Is Scrivener NICER on Mac?

I’m aware that the Mac version has more features, and I have read the list of them. I’ve been trying the software out on Windows and I love it. What I’m wondering is, from a user experience perspective, is it considerably more pleasant to use Scrivener on Mac than on Windows?

I’ve been saving up to get a new laptop, and I’m torn between a particular Windows computer and a rose gold Macbook Air (because, c’mon, it’s pink). I’ve been considering switching back to Mac because I’m burnt out by the Windows user interface (because of my job) and honestly when I write I just don’t want to feel like I’m looking at a computer.

Well, I’ll spare you the Mac vs Windows argument as it’s rather tiresome, but I will say this: Scrivener 3.0 is coming to Windows, I can’t give you an exact timeline, but it is coming. It’s in beta testing and the beta is pretty darned stable, so hopefully that means it will be coming soon. It’s already been delayed for a very long time, so it could be months (or more) away. That being said it’s as close to the Mac version as Literature and Latte can make it, so if the major pull to go to Mac is Scrivener and you’re willing to use beta software or else wait for the full release, you might want to consider a windows lappy.

I would recommend downloading the beta and giving it a whirl, before making your decision:

Just one user’s opinion: I’ve been writing all sorts of content (academic books and papers; lecture notes; non-fiction essays; short stories; letters to the bank manager) on all sorts of machines, with all sorts of software for a few decades now, and Scrivener on a 13" MacBook Air is the best writing experience I’ve ever had by a very long way.

Laptops are fine for writing on the go, but they’re a little cramped for everyday use. In my experience, nothing compares to a desktop with a full-sized mechanical keyboard. I’m using a Corsair k70 rgb (with Cherry MX Brown switches) and man there’s nothing quite so satisfying as the click clack of a mechanical keyboard, but to each their own I suppose…

I recommend going for the Rose Gold Mac Book Air. I bought a Mac Book Air expressly as a separate writing computer years ago and it’s one of my favorite purchases.

The Scrivener experience on the Mac is quite enjoyable.* Not to start Mac vs. PC, if you are visually oriented, the typography on the Mac is noticibly more pleasing than on Windows. Steve Jobs studied calligraphy in college, and had a profound understanding of the aesthetics of type. Rendering beautiful type on screen is part of the Mac’s DNA.

Aesthetically overall, the Mac is just a little bit nicer experience.

*not counting some problems with screenwriting features that require workarounds.

About half my writing time is spent using a Lenovo Yoga X1 gen3 laptop in stand mode, with MX blue or MX brown mech keyboards - so these things can happily coexist. :smiley:

Get the MBA. It’s just a nicer experience in Mac Scrivener. I run both Mac V3 and the Win V3 beta and while Lee and Tiho have done an amazing job, the Mac environment is a little kinder. Example that many may not appreciate or put much thought to.

In Mac Scrivener search for a menu command in Help. The full menu will display with a bouncy pointer showing where the command is hiding and enter will action the command. Lee and Tiho have done what I have not seen achieved on any other Win program and almost replicated the function, but it is just cleaner on Mac due to the built in OS functions. Full kudos to them for that!

Despite having a maxed out Win box sitting beside my desk that threatens to become airborne when the fans begin to howl under any serious video editing, I actually find the Win experience on the Mac under Parallels to be just that bit smoother. Probable reason the guys at Parallels didn’t have to try make it work with an infinite number of hardware combinations as win must natively.

I realise that opinion may get howls from Win people, but to put all in perspective, I recently sold my software company that distributed and supported a specialised Win only application so have had a long term commitment to working on Win. Though trying yet again to ‘retire’ I find myself unable to do nothing and currently remotely support both Win and MacOS/iOS Hardware and software (with a 100% CSAT score on both) and find the support process on Mac is significantly easier (even IBM agree on that).

