows version of Scrivener 3 is still in beta and not even close to “ready for prime time”. That’s why I only check in on this project once every few months with no expectations at all. It’s why I went and just bought version 1 - not in anticipation of getting a free upgrade to 3 when it came out, but because I suspected I would need to be using that version for the foreseeable future. So I am not going to rag on the engineers for that. I am sure enough people already have. But I do have a gripe based on some confusion.

I was checking out the Mac version (which I cannot buy because I do not own a Mac and am not going to plop down a thousands dollars just so I can use Scrivener on it) and came across its linguistic focus feature which I got really excited about. So I came to the forums to see if it was included in the Windows beta, but it was not. Then I came across some confusing dialogue from the admins which essentially stated that this feature was not going to be available in the Windows version, despite promises that the two versions would eventually have all the same features. The excuse was that because the Mac version takes advantages of some capability not includes in Windows systems.

But this made very little sense to me. The linguistic focus feature is nothing more than a “POS” or parts of speech tagger. And there are quite a few different projects exploring code for such taggers already in existence which are in no way exclusive to Macs. In fact, in the past, I adapted such POS taggers to work in conjunction with the macro scripts of my WordPerfect word processor. It was pretty easy. In fact, I have already been using that in conjunction with Scrivener, and its inclusion in Scrivener would mean one less reason I would have to leave the Scrivener window while writing. But alas, seems I have a brand new disappointment concerning this software.

And in terms of Windows, Not too long ago, Microsoft incorporated a similar feature right into its Edge browser’s reader mode which works on web pages, as well as a “learning tools” plug-in that incorporates it into OneNote on the computer rather than the online version.

So my question is, why is this really so hard to incorporate into the Windows version of Scrivener when far less complex systems are doing it already on Windows format? The excuses given rang rather shallow to me. And also, just how many features of the Mac version are REALLY going to make it into the Windows version?

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Mac Scrivener makes extensive use of the Mac OS text system, which provides the infrastructure for basic editing, basic formatting, spelling and grammar checking, and linguistic focus, among other things. There is nothing comparable available for the Windows platform: a significant part of the delayed release of Windows Scrivener 3 can be attributed to the need to create these capabilities from scratch.

The best way to decide whether Windows Scrivener 3 will meet your needs is to evaluate the beta, which I believe is feature-complete or nearly so. You can download it here:


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Or, if not completely from scratch, to evaluate the third-party options, determine which one will be a best fit, get it wired in, and figure out what gaps are remaining and how to handle them. The spell-checker engine is an obvious example here, in the beta it’s using the widely available Hunspell library which brings with it its own challenges and wrinkles to code around.

That was kind of my point. You don’t actually have to develop them from scratch. These projects have been going on for literally decades. They have been implemented in C++, Python, PHP, Java, Javascript. Many have even been design with a web interface.

To my knowledge, the most extensively tested has been Stanford Log-linear Part-Of-Speech Tagger. I was able to use emulate it just using macros in WordPerfect some time ago. Surely better results can be achieved than my amateurish coding. And if Microsoft already has a plugin for OneNote that works pretty much the same as in the Mac version, I would assume they have some resources for further development.


“evaluate the beta, which I believe is feature-complete or nearly so.”

^ Having a hard time figuring out where “storylines” is in the Windows beta. Doesn’t seem to be included.

I’m on Windows Scriv, so might be mistaken, but I don’t believe there’s a feature in Mac Scriv called ‘storylines’.

Or are you referring to the Corkboard ‘Arrange by Label’ feature? If so, that’s in the Win Beta.

In the Mac version, if you control click on the cork board, you get an option that says “storyline”. [See attachment.] I had not been able to find this feature in the Windows beta. But now I see it has a different name, “arrange by label”,
Annotation 2020-07-11 192711.jpg

Someone has renamed the “label” feature to “storyline” in the UI of their particular project. If you want to read the manual and find this feature, “label view” is what you want.

Hope this helps!

The “official” name for the feature is “Arrange by Label,” and in the Mac version it can be found in the View -> Corkboard Options menu. Probably it’s in a similar location in the Windows (3) version.

It’s possible to rename the “Label” field using the Project -> Project Settings -> Label List pane, and that’s what you (or the template you used) appear to have done.

