Name generator in trial version: Can I get a German surname list?

Hi there, happy new year! :slight_smile:

While trying out Scrivener (trial version), I found the name generation feature and quite like the idea. However, I couldn’t generate any German names despite selecting German Names (Male) in the List.

Names could not be generated.
No surname lists are selected for …

I selected German Names (Male), which is the only option I see in the table of name lists, and excluded all other name lists.

In another thread of this forum I found the hint that one can add additional name lists using the plus icon, but that just opens Mac’s Finder for me.

Are there any German name lists for download that I could import into Scrivener?


You also need to select a list of surnames. So you can’t just generate a list of first names - it always has to be a pair of first + last names.

Name lists are CSV files. Or rather, text files with one name per line and a file name ending in .csv.

Attached are some I collected: Lists of popular German female and male first names for the year 2021 and a list of the 100 most common German last names. The latter list is from Wikipedia. The former are from the reports that you can read in the newspapers every year. Note that those are the most popular names in Germany, not necessarily German-sounding names. (5.8 KB)


In windows version have legacy names as option to add custom name lists. They have German lists included

Thanks, that helped. I imported your top 100 list of surnames, selected both German Names (Male) and the imported list, and could then generate names. Any ideas what the obscurity level is all about?

As much as I like this feature I have a feeling it may be easier these days to ask ChatGPT to come up with a name that fits the character, like "Propose a German name (first name and surname) for a novel that could be the one of a bus driver.

I am not allow to attach screenshots yet to posts, but all I see is a plus sign that lets me import custom name lists as CSVs as @dirkhaun has described above, but I didn’t know where to look for them.

Thanks anyway!

See the image and should be able to add Scrivener legacy german name lists.

Thank you. In the MacOS installation, there is a resources directory inside directory, but no directory toolbox. I searched my whole hard drive and it seems there is no toolbox directory at all. Maybe they removed it for Mac or for the newest Scrivener version (the one I use is: 3.3.6).

Would be glad to email the lists of German names to you if you want.

On macOS, they’re in Support Folder/NameLists

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Any ideas what the obscurity level is all about?

This is all the manual has to say about it:

Obscurity Level This slider adjusts how obscure the names should be on aver- age. Moving the slider all the way to the left might produce a result like, “Scott Young”, while sliding it all the way to the right, “Chauncey Noach” (no offence to all the Chaunceys out there).

Not sure how it rates some entries more “obscure” than others, though. Maybe one of the moderators knows or can find out? @AmberV

The obscurity setting is merely a way of weighting the results toward more common names. To use American names for example, “Jessica Brown” would be a lot less obscure than “Isolda Duxon”.

Okay, but how does it rate some names more common than others?

The tool itself is oblivious to such things, all that matters is whether the list was sorted that way, from common to obscure, when imported and the appropriate checkbox was enabled to indicate that.

Oh, I see. Sorry, I completely missed that little checkbox during the import.

So that should actually work with the lists I posted above, since they are sorted by popularity. Thanks!