My Fondest Wish For Scratchpad

Scratchpad doesn’t get a lot of use from me, and it’s for two overwhelming reasons – the floating nature of the scratchpad window, and the lack of a keyboard shortcut to activate it.

As it is, the Scratchpad can either be open, and never get out of the user’s way, or it can be closed and unusable.

Additionally, if you want the Scratchpad open, you have to stop anything else you’re doing, click to the Scrivener window, then navigate the menu to activate the Scratchpad. I’ve actually lost a few ideas in the time it took to go through those steps.

So here’s my wish: Scratchpad as an app that’s connected to Scrivener – in that it can still send Scratchpad output into Scrivener projects – but that doesn’t necessarily require that Scrivener is running in order for Scratchpad to run, and can be either anchored to or detached from the Menubar.

If you can pull that off, you’ll not only expand the usability of the Scratchpad function, you’ll also improve the usability of Scrivener overall. Here’s why:

Right now, when I have a flash of inspiration, Scrivener isn’t what I use to record it. I wish it was otherwise, but it’s just not. When inspiration strikes, I have to use Evernote’s (menubar-resident) Clipper to catch the idea droppings. And while that’s all well and good, it means that I can’t send that thought directly to a project in progress without a(n admittedly modest) time consuming drag-and-drop maneuver.

What if it was Scratchpad sitting up there in the menubar waiting to collect those little seeds of inspiration?

I don’t know if the devs think this is worth exploring. I hope they do. It’s not a dealbreaker if they don’t – Scrivener is the best writing app out there, bar none, and this minor pebble in the shoe isn’t going to change that. I also know that if they do decide to tackle it, it won’t happen overnight – probably not even overmonth. But that’s my wish for Scratchpad.

Scratch Pad does come with a shortcut by default. It is however a global shortcut, meaning that you can use it no matter what program you are currently working in, so long as Scrivener is running. This means that it is possible for the shortcut to conflict with other global shortcuts, or shortcuts that are in use by the program you are otherwise using. To change the global shortcut, visit the General preferences pane and click once in the pill-shaped area next to “Hot key”. Press the keys you wish to use as a global shortcut, and then give it a try.

It would be possible to make a separate application that runs automatically when you log in, kind of like DEVONthink’s Sorter, but given that Scrivener’s memory footprint is modest, especially if no projects are open, it’s not a huge priority. It makes more sense in programs that are very active with network, CPU and RAM usage.

You can also access the Scratch Pad by right-clicking the Scrivener icon in the Dock, though the shortcut toggle is definitely faster; I just mention it as an alternative to the menu icon you mentioned, and in case you’re having trouble finding a shortcut that doesn’t conflict on your system.

Thank you for the right click option…