how to change background color to Black in full screen mode

I’d like to see a distraction free fullscreen writing mode like writeroom. Is this possible in Scrivner?

I know that you can change the font color but that still has a white background (page).


Scrivener>Preferences:Appearance. Toward the bottom you’ll see Customizable Colors; choose Full Screen and then “Paper” and change that to black. If you display titles in Scrivenings mode, you’ll probably also want to change the color for “Scrivenings Titles BG”.

Hm, I made a diagram of this once–here it is. These are all the full screen color options that you can set in the Customizable Colors, excepting the text selection color and colors pertaining to the inspector.fullscreencolors.png

Text color (for all text in full screen) you can override in the Preferences:Full Screen page; otherwise it will use whatever your regular colors are.

After a year, I’m returned for the SAME issue. In the latest scrivener (v2.2 on mac) Full Screen option doesn’t exist and hence I can’t have a Writeroom like Black Bacground / Green Font for my fullscreen.

Writers don’t care about 99% of the settings in this tool and would appreciate if things are not broken.

Turns out checking “Use different colors in full screen” enables Full Screen option on the left menu. But none of the options within that provides the desired output.

In [Appearances -> (Full Screen) -> Text background color] are you not able to choose black from the color selector? Just tried it 2.2 here, and can change it to any color I want.


Just checking something…

Since OSX Lion – which introduced its own version of Full Screen – the latest versions of Scrivener have had to change the name of the old ‘full screen’ feature to ‘Compose’ mode. (It introduced some improvements as well…). So the old feature “Full Screen” still exists, it’s just had a change of name and of course, it has to apply whether or not you’ve actually upgraded to Lion or not.

There are differences between the two:

Lion Full Screen mode = is basically just the standard Scrivener window spread out to the full screen, because that’s how Apple have designed it.

Scrivener Compose mode = the ‘take all the bells and whistles away and just let me write’ mode.

You need Preferences > Compose and (from the Customizable Colours list), change both the ‘Paper’, and the ‘Background’ settings to black. You can also change the colour of many of the other elements as well – e.g. of any QuickReference panels you pop up.

This definitely works in 2.2, so if those steps don’t work for you, there’s something wrong with your installation, which you need to take up with support, I think…




Yes, as David says, the problem here is just that we’ve had to rename “Full Screen” mode so as not to clash with Lion’s new full screen mode, which takes the main window into full screen and is something entirely separate. Wherever you see “Full Screen” mentioned in Scrivener, it now relates to Lion’s full screen feature; “Compose” (or “Composition Mode”) refers to Scrivener’s traditional full screen mode.

All the best,


If someone changes both colors to black, wouldn’t that make the text unreadable? Shouldn’t the text be changed to a lighter color to effect sufficient contrast between the text and paper colors?


Hi Howard,

That can be done also for “Text Color”, choose to override it and then choose a contrasting colour.

All the best,

Hi Howard,

In this context “Paper” is the bit of the screen on which the text appears; “Background” is the bit between the left margin and the left edge of the screen and the right margin and the right edge…

So you need both Paper and Background to be set to black if you want the full black cat in an unlit cellar at midnight effect…

As Keith says (and it’s his program, so he should know…) the colour of the text itself is governed by Text Colour – though where on earth he pulled that name out of the hat from, I’ve no idea…:wink:



Preferences > Compose … helped. Thanks.

The settings are confusing to navigate. As said earlier, I don’t use most of the features, and wonder why the product looks like a software project management tool rather than a fiction writer’s tool.

That’s a very subjective assertion. If Scrivener doesn’t suit you, please see our links page for alternatives:

Scrivener was designed to be a project management tool for writers - that is the whole point, and what most users like about it. :slight_smile: What a “fiction writers’ tool” should look like will vary widely for different writers. I designed Scrivener to be exactly what I wanted from a fiction writers’ tool, for my own writing, so obviously we have very different ways of working and ideas about what that should involve. (I taught myself to code in order to create Scrivener, so it is most definitely not designed with a software engineer mentality as you seem to imply - and incidentally, it’s not just a fiction writers’ tool, but can be used for all sorts of writing.)

As much as my plan for world domination might like it, no one is yet forcing you to use Scrivener if you find it too much for your own needs, and nor are you being forced to use all of the features if you require only a subset.


Thanks for the excellent explanation.


No problem – glad it helped!