One-step highlighting

My apologies if I’m asking about something that’s been addressed in the past. My searches haven’t turned up what I need.

I’m editing someone else’s book, and on my first read-through I want merely to mark places I’ll return to later. In Preview I can click on “highlight”, and until I click on it again, everything I select will be highlighted. Is there something like that in Scrivener? Everything I’ve found so far requires at least two steps each time I use it. I’ve set up a keyboard shortcut for highlighting, but even then I have to first select a word, then press two keys–and even then, the highlighting doesn’t show up until I click somewhere else. This feels very cumbersome.

All I want to do is set things up to leave some visual reminder whenever I select something (highlighting seems most obvious), but I want the setup to stay active until I turn it off. Am I missing something obvious? Or has someone got a good workaround? I am very much hoping that I won’t have to export chapters into Preview, highlight there, and then move them back…

Many thanks–

I must be missing something here. All I have to do is double click / click + drag / whatever, to select a word or more text, then click the highlight button ONCE. Agreed, you can’t see it until you move the selection somewhere else, but that’s the same with all highlighters everywhere - the text remains selected (and therefore coloured) until you move the selection elsewhere or deselect.

I see what you’re doing. In the Preview app, you’re selecting Tools > Annotate > Highlight Text . This activates a “highlight mode” in Preview, such that every time you select something, it gets a permanent highlight. Go select something else, and it becomes highlighted too, until you uncheck “Highlight text.”

I had never run into the Highlight mode in Preview before! Thank you for introducing me to something new.

Honestly, though I am a long-term user, I’ve never run into anything like that in Scrivener. In Scrivener, if I want to commit serial highlighting I have to (select text, then type shift-cmd-H) repeatedly for every spot in the text I want to highlight. I realise it’s more labour-intensive than highlighting the same number of items in Preview, but re-importing PDF-based content into Scrivener is a sufficient pain that I’d rather select-and-highlight. (in fact, I’m not sure how I’d do it!)

Perhaps Tech Support has a better answer; you can email them at . But to the best of my own knowledge, you are stuck with a two-step highlight process.

Thanks both, and yes, Silverdragon, that’s it exactly: in Preview, once you enter the highlighting mode, anything you select is automatically highlighted. No extra steps. I finally decided that the closest I could get in Scrivener was to use Revision mode (in the Format menu) and just type a single, weird character in a bright color.

Thanks again–

Seems a nice, simple solution, thiugh I guess you don’t get to flag spans of text that way.

Probably not worth mentioning, but in a suitable keyboard macro program you could program shift-click to trigger a macro that passed the shift-click on and follow it with a simulated keypress of the shortcut for highlight. That way, while the macro was enabled, doing what you wanted would be a click (at start of phrase)and a shift click (at end of phrase).*


  • In fact, in a macro program like QuicKeys** you could build this into a Scriv-specific mode – with another kbd command to toggle in and out of that mode.

** Yes, I still use QuicKeys. Because it still works dammit.

What Scrivener needs is something similar to what FileMaker and the old AppleWorks had - if you double click on a tool icon, that tool is locked; therefore if the highlight tool was locked, all you’d need is to repeatedly select different portions of text. Otherwise if clicked just once, the tool would behave as it does now.

I have absolutely no idea how difficult this would be to code for.


Not sure it will address your problem specifically, but have you tried using “Comment?” You get a colored section of copy and — if you want — you can add a note in the Inspector column citing the reason you marked it. The mark will stay until you go back and delete whatever note — if any — you’ve applied.