Copying/pasting bullets results in odd results

Pretty easy problem to replicate, happens every single time I test it. For reference, I’m using the Short Story template formatting.

#1 - Insert a level 1 bullet of any text.
#2 - Insert a level 2 bullet of any text.
#3 - Insert a level 3 bullet of any text.
#4 - Copy the Level 3 bullet line.
#5 - Move to the next line and paste the copied text.

You now have a Level 2.5 bullet that does not follow the same visual guidelines as the regular bullets, and a Level 3 bullet that matches the 2.5 bullet visuals. Shift-tab doesn’t move the Level 3 bullet up to a Level 2, but Tab does. After moving it from 3 to 2, the bullet behaves normally. The 2.5 bullet has no interactivity with the remainder of the list and doesn’t seem to move. Both Tab and Shift Tab have no effect.

The same process can be repeated with Level 1 and 2 bullets only, by copying the Level 2 bullet. I added the 3rd level to make it easier to conceptualize, and to point out one extra oddity. If you copy/paste a 4th/5th level bullet into a first level bullet slot, it extends the tree to create a 3.5 blank bullet, and a 4 bullet with your information. The system should adjust the data structure to match where it’s being pasted to.

Another item related: copying and pasting bulleted text in any form seems to break the bullet structure. For example:

I have a Level 1 bullet with a paragraph of data, and a similar Level 2 bullet with more text data. If I copy five random words from the middle of the Level 1 paragraph and paste it in the middle of the Level 2 paragraph, it does the half-level bullet and breaks the structure, even though what I copied and where I pasted it had nothing to do with bullets. However, if I copy that same text, paste it through a format-stripping simple text box interface such as the Windows Run prompt, or a Notepad window, and then paste that same text mid-paragraph in the Level 2 bullet, the text properly appears in-line within the paragraph. I assume this means you’re using invisible formatting bits to structure the bullets within the UI.

Doing things in reverse, if I copy and paste bullets from Scrivener into Notepad, the bullet structure is lost and I get flat text with line breaks. These invisible bits are clearly not transferred into visible characters. Have you considered doing what Word and other editors do, and having a specific static symbol for each level of bullet that exists? Those same editors are coded in such a way that they can pick up the structural cue of incoming data and format it accordingly to their own methods. When I try the reverse (Word list into Scrivener list), the formatting sort of just…dies. I get non-printing characters and bullets that behave oddly.

Hi Corran,

Short response: Bullet formatting in Windows Scrivener is what it is for the time being. It may possibly improve late this year or early next, when the new Windows version is released.

Long response:
Windows Scrivener is built on a software framework called Qt. My understanding is that QT handles most of the text formatting functionality in Scrivener, including formatting of bullets.

The upside of building on a framework like QT is that Lit&Latte can have a tiny development team yet produce reasonably priced, feature rich software like Scrivener.

The downside is that the Scrivener team can do nothing about the various bullet-related issues you’ve listed.

In my opinion, handling of bullets is Windows Scrivener’s weakest point. I experience the same issues you do. Luckily for me, I write fiction and very strong support for bullets is not a critical issue for me, otherwise I would have to look elsewhere.

The good news is that Scrivener for Windows is undergoing a major rewrite. The next version 3.0 will be built on a newer version of the QT framework, so there is the possibility that handling of bullets will improve. That said, there has been no official release date announced from Lit&Latte for the 3.0 Windows version. They’ve said the Mac version will likely rollout some time this year, so my guess is that we will see the new Windows version either late this year or early next.

I know that doesn’t help you with your bullets, but hopefully it was at least informative!!! :slight_smile:

FYI, I am just a customer, no affiliation with Lit&Latte.


Makes sense to me. The whole textual interface seems very reminiscent of doing moderate to power user type changes in a WYSIWYG web rich text editor: you accidentally get one too many floating or unclosed tags in the background, preventing it from ever looking the way you want it to.

On scrivener 3 now, and I’m still having issues with copy / paste of bullets and also changing between indent levels of bullets. Would LOVE to see evolution here in time since I’m a huge Scriv fan. But yeah, I do write fiction too, but use bullets heavily to manage revisions. Long term this might mean I migrate some of my feedback and notes into notion, but I’d rather keep all the things in scriv if possible :slight_smile: