Differences Between the Mac and Windows Versions

Several users have been asking for a full list of differences between the Mac and Windows versions of Scrivener, so I have put one together and include it below. Please note that this list compares Scrivener 1.5.7 for Windows with Scrivener 2.2 for Mac, and I cannot guarantee that we will have time to keep this list up-to-date with each change, although we will do our best.

Features listed here are on the road map for Scrivener for Windows. Unless otherwise stated, at this stage we are unable to say exactly when features will be added or the order in which they will be implemented (mainly because we do not want to make promises we cannot keep, but also partly because we do not yet know for sure ourselves).

All the best,

(lasted edited 12 September 2016 by Jeff)

[size=150]Features Available in Scrivener 2.0 for the Mac that are Missing or Different from the Windows Version[/size]


  • No import as alias in the Windows version.
  • Windows cannot convert imported PDF or web files to editable text.


  • Fewer compile options on Windows (although the Windows version has many of the Mac’s compile options and much more than Scrivener 1.54 on the Mac ever had). Scrivener 2.0 for the Mac reduced the necessity of exporting work for final polishing in a word processor, whereas this will still be necessary for many formats on Windows. (Basic formats such as standard novel manuscript should be fine without any need for polishing up externally; on both platforms more advanced formats, particularly those requiring end-of-page footnotes, will most likely need to be exported to RTF.)
  • Fewer options for ePub/mobi customisation on Windows.
  • Extended placeholder tag support on Mac version.

Text Editing

  • No page layout view in the Windows version (that is, you can’t view your text as virtual pages).
  • No “Revision Mode” in the Windows version.
  • No line numbers ruler in the Windows version (an option available in Format > Options on the Mac).
  • No grammar checker in the Windows version. (This is available on Mac because it is part of the OS X system.)
  • On the Mac, a Project > Text Preferences panel allows you to set up alternative default formatting on a per-project basis.
  • On Windows, if you change script settings, existing script documents do not get updated to use the new settings, instead being recognised as “General Text” after any changes.
  • On the Mac, each inline annotation can have its own colour setting.
  • The Mac has a few additional options for Project Targets (e.g. setting a deadline and choosing when the counter resets).


  • No freeform corkboard mode in the Windows version.
  • On the Mac, you can select multiple folders in the binder and have them appear as rows or columns on the corkboard (“stacked corkboard”); this is not possible on Windows yet.


  • The outliner is not sortable in the Windows version.
  • The Mac version has more outliner options in general.
  • The title and synopsis appear as separate columns in the outliner on the Windows version (like Scrivener 1.0 for Mac), whereas the Mac version shows them combined into one column.
  • On the Mac, rows in the outliner resize live as you edit the synopsis.


  • No option to show titles in scrivenings in the Windows version.
  • The Mac version has better integration between a live Scrivenings session and the various navigation and organisation methods available. (Example: The next/previous document buttons and shortcuts jump section to section until the user reaches the top or bottom.)


  • On the Mac, clicking on the header bar of the Collections list opens the documents of that collection as a group on the corkboard, outliner, or in a scrivenings session, making collections much more versatile.
  • On the Mac, you can create new items within an arbitrary collection (new items get placed in a folder with the name of the collection in the binder for arrangement later).
  • On the Mac, document selections can be dragged out of collections and back into the binder, and dragging documents onto a collection tab opens that collection.

Full Screen Mode (“Composition Mode” on the Mac)

  • The Mac version has full menu and keyboard shortcut access in full screen (composition mode).


  • No “Compare” button in the Snapshots pane in the Windows version (on the Mac, this displays the snapshot with coloured text and crossings-out to show what has been deleted and what has been added since the snapshot was made).

Project Templates

  • Slightly fewer templates in the Windows version.
  • No “Poetry & Lyrics” category in the Windows version (mainly because there is currently no line-numbering ruler and no way of adding a <$linecount> tag for Compile).
  • No template tags in the Windows version (whereby you can use certain tags when setting up your own project templates, which will then be replaced by the Mac OS X Address Book information when creating a project from that template).


  • On the Mac, there is the ability to set bookmarks in the text using a special kind of inline annotation, and various menus display jump-lists to these points.


  • The Mac version has full keyboard access to all primary interface elements.
  • No QuickReference panels in the Windows version.
  • No synopsis finder on Windows.
  • Several sync features are Mac-only (Sync with Simplenote, Index Card etc). However, both “Mobile Sync” and “Sync to External Folder” are now the same on both Mac and Windows versions.
  • You can search for multiple data types on the Mac (title + synopsis, for instance); you can only search through all data types or a single type on Windows. The Mac 2.4 version also introduced RegEx search, which Windows does not have.
  • No batch “Auto-Generate Synopses” in the Windows version (although you can do this on a one-by-one basis using the button in the inspector).
  • No Hoist/Unhoist Binder in the Windows version.
  • No “Append Synopsis to Main Text” in the Windows version (Documents menu).
  • No option to show text or smaller icons in toolbar in the Windows version.
  • No Project > New Media File option in the Windows version (on the Mac this takes advantage of some built-in OS X features that allow you to take an image from a webcam or record an audio note).
  • No speech integration in the Windows version (the Mac version just uses OS X’s built in text-to-speech tool for this, which is available in all programs on OS X).
  • Linked Footnotes and Comments in the Inspector sidebar are at a fixed 100% zoom and cannot be changed.

[size=150]Other Differences[/size]

  • The name generators in the Windows and Mac versions are completely different.
  • The Windows version has a “Tools” menu, which isn’t standard on Mac. The menu options in “Tools” are found in other menus in the Mac version.
  • “Scratch Pad” is found under the Window menu on the Mac, under the Tools menu on Windows.
  • “Customize Toolbar” is found under the Edit menu on the Mac, under the Tools menu on Windows.
  • Preferences are found under Tools > Options… in the Windows version, and are arranged differently (the Mac version has more preferences available).
  • On the Mac, Scrivenings mode is a composite text in a single text view, so you can select all of the text across multiple documents at once; on Windows, Scrivenings mode comprises multiple text areas, so you can only select one chunk of text at a time.
  • “Full Screen Mode” has a different meaning on the two platforms. Scrivener’s old full screen mode has been renamed “Composition Mode” on the Mac, because of the Lion+ feature whereby any window supporting it can go full screen - “full screen” thus having another meaning now since Lion. So, Scrivener on 10.7+ has both a “Full Screen” mode (whereby the main window is made to fill the entire screen) and a “Composition Mode” (the old full screen mode, where you can have green text on black or whatever). i.e. “Full Screen” on Windows is known as “Composition Mode” on the Mac.
  • The inspector in full screen/composition mode is significantly different on each platform - on Windows, it is much more like the inspector found in the main window.
  • The Windows version has in-application keyboard shortcut management with support for profiles (the Mac version just uses the standard System Preferences for keyboard shortcut customisation).