Format Painter

One thing I would really like to see in Scrivener, and which I think would help to simplify formatting is a button in the formatting area that does the same thing as the “Format Painter” button in Microsoft Word.

In other words, say I have set the text to be size 10, the font arial, and set it to be red.

I then paste in some text from somewhere else. I now have to go to the tedious process of changing it to size 10, font arial and then set it to red.

If there was a “Format Painter” button I could just highlight the text style I wish to copy, click on format painter, and then highlight the new text to automatically apply all of those same settings.

I for one REALLY miss format painter.

It makes using Word miles easier, and I am sure it would also help make Scrivener easier.

It makes everything much more visual.

Do you mean like “Paste & match style” in the edit menu, keyboard shortcut Cmd-Opt-Shft-V? This shortcut works in most native OS-X apps (Word being a notable, and irritating, exception). This will paste the contents of the clipboard and match the style of the surrounding text - even easier than Word’s format painter.

Actual format painting is also possible in Scrivener. Under the Format → Formatting menu there are Copy Formatting and Paste Formatting options (Ctrl-Opt-Cmd-C and Ctrl-Opt-Cmd-V respectively).

I think it needs a button and to act in the same way that it does in Word i.e Highlighting it and then clicking Format Painter copies not only fonts, styles and colours, but also such things as spacing etc

Clicking one button seems like a much more elegant way of doing this then trying to remember keyboard shortcuts.

That would be spending time and money in a direction that isn’t where we’d like to end up, or a temporary slight improvement to something that has a better ultimate goal. We have to commission artwork at four different sizes for every icon that gets created, and frankly this feature should be kind of obscure and seldom used, rather than bread and butter in the first place.

The better plan is giving you the ability to name, store and recall multiple format sets that are accessible from a convenient drop-down menu in the Format Bar. These will save as much or little formatting as you specify at the time of creation. So some could do everything, and others might only change certain aspects like the font settings.

So do the options I described.

I guess each to their own. I find Cmd-Opt-Shft-V easier and more elegant because it doesn’t involve any additional editing after inserting pasted text. Using the format painter, I would need to (1) paste the inserted text using Cmd-V, (2) select text with the desired formatting, (3) click the format painter then (4) reselect my inserted text again to apply that formatting. Using my method, I simply (1) paste the text using Cmd-Opt-Shft-V. That’s it: One step, done. Hence, in my opinion, for the example you described using format painter requires additional and unnecessary steps in both Word and Scrivener.

Further, the paste and match formatting method is consistent across most Mac apps. It is so widely used (outside of Word) that it is as second-nature to me as Cmd-V. While Word does have it available via a menu item (under Paste Special… → Unformatted text), it has no in-built keyboard shortcut making it awkward to use. In fact, this bugged me so much I added the shortcut to Word using a script because I missed it so much. To me this is much easier than format painter and both the options described in my earlier post (paste & match formatting or paste formatting) are much easier than the manual method you initially described.

Thanks for the input.

Personally I think that keyboard shortcuts are a little “Windows 3.1 - Command Line”. They work and definitely speed things up, but they are NOT intuitive, they have to be learned.

It seems to me that if you can have a button in Scrivener for:

Inline annotation
Strikethrough etc

Which I never use.

That having the option to have a “Format Painter” button, which I use multiple times a session when I am using Word, is only common sense.

It is also worth pointing out that not all shortcut keys are available, especially if like me you customize your keyboard using a macro program like Auto Hot keys.

On my keyboard for example I have set the F11 key to be “Volume Up”. In Scrivener however the F11 key is a shortcut for “Enter Full Screen”. Fortunately, there is a button I can press on the main Scrivener interface to enter full screen, so it isn’t a problem, but otherwise it would be.

I guess then a second related “Wishlist” would be to be able to customise the buttons so you can add ones that you use frequently, and that are already available as keyboard shortcuts.

For example:

Zoom In
Zoom Out
Project Targets
Project Statistics etc

There are literally dozens of them in the program, and they are currently all buried in menus.

Remembering them all is simply not going to happen for most average users.

If it were possible to set them as buttons then it would make it much more intuitive and easy to test out the features of the program and see which ones you genuinely use.

As long as there was always an option to “Return to default” you could do this without fear.

I have a 20 inch monitor, which is probably pretty standard now and you could easily get in another ten buttons on the font line without taking up any more workspace. If they were an additional ten buttons that the user chose to fit their workstyle, and enabled them to “unbury” them from the menus, then that would definitely improve day to day use of the program.

At the moment I suspect most of them just go unused, which is a shame.

I didn’t even know format painter was available as a keyboard shortcut for example until I posted here out of frustration and I have been using the program regularly for many months, and I am sure I am not alone.

To translate Ioa’s (AmberV’s) second paragraph into a somewhat lower level of geek-speak, the leftmost button on the Format Bar is essentially a format painter …
Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 11.41.59.png
with the small difference that having set up a paragraph in the format that you want to paint on others, you use the entry at the top of the “Format” menu to make that a preset …
Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 11.45.18.png
that you can then apply to as many paragraphs in turn as you wish. It has the advantage that if in the meantime you have painted a paragraph into a different format than the one you now want, you don’t have to go through the process that you would with a format painter button.


In my Linux version of Scrivener I don’t see any Formatting option in the drop down menu from Format.

Nor is there a formatting button to the left of the font indicator.

Is this another case of Mac version having more features than Windows or Linux version?

I think so.

Those options don’t exist in the Windows version from what I can see.

This is an image of the windows version.

My apologies, Smile, I failed to notice you were on Windows, Nom being a Mac person and AmberV being both but having been involved long before the Windows version came along, I didn’t think to look.

The only thing to say in that case is that, like all things that the Mac version has, it will become available in the Windows version when LAP and Tiho get on to coding it.



My apologies too Smile, I didn’t notice that you were using the Windows version. All of my comments above were in respect to the Mac version (of both Scrivener and Word) and hence may not apply to Windows.

I put icons in the toolbar for format painter. It doesn’t work as slick as the one in Word, but it’s OK once you get used it.

Just sharing!