Minimalist look

Has anyone tried replicating the minimal Ulysses look on Scrivener - if so, what are your settings?


You mean something like this?

The above just hides the toolbar (click on the pill in the top right of the toolbar, or alternatively, you could just ctrl-click on the toolbar and select “Text Only”), the ruler (cmd-R if it is visible), collapses the index card in the inspector (click on the triangle above-left of the index card) and changes the binder background colour to white (via the Preferences).

Of course, if you really want minimalist and plain text only, and don’t want all of Scrivener’s extra elements (corkboard etc), then Ulysses may be for you. :slight_smile:

All the best,

Scrivener can get awfully minimal, much more than even Ulysses for that matter, more on par with TextEdit. Here is an example of Scrivener at its most minimal:

The settings here are Binder and Inspector off (Cmd-Opt-B and Cmd-Opt-I, respectively), as well as turning off the Header and Footer (View/Layout/Hide Footer View, and Hide Header View). With this set-up, you can navigate to other documents in the Binder via the View/Editor/Go To menu. The history hotkeys will also probably come in handy here with Cmd-[ and Cmd-] to navigate forward and backward in history.

Now here is a nice trick that Ulysses cannot do. Select the menu option View/Layout/Show Layouts and press the ‘+’ button and call it something intuitive. Now you can use this window to instantly drop to this minimal presentation.

If you want to increase the efficiency of navigation slightly, you can turn on the Header View for the editor. Not only does this help remind you which document you are editing, but when you click on the document icon you’ll get a menu with a handy “Go To” sub-menu built into it, negating the need for using the heavily nested alternative in the application View menu.

Here is a slightly less minimal window that is a bit more useful for rapid navigation and also allows access to notes:

For this one I have turned on the Binder and Inspector again, but note I’ve collapsed the synopsis card so that just Notes and meta-data are visible, which is much more similar to Ulysses (though vertically flipped).

Using the various controls in the Layout sub-menu, you can no doubt find a combination that suits you best. And remember you can save all of these variations in the Layouts window, allowing you to rapidly switch between “modes”. This palette will save split positions and everything, so it is quite useful for setting up “sessions” for various purposes.

Finally, one more:

This is basically the same as above, but I’ve adjusted the colour settings for the Binder and the Notes pane to pure white. Some people find colour changes to be visually intensive, so finding a more subtle or monochrome look might also be of help to you. These can all be adjusted in application Preferences, under the Fonts & Colors tab.


You have done outdone yourself this time. I can’t wait to fool my wife into thinking I’ve written something so I can sneak away and read your piece.


I have to admit to liking the minimalist aesthetic of Ulysses over Scrivener. That said, I think Scrivener could achieve a very similar effect by making the binder icons monochrome (or something close) or doing away with icons altogether.

I don’t have the Scrivener toolbar visible, so the binder icons are the only coloured thing in the frame. That adds a bit of distraction off to the left. Only a very slight distraction, I’d have to admit, and only when I think about it, but I’d still like them toned down to invisibility.

I use the Anonymous Pro font for my index card headings and text, and that contributes to a sparer look. Lucida Sans in the binder and outliner instead of Lucida Grande gives a deeper line spacing, closer to the open spacing in Mail’s sidebar.

Invisible icons really would make no sense in Scrivener - it would be a bit like having a keyboard with blank keys. The icons tell you what each document is - text, folder, PDF etc. That’s not necessary in Ulysses, because you only have text documents. By contrast, complaining that the binder icons are distracting in Scrivener is a little like saying that you find the authors’ names and book titles distracting on the book spines on your shelves - they might seem a bit busy, but try finding a book without them. :slight_smile:

And of course, they actually do make such a thing. :wink:

how else do you try out different key mappings?

Now that I think about it, this would make a great practical joke for your local non-touch typist.

That last post was written using such a keyboard! (Because I am experimenting with getting rid of the distractions of glyphs altogether. *)

  • Note to bashosfrog: None of the above intended as a jibe against your mention of the icons; or at least, only in good humour, but with your extremely Zen user name I assume you will be cool with that - plop!

No offence taken … what you say is right. It occurred to me later that all I’d really like to see is a less bright colour used for the research folder. In fact, I would appreciate an option to make the research folder invisible. I have a journalist’s heavy-duty research needs, and I find it’s more sensible to keep the whole lot in Devonthink. The research folder and references tab don’t figure in my day-to-day usage at all. Not having that clutter (clutter to me, anyway) is one of the attractions of Ulysses.

I’m a wholehearted admirer of the Zen aesthetic and philosophy (and loathe the whole Hello Kitty/Tokyo neon thing), and I love Basho’s writing, but I’m not a practitioner. The chaotic state of my mind would make a Zen master weep. Luckily I seldom have enough mental RAM available to reflect on such matters.

Err… Since several months, I’m happily writing with exactly this thing:


Oh, come on, everything is better with invincible icons.


[size=85](Don’t bother looking - you didn’t mistype it, I misread it and got a good chuckle.)[/size]

Um, if you really wanted invisible or monochrome icons, couldn’t you simply make your own and replace 'em manually in the software package?

I miss ResEdit. :frowning: I had so much fun editing our old Wheel of Fortune game to personally insult my brother (nicely) for the next time we played it together…

You can get nearly monochrome, or muted icons with all but the top level (Research, Trash)
(Personally monochrome icons bother my eyes, so I don’t use this.)

1.Tint Icons with Label Color (View menu)
2. Set label color(s) to one color / shade of white/grey

As for color: these days, I’m writing with Mercuty text over a Tungsten background. Very relaxing.