Interface customisation

I am using Scrivener for my PhD and already have four separate projects, each covering a different aspect of my work, eg thesis, data collection and analysis. While each project has different styles for headings etc they all have the same theme. Why can’t I have different themes for each project instead of the same theme being applied to all projects? This would make it visually apparent which project I am working on.

And how do I make a horizontal split the default instead of a vertical split?

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The equivalent of Windows’ Alt key toggles the split axis.
Alt + split icon.
Once you’ve split, it sticks to the last axis until you alt-split again.

The theme is for the app, that’s why. You could use labels to color code the binder’s documents. (Giving you a strip of color (the binder) as reference.)

I too would rather have something that makes it immediately apparent which open project my cursor is in.

One option that can be helpful is using a different label/color for each project. (the labels found in the Inspector - Labels and Status area)

Caveat- if you are already using labels for another purpose, this may not be helpful, however, you might choose say shades of green in one project and shades of reds in another, but be sure to allocate a “no label” color in each project’s palette so everything ends up with a “label” color).

The reason this can be helpful, is you can also choose to display those colors virtually anywhere in your project (even if its as unobtrusive as a colored dot in your binder or a tinted icon in your editors header bar). In addition, you can make “Labels” more descriptive if you rename “Labels” to anything you want maybe Project? or maybe something different in each Project like Thesis? Data Collection? Analysis?

So why would this help? Labels have an associated color, and you can apply those colors to several components in your project using View > Use Label Colors In: (fyi I’m in Windows)

Binder (as dots or as a background color)
Icons of binder items (and wherever else they show up - in the header bar in the editor, next to the title on an index card, in search results etc.
Index Cards (both on the corkboard and at the top of the inspector panel (synopsis card)
Outliner as the background row row color
Scrivenings titles (see users manual for additional details of what this highlights)

I hope this helps you out!
(It helped me because I went back to the manual to confirm my claims and saw even more possible uses!)