Highlight labels

I’m using multiple colours of the Highlight tool, each colour indicating a particular significance. I’d like to change the labels from “Yellow”, “Orange”, “Pink” etc (rather obvious) to a significance of my choosing.

Can this be done? I haven’t found where these labels can be modified. If not currently possible, would be a nice modification for a future version of Scrivener.

Kind regards,

In Scrivener, choose Help > Scrivener Help, then search for “highlight”. :slight_smile: It can already be done…

Found it, thanks. Respectfully suggest editing the colours and labels also be enabled in the Preferences area. Would be helpful.

Kind regards,

That would make no sense - Preferences are for global changes (which affect all projects). Highlight names should be per-project, as you may want them different for each project (if not, create your own project template).

I’m using only one “project” so far, first I looked for a way to edit within the Text menu (where highlights are applied), then I looked in Preferences. It hadn’t occurred to me to even think that highlighted text could be searched for and that editing the labels would be in there. Admittedly searching for highlights could be useful down the line.

Scrivener is a delight. No way have I figured out all its nooks and crannies. Rather I’m learning as I work and no doubt working in a different way than the assumed use.

I’m writing a complex text-heavy website. How the site will be organized will follow the shape of the documents as they’re written. Therefore I have just one Scrivener “project”. I’ve imported all the source documents. It’s excellent to have them all in one place, not scattered. Now I’m cutting, pasting and rewriting, expanding, contracting and re-arranging by dragging and dropping within this one project. Currently I’m not expecting I’ll ever need to to initiate another “project”. The website will be huge and could well go on for years. I’m finding it’s very convenient to stack hierarchies of documents, displaying or hiding sections as needed.

I’ve yet to discover a need for projects to play with templates. However it would be good to be able to edit the “prefs” settings of this existing project. Might I suggest a screen within Prefs where one could edit the currently opened projects? That for me would be more intuitive than scattered here and there.

Hope this helps,

That would be very un-Apple HIG. The Preferences is explicitly for global settings - it’s the same in all apps. I admit the highlight thing isn’t in the most intuitive place, but then it is covered in the Help file. In the future (2.0) I hope to amalgamate the various search panels, but that is a big job and a long way off.

I don’t know if that is feasible, but changing the highlights would be intuitive if there was a link to the settings when you do the long press of the highlight button in the toolbar. Maybe not as a replacement to the current way to do it, more as an addition. The button already indicates that there are more options behind it because of the small black downpointing arrow.

Just an idea :slight_smile:

Best regards.

PS: A link in the highlight section of the Text menu would do equally fine. But I understand that it does not exactly fit with the “finder” metapher of the field.

Well Tinderbox has hierarchical prefs – global, something else that seems pretty damn global to me, and specific document prefs. But then Dr Bernstein has his own ideas about the HIG…

Yes, Tinderbox is not exactly the best example of how an Apple application is supposed to look and feel… :laughing:

I’ve posted this message here because it seems to be the thread where the subject has most currency. Could someone please check that it works and if you think it should be shifted to another forum or even dumped in a hessian sack on the outskirts of town then please do so.

What follows is a work-around for something that’s always bugged me about Scrivener (as much as I love and respect it) which is the rather garish highlights it uses and the inability to apply a colour-picker to modify them. While I can appreciate Keith’s reluctance to implement a different system, I really need a set of subtle colours that can demarcate and signal information categories without interrupting the flow of easy reading. Anyway the solution I figured out involves applying background colours as styles - which aren’t quite the same as highlights - but they work quite well and I hope the following description is helpful to some who share my grievances.


The steps involve:

  1. Making an HTML file with background colours
  2. Importing that file into Scrivener
  3. Saving those colours as styles


  1. Copy the following code and paste it into a blank TextEdit document:
p.p1 {background-color: #e3ffd8} p.p2 {background-color: #ffff99} p.p3 {background-color: #99ccff} p.p4 {color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #333333} p.p5 {color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #cc0000}






In TextEdit, go Menu Format > Make Plain Text.
Save the file with a .html extension. TextEdit may ask if you’re sure you want to use that extension. Say yes. Doesn’t matter what name you give it. Close the file.

  1. Before importing the file, ensure that Scrivener is set to downgrade HTML imports to text. In Scrivener, go Preferences > General > Import Options > Convert HTML to text. You can change this preference back the next time you want to import an HTML page.
    Import the HTML file into your Scrivener document (File > Import > Files…)

  2. The colours you see are some that I find useful. You can use any one of them as a ‘highlight’ style by selecting any part of its name and going Text > Font > Styles
    Click on “add to favourites” but make sure that ‘include ruler’ and ‘include font’ are left unchecked. The highlight will now be available directly from the Styles menu in the ruler. You should be able apply it to any text without changing its font or paragraph attributes.


• I name my highlights using the wording Hilite Blue, Hilite Red, Hilite Pink etc. Using a uniform prefix means that they will group together in the Styles menu.

• If you know anything about CSS coding you’ll be able to make changes to the hex colour codes in the HTML file and create as many background/text combinations you like. If you use a dedicated HTML editor (like the excellent freeware ‘Taco’) it will be a lot easier. I just used TextEdit here because I know that everyone has a copy.

• It’s handy to use a blank highlighted paragraph as a page divider. The width of the line can be altered by raising or lowering the size of the (non-existent) text, you can ensure space before and after the line by adjusting the paragraph attributes so as to ensure a clear separation of text blocks and the divider will automatically resize to fit the width of the window.

While things like this are essentially structural devices, useful enough to justify my inventing them, they also serve as an effective means of procrastination. I seem to recall that this phenomenon, as far as it applied to the first generation of desktop GUIs, was called futzing.



I realised, as I made that last post, that it was possible to include attachments to posts.

So I’ve attached an HTML file containing the coloured highlights. That means anyone who’s interested can simply import the attached file into Scrivener and avoid the whole messy TextEdit step 1 procedure.

You still need to get Scriv to convert HTML to text and then add to styles etc.

Actually, because HTML files aren’t allowed to be attached to messages I’ve taken the liberty of zipping it.

There - I’ve procrastinated a whole afternoon away doing good deeds. Do you think it’ll be added on to the end of my life as a supplementary bonus?

If you were offered a retrospective from birth to now, what part of it would you re-inhabit to spend your life’s final afternoon?

highlights.zip (320 Bytes)

Actually, I figure it will happen involuntarily, in a split second that also lasts for quite a long time, though at what point (even before and after) is hotly debated.

So since it has happened enough times for eyewitnesses to mess up people’s theories, and since no one can test them under optimal conditions yet, the only thing I’m sure of is:

That it will happen.