Plain Text Sync, No Italics...

I am syncing the file to an external folder. Simply put, the Plaintext sync does not do italics. This sucks as I use italics heavily in my document.


A growing group of writers are using Markdown for this very reason. The best editing programs on mobile devices right now are plain-text, and you can write styled text in a plain-text environment with something like that (and of course, with Scrivener we make it easy to work with Markdown anyway. You can tell the compiler you wrote using it and it can convert that to several different formats). And plain-text is where the competition and variety is. Rich text is harder to program for, so fewer people try. There is one such company that is trying though, called Textilus. It can read Scrivener’s RTF files created by the folder sync utility. You will want to test and make sure all of the features you intend to use are supported by the software, or they might get lost. For example, if you use comments and footnotes, it probably won’t know what to do with them. If your documents are very simple, composed of text and basic formatting, it might work fine. One nice thing about Textilus is that they are working to make their software work better with Scrivener. It’s one of their goals, so if they continue to improve it could end up being a nice editor for Scrivener.

By definition, plain text can’t do italics. If you need rich text italics, you need to sync using the RTF format and an external app that supports RTF. Out of interest, what did you expect plain text to do?

More specifically, when I use the Sync command, I was expecting some way of exporting as Markdown. I don’t like RTF as it’s proprietary and binary.

I think AmberV hit it on the head…RTF is hard to program for. I recognize its Scrivener’s internal format, but as formats go it sucks, IMHO.

“As a writer, I would like to do an external sync to Markdown so that I can edit documents on my mobile device with any text editor and re-import with formatting in place.”

Ah, okay. Well, basic Markdown support for plain text sync is on the list, possibly for 2.5.

Then can we increment the current version of Scrivener to 2.6 so it will be there now? :laughing:

We could do, but then it would be slated for 2.8. :slight_smile:

Thank you for this. I’ve been trying to figure out a workflow to edit in Byword and not lose all my formatting when bringing documents back and forth. Composition Mode is awesome enough that I almost wouldn’t miss leaving Byword behind but for two things:

  • Scrivener’s Composition Mode doesn’t work on my iOS devices (and Byword does)
  • Decades of email-writing habits make italic much easier and more natural for me than italic (take hands off keyboard to use the mouse pointer to highlight the word, then mousepoint to menu, click “Format”, then hover over “Fonts”, then click “Italic”, then click on the space after the word to get the cursor back) or even italic (Opt-Shift-LeftArrow, Command-I,RightArrow).

So whichever (Markdown for plaintext sync or an iOS version of Scrivener) comes first, I probably will stop caring about the other. Glad that both are on the slate though!

This isn’t germane to your main point, I know, but actually, cmd-i, type word, cmd-i is even quicker than shift-8, type word, shift-8, because it’s one row nearer the home keys…

Quicker by 0.082 seconds. :wink: It’s bold that has a better case for being quicker, with one ‘b’ instead of ‘**’, but even that is pretty minimal.

I know, Ioa, I know…. Just pointing out that shift-* is not actually more efficient than cmd-i, so the OP doesn’t need to avoid Composition mode simply for that. :wink:

Point taken (I wasn’t the OP, just a ‘me too’-er). For whatever reason I’m really leery of the mode-change method (CMD-I to shift into and out of “italics mode”.) Something about not knowing at a glance whether the next thing I type will be in italics or not. Really it’s an irrational fear.

The real reason is force of habit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to save a document and without thinking just hit Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C. Then wondered why nothing happened.

I suppose it could be worse. I could still have Ctrl-K, S stuck in my brain. :slight_smile:

But all this is just to say: basic Markdown support built in to Scrivener Plain Text Sync! Yay! I’m all giddy.

I’m really lost here. Markdown support for plain text export? Markdown is a plain text standard, and Scrivener is RTF. So, if Scrivener will provide formatting for markdown a la Ulysses, then great. But that has nothing to do with export. You can put your markdown markers into Scrivener now, and you will depend on your editor post-sync to read the formatting markers. Most will use Marked to do this.

Just a thought.

Well, personally I agree with you. I think the idea of syncing rich text out to Markdown, working in Markdown and then syncing back to rich text is a bit odd, given that you can compile Markdown to rich text from Scrivener (editor mode)—if you’re going to use it in one context—why not everywhere and dispense with converting back and forth whenever you sync? But, there are a few things to be said for having a rich text source in Scrivener as there are more export options available (most notably, e-books), and some people just prefer to see typographic effects rather than formatting indicators (not to mention having to learn them). So for them, a more stable sync that preserves most formatting round-trip would be nice.

Sorry AmberV, what does this mean?

If you scroll down the compile format list to the bottom, you’ll see some “MultiMarkdown” options. Using those you can convert Markdown text to a few different formats. The .fodt format is the best one for getting a Markdown based work into the word processor realm (via LibreOffice or Nisus). LaTeX/PDF are the best for high-quality PDF output (that’s what our documentation uses), and HTML should be obvious. RTF is just for quick proofing. It’s not accurate and only supports basic features.

So my point was, if someone is going to write in (Multi)Markdown on their iPad, then come back to Scrivener, why not just continue working the way you have been since in the end you can still get a result your editor will not mind reading. I “get it”, in the way that I get how some people are really into fashion or sports, but personally I wouldn’t want to work in Markdown on one platform, and rich text on another. I’d rather just stick with one format across the board for consistency, and to reduce potential errors from conversion mistakes. That’s all. :slight_smile:

Sure. Well, when my words are in Scrivener, I can live in complete ignorance about how the internals are stored. But really, Rich Text Format is a pretty loosely defined format. I trust Scrivener to output Markdown that any text/md editor can work with it more than I trust any rtf editor to be able to accurately work with what Scrivener saves when it syncs. That’s right. I’m saying I trust the idea of translating RTF to Markdown and back more than I trust the idea one developer’s product faithfully opening the RTF created by another developer’s product.

But now of course, I can no longer live in ignorance. Are you saying that the RTF files that Scrivener creates for Text Sync are the same files that it uses internally? I had been assuming that Scrivener was creating a brand new RTF output in that process. Shows you how much I know.

Byword (I know, not everyone uses Byword) on the Mac already reads RTF, and so far it appears to read from the External Folder Sync folder really well. But on the desktop I have Full Screen Composition Mode in Scrivener, so my desire to work in Byword is by no means a practical necessity. My problem there is that I’m editing on the iPad or even the iPhone, and there Byword does not read RTF.

But even if it did or I switched to another iOS editor that did, that is where it really is a lot easier to surround a word with asterisks than it is to highlight and tap. Even with my bluetooth keyboard the Cmd-I toggle doesn’t work, at least not in Documents to Go or Byword. I haven’t bothered reinstalling Pages to see if it works.

So for the meantime, I have a working method that I think most of you would agree is convoluted and ridiculous. Literally, you might ridicule me for doing this. For the meantime, when I write in Scrivener, I put asterisks around the words and I italicize the words. Belt plus suspenders. Then when I’m on the iPad or the iPhone, I just use the asterisks. When I come back to Scrivener on the desktop, I go through what has changed and I italicize anything that is inside asterisks. You want to talk about potential errors from conversion mistakes?

Even if Scrivener for the iPad were to magically appear today, I’m guessing that iOS Scrivener will not be for iPhone. Yes, there are times that I feel the need to do some writing when all I have is the iPad.

In the meantime, I agree that all things being equal I’d rather stick with one format across the board for consistency. I just don’t see the option for me to do that.

I guess I should start looking at iOS editors that support rich text. But that sort of grates with me; I mean, I did a lot of hunting around to find Byword, and I was writing with it before I started using Scrivener.

It’s an imperfect world and we all do what we have to. I’m tunneling into the minutia here and if using Scrivener didn’t make my life better I wouldn’t use it. Scrivener could never have another feature added and I would cheerfully continue to use it. As convoluted as my abovementioned workflow is, it’s a lot easier than when I transcribe from handwriting. But I hope that you’ll all understand why I say, “hey, cool!” to hearing about Markdown support in External Folder Sync.

Scrivener for iPhone is being developed in tandem with Scrivener for iPad…

I’m very pleased to have guessed wrong! I have to say that I thought that getting Scrivener to live happily on an iPad would be an ambitious project. Getting it to live on an iPhone? Wow. My hat is off to you and rest assured that I’ll be one of the first in line when you’re ready to go to a release version.

Don’t feel bad. This is almost exactly what I do. I’m one of those people that needs to see formatting on screen — surrounding text with characters doesn’t work for me. When I work in Pages on the iPad, I italicize and underscore, so that when I import back into Scrivener, my formatting is still there. It’s convoluted. But I do it because (a) I make extensive use of Scrivener’s formatting tools, and (b) I often work remotely from my iPad.

I understand that RTF → MMD is hard because there’s no one-to-one correspondence between RTF formatting and MMD markup. However, as things stand now iOS users have only two options: (1) lose formatting when syncing and editing on an iDevice, or (2) use MMD markup from start to finish, but lose the ability to see the immediate effects of formatting when using Scrivener back on the Mac. Neither of these options are great. I think that by design Scrivener offers more than an MMD editor. I like seeing my inline footnotes distinguished by different colors, or having the option of mixing inline and inspector footnotes, or highlighting text I’m planning on fixing later, or all the rest of what Scrivener offers that nobody else does.

I think the solution is for Scrivener to make a subset of formats omni-directional between MMD and RTF: probably just bold, italic, underline, and strikethrough. Scrivener could therefore do an extremely limited form of RTF → plaintext conversion when exporting to a synced folder, and easily make the transition back when re-syncing and importing. Hell, it already does that when it comes to footnotes in double curly brackets.