Others have mentioned keyboards. While the new 16” MBP is a great keyboard (won’t discuss the unlamented butterfly) I have a mechanical kb connected for desktop work. I have a box of spare switches to keep it going for a few years yet (and a good soldering station). Only wish it was still possible to get the Apple white mechanical kb. Apart from the satisfying sound, the typing experience on a good mechanical is just so much better.

Note, if you’re getting an MBA, get the 2020 model.

  1. You get more power and storage for less $
  2. You get the new scissor keyswitch. While some hated the butterfly, I found it sort of ok, but the new keyboard is one of the best notebook keyboards regardless of brand.

Not for me. What makes a difference for me on my laptops is screen, and a 13" screen doesn’t cut it for Scrivener. I know that because the first MacBook Pro I got was 13", I got it used pretty much for Vellum, and although I loaded Scriv on it, I only used it when I had to for Vellum in spite of the fact it had superior resolution to my Windows 15" laptop,

Even at that I wasn’t happy with the whole setup and a year later got a 15" MBP. It has the retina screen and now it’s Scriv and Vellum on the MBP and I’m even using Pages and other Mac programs some. The Windows laptop languishes. If the super lightweight 17" LG Windows laptop were available back when I was last buying a Windows laptop … but it wasn’t and the 17" laptops are too heavy. If the price of the LG ever comes down I’ll be tempted. Should have jumped when Costco had them on sale for right around $1,000 sometime ago.

People who use Composition Mode probably feel differently, but I don’t. I want to see the Binder and I want to see the Inspector.

A lot of people on the forums probably think of me as one of the die-hard Windows people, but I really have an IT background stretching back 25 years and I’ve supported Windows, Mac, and Unix all of that time. I am Windows-first (the major application suite that I’ve been involved with for the past 17 years now is a Microsoft product) but I have Windows 10 (Surface Pro 3), OS X (Mac mini), and Linux (Kubuntu on a Surface Pro 1) on my desktop and switch between them on a regular basis.

Having said that, Scrivener is just a touch nicer on the Mac. And like many others have stated, that’s because it was first developed on the Mac, taking advantage of features of OS X that weren’t present on any other operating system at the time other than NextOS, and in many cases still aren’t there (or that are but have been poorly implemented). Don’t get me wrong – I do the majority of my writing on my Windows 10 machine with the Scrive 3 beta. But if you like the OS X paradigm and have fully bought into it, Scrivener on Mac fits into it because that’s home. There are always a few places where Scrivener doesn’t quite follow the full Mac app paradigm (if I remember correctly, it has little to no support for AppleScript actions against a Scrivener project), but a lot of the corners are smoothed in ways that they can’t be on Windows. (Seeing a Scrivener project as a package file on Mac OS saves Mac users SO MANY WAYS of breaking their projects that Windows users get to enjoy.)

If I didn’t need to be so heavily into the Windows world, I probably would think seriously about sinking my money into the new Mac mini and just convert the majority of my applications to Mac. And that day will probably come – but it’s not this year. So I can’t really lean fully into the Mac paradigm and keystrokes and muscle memory, so I will use the Windows version of Scrivener and be thankful and still have one of the best writing tools out there – and I will know that I am not a second-class citizen in the Scrivener world, because L&L have put a LOT of time and effort into lifting Scrivener for Windows up to be amazing. But I will also know it could always be just a touch better, just a touch less effortless, if I ever make the switch.

Define ‘Nicer’.

It’s been my experience that nearly everything is ‘nicer’ on a Mac. Either in tiny ways, or significant ones. Sometimes both.

And I’ve had computers all the way back to the Commodore 64, and the original 128K Macintosh, and a work environment completely dominated by PCs, so I am speaking from actual experience of both worlds.

True, but it makes it decidedly less portable and I get a lot more screen real-estate with my 43" monitor.

I also have two 24" monitors, so plenty of screen real estate when I need it, and portability when that’s more important (like now, when I’m typing this sitting in bed).

