Is Scrivener 3 really that much better than 1.9 for windows?

Ive trying to determine whether it’s worth it to use it on the macbook i have or purchase it for my windows pc. Is there anyone who knows the difference?

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Windows 3 Beta is on RC 15 … it will have feature parity—as far as operating systems and their features permit … there are some things that come with MacOS that Widows/Qt doesn’t provide or that are done differently, like dictionaries, for instance—with the Mac version …

I’ve been a Scrivener user since it was first launched in 2006/7 and version 3 is definitely a huge step forward from the previous version 2—i.e. 1.9 for Windows—but it does require time to re-orientate oneself to the new Compile system.

So, the answer is really, “Which platform are you most comfortable with?” Until recently, because of hardware failure on the machine in question, I had the Windows Betas running both under a VM and under CrossOver (WINE with a GUI) on one of my Macs. My collaborator is Windows based, so I had those for the odd occasions when she needed help and it was easier to see her UI; but I have been a Mac-user for about 30 years and don’t feel at home on Windows.

Our Projects are compatible between Mac 3 and Windows 3, so I do my part of the work in the Mac version. Version 3 can update a version 1.9/2 project, but there are significant differences under the hood so Windows 1.9 cannot open a project in v. 3 format. Mac 3 can export to v. 2 format, but round tripping becomes more difficult with possible confusion as to which of the v. 2 replicants you are opening.

So, Version 3 is much better to my mind, so if you go for Mac, install the v. 3 Betas on your PC and keep an eye on that thread, as the Betas have an expiry date—though they’ve never yet missed releasing a new Beta before the previous one expires.

But as I said, which platform are you most comfortable with?



Yes. Massively.

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: Oh,hell,yes! :mrgreen:

(yes, someone necro’d a thread, but had to say it.)

I just had a first glimpse on for Win x64, german UI:

Name generator doesn’t allow for single names anymore, like the old one did. It always has to be “prename and surname”. There are many societies around whose names usually contain one, three or even more parts, let alone the ones I make up. The new NG is odd, crippled, and also tedious to work with.
“Meaning of pre-name”, the second tab on the old NG, is gone, too. Now that’s real bad, because I’d rather choose a name that has something to do with the character and/or its function, and its cultural background, too.

This means a loss in functionality as well as usability, all the more because I found the old NG quite useful and unique: Lists with explanations of authentic names of certain countries and even long-lost epoches are very difficult to come by otherwise.

Startup: Slow as molasses. Must have to do with that pesky Qt. Or the program tries to phone home. Security risk.
BTW: Uploading manuscripts I could sell to the cloud? Does it get any more moronic than that? Why not just share it on Bit Torrent then?

UI: All the icons are bleached out! Why does that keep being done, I wonder. Is that supposed to look “modern”? The icons look like they’ve been fingerpainted by a six-year-old using pastel. There is Nothing Outdated About Colorful Icons! If so, maybe we should do it right and go all the way back to b/w, or dump the monitor altogether and use a braille terminal instead.

For maximum discernibility, the icons also should keep their outlines, just as the borders of all the widgets. Such as it is, it’s one big indiscernible smear. (Oh I forgot. It’s modern.)

This is supposed to be a professional authoring system, not some stupid game app on a drooling school kid’s phone!

Project Settings: Can’t move the splitter unless DB is widened first.

When changing icon size in main tool bar, the three buttons’ icons in the middle (Document, Corkboard, Outline) go out of frame, appear un-centered.

Yippee, the menu has been jumbled about. Adventure update! I always look forward to that come the next MS Office version!

German localization of UI is not even half-done either. But that doesn’t matter because the german help file is missing as well. (Meaning: I can’t look up german functions in an english help file.)

And compile settings shot to hell? Deal breaker!

That’s it for now, I’ll just stay with 1.9.90 till this looks cool again, and the NG works again.

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Qt is blazing fast. Really, even huge Qt applications launch immensely fast. The issue is the phone home system, and especially the .NET component of it. I loathe it, for several reasons. It’s several gigabytes of code to load only for the purpose of checking that a serial is valid.

