Customizable automatic Highlighting

Since I do not WYSIWYG formating in the editor and concentrate on writing, I’d love to have a (customizable) automatic highlighting of standard (body) text, italic (thoughts) and speach (All text between “xxxx”). This would give me an instant overview how balanced speach, prosa and my characters thoughts are.


The Neo-Sapiens and Humans are reliable allies. Without their help and Equinox’s new FTL-drive, my battleship would not be spaceworthy. Humans, Hybrids, and Neo-Sapiens have offered to complete the team of the Expeditionary Corps. Three different peoples united on a ship. I feel that our fates are inseparable from the events of the past.
Vasina looked around briefly and let her gaze wander over the assembled men and women. Many faces were familiar to her from the times before the deportation of her people.
When Vasina raised her hand, it quickly became quiet in the hangar. Hidden microphones picked up her words to be received all over the ship. She didn’t need to shout to make herself heard.
»This is the first official address to my old and new friends aboard the Atlantika, since our return from Equinox. Many of our faithful companions have left us, waiting for us in the Nimbus of the Milky Way, guarded by Nebular, who, with her divine powers, holds the spiral arms of our galaxy together in a rotating, eternal dance.«

This wouldn’t be terribly easy to do given that there would be two approaches the software could take to provide that, and neither would be satisfactory to most (if you want more explanation, search the forum for “syntax highlighting” “mmd” and “latex”, which are the quarters from where most of these kinds of requests come):

  1. The text would literally be formatted the way you did it above. When you compile that is what it will look like. When you copy a selection of text into Evernote or wherever, that is what it will look like.
  2. Some things like colour can be overridden in patches (that’s how inline annotations works), but the more you use that the slower text editing becomes.

There will be some interesting solutions in the future that might be of interest to you however. As many know, Scrivener 3 will have styles, which means you could use a style for “emphasis” instead of setting the font variant to italics directly, and styles are by definition easily malleable—yes it will be blue in the editor still, but it would be easier to get rid of that blue if the blueness is centrally defined.

As to speech, well Apple added a nice little feature to the text engine a while back that can highlight by parts of speech and such, which we’ll be adding access to. So for the speech highlight, that is something you’ll be able to do (though again with the aforementioned significant hit to performance while editing).w

Hi Amber,

Thank you much for your reply.
In fact, I was not thinking about a permanent format change in the manuscript to highlight such sections, which then for sure would run over the compiler and creates looks we do not want. I did think more of an extension to the editor, which automatically highlights such sentences and text parts while working on a document without changing it. Some Markdown editors do that to highlight whats marked as italic, bold or headlines. I thought such kind of a marking would be cool to identify on first sight which parts of the manuscript is speech or “thoughts” or prosa.

The Apple extension you have mentioned sounds interesting.
I was looking for it but could not find the switch.
Can you guide me where to find it? (Sierra, latest build)

Kind regards,

Right, Markdown editors work with plain .txt files, and are much closer to extremely basic coding editors than a word processor, it’s difficult to compare the two in terms of capability given how different they are under the hood, and txt editors are also extremely basic, so there isn’t much code weight to start with in adding real-time formatting on top of it.

As for the Apple thing, we’ll be adding access to that feature, future tense. :slight_smile:

Sounds exciting. :slight_smile: Look forward to it. :slight_smile:
Have a great weekend. :slight_smile: