Last letter goes missing when trying to look up words

When I double click on a word in Scrivener to select it, then right click and select ‘Look up’ it looks up the word but missing the last letter. So, for example, ‘instantly’ becomes ‘instantl’ as seen below.

When I try the same thing in TextEdit, the whole word is used correctly so it appears to be a problem in Scrivener.
Screen Shot 2012-07-01 at 22.32.04.png

That dictionary popover is notoriously glitchy. The thing is, though, there isn’t a single line of code in Scrivener that affects it or even calls it up - it is built into OS X’s text system. It works fine on my system, and on most systems. Some users report it freezing, though - although your problem is a new one to me. It seems that the problems with it only affect certain applications, too, possibly different apps on different users’ systems (I’ve seen reports of problems affecting TextMate and others, for instance). I think it must be to do with corrupt settings somewhere on your machine.

This is a stab in the dark, but try going to ~/Library/Autosave Information in the Finder (you can open the ~/Library folder, where the tilde represents your home directory, by selecting the “Go” menu in the Finder and holding down Option - “Library” will then appear in the list; it’s normally hidden in the menu and in the Finder). If there’s a file there entitled “com.literatureandlatte.scrivener2.plist”, move it to the Trash.

If that doesn’t work, try going to ~/Library/Preferences and, again, look for a file entitled com.literatureandlatte.scrivener2.plist, and move that to the Trash.

All the best,

Thanks for the advice but no joy.

The file didn’t exist in the first location but I found it in the second location and deleted it. I then ran Scrivener (and saw my preferences had gone) but when I tried to look up ‘instantly’ it still tried to look up ‘instantl’. So, I quit and restored the file to get my preferences back.

By the way, I noticed today that some words get looked correctly but some don’t. Weird.

Sorry, I should have mentioned that was your preferences file, d’oh.

Could you please try creating a new user account on your machine and see if you can reproduce the problem there? That will rule out something specific to your user account.



I created a new user account as you asked, logged into that account, ran Scrivener and started a new project, I typed in a few words including ‘instantly’, double clicked it to select the word, right clicked and chose ‘Look up’ and it worked fine i.e. looked up the word ‘instantly’.

But, then I logged back in to my normal account and, on a hunch, ran Scrivener and created a new project etc, etc. The upshot is that I looked up instantly again and it worked i.e. didn’t cut the last letter off.

Just to check, I then loaded up the previous project (where it wasn’t working before), selected instantly and it went back to cutting off the last letter when I do a ‘look up’.

Could it be something in the project?

Did you copy the text from somewhere else or write it originally on Windows? I’m wondering if you’ve got an invisible character in there which is breaking it into two words–for instance, if there’s word joiner after “instant”, the auto-correct tools will view it as two words just as you’re describing. The spell checker would see it the same way, underlining “ly” as a misspelled word. Have you tried typing the word afresh?

Thanks for the thought but I created the project on the Mac and typed it all in fresh. There are other words that also show the problem, I’ve just been using that one as the example. I just tried typing ‘Instantly’ somewhere else in the doc and it also shows the same problem.

I have noticed this behaviour on occasion, but only when I have typed, and then corrected, a word. So, for example, maybe I typed “instantlies” then went back to delete “ies” and replace with “y”. These are the times that OS X dictionary (& spell check) seems to get confused. Retyping the word, or cut & pasting the same word, or even just retyping the last couple of letters, seems to force the text engine to realise it is one complete word and recognise it as-is.
Try retyping “instantly” and see if that fixes the problem.

I haven’t been able to find a way of consistently reproducing the problem as it is that most annoying of bugs: intermittent. During the writing and editing of my thesis, it only occurred a handful of times.