Design is function

Most users now have wide screens - much wider than a sheet of paper, but not as tall.
This means that vertical display space is critical: seeing as much text as possible at once is important when composing and better for reading (less scrolling).
So screen design should maximise the height of the document area while putting menus etc on either side. Scrivener does this better than most and much better than the design disaster Word 2011 with its appallingly dysfunctional ribbon, and better than Pages with its space-lazy menu bars, but there is still a little room for improvement.
For example, the horizontal toolbars could all be made floating with vertical options and snap-to. Users could then opt to snap these menu bars to the sides as verticals and so maximise document height and improve working efficiency, while making better use of screen width.
Adobe has pioneered this type of stuff in its CS suites, which have a real challenge to manage hundreds of tool etc options against the critical need of designers to see whole documents at once.
I really recommend your designers give this some consideration.
PS I found Scrivener when looking for an alternative to Word, which I have used since 1988. It’s hard because I really need good style sheets with firm control over inter-para and inter-line spacing and dot point/list styling. I see that Scrivener is actually quite strong in these areas but the controls are buried deep and splattered across menus, eg leading is hidden under format > text . spacing while creating a style requires use of several menus to set font, spacing etc and then create a style from the sample. I am reluctant to recommend anything about MS Word but the style palette concept in Word 98 was very good in giving control (and did not use vertical screen space). Of course, it has been emasculated in Word 2011 along with the very useful Work menu and…no, I’m not going there. Please consider creating an optional style palette that puts all text and para formatting in one place, with styles and then even though Scrivener is a specialist processor it will also be a better general word processor.

You should reread the section of the site that explain who makes up the scrivener team.

If you search the forums you will see that this is not only not the current intention, but an explicit “not going to happen for the foreseeable future” decision made by the designer.

Hi, MichaelGli. Welcome to the forum. :slight_smile:

While you make a point about some writers wanting to use all vertical space, there’s also the consideration that Scrivener offers a general layout in the window with several panels that line up horizontally across the screen: the binder, a split editor (which can be either vertical or horizontal, but given the desire to maximize vertical height for the text let’s imagine it as vertical split, meaning working with a split will require more horizontal screen space) and the inspector. Overall, Scrivener makes good use of screen real estate. Which isn’t to say I don’t appreciate the desire to increase vertical height as much as possible, but even without a floating tool bar (which you’d then still have to put somewhere), Scrivener provides options for this. You can hide the toolbar entirely and just use keyboard shortcuts, which is more efficient anyway; same for the format bar and the ruler. You can hide the header and footer of the editors as well. You can also use “small icons” or “text only” to shrink the height of the toolbar.

And then of course there’s full screen mode, the part of Scrivener specifically designed for what you’re talking about. All the menus are hidden and you have just a long block of text to focus on, stretching from top to bottom of your screen.

As for the styles, the OS text system is limiting and without entirely coding something new for Scrivener, which is a lovely dream but not really practical with one programmer, Scrivener will never be able to offer the full complexity of formatting provided by a dedicated word processor. 2.0 is much richer than the earlier versions, and the compile feature much, much more robust, but if you have heavy-duty formatting needs, you’ll want to use Word or another word processor to handle the final page layout after drafting and compiling in Scrivener.

That said, I have to disagree cordially about the controls being “splattered across menus.” Where else would spacing go but with text? It’s also available directly through the Format toolbar. You might find it easier, even if you regularly keep the format toolbar closed to maximize screen space, to open it while quickly whipping up your styles, since it gives you easy access to font, spacing, color, list styles, etc. Once you’ve made your presets (which you can also give keyboard shortcuts to, via System Preferences, to make using them even faster) you can hide the bar again.

Just a few thoughts that might help.

I don’t know, you can get Scrivener pretty slim if you want it. This is my “Minimal” saved layout (Shift-Cmd-0) that I use when I don’t need a lot of peripheral stuff. It could probably even do without the binder, but that’s just horizontal space. I leave the header bar on because I use that a lot, but I don’t use the footer so much, so it’s off. No format bar, no toolbar, no ruler—but as MM points out, if I need these they are all immediately accessible and in predictable locations via keyboard shortcuts.

In my own humble opinion, as someone who helps design GUIs, a fixed position toolbar that is easily hidden and retrieved is superior to floating palettes because you always know where they will be, and they don’t get in the way of transient conditions like the movement of underlying windows. Floating palettes, unless you never move anything at all, are nearly always going to get in the way. Dockable palettes is the general solution to this: as it becomes optional, but docking palettes is not something built into Cocoa and so would be more difficult to implement. You don’t see that very often on the Mac for a reason—and most of the times you do see it, it’s from huge companies that aren’t even really using Cocoa—like Adobe.

Another approach to the wider-than-tall question is a multi-column view. Keith some time ago developed a basic multi-column program, which he called MYCOLUMN. You can try it out, and read K’s reasons for sticking with Scrivener’s present format, at


You can get a semblance of a multi-column editor in Scrivener by using Page View and setting your preferences to Two-Up in the Editor pane. This will of course only give you two columns, but if you set things up right there is no need to have them take up the same amount of relative space that printed pages would. This same pane allows you to configure pseudo-pages that are more conducive to authoring than printing, such as slimmer margins and reduced padding between pages.

I’ve tried that; if you’re editing/revising a two-page document, it’s OK, but anything longer than that – most of mine are – requires too much jumping around, back and forth as well as up and down. I find it easier to work one vertical page after another.