About: BTW: Uploading manuscripts I could sell to the cloud? Does it get any more moronic than that? Why not just share it on Bit Torrent then?

Scrivener does not recommend or force anyone to use the cloud. It is up to the users who use cloud sharing services usually to work from multiple computers on the same project. Scrivener always advices you to work on your project on your local computer outside of any cloud sharing location.

I’m feeling just cranky enough to respond to some of the points made in a certain post here. :smiling_imp:

Opposite for me. Scrivener 1.9 was always a bit sluggish. Scrivener 3 loaded up pretty damn quick.

Unless you choose to share it with others, it’ll be private.

I don’t like it much either. Unfortunately, flat UI’s become the trend in recent years. Scrivener’s just following that.


Why don’t you tell us what you really think?

I get that you’re not crazy with some of the changes, but with that classless and crass statement you lost 99% of the audience.

I on the other hand have already written 2 books in part with this version (I also work with Mac) and find it stable, full featured, clean interface and a great compile system.

So I guess one of us is wrong, and given the feedback from others who also use it daily to produce work, I’m guessing it’s not me.

I’ve been producing saleable product with this thing since Beta 7, way back in, uhh, a couple of years ago, or more.

What’s your problem? Writer’s block? We all need excuses, I guess.

Scrivener 3 isn’t obviously meant for 50+ eyes with its dull colour schemes, bad contrast and small fonts. When I tried to tweak the settings towards my preferences in 1…9, the scaling of the options window on the 13" screen of my HP Spectre changed so that the “Apply” etc. buttons fell below the screen and could not be clicked on… After some frustrating struggle I stopped trying and decided to stay with the old version which has served me well both on the laptop and on my 24" desktop screen without any problems with scaling, contrast etc.The new Scrivener might be faster but when the appearance of the software makes writing with it a frustrating experience and you can’t change the settings to your liking, (at least for me personally) the upgrade doesn’t pay off. I’m glad that there was the trial option to try out the new version, though.

Hi Aino,

Our eyes and equipment are all different, so what works for one may not work for another, but my 60+ eyes have had no issues whatsoever with Win Scriv 3.0.

I’m using 2x 24" screens, 1920 x 1080 at 100%, and it couldn’t be more pleasant. Running at the same resolution on my laptops 14" screen is a tad small, but change to 125% and I’m good.

My recommendation to anyone experiencing similar challenges is to try out all the built-in themes, as I found the default theme is my least favorite and hardest to read, followed by Ocean, which I also find hard to read. Pretty much any of the others work for me, my current two favs being Dark Mode and Mellow Yellow. :smiley:


I can’t even begin to imagine running ANY software on a 13-inch screen, never mind Scrivener.

I run Scrivener on an 11" laptop. Works perfectly fine.

Thanks Jim. I actually tried all the built-in themes, but in most of them, there was the same problem with too little contrast and too thin-lined and small fonts. And in some, the colours weren’t my favourites at all. But tweaking the colours is not a problem as such, I’ve changed the colours in my Scrivener 1 as well to a warmer colour theme, which I like better. The real deal-beaker were the problems that occurred after I tweaked the size and type of the fonts in the tool bar etc. The scaling of the preferences window changed so much that I couldn’t see or reach the lower buttons any more. And I didn’t enlarge the fonts massively, just so that they resembled those on Scrivener 1 (which I haven’t changed from their original size and type). Oddly, Scrivener 3 is the first and only software I’m having these kind of problems with.

When I first started using Scrivener in 2015, I wrote on a 12” laptop, and that worked surprisingly fine. :slight_smile: Then I changed to a 24” 4K desktop and was pretty happy with that too — and still am. However, I also need a portable option as for 3-4 months per year I work partly off-grid an in a solar-powered cottage. For one year I worked with the Scrivener iOs version on my 10.5 ” iPad Pro with a bluetooth keyboard when I was off-grid. It was ok, but not perfect for longer sessions, so I bought the 13” Spectre. Recently the Spectre has become my main writing tool, as for some reason I find that I can concentrate better when writing on a smaller screen. I still do some edits and some writing on my desktop as well as larger Scapple mindmaps, but nowadays I mostly use the 24” screen for photo editing and graphic design and the 13” laptop for writing. So I need Scrivener to work on my laptop , too.

