Full Screen Font

In terms of user preferences, one of the things I liked about Ulysses was the separate font choice for Full Screen Mode. This enabled me to have my font of choice for printing, and a font better suited for onscreen display.

I am using Scrivener exclusively for writing screenplay drafts. If I could set such a preference, I could have the default Courier 12 in Screenplay Mode for printing, and Monaco in Full Screen Mode, which is a font I find easier to read onscreen against a black background.

Would this be something too difficult to implement? Did you already give this some thought in your design of Scrivener? Is it easier for Ulysses to implement this because of it’s files not being based on the Rich Text Format?

(just wanting to have my cake and eat it too)

Actually, Scrivener is set up to export one way and display on the screen another way. In the FAQ, under “When I export a draft, the fonts and paragraph styles do not look like the documents did in Scrivener”, it describes the various settings that can be used to set up everything the way you like it.

Anyway, the reason full screen does not have a different font than the editor is because the editor is not necessarily a representation of the export/printed copy either; you can set them both up to be optimised for screen usage. Some people like a slightly larger font in full screen, though, and this can be done using the control panel at the bottom of the window in Full Screen mode.

Thanks Amber. I hadn’t explored the features of exporting. Although after experimenting with the settings, it does not appear to be a solution for my particular situation. I end up losing the specific Screenplay Mode formatting that is required for the page (ruler settings and line spacing for the individual Screenplay Elements).

In any case, this isn’t that big of an issue for me. I was just hoping to work with Monaco while in Full Screen Mode, and be able to print with Courier from the editor, without having to change the font of a document.


That is good to know. I have not really played around with screenplay mode much, as I never write screenplays. I am surprised the export function wipes out the styles used in those modes. Perhaps Keith can expand on this a bit.

Actually, Gerry guessed correctly in his original post - the reason Ulysses can have a different font in full screen than in the main editor and Scrivener can’t is because Ulysses uses plain text whereas Scrivener uses rich text (definitely one for the FAQ, Amber :slight_smile: ).

Imagine: whilst you may be using one font when writing a screenplay, in a rich text system it is entirely possible to use multiple fonts. So how would a program go about changing these fonts into one font for display in full screen and then change them back accurately after you have edited the text?

In OS X, there is a concept called “temporary text attributes” that can be applied to rich text (rich text has “attributes” - bold, italic, line spacing, colour, highlighting and so forth, whereas plain text has no attributes). As the name suggests, this allows you to change the appearance of rich text temporarily. However, because of the problems outlined above, the only temporary text attributes available to programmers is font colour. Thus, it relatively trivial to change the colour of rich text for display. Temporary font display is not supported by OS X, however, and as I say, I’m not sure how Apple - or I - could support this in a sensible way.

Hope that makes sense.

Actually, I am clear on the issue of plain text vs. rich text, the part that surprised me is the report that the export ruler is overriding the screenplay ruler settings.

Thank you Amber and Keith for jumping into this quite specific wish. After sleeping on it, I realized I could have presented the idea a bit more clearly. Let’s see. Isn’t that called writing another draft? 8)

It has become an industry standard for all screenplays to be written in 12 point Courier or a close variant. Being a monospaced serif typeface it looks great on paper, giving you that warm and fuzzy Hollywood tradition of a strike-on typewriter, and providing the industry with a measuring device of one script page equals, on average, one minute of film time.

On the other hand, sans-serif fonts have become the de facto standard for body text on-screen, especially online because electronic screens provide a cleaner and more legible rendering of sans-serif fonts than they do for serif fonts. I find this to be especially important during a long session of writing. And for me, this process improves even more with Full Screen Mode, by diminishing the eye fatigue of staring at a bright white screen for hours on end.

So. Here’s what I was wondering. And what I was attempting to convey in my original wish.

While writing in the Editor or Full Screen Mode, I’d like to be working with a sans-serif font, Monaco being my current favorite. Then when it comes time to print ink to paper or to PDF, I’d like the documents to be in the screenplay default Courier 12 point without having to select and change the fonts. Especially so when I am selecting multiple documents. Lazy guy that I am.

And I often like to print drafts for reviewing/correcting on paper and away from the computer screen. There’s just something about that process that I still find desirable. In any case …

I noticed that in Preferences > Text Editing, there are separate sections for “General Text Attributes” and “Script Text Attributes”.

In Export Draft > Formatting, there is one section “Override text formatting with attributes”. This section appears to have the same formatting controls as “General Text Attributes” in Preferences.

What if? Export Draft > Formatting also had a section for “Script Text Attributes”. Could the user then uncheck “Override text formatting with attributes”, and check “Override Script Text Attributes”, in which the only choice would be to select a font and size, as is the case in Preferences with “Script Text Attributes”.

