How to add a table or columns and bulletlists to a document? IPad

When using the iPad version of scrivener, how can I add a table or two columns to a document? Also I didn’t see where to add bulletlists.

Thank you,

Lists were an issue here:

You can’t add tables in SiOS, only edit existing ones (but only text in existing fields).

Columns, I don’t know. Didn’t even know it was possible in Scrivener for Mac or PC. Is it?

Best regards,


Seriously! Basic requirements for a huge number of document types, at least in my world. When will they be added?

We can do it in Apple pages, so it’s definitely available to scrivener. You can tell that scrivener is barrowing from that interface.

Hmmm… Scrivener is not a word processor, and it’s definitely not about formatting. You can finish your draft there, you can export to some formats, but giving VISUAL final touches, that’s not what it’s there for. So, no, I don’t think it’s comparable to Pages just because the interface is similar. Scrivener for Mac is strictly RTF and therefore depends on what Apple or the RTF standard provide.

About tables: I asked here once why Scrivener Mac wouldn’t export tables so they are readable by ANY word processor at all (they look terrible, all columns the same width). I was told by some VERY rude guy that this question had been asked here a million times (searched first of course but hadn’t found anything) and that RTF kit doesn’t allow for the width info to get thru).

Now there’s two sides to this. On the one hand, I’d love to be able to read tables exported from Scrivener and think that this info can’t be that hard to provide - RTFs can handle table column widths, so why not Scrivener? It sounds so simple to someone who’s not into programming. :wink: Also, Scrivener is definitely used by all kinds of academics, and I imagine that especially in sciences and economics, you need tables quite often. If you export your dissertation full of tables to finalise it in Word / Pages / LibreOffice, you’re in trouble. The rude gentleman wouldn’t comment on that, unfortunately.

On the other hand - see above. I absolutely understand what Scrivener is, wants and does. So I gotta live with it. It’s still best in class for anything writing.

Best regards,


Furthermore, Scrivener for Mac does not share any code with Pages. Scrivener uses TextKit, the text engine used by TextEdit; Pages uses a proprietary text engine, not available to developers and a proprietary document format also not released to developers. That is why you cannot import Pages documents directly, or export to Pages. It is of course possible that they share code at a deep level, but not at tha level of the APIs developers work with.

That said, TextKit and RTF can be modified to handle tables fully, as well as text-boxes, multiple columns and so on; Nisus have done it with Nisus Writer (Pro), but Nisus is a team and Keith is one person. Also, NWP is a traditional word-processor, working on a single document like Word, and doesn’t provide all the project material management that Scrivener provides. In theory Keith could provide support for tables, columns, text boxes etc. to the level NWP does, but the result would be an absolute monster, and it would take one person many years to code.

And when it comes to iOS, the TextKit that is provided is very much reduced in comparison with the MacOS version … it has to be as the devices are different, with much less memory and processing power. So Scrivener for iOS simply cannot match MacOS Scrivener … at least for the immediately foreseeable future. Lists are one of those limited areas, it seems.

The only other thing to say is that you can be sure that if Keith can enhance the usability of Scrivener within his vision of its function, and he can find a way of incorporating it while keeping Scrivener lean enough to be efficient, he will do it. The history of Scrivener is evidence of that, as are the snippets of information being drip-fed about the forthcoming version 3.

I hope that helps. Note, I’m not a member of L&L, and I’m not even a programmer, but I’ve been using Scrivener for 10 years and NWP for about 15, and have followed the history and discussions on both closely.


The more realistic hope is that eventually Apple will add these features back into their text engine as time goes by. And realistically if you want to see tables, better bullets and so on, they are the ones you want to push. I won’t give you any false hope on that score though, we all know how responsive Apple is to feedback.

There are other considerations as well. For one thing if you compare Pages and Scrivener as text editors, you’ll encounter one immediate and obvious difference: with Pages if you want larger text you have to settle for scrolling horizontally all of the time because it cannot reflow text to the screen width. Everything is stuck in a page model. That’s a huge downside for bulk writing—but without that, what would a 6.5" wide table even look like on an iPhone? I think any literal attempt to display it would strike most people as a bug or glitch, with cells squished down to a few characters wide, and thus cells so tall it takes minutes to scroll through it.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if problems like that are why you don’t see tables in the iOS text kit (hopefully “yet”).

In the meanwhile I would encourage the approach I’ve always recommended for the Mac: this is a drafting tool, and if you need to designate areas of text with more complicated formatting then do so. If you want to use a basic feature to get the data into the proper format, like tabular layout, then do so but expect to be making them look nice elsewhere for most things. If you need text wrapping around images, mark it for later and keep writing.

Or adopt something that doesn’t require a GUI. I can compose tables in Scrivener for iOS right now, by using the MultiMarkdown syntax for tables. I can’t set the column widths on them either though—they are like Scrivener, intended as a drafting tool, a way to quickly block out text the way it should be organised without getting hung up on publication details. That can come later, and in my own opinion, that should come later. You’d expect that philosophy from someone that writes using a Markdown based approach though. :slight_smile:

Quite interesting, and makes me think two things right away, late at night…

  1. Could be nice if you outlined how to denote table contents in Markdown, so people could grasp it (the simplicities, I think)

  2. as a feature, Big Scrivener (Mac/Win as it becomes feature-alike) could have the ability to format those MM tables to RTF inclusion during a compile. Then one would be able to edit them up is even SiOS, and get a fully workable result at the prettifying stage.

It’d be a bit like using LaTex, for those academics, or troff if you go back that far…

You can inform the dragon of Cornwall if this sounds like a good idea; don’t think I’ve quite had his ear since I spoke an unnameable name a while back…(in Ursula L. G.'s worlds, that consequence would probably fit…)

Best, and to dragons, being enough of one myself, in the fashion of Mr. Underhill…having once met Ms. Underhill on her own front porch one afternoon an eon ago in Portland…leading to the thought of whether it is possible to love anyone’s stories better than hers…

Sure, the basic idea goes something like this:

[code]Column 1 Column 2
Cell A1 Cell A2
Cell B1 Cell B2

There is a more complex and informative example in the cheat sheet.

I’ll have to give that one some experimentation, it may be more viable than you’d think. But in the meanwhile one already does get all of those compile options for MultiMarkdown sourced documents in Scrivener, that’s after all the whole point of writing with a system like this. :slight_smile: