New to Scrivener-pre purchase question

Mac vs Windows,

I am new to scrivener and writing, I was told if I learn this software early in my writing career I will love throughout it.

So question, Windows is at version 1 Mac is at version 3???. Is there a big difference between Mac and Windows versions? Is the product best on Mac? I have no problem with either OS.

I guess I am asking, would it be best for me to us a Mac with this software??



Simple answer:

  1. You have a 30 days of actual use—not calendar days—trial period on the Mac, so download and install it and give it a good try;
  2. Download and install the public Windows v. 3 Beta from here:
    bearing in mind that it is a Beta with some of the features still incomplete and some bugs still being dealt with. That said, it is stable. My collaborator is using it on Windows and I am using Mac; we have been sharing projects under that system for well over a year now, with very few problems, i.e. conflicts arising from not paying enough attention to synchronising.
  3. If you want to share projects across the platforms, Dropbox is the recommended route, but do read … c-services
    carefully, and above all avoid Google Drive as it is known to corrupt Scrivener projects. At the bottom of that article there are advisories on One Drive and Google Drive. My collaborator and I use Sync because she can’t access Dropbox; Sync claim it’s not compatible with Scrivener, but we’ve been using it for several years now with care and have had very few problems. Dropbox is the safest, and if you want to add iOS to your suite, the only cloud sync system that doesn’t need extensive, personal human intervention—though it seems a number of people are encountering problems using Dropbox and the current version of iOS, particularly on new devices.
  4. The release version of Windows, v. 1.9.x has an older file system and cannot open projects that have been worked on in Mac v. 3.
  5. Make sure to do the tutorial that you find under the help menu. Scrivener is not a WYSIWYG word processor like Word. But you don’t have to try to get to all its features before you can start using it. You can start very simply and learn about the other features as you come to need them.

Hope that helps and doesn’t put you off.


It sound like following the Mac route will be best. I am purchasing a new laptop just for writing, so this is the best time to start reviewing this information.

Thank You, It is helpful

My pleasure. As a Mac user for nearly 30 years, I of course favour the Mac version, but there are those who prefer Windows, and the question of which is best must depend on such preferences … or at least when Windows v. 3 reaches as near parity with the Mac as the different OSes permit.



Mr. X’s advice is right on. Consider downloading both as trials, and do your comparison. I already have the Windows paid version (since 2013), but I’m running the Windows beta just now, in comparison with the Mac version 3.0.

While the Mac version is newer than the current Windows non-beta version, that also means that the Windows 3.0 version is likely to have at least a few features that are yet newer and more advanced than the Mac 3.0 version. They are likely to not be identical, but will surely merge to be closer to identical, as time goes on, and as OSs allow.

Right now, the Windows beta version, as an example, has a better option for control of the colors of the user interface (for one), and that was very important to me…to have a darkened mode for eye ease, as well as more contrast when writing. Cataract surgeries have left me with a lessened ability to see (…sorry…no more flying, I’m afraid). There does appear to be an ability to bring in some appearance themes to the Mac, but it’s an import process that I don’t care to pursue. WIth the Windows version, setting the UI appearance was seamless.

There are probably other little niggles of differences that may appeal to you, one direction or another. A comparison between the two builds will aid your decision. Either way, you’ve stumbled across an amazing piece of software that is (don’t tell L&L) extremely affordable.

b[/b] There’s also a list of differences between the two versions here that might be useful.

Hope that helps, and enjoy your time with Scrivener.

I’m not actually sure that’s true; it depends on what you think of as “more advanced” and the OS requirements. For instance, the Dictionary access is different on each platform, as on the Mac it’s provided by the system, whereas the devs have had to build it on Windows. it may be that that gives more flexibility on Windows in that respect; however the quality of the available dictionaries has come in for much more question on Windows, and it seems to require much more intervention from the user to install alternative dictionaries. On the other hand, on the Mac side, “Linguistic Focus”—highlighting parts of speech—is provided by MacOS, whereas Windows only has “DialogueFocus” as the devs have to program it themselves. Then there is “Scrivenings Mode”: on the Mac you can highlight and make changes across document boundaries … I’m not sure they’ve been able to solve that one yet on Windows.

I don’t use dark mode or any themes, but a major difference is that “Dark Mode” is provided by MacOS, but not Qt, so they have had to program that. It seems more of a question arises from how the two OSes handle basic text colour, which does affect working in non-default themes across platforms.

Couldn’t agree more.

On the other hand, bear in mind that was first posted in 2011 and MM’s further comments date to 2014. The differences given are between a fairly early version of Mac v.2 and Windows v. 1.0. It’ may not all be relevant to the v. 3s on each platform.



1 Edit to add a couple of words.


Agreed. I had seen that also. It’s sometimes a bit difficult to tell what is merely an original post, and what might have been updated, as years have passed, since some of those original postings, with no time-tag evidence of updating, There is an edit date on that comparison, but it’s in 2014, and I know there have been changes since that date…have to be. Thus, it’s hard to depend on that comparison, but seems to be all that there is.

Thanks for the input.