Opening Mac project in Windows, version 3: random text colour differences throughout

Hi - I’ve written a book on the Mac version, and recently bought the Windows version (both #3) having read that Scrivener projects are cross-compatible. Mostly it looks like they are - but I’ve got an odd difference when opening in Windows / Scrivener 3: random portions of the text are now black when in the Mac version the text is all the same colour (white). This is true for most scenes throughout the whole book.

I don’t want to go through and correct all that, so will be sticking with working on the Mac for the book, for now. But is it something that could be looked at? Is there any other info I could provide?


This is down to how different RTF editors work, and it’s not even something you’ll find exclusive to working between Scrivener on different platforms as a result. Some editors use no colour assignment at all as the definition of “no colour” while others use explicit black to mean “no colour”.

We’ve done a fair bit to help reduce the occurrence of that in the latest versions of the software, but texts that were created before these changes may still have issues.

The secondary problem with this is something it sounds like you are running into, since you describe the text as being white normally, and that is that the Windows version of Dark Mode is still incomplete and does not properly handle the display of text colours and highlights when the background is dark. On a Mac, even if the text is literally black it will still show up light because it won’t allow for text colours that can’t be read. You can see this in practice if you set some text to a dark grey while in dark mode: the result will visually be a light grey. So that’s something to keep in mind overall, if you prefer dark mode, it’s good to know that you need to choose text colours that look good on a dark background. The best way to handle that is to change the text override mode to “Show colored text as-is”, in the Appearance: Main Editor: Colors preferences tab, on the Mac. That will use a model that is closer to how Windows works (though it will still avoid showing black text as black).

At any rate, it’s a fairly easy thing to clean up, should you wish to continue making use of both platforms. This will be best done on the Mac:

  1. If you do make use of text colour (including revision modes), then you might want to create a quick backup first in case this messes things up, with File ▸ Back Up ▸ Back Up To....
  2. Click on the Draft folder and switch to Scrivenings mode.
  3. Put the cursor in any paragraph that shows up black, and use the Edit ▸ Select ▸ Select Similar Formatting menu command to bulk select all text literally coloured black. This may not catch everything, since “similar formatting” means more than just the text colour, but it should get the majority.
  4. Right-click in any of the selected text, and from the “Text Color” submenu, select “Remove Color”.

From that point onward it will be easier to spot fix missed cases on Windows as you come across them, since again the Mac version treats black and no-color as the same thing for most cases.

Huge thanks for the swift and very thorough reply. I’ll give those ideas a go. The mismatched colours don’t appear on the Mac, so I guess I’ll have to try on Windows and see if I can get something to work. Or just stick to writing the book on the Mac…