Help! I can't drag and drop text

Hello Keith/all –

I have risen from the depths, not having been on here for some years due to various upheavals. Now I’ve upgraded my Scrivener, bought Scapple, and embarked on a new project (thank you, Jason, for the excellent refresher tutorial!). BUT

Here’s my (I hope) simple problem:

I can no longer select, then drag and drop text within Scrivener files. Or without, into Scapple. When I click to select and highlight the text and then try to move it, the highlight just jumps over to other text. Is it a bug? Something in Preferences? I’ve scoured the manual and google to no avail.


So good to be back for anyone that remembers me. xoxo

P.S. I just checked and I can drag and drop files around in the binder with no problem, but just not text in the files, or in the Scratchpad, or Document or Project Notes. All my other apps (ie. Scapple) work fine with drag and drop. So it’s a Scrivener text only thing. :frowning:

Somehow I have solved the problem. Don’t ask me how. Scriv is now workable again. Whew.

Hi, and welcome back! :slight_smile:

To move text, you have to elect it by dragging, then let go of the button/whatever so it remains selected, and then press the button again and move it to where you want. It’s a Mac quirk that if you don’t release the button, it thinks you are still in the process of selecting.



Thanks, Mark - I did know that, and tried six ways to Sunday to get it to work. I finally quit Scrivener and then reopened it in another user account, where it seemed to work perfectly. So I quit again, went back to the original user account, reopened Scrivener and voila - solved. Probably a speck of dust somewhere.

Interestingly, I then found the same glitch happening with my regular word processor, Nisus. So I quit the program, reopened it, and lo and behold problem solved again.

I wondered if it was a .plist file that needed to be trashed, but didn’t know where to start, so I’m glad I didn’t have to go that route.

One day I’ll figure it out.

This bug seems to have crept in with Sierra, though I saw isolated incidents with whichever bit of California topography preceded Sierra. Sometimes a restart of Scrivener (I also see it in Mail and TextEdit) fixes the problem; sometimes I need to restart the computer. In all cases, it’s not that selected text can’t be moved; it’s that the cursor activity takes an inordinate length of time to change from Selecting to Moving. Keep holding down the trackpad or mouse button or ever how you select, and the cursor will eventually (8 or 10 seconds sometimes) change and you can move your block of text.

It’s irritating, but workable enough that I don’t bother doing a restart in the middle of a work session.

As someone who writes at least one ‘Bonkbusting, Bodice-ripping, action packed Worldwide Bestseller, every week, I don’y really have time to notice minor hiccups in my workflow … usually, that is … however, since Silly Sierra’s arrival, I have noticed an abundance of beachballs, so much so, it wouldn’t surprise me if my sound system suddenly belted out by the Beach Boys!!
Also, a certain amount of lag, when typing, e.g. were I to type egoist or fantasist, it’s more than likely I would be left looking at ego or fan, for two or three secs, after having typed the complete words.
The question we need to address, gentlemen, is this: are these alien phenomena the consequence of a flawed Sierra OS, or, the extraordinary animal magnetism of our very own Molly’s Mum, now ensconced, once more within our midst? I’m inclined t’ward the latter!

So, Zoe, light-of-my-life, eroticist extraordinaire, o’ jewel of the firmament, etc., etc., wot’s kept y’? Where’ve y’ been hiding!? :open_mouth: Denying us the pleasure of your company.
Your slave,
Vic x x x
PS Of course it goes without saying, a safe and Happy New Year to One and All :laughing:

I just noticed this one too, although I’m still on El Capitan. Restarting Scrivener fixed it.

Well, Ahab has the solution. What you have to do is simply hold the button on your mouse down until the cursor changes from an arrow to whatever else it becomes and then you can drag and drop. The problem is evidently a lag in the mouse’s understanding of what you want. It’s a simple fix and so far has worked for me.

I am doing something wrong. When I highlight a sentence to move, I cannot drag it to its new location. It either de-selects the sentence or does something else unintended. Is there a trick to this? It doesn’t work like Word… so how can I make this simple task simple?

I’ve merged your post with an existing discussion. The tip right above is typically the thing that gets people who are used to how Word works. The Mac has slightly different timings for this action.

Thanks… the suggestion doesn’t work… and I think it has to do with the Mac trackpad.
I don’t think S. realizes I’m left-mouse clicking.

Check how you setup trackpad in Systems Settings for the Mac.

My wife has this problem on her M1 MacBook Pro. Even though she hasn’t modified the settings, I found that it worked when she used the bottom left of the trackpad to press; it doesn’t seem to like starting from anywhere too far from that position on the trackpad.

Also select and release, pause, long press. There are other threads, I seem to remember where people were complaining that they couldn’t move things as it just extended the selection. That is the answer.



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I’ve seen this across Ventura and Monterey. So much so, I use LaunchBar to grab Finder items.

It’s lucky I found these posts, though. Opening and closing does seem to do the trick.

While it may not describe all cases where this is reported (for example not waiting long enough after clicking, before dragging), yeah, there is a very old Mac bug that can cause this to happen to some programs, or even all programs. It has been around since at least Mac OS X 10.6.