Problem with accentuated characters

Using Scrivener, I have trouble typing accentuated characters, which are frequent in french: é, ë, ù, À, and so on. This happens only in Scrivener (everything is OK in TextEdit or in any other word processor I have on my PowerBook G4 1.5 GHz/1.25 Go RAM, Tiger 10