Indenting bullets on iPhone?


I’m a new Scrivener user. So far, I like it!

But I’m trying to do a bulleted outline in a text document, and when I add an entry on my iPhone, I can’t find a way to indent it using the on-screen keyboard - no tab key, and there doesn’t seem to be one in the 3 panes of ‘extra keys’ above the keyboard.

What am I missing?



This might help: … and-tables

Thanks, @Fiddl3r, that explains it. Much appreciated!

As a workaround, I’ve started using Bold and italics to indicate headers and indented items when typing on iPhone, then fixing them up on mac later.

It’s now December 2017 and Scrivener for iOS still doesn’t support indenting. It doesn’t even seem to support the tab key just to recreate an indent.

That’s crazy, especially in a $19 app. Microsoft’s Word for iOS does.

This is indeed a very needed feature. Please update us on the progress, if there has been any change in Apple’s stance on this.

I haven’t heard anything to suggest that much has changed with Apple’s text engine with regards to either tab stops or bullets (the latter of which depends upon the former) in iOS 11. Perhaps we’ll see some better news next summer, but I wouldn’t hold my breath, it’ll probably just be a new font for the clock and even larger emoji.

Microsoft isn’t using the native Apple text engine to make Word! :laughing:

If it isn’t possible to support better outlining within Scrivener at this time (I understand that Apple’s text engine imposes limits, although this would be a great place to extend that engine!) I wonder if there is a way of utilizing third-party tools more effectively?

Here’s what I mean. I currently keep all documents related to classes I’m teaching inside Scrivener, but not being able to create “real” outlines is restrictive. I’m experimenting with doing my outlining in OmniOutline (on ios), then exporting the outline to pdf so I can save a copy in Scrivener. This isn’t a very satisfactory solution, but I wonder if with a little support from Scrivener, it would be possible to import an outline from OmniOutline that could then be tweaked inside Scrivener if/when necessary?

To be fair I wouldn’t even call the bullet tool on the Mac an outliner. All of a Scrivener project itself, on the other hand—the way you can organise topical headings into structure and nest items within other items—yes, that’s an outline, though some find friction toward the concept of using it that way, preferring to think of it more in terms of “files”. Either way works to be clear, but it’s good to know that Scrivener as a whole doesn’t really have a hugely complicated text-based outliner in large part because it puts that emphasis on outlining (as a feature set and where to invest programming time) in the binder. These represent two different models for how software can address the long document problem. Word uses one method, we use another, much closer to OmniOutliner than Word.

With regards to the Mac, you have a few options (sorry I don’t really know too much about iOS, maybe someone will have some advice there):

  • Save your OmniOutliner file as .opml and drag it into your binder. Options pertaining to how that work are found in Sharing: Import: OPML preferences. That will work better if you think of the binder as being a true outliner.
  • If you’d rather bullets in a text file, I don’t know if OmniOutliner can make such a list directly, in fact. There are plenty of approaches available that can generate something similar to the above—Word outline and Markdown headings, in conjunction with File ▸ Import ▸ Import and Split… in Scrivener—but that’s pretty much the same result you’d get with OPML. All of the file-based exports I tested seemed to produce a formatted copy that looks like a list, but isn’t actually a list.
  • If I take you literally, sure, you can drop an .oo3 file into the binder, get a decent read-only preview of it in the editor, and to tweak it “inside” Scrivener, just punch the button to load it in OmniOutliner, save and the save goes back into the copy stored in Scrivener.

But this is addressed in the document that was linked to earlier in this thread:

“Providing better support for these features on iOS without using Apple’s frameworks would mean writing our own lists and tables code from scratch not just for iOS but also replacing it all on macOS (for cross-platform compatibility). This would not only affect the UI, but we’d also need to then write all of our own importers and exporters for every file format that supports these features rather than being able to use a mix of our own importers/exporters and Apple-provided ones as we do now. As we are a very small company and both the macOS and iOS versions are coded by a single developer (me!) this is, unfortunately, out of scope for the time being.”

This was a useful discussion for me, particularly the link to the discussion on why the iOS version of Scrivener bullets is limited. I do have a small contribution to make, based on fooling around with bullets in iOS Scrivener. Note that the following comments assume that you have some kind of bluetooth keyboard working with your iPad.

You can always indent or dedent your bullets or numbered lists; the problem is that indenting does not change the bullet type nor reset the indented, numbered list back to 1. There is a kludge you can use if you are working in a numbered list and want a few items indented in a sub-list:

  1. First, enter a number of list items at indent level 0, including the items that you want eventually to be in a sub list. To do this, you select the “Numbered List” style, by touching the paintbrush at the top of your iPad screen (in the Scrivener editor) and then scrolling down to the bottom of the list of styles.
  2. For instance, say you have 5 items, with list numbers 1 through 5.
  3. Let’s assume you want items 3 to 5 in a sub-list - then select those three items.
  4. Hit the combination cmd-shift-L twice. You will see the numbers on items 3 to 5 disappear and then reappear as items 1 to 3.
  5. With the same items still selected, press the indent key (see below).
  6. You will now have items 1 and 2 at the zero indent level, followed by items 1 to 3 at indent level 1.
  7. If you want to continue the sub-list, just hit enter at the end of sub-list item 3.
  8. If you want to continue with the zero indent level list, then hit enter at the end of sub-list item 3, which produces a number 4 at the first level. Then press the dedent key and that item will move out to the zero level indent with the number 3.

As far as I can tell, there is no way to change the style of the indented items - they still show up as numbers; no way to change them to letters or some other designator.

In regards to a bulleted list, you can just use the indent and dedent buttons to form sub-listed items.

If you want a numbered list at the zero level and a bulleted list at the first level indent, follow the above instructions for a numbered list, but use the alt-tab combination to switch from a numbered list to a bulleted list, then the indent button to indent those bulleted items to the first level. If you afterwards add more to the bulleted list, you can dedent those items and then use the cmd-shift-L combination to switch them back to a numbered list, but the numbering will reset to 1.

To “clean up” formatting on numbered or bulleted lists, just sync the project to your Dropbox folder (and wait until those changes are synced to your computer), then open that file on your computer version of Scrivener and change number styles, etc. I prefer not to have to do too much fixing, which is why you want to get it as close to the final version as you want on iOS Scrivener. Of course, you can just always work in the computer version of Scrivener, but lugging your laptop around all the time isn’t necessarily what you want to do.

In regards to indenting and dedenting, the symbol on these keys looks like a few horizontal lines with a right or left arrow on the side. These keys are not, by default, in the row of soft keys on your iPad screen, at the bottom of the Scrivener editor. To add them, press and hold on any other soft key (that you don’t use), select the “Formatting” tab on the pop-up window, then select either the indent or dedent symbol. They then show up at the bottom of your iPad screen, handy to use, whenever you are in the Scrivener editor.

I think this captures everything I have “discovered” by playing around in the iOS Scrivener editor, in regards to bulleted and numbered lists. I use them a lot, particularly with several levels of indenting, when I am taking notes, so I really wanted to find out how far I could stretch this in iOS Scrivener.