I also have a sit/stand desk with wheels that I can move around–the monitors are mounted to this–so maybe I’m more into flexibility than you are. :smiley:


Have you taken a look at the Matias brand of mechanical keyboard? I love mine. The only thing I don’t like is that its the full sized keyboard, and I like using a trackpad with my right hand. I’m considering selling my full sized one to get the “mini” without the number pad. I can’t recall ever using the equivalent Mac keyboard, but they seem to have had that one in mind.


All fair points, but my desktop is a fair bit more powerful than you’re average laptop and it’s much easier to upgrade. It’s not particularly portable as it’s got a behemoth of a gaming chassis, but that’s what the laptop is for. I just sync files my scriv files over dropbox and anything else over my home network drive. I admit, I don’t do much writing in bed, or care much for standing desks (my work desk is a sit/stand desk, but I’m on my feet enough throughout the day I’m not too concerned about sitting at my desk and seldom make use of the stand position), but I take my laptop all over the house and sometimes when I’m out and about. I tend to regard the laptop as a supplement and not my full-time writing rig. Mainly I use it to jot down thoughts or ideas, or for editing. My desktop is where most of the actually writing is completed.

While this is obviously up to each individual person, I personally find macOS to have a much more pleasant user interface. One thing you said that sticks out to me is that you don’t want to feel like you’re looking at a computer; either operating system is able to enter full screen mode when using an app, such as scrivener, where the rest of the OS GUI will be hidden away. I would recommend doing this if all you want is to be rid of the rest of the operating system for a time.

Again, I prefer macOS any day of the week but I am also a programmer so my view may be skewed by the developer tools that macOS offers that are not on Windows since it is Unix based. If you do get a macbook air, be sure that you aren’t doing anything too intensive. It has a fan but it is not tied to a heat pipe so it will get hot rather quickly when doing anything beyond basic tasks. If you can (and the non-pink color isn’t a deal breaker), step up to the entry level macbook pro. Even with an older processor, it is much faster because it has an actual heat pipe over the processor. It also has a brighter screen by 100 nits (500 vs 400) so if you like to write outside you can do so with slightly less glare.

If you like Mac OS interface better then the answer is “Yes, you will think it is nicer.” But many folks don’t like the Mac OS interface and they think Scrivener on Windows is nicer. The question is subjective so there is no “correct answer”.

Personally I find scrivener to be “nicer” on both platforms then the competitors I have access too. So no matter which OS I’m on I’m happy. But in my personal life I prefer MacOS so 99% of my writing is on the Mac. Because I do so much on the Mac I find I struggle with differences between win v1.9 and Mac v3. Based on the win beta of 3, those issues will history for me someday (no idea when).

A a cross-platform user who prefers Windows over Mac OS, I’ll say firmly that yes, Scrivener is a nicer experience under Mac OS. That’s where it was designed; that’s where it is home. While the Windows port is excellent, it does many things in a non-native way, which is understandable – it is an application that is deeply dependent on core Mac OS technologies, features, and design conventions.

As Jaysen says, though, it’s still a great program on Windows. But as a long-time user, it still has a “not originally from here” level of friction that is subliminal that just isn’t there on Mac OS. Using Scrivener on Mac OS is one of the two main reasons I still keep a Mac around.

Yes, Scrivener is much better experience on the Mac. I also use both platforms when work requires it, but do my perosnal work on a Mac.

Also, if you use other apps in conjunction with Scrivener, the experience is quite smooth on a Mac.

I have both and for my use don’t see any difference. My guess is you have to use more advanced features than I do to notice the difference. I use Scriv for fiction. Also, I don’t care about the ins and outs of Compile. All I need is to get my work out of Scriv when it’s approaching finished - rtf, Word, I don’t care so long as it’s all there. Final edits, proofreading, and enough formatting for a smooth transfer into Vellum all happen in word processing. Vellum gives me final ebook and paperback files.