Which is fine but, as this thread demonstrates, potentially confusing when you ask for help from people who don’t use that template and have no idea what a “storyline” is.


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I see. Wasn’t aware you could do that. I suppose that could be pretty useful. I’ve seen it about three times, including on a youtube tutorial, so apparently it’s a popular change, maybe? Something to do with the desire for a “timeline” feature?

It does seem to be popular, but since I use labels for three or four different things—statuses, points of view, background, etc.—I just let it stay “label”, which also avoids confusion when talking about it with other users. I seem to recall that you could change “label” to what you liked in Scrivener 2 also. But there was no “arrange by label” feature then, so it likely wasn’t used as often.

I don’t bother with “arrange by label” myself. Instead I use Aeon Timeline to produce real timelines and sync them with my Scrivener projects.

Yes, I’ve seen Aeon Timeline. And although I may use that for something else in the future, I try to stick to as few writing programs as possible. Right now I use WordPerfect, Calibre, Scrivener, and FreeMind for different things, and that is too much. So if I could avoid having to use anything else, I see that as a benefit. My timelines are arranged in tables in WordPerfect and that has worked fine for me for years.

In fact, if WP ever incorporates a corkboard and binder, I am probably done with scrivener as well. I write short essays and dialogues mostly, so not much use for scrivener other than organizing collections of my writing. But I have still grown kind of fond of it in general and was looking forward to the 3 release for Win.

Aha. Personally, I don’t mind using lots of different applications as long as they all play well together, and I find that Aeon Timeline has excellent integration with Scrivener. In addition, my longer form work tends to be time dependent (gotta know what happens when in a mystery!) and I’m a visual person. So seeing that graphic to-scale timeline is a lifesaver for me.

But how boring a world would it be if we all wrote the same things, or worked the same way! I hope Windows Scrivener 3 works out for you.

Just an FYI, this feature is available now! Edit > Writing Tools > Linguistic Focus > Direct Speech

It’s fantastic and I love it! I’m so excited this feature was implemented…it’s one of the things I was most looking forward to, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Well, we are getting closer, I guess. Doesn’t tag parts of speech, just quoted phrases. But it’s a step in the general direction.

Frankly, even if this feature didn’t tag all parts of speech - if it simply faded out the stop-words, that would probably be enough. And you can find lists of stop-words for various languages pretty easily.

Why would you assume that? First of all, they want developers to go to .NET and develop for their store, not to develop standalone C++ applications. Second, if they have a plugin, why would they care, since they already have that support for the one tool they want you to use instead of Scrivener?

I would assume it because for one thing it is not as ridiculous as you seem to think it is; and for another, I’ve already seen instances of them doing it through their Microsoft Developer program and the Microsoft Tech Community. I’m not much of a programmer anymore, but I do try to keep up with what’s going on.

Microsoft hasn’t been very big on trying to squash alternative software development since the Explorer versus Netscape fiasco of the '90s. Operating systems, sure. But not so much user applications. It doesn’t even benefit them in any way. Scrivener is not a major obstacle or competitor for Microsoft in any way. It’s a niche market not exactly cash rich enough to get the attention of a company like Microsoft. If it were, I’m pretty sure Microsoft would have it own authoring package already included in its Office Suite, probably incorporated into Word.

Not sure what this supposed .Net conspiracy theory is about, but I haven’t heard much about it. But I’m sure it is just as real as all the other random rumors circulating the web. Doesn’t really sound very credible that Microsoft would be pushing independent developers to only make products for their store. I can see that with Apple and their proprietary dominion. But for PCs? Meh. Microsoft does not rule over C++.

“Conspiracy theory”? You’re right. You’re not much of a programmer anymore.

Microsoft rules over their API’s. Just about everything they release nowadays is WRT with a primary interface in .NET.

Yeah okay, David Icke. Save it for Reddit.

ust an FYI, this feature is available now! Edit > Writing Tools > Linguistic Focus > Direct Speech

It’s fantastic and I love it! I’m so excited this feature was implemented…it’s one of the things I was most looking forward to, and it doesn’t disappoint.

I am glad for you. But such a menu item does not show up on my Scrivener (I have the latest Win).

It is frustrating to see youtubers wax eloquent, and go home to find they are either Mac, Beta or phantom!