Is there a way to have character names auto-highlighted after you type them?

I used some other software some months ago that had a database and, if you put the names of your character in an entry, would auto-highlight the name and link it to that database entry whenever it appeared in your manuscript.

Is there any way to mimic that in Scrivener? I know it may be outside the scope of what the program is designed for, but I know we can have custom metadata and wondered if there was some way to ‘fudge’ it.

Not a deal breaker, it was just convenient to see the character names ‘lit up’ on screen when checking out the scenes after writing. It also helps spot a point where you spelt one wrong, or used a name you don’t normally call them by. (i.e. Brain got it wrong again)

If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear it.

(Maybe it could be macro’d or something and the highlights ignored at compile time like all that stuff. I usually export to Vellum, where all the ‘pretty work’ happens. )

I recall a thread from a while back that had a similar request for auto-highlighting, but cannot seem to find it. :anguished:

One solution I recall mentioned from that thread for fudging the auto-highlight part of your request was to use Project Search.

You’d dedicate a document to containing a list of character names and variations that you want to track. When you want to turn auto-highlight on, copy the entire document into the Project Search field. All your character names will then be highlighted throughout your project.

There are a number of posts here with variations on your request and some proposed solutions. Try searching the forum for “highlight character names” and sort the results by Latest Post. Maybe you’ll find other workarounds useful to you.


Just type the names in the project search box and they will light up yellow when you type. You can save the search at the bottom of the project search context menu for use later. :wink:
Maybe you should learn to type [[CharacterName]] with the option to automatically create Document Links ticked?

Thanks @JimRac I’d been looking at the search function, but it doesn’t quite do it, as you intimated. I’d like it to happen as I type. I’ll try that forum search again and see what I missed.

@AntoniDol The automatic document links option may be worth looking into. I had an idea like that in mind when I asked the question, some way to auto highlight the name and link it to a character page, that could then be ignored at compile time. Maybe with a macro/shortcut combo that would create the name and the link when I hit it.

I’m not married to the idea, but I did enjoy it in that other piece of software and noticed they’re updating it to have an even nicer linking system, but there are lots of other things that program does not do that I’ve always found in Scrivener.

I use this excellent software at too basic a level, if I’m honest, and since I used to be a programmer I have no excuse other than laziness for not learning how to be a ‘power user’ by now. Time to trawl through the manual again to pick up on more things I don’t use, I think.

If you create a document called Fred, for your hero named Fred, when you type the name “Fred” in the editor, for instance, “Fred turned and found a gun in his face.” – then a sort of implied link will be created. The way it works is, if you select the text “Fred” in the editor and then right click, the choice to open document Fred will be listed in the right click menu.

This feature is new with v3, and I learned about it this morning, when I was searching for that similar thread I mentioned and came across AmberV’s description of the feature in another thread. :nerd_face:

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That sounds useful for tracking all sorts of stuff, @JimRac , including as you said linking it to a document about that character when you need to read/add something about them. Thank you for pointing that out.

I really need to dig that manual out again and find out everything that V3 can do. I was on 1.9 for so long and still never used even its full set of features. I have 3 on Mac and PC, and it’s time I knuckled under and studied a bit more.

Actually, the search function would highlight character names as you type. You could set it up like so:

Enter or copy/paste your list of character names into the Project Search field.

You could hide the search results panel if it’s too distracting.

Edit away.

When you type a character name it will be highlighted.

One real downside of this approach is that when the Binder is being used for the search auto-highlight function, you can’t use it for navigation, so you’d need to use alternate means, perhaps the Outliner or the Go To functions.

But everything’s a trade-off, so it’s a matter of how important this is to you.

@Teriodin If you do come up with an approach that’s close to what you’re looking for, please let us know!


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