Or perhaps you could find a more elegant solution to the one I just described. In any case …

I could then have my font of choice displayed in the Editor or Full Screen Mode, and select Export Draft to print in the screenplay default of Courier 12 point.

Obviously, if this requires a great deal of programming, then I wouldn’t say it was worth the time and effort. But if it’s fairly simple to add this feature to the Export section, it could automate the process to my delight!

But don’t break you leg over it. Like I said before, it’s just me wanting to have my cake and eat it to …


Ah… Yes, Gerry, you bring up a very good point. Whilst for prose it is very easy to set it up so that you can use one font in the editor and another for export, for script-writing, currently this is not as easy as it should be, unless you are exporting to plain text for Final Draft etc. Essentially, all we need is a checkbox in the formatting tab of Export Draft allowing you to specify to “Change font only” or some sort, instead of all the paragraph attributes too…

Will add it to the list, and I’ll hopefully get it done for 1.01, if not then for 1.02.

Thanks and best regards,

Ultimately, when the project is ready to be submitted, I would export to plain text for Final Draft. And those results are rock solid thus far, so thank you for that consistency!

My wish was for addressing all the early draft phases. Both for myself during a review process on paper, but also for sharing sections in progress with associates on the project.

Your solution sounds great. Thanks again!


That last comment may not have made much sense. I sometimes collaborate with other writers. Some don’t have Final Draft, and I’m converting them to working with Scrivener. And I don’t always have access to Final Draft myself.

Serif is the early, elegant, and preferred font of printed books and periodicals, even when they have Web editions: see sites for NY Times, Washington Post, Time, and Google Books. Long texts are in serif because it promotes reading, as the serifs “hook” together words and help the eyes to take them in more readily.

Sans-serif is the display type of advertising and headlines. It’s used on the Web for brief amounts of text, but you wouldn’t want to read 400 pages of it. Note that Apple uses Garamond in its ads, to convey elegance and style.

Each to his own, but I prefer to draft in serif, because it most resembles published text. The one exception is a screenplay, but oh, the ugliness of Courier!

I agree. Each to his own. I prefer to work onscreen in sans-serif, and to proof-read on paper in serif. And yes, oh the ugliness of Courier!

You may find this amusing:

The typeface was designed by Howard Kettler in 1955. He was once quoted about how the name was chosen. The font was nearly released with the name “Messenger.” After giving it some thought, Kettler said, “A letter can be just an ordinary messenger, or it can be the courier, which radiates dignity, prestige, and stability.”


FYI I’ve just implemented the checkbox as promised, and having tested exporting a couple of scripts with a different font, I can tell you that it works fine. So as of 1.01, your wishes should be granted. :slight_smile:

Oh my …
This is the scene where I start genuflecting in your general direction! 8)

Slightly aside from the issues discussed above, I thought I’d post it here nonetheless: I noticed, that the rendering of the font in Scrivener looks different than in other applications. When I type text, it’s seems somewhat "
off" (like, back in the days, when you had to rely on PS fonts and the rendering was done in the printer), the distances between the letters are different than in, say, Mellel. Is this just a setting or a part of the way that Scrivener displays font? Or maybe it’s just me? Is there a way to make it look “neat” (i.e., more focused on display on screen), as Mellel for example does? I posted two screen shots to try to help make my point. I really love Scrivener so much now that I pretty much start a project for each and everything that I do now, but this one thing is still bugging me…

I haven’t seen this problem, but I agree that the text in your Scrivener screen cap looks wrong. Could it be something to do with text zoom, like the way photos look chunky at 33% zoom in Photoshop?

Indeed, are you zooming the text? If not at 100%, it won’t look as crisp or perfect, that is for sure. I can’t really see what’s wrong in the pics, though - perhaps you are imagining things. :slight_smile:

In any case - and this does seem to be my motto - Scrivener uses the standard OS X text system. Scrivener itself does absolutely nothing to render text or fonts. It is all done by OS X. Scrivener uses exactly the same code (untouched and unseen by me) that TextEdit and many other OS X text programs use. Mellel, incidently, does not use the same text system, I believe - I think Redlers developed their own text system independent of the Apple one, so there may well be differences between the display of fonts in Scrivener and Mellel.

Is this only in full screen, by the way? Or is this post completely unrelated to the original thread? (In which case, it should be in its own thread, tsk tsk :slight_smile: ).


So that’s it then, Mellel does its own thing there, that makes sense. And yes, you are right, it should be it own thread, not really a full-screen thing. What I was trying to point out to is the different spaces bewteen letters.

And do you see the same thing in TextEdit? That should look the same as Scrivener.