Macro to do multiple edits

Is it possible to make a macro to do multiple simple edits in Scrivener for Mac?

I’m teaching a writing course - craft-based, so grammar and punctuation aren’t part of my brief - and my students continually send in stories with multiple spaces, commas and full stops and question marks outside quote marks, and so on.

It would be handy dandy to have a macro to run on all stories before setting in to do a quick read and edit before sending them around. But is it possible, and how would I make it?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Scrivener doesn’t have macros, so no, you can’t chain together a set of cleanup searches-and-replaces in a Scrivener project.

You could use the Compile process to clean up an imported document and then re-import it if you wanted though. If that seems like a decent solution, look at the Transformations and Replacements sections of the compile window. I’d suggest setting up your replacements in the “Preset Replacements” sub-tab, and then using the “save preset” button to save your compile configuration for use in any project. Either that, or keep a project around specifically for cleaning up these problems.

Note that there are a few options under Format->Convert that might be of use to you without using the compile process.

Another way to look at it is to engineer the humans, rather than the software.

Either such details aren’t part of your brief – in which case you can ignore them – or they are, in which case you can tell the students to fix them and resubmit.

The best solution probably depends on the level of the course. If these are college students who should know better, why not give them a handout/style guide with your expectations, and refuse to grade any paper that doesn’t meet them? That’s what a real world editor would do.


PS Yes, I know, I’m way too mean to be entrusted with the development of our tender youth.

No grades here; these are adults learning for pleasure. I’ve told them lots of times how to punctuate properly. They get all excited at this new knowledge; next time the stories come in punctuated just the same. I’m not that pushed, once they’re learning to write, but it adds a lot of extra work for me, on top of the hours I’m paid to teach.

If you get the stories in non-Scriv form, you might consider chucking them through some of the facilities at this site before you Scriverize them.

Thanks, django, but using that site wouldn’t be any faster than the multiple search-and-replaces I now do, typically:

Double spaces with singles, repeated three times
Single quotes with doubles
n"t with n’t
“, with ,”
“. with .”
“? with ?”

and so on. It still means a certain amount of formatting - people might have left a space between a quote mark and comma, for instance - but it catches most of the monsters.

It would be nice to be able to make a little macro that would do all those searches in one go, though.

Here is my very grumpy and nasty answer (which is much further along Katherine’s road).

At the moment they have no incentive to sort out their grammar and punctuation: a kindly elf is doing it for them while they sleep. They need an incentive to address this, so:

  1. It is not your job to sort out their grammar and punctuation: it is theirs.
  2. You have told them how it should be.
  3. You give out the assignment and tell them you will circulate the stories exactly as submitted.
  4. They will submit their poorly-punctuated stories.
  5. As promised you will circulate them, exactly as submitted.
  6. During the next class, when, presumably, everyone’s pieces are shared and reviewed, you can tut and suck your teeth at a few errors.
  7. Shame and embarrassment will ensure the tutted-at have a better stab at punctuation next time.
  8. Repeat until they can all punctuate.

A more kindly answer, which is also more pedagogically appropriate, is to split them into pairs and have them check each other’s work for grammar and punctuation. Once they start to recognise the mistakes in other people’s work they will also start to seem the same mistakes in their own.

Many years ago, I attended a conference at which a lecturer who did English classes for non-native English university students to write essays. He used Word and produced a customised set of rules for the spelling and grammar checker, which he also gave to his students. He ran all their submissions through the checker and if there were still any errors in it, he sent the submission straight back to the student, so that they would have to work out how to correct it themselves.

Can you not work out a similar approach?

Mr X

I could, but these students are with me for 10 weeks, though most come back for further 10-week sessions. Hm, I might try that; rather than running the stories through the rules, I’d just hand them out again to anyone who isn’t keeping them, without any comment other than “You might like this.”

My job in this class is to teach writing structure rather than the rules of grammar. I don’t want to turn into Miss Thistlebottom in relation to grammatical rules, but just to save myself work!

The standard of English is really variable, from people who are learning English to someone who didn’t really know how to construct a sentence - when do you put a full stop! - to very sophisticated writers.

The main thing I’m teaching is that a story must involve a change, an important change, and that change must be brought about either by the actions of the protagonist or through changes that happen to the protagonist.