Keith argues that, while reading columns across may be easier, editing across is not. He’s put more time and thought into the digital implications than I have, but experimenting I’ve done with MYCOLUMN suggests that – for me, anyway – editing across could work. Back around the mid-Silurian, when I was editing a magazine which actually was printed on a press from page-lockups made with slugs from a linotype, we proofed and revised on pull sheets lined up across a huge bench.

All of which proves nothing, of course.


A lot of monitors these days rotate without much effort at all. You just have to go into the mac Display preferences and tell it to rotate 90 degrees. Then you have all the vertical real-estate you could possibly want…

Personally, I can’t use that much vertical space, and I loose a lot of useful info with the inspector hidden as is necessary if I’m to read my document titles (which are fairly long). But if you really want to, it’s easy to accomplish with a lot of non-apple monitors.


full screen mode offers the entire vertical span (so long as you don’t shrink it by option dragging on the slider)

while Scrivener has the typographic adjustments available throughout the mac text system, it seems kind of odd to be looking for such typesetting things in Scrivener for the sake of performing engrossed layout as it is built and purposed to be a place to do the writing itself and save the typesetting for later (and other programs).

as an alternative to word, it depends for what aspect. I don’t see accomplishing mail merge form letters from outlook contacts as being even possible in Scrivener without some gerrymandering, but word simply can’t reliably do the things scrivener does. It tries with master documents, notebook view and outlining, but having used those features for years and having to recover after word ruined such projects with bugs and instability, it’s easy to say that Scrivener does things word just can’t.

add in the project bin and word just can’t compete with Scrivener, at all.

So, among all the features and benefits of Scrivener to facilitate writing, composition, and editing, it seems kind of strange to single out the page typesetting, as that’s something usually not necessary for writing, but rather for the other end of the process: print finishing and all.

What monitor is that? I’ve only ever come across one rotating monitor, and it was one that came with an HP computer.

this is all old apple tech, of course. I remember two mac ii’s in the computer lab at undergrad had the apple portrait display, like this one:

there were two-page displays back then, which seemed so luxurious… except for the sparcstation displays, which were, by comparison, utterly spacious. On the macs, though, I could see the entire strategic conquest map all on one screen and have an irc session live and a terminal window all on one screen!

now, I look at the 27" iMac display and I laugh because I think you can squeeze four pages on that thing easily.

of course, the 13" macbook air display at which I’m looking now has more pixel real estate than the old two page or portrait display, just compact.

the rotating displays started with Radius (I think) in the mid 90s because I remember a buddy who was hooked on mechwarrior and duke nukem raving about it

It’s not clear which previous comment you referred to, but if it was mine, you have misread the point. Writing from page to page, it makes little difference whether the progression is horizontal or vertical. (Consider most hand-written journals, or exam booklets.) My point was that editing/revising, in my experience, could also be done horizontally – in columns – as well as vertically. My additional comment

had nothing to do with typography and everything to do with updating copy – it was a technical journal, and given the time-frame in which we worked, project details could change between first draft and press run – and with catching typesetters’ mistakes.


Pretty much any dell that has the “adjusting base” will do that. I can’t remember if it explicitly calls out "90° rotation) or not.

Sorry for any ambiguity there, but thought it was clear (to me at least – haha :blush: ) that I was talking about the OP, who spoke of seeking a replacement for Word and then went into typesetting features and those features being interspersed throughout. I guess I consider typeset, typography, and page fitting to be a finishing feature handed off to the last stages and actually post-writing.

So it seemed strange to me to expect Scrivener, which intentionally sloughs such concerns off to the post-scrivener processing, to excel at such features. The irony is, that, due to its use of the mac text engine, it actually does fine! :laughing: but the OP seemed to be expected some sort of typesetting system optimized for Scrivener.

The monitor is a Dell FPW … something I can’t recall the model number and I’m too lazy to go up to my office and look. It’s a wide-aspect monitor, so it’s extra-tall when rotated. It’s also many hundreds less than a comparable apple monitor, though I’m sure the specs on Apple’s stuff are much better for those who have the eye for that kind of fidelity.

… I think the following is the same one, though they only mention the rotation by way of tangential complaint that it doesn’t come with drivers to automatically adjust for rotations (not a problem if you don’t mind hitting the apple system preferences for that feature). … ps-sellers

Oh, and the keyword you’re looking for is “Portrait”, vs. landscape. I looked up a technical spec sheet, and they only mentioned it once, specifying the maximum vertical height while in portrait orientation and the stand fully extended, which is almost essential if you have anything plugged into the USB ports on the side (why didn’t they put those on the side that points up when rotated?).

I have an IIyama ProLite B2206WS, which also rotates.


When I was 30 I found a pile of stuff I wrote when was in my 20s and was embarrassed at my immaturity.
It’s even more embarrassing decades later to discover I can still embarrassed by stuff I wrote only a few years ago.

Another option is beginning to emerge, if one has the physical space for it… big screen 4K UHD 60hz chroma 4:4:4 capable TVs as computer displays. 3840x2160p resolution, at a physical size (50 inches for example) large enough that the pitch/dots per inch/pixels are the same as on a 25-to-27 inch HD (1920x1080) TV/monitor. Effectively, equivalent to four HD monitors ganged together in a 2x2 grid, without the scrunching that occurs when trying to cram that much resolution into a 25-to-30 inch monitor.

I posted about it here

Now that’s “desk space”! Need height? No problem. Width? No problem. Both? No problem. Sufficient “desk space” that can do all that and still likely have room for other stuff.

Downside is that this is just beginning to emerge, currently requires a Nvidia Geforce GTX 900 family graphics card with HDMI 2 support… and a big screen TV verified to be compatible, at least for Windows. Haven’t seen much discussion of doing this on Macs, though is likely being done.