Keep paragraphs from breaking when printing

I’d like to request an option to keep printed pages from having widows and orphans. (i.e. don’t break paragraphs across pages.)

While cumbersome “more’s” and “continued’s” have fallen out of favor in screenplays, awkward paragraph breaks are to be avoided. Possibly other forms of writing would benefit from this option as well?

Thanks for considering. Regardless, I’m in love with Scrivener and now only have to touch FD to do final exports.

Hi joe12south!

Widows and orphans etc. are a concept for layouting text. In Scrivener you just write content. Export is either for checking what you have written on paper (and this does not need excellent layout, the simpler, the better) or to import into a wp or dtp app that does the layouting. So, you would need control over widows and orphans in those apps rather than in Scrivener.

I hope you enjoy being free from layout constraints while working with Scrivener!


Thanks for replying, Maria. :slight_smile: Indeed, widows and orphans definitely fall into the arena of word processing, which is outside of Scrivener’s remit. Scrivener allows only very basic printing from within the app, and this only as a convenience that in most cases will be used only for printing drafts. For more precise control it is recommended that you export to a dedicated word process for layout.

Thanks and all the best,

Sigh. I understand (and applaud) the basic philosophy behind Scrivener being a “writing” tool, not “layout” tool – especially when it comes to the actual work environment – but when it comes to printing I wish that there was a little lattitude given to producing “manuscript” level output.

Unfortunately, there is no utopian world in which the formatting of one’s text, especially on the printed page, can be completely divorced from the content itself. This is more true for screenplays than other manuscripts, but the concept holds.

Very basic control of the printed page would allow a lot of people to not have to own, let alone fire-up, another tool just simply to print a submitable manuscript. It’s difficult to have a tool so close to being complete, that allows you to complete 99% of your work, and then have to resort to a multi-hundred dollar POS (Final Draft) just to number and print! :wink:

Regardless, thanks for a great tool, and all of your hard work.

I completely agree. This feature (and a few other minor tweaks, like more customized page numbering, etc.) would mean Scrivener is the only app I ever have to use.

This one issue is especially annoying when I print out drafts of stageplays to work on.

I would really love to include something like this, but I’m afraid it is unlikely ever to happen. There is just no easy way to do it. Nothing in the Apple frameworks makes this straightforward, which would mean I would have to code it myself. This would essentially mean working on word processor code, and - as is my refrain - Scrivener is not a word processor. Much better to use a dedicated tool for that. After all, Scrivener also allows you to create footnotes for academic papers, but you would never print out an academic paper in Scrivener - for that you would use Mellel or Nisus where you can format the footnotes properly. In the same way, you can use Scrivener to research and print out your drafts, but ultimately you will need a dedicated layout tool for formatting for submission. Scrivener is, after all, only $35. :slight_smile:


I agree entirely about not adding features like this - after all, we wouldn’t want Scrivener to go the way of Word and become bloatware.

joe12south - a great app that’s powerful and totally free is NeoOffice. That way you don’t have to shell out megabucks just to format and print.

That’s the problem though isn’t it? Very basic control may be fine for you, but what happens when folk come along and insist that ‘table of contents’ is their idea of very basic control? And then someone else decides that adding basic illustrations would help them write a children’s book.

Before long, we have a requirement for a complete word processor in here.

We don’t need thin edge of the wedge arguments: if Scrivener was just a writing tool divorced from output we wouldn’t have a screenplay mode, and there’s no way of drawing a hard line between what Scrivener does and what a word processor does. We’re all in favour of mixed economies, it just comes down to where lines are drawn in the application.

My understanding is that Keith is almost clear about where his line is, but wavers from time to time, and this gives the rest of us inspiration to badger him :slight_smile:. Which he responds to very graciously, and perhaps in the end we are all writers here and perhaps he recognises that our aspirations are for our own ideal writing environment as well…

Yes, the thin end of the wedge applies. The screen play mode is a requirement for screen writers when they are actually putting together scripts. Widow/orphan control is not really necessary when you are building a manuscript.

I can see why you would want it, and I think if it were easy to do, then I certainly wouldn’t object; but if Keith had to worry about including anything beyond the basics when it comes to formatting, then Scrivener would suffer as a result.

If I understand the 1.0.2 release notes, this feature has been implemented. If so, many thanks Keith. If not, Scrivener is still a writer’s dream.

Yep, this is one of those cases where I say “no”, but like the challenge and implement it anyway. :slight_smile: Unfortunately the widows and orphans code is causing a crashing bug in the statistics panel right now, but that will be fixed for 1.03. :frowning:

Seems to be working for general use, but unfortunately it isn’t quite perfect for screenplay use. (I bet you’re really tired of screenwriters bitching!) Scripts need to keep headers together with their “child” paragraphs.

So, for instance:

JOE Even though the character name and dialogue are technically two paragraphs, in regards to widows and orphans, screenwriters need them treated as the same paragraph.
Is getting broke between “JOE” and his dialogue.

I understand that this is a giant pain in the keister, and I don’t really expect you to keep making exception after exception for screenwriters, but I thought I’d do “due dilligence” and at least mention it.

Scrivener isn’t exactly screenplay-dedicated, so the widows and orphans code is most certainly general use. There is no way of changing this without massive amounts of work, so this is a definite “maybe 2.0” thing.
All the best,