Handling of Dialogs

Dialog boxes that Scriv opens, such as the Words Target dialog, the FInd dialog, the Names dialog, and the Image Tools dialog, all act in unexpected and often inconvenient ways.

I would prefer that a modeless dialog appear and remain visible until I close it.

For example, today I wanted to figure out my average words/scene. I had this up:

Then I open a calculator app. This is what happens:

The word count dialog disappears. The name, find, and screen tools dialog do not.

If I open the screen tools dialog, then click somewhere else in Scrivener, the screen tools windows disappears, only to be found hiding when a project is closed.

There are wonderful tools available for arranging app windows (eg Better Snap Tool). These work great, but if the word target dialog is visible they fail.

I hope that at some point you figure out a good way for these dialogs to work (hopefully a standard way suggested by Apple) and you use that for all your dialogs.


The various window classes that Scrivener uses are already in general adherence to Apple’s guidelines. Generally speaking, you do not want global floats without an unambiguous and defined reason for doing so, like Scratch Pad—and like Scratch Pad they should be rarely employed. A global float on Targets would in be annoying to most people—let alone for every single window Scrivener opens, as you suggest (or I suppose, we could take it to mean you’re suggesting all windows should act as normal windows, but then that would be annoying if you want Targets, Linguistic Focus, Colors, Fonts, etc. along with a maximised project window).

So that aside, which won’t likely be changing, your specific underlying request is not a new one! And that is why we added a secondary embedded stats read-out to the main project window. Try this:

  1. Open Calculator.
  2. Move the mouse over the Quick Search field in the main application toolbar, in the background.

Secondly, on a Mac you can Cmd-Click to interact with background UI, without focussing that UI or raising the window. For instance you can Cmd-click on a binder item in a background project to switch what you’re referencing in its editor, whilst continuing to type in the foreground project. Or, you can click on Calculator buttons while it is in the background, to provide a more salient example. If you’re like me though, you prefer to type in numbers more rapidly.

There are also other approaches, such as calculators that allow you to paste in simple equations—you’d then type it into Scrivener while the numbers are visible, then cut and paste into the calculator. Another approach (this is the one I use) is making use of general tools that allow for calculation as part of their function. I believe Spotlight may have simple calculation capabilities, and it doesn’t rob focus. My tool of choice is LaunchBar, which has a calculator mode that doesn’t steal focus.

I hit another annoying “feature” this morning. I meant to drag the dialog showing my session target to a different location. The title of this dialog, seen above, is “Damaging Evidence,” the name of the project, rather than the expected “Project Targets.”

I happened to click right on the Scrivener logo in that dialog’s title bar, so instead of dragging the dialog, I dragged the words “Damaging Evidence” with unexpected results when I dropped it.

I can’t imagine that this is a useful feature. Is there any other Mac app that has a dialog that works like that?

Hmm, that appears to be working the way it should be on 10.14 and .15. Of course it depends on where you drop, what the expected behaviour will be. If you drop into a plain-text field it would be normal to see have the full path to the file printed (thus useful for creating hyperlinks to open files).

Notification Center allows the Calculator pp to be available in the way that is wanted.