List text color/highlight color changing bug

I have an outline for a large novel project that is a just a text file that I keep open in a vertical editor next to my working pane. For this outline, I used a typical list numbering and indenting system such as:
I. Major Heading
A. Minor Heading
1. Scene name
a. Scene description or details
(imagine the indents are there. The post preview pane deletes the spaces showing the indent. I use tab for indent in the actual file.)
Because the outline is so complex, I often end up highlighting or changing the text color for chunks of it so I can keep track of where I am, what I have and have not covered under certain portions of the outline, etc… The problem that I am having, is that when I save my file and close scrivner, the next time I open it back up chunks of text will have either reverted to their previous color, or the outline letter or number will keep the color change, and the text for that outline point will be back to black.

For example, to recreate the problem, make a new file with the four outline headings listed above. All text should be default black at this point. Now, change the text color for ‘A. Minor Heading’ and ‘a. Scene description and details’ to red. Save the project and close it. Now re-open scrivner. When I do this, either the red text, or the red heading have changed back to black.
The same thing happens when I use highlighting instead of text color changes. This also happens when using other text formatting such as bold. (the text reverts to normal, and just the outline heading stays bold.) This happens with other colors also, not just red.

I have tried changing just the color of the text and not the color of the outline heading numbers, but that doesn’t seem to work either. This would only be a minor annoyance except that my outline is about 20,000 words and when my text color changes don’t stick, it can be time consuming to re-create it.

I am using the latest version of Scrivner (the 11-18-2011 update) on a MacBookPro with SnowLeopard. This problem also existed on previous versions of scrivner. I think it has something to do with the way that lists are formatted since this only happens to text in lists, all other text is fine. I cannot recreate this problem in TextEdit because it appears to me that TextEdit does not support text color changes or highlighting.

I will be happy to try and provide more detail if there is something else you need. I have included everything I can think of. Honestly, I don’t know if this is a bug, or I’m just doing something wrong with lists, but I can’t find anything on the forums.


Many thanks for such a detailed report with instructions on how to reproduce the issue. I’ve just tested this myself and can reproduce it - it is indeed an odd bug. I’ve also reproduced it in TextEdit (on Snow Leopard, you can change the colour of text using the Font panel), so it seems that Apple’s RTF saving code that I use as the basis for Scrivener’s RTF saving code has a bug in it. I will take a look and see if there is any way that I can modify the output RTF to fix this, although it could be tricky - my guess is that the list code in the RTF is resetting the colour rather than carrying it over. I’ve added it to my list for 2.2.1 and will take a look this week, and let you know how fixable it is. Eventually I would really like to create our own RTF translator rather than relying on modifying Apple’s so that I have much more control over this sort of thing.

One thing that did seem to help was ensuring that all the tabs at the beginning of the line were selected when applying the colour - I found that if I did this, the colour would stick.

Thanks again and all the best,