Full Screen, Secondary Screen

When the “display full screen on secondary window if available option” is checked, the full screen window is displayed in the secondary screen, but the main window does not retain the default Scrivener window. The regular Scrivener window “disappears” and I am left with one screen (the secondary screen) that has Scrivener in full screen mode, and one screen (the primary screen) that displays whatever was underneath the regular Scrivener window.

I may be crazy, but I could swear that previously when this option was checked the secondary screen displayed the full screen window and the primary screen retained the regular Scrivener window (so you can, for instance, refer to the binder or whatever while in full screen mode). In looking through the forums this seems to be the case. What’s possibly going on? How do I fix whatever is wrong?

The only thing I could think to try was to exit full screen mode, and move Scrivener to my other screen to see if that made any difference when again entering full screen mode. However, I got the same result, except, of course, that the secondary screen (where the full screen was now displayed) switched to the other monitor.

Directly above the option to open full screen on an alternate monitor, you should see an option for hiding the main window. By default this is turned on, because it can cause severe performance issues on laptops that have not been released in the past year.

You do have a point though. I wonder why anyone would want to open full screen on an alternate monitor and hide the main window at the same time. I wonder if perhaps alternate monitor usage should be a sub-option of hiding? Reverse the logic so that it reads:[X] Show main window [ ] Open full screen window...

The way Scrivener handles full screen is one of the key reasons I find the app so well thought out.

Here’s what I discovered by accident. The full screen will open on the screen not occupied by the main Scrivener window. So, for example, when I am working in the main Scrivener window I do so on my main monitor. When I want to work in full screen mode, I like to be able to keep the main Scrivener window available for reference to notes etc.

So I drag the main Scrivener window to my secondary monitor, then select full screen, and the full screen doc then opens on my main monitor. This also works the other way around of course.

I find this incredibly useful. For example, today I was working on a second draft of a doc. I had Scrivener in split screen. In the top I had the draft I was working on, while in the lower screen I had an older version. I moved Scrivener to the secondary monitor, then selected full screen. So now I could type away on my latest draft in full screen while still referencing the older draft on my secondary monitor.

What I find interesting is that when I click on the main Scrivener window to look at a note, or scroll down the old draft, the full screen doc remains in place. With many other apps that offer a full screen mode, the moment you click anywhere outside the full screen doc the full screen mode goes away - which really sucks if you like to write full screen and reference other stuff at the same time.

By the way, my PowerBook is 2 years old, so unless I have misunderstood the reference to the age of the Mac it does not seem to have any bearing on how the mode works.

Aye, I was kind of being arbitrary with the date. I should have just stuck with “older laptops.”

Anyway, well said about Scrivener’s full screen. There are many things about it that put it at the top of the heap, in my experience.

Amber is correct in that in recent versions the main window will get hidden in full screen by default, but you can turn this behaviour off. This behaviour is generally preferable on single-screen systems for performance issues. These performance issues only arise, though, when you are viewing the same document in both full screen and in the main window. And in fact, the age of the hardware has nothing to do with it - typing will slow down on my MacBook Pro in this circumstance. Unfortunately this is not a Scrivener bug but inherent in the OS X system, which is why the preference hides the window by default. If you are aware of this issue, you can easily avoid it, of course, or recognise the cause, and happily turn back on the main window whilst in FS mode.

Hope that helps!

Ah, okay. Thanks for the clarification. I guess I figured it was a hardware thing because I’ve always left the main window open and never had any problems with performance.


Thanks for the explanation. Is the performance helped by more RAM, or is it independent of RAM and processor?

I have not noticed a slowdown, but then the documents I have worked on to date have been relatively small so they have not taxed either of my Macs so far (a 1.5 12" PB and a 2.1 G5 iMac).

I notice that the slowdown is especially noticed when the same doc is open in the main window and in FS. This is good news, because in most cases i will be looking at other supporting docs in the main window while working on the latest draft in FS.

Steve - RAM etc seems to have nothing to do with it, as I have tested on an MBPro with 3 Gigs of RAM. But as you note (and as I said in my last post), the slowdown ONLY occurs when you view the same document in the main window and in full screen. The same slowdown might happen if you viewed the same document in a vertical split in the main window on a very large monitor, too, as it seems to be caused by inefficiencies in the text system when trying to keep two views on the same document in sync when displaying large amounts of text from that document. So if you are viewing different documents, the problem should not arise.

Hope that helps!


I never knew you could run Scrivener on two screens. (I guess I never looked too closely at the preferences.) This app just gets better and better. I think Alexandria said it best when she said this is the only program for which I’m not looking for a replacement.