Perhap I have to check still once more, If I can somehow solve the scaling problem. The problem with low contrast and too thin-lined fonts is apparent on these pages, as well. I guess it’s a universal theme for the software at least for now. But it’s a style (and problem) which I haven’t met elsewhere.

Thanks for all your comments and help. Scrivener has truly been a life-saver for me, but for now I still probably have to stay with Scrivener 1. Hope it still works in the future…

A quick update: I tried tweaking the new Scr3 still a bit. Turning my laptop screen 90 degrees to an upright / vertical position (its a 360 degree tablet screen) allowed me to find the buttons on the lower bar of the options window… :slight_smile: However, that’s probably not how it should work…

I spent a couple of hours changing fonts and colours and trying different settings, but I still couldn’t find quite optimal settings for my liking. For instance I didn’t find the option of showing the label colours on binder rows or colouring the whole index cards with the label colours – an option which has helped me a lot in Scr1 in perceiving the structure and outline easily both on the binder and on the corkboard. Scr 3 also now changes the annotated text to a link with the icky electric blue colour and underlining, and I couldn’t find a way to change that. A heavily annotated text soon becomes almost unreadable, if all the annotated bits show as blue. (At least if blue is your least favourite colour… :slight_smile: ) I also missed the colour shading of the notes. I guess the new flat look is probably a bit too flat for my taste.

The scaling of the new Scr3 might work better on my 24" desktop screen, but as I need to be able to work with my projects also on my laptop, I’ll stick to Scr1 for now. And of course the problems with the label colours and the annotated text links would still be there even on the bigger screen.

Let’s hope the fashion in software aesthetics will have changed when Scr 4 one day becomes available… Waiting for that day and wishing everyone productive writing sessions, be it with Scr 1 or 3!

Try View > Use Label color in.

Instead of turning the laptop, try this:

Make sure the Options pane is the active window.

Press Alt+spacebar, then select M. (puts the active window into ‘move’ mode)

Use the arrow keys to move the Options window where you want it, then press enter. (this ends ‘move’ mode)

Now you should be able to access the buttons on the lower bar.

Does this work for you?


Thanks Jim, for your help! I managed to tweak the settings so that I can see at least part of the lower buttons on my laptop. The alt+space + M didn’t seem to work for me, and although I can change the width of the options window, I can’t change the height, probably because I can’t reach the lower corners. But I can manage with the present settings.Thank you also for the label colour tip. Only after submitting my last post in this thread, I realized that I had searched for the label colour settings in the wrong place… I would still like to get rid of the comments and footnotes “links” in the text, but I guess I can live with it now, after I changed the colour scheme and the colour of the links changed, too.

I now decided to move my current writing project to Scr 3 for a real-life situation trial. However, Scr 3 has been oddly slow and sluggish. It seems I’m not the only one with that problem, and I wrote more about that in the thread here: [url]] Let’s hope there would be a fix for that, too.

  • Aino

Like a lot of others, I don’t like the modern pale look, but Scrivener is pretty configurable, so I spent some time with version 3, changed the fonts everywhere I could, did my own colors, and have it looking old fashioned enough to suit.

To be honest, 3 isn’t “that much better than 1.9” for me because I’m a very basic user. The features I use haven’t changed much. Some things, like the tabbed Inspector are actually less convenient but I’ve adapted. Compile is irrelevant. I use default Compile settings to get my work out of Scrivener into word processing for final editing and proofreading and then use Vellum to format the book.

IMO how anyone feels about version 3 probably depends on how they use Scrivener and maybe their PC. I’m one of the smaller screen users. I did write a book on an 11" screen, but am now all the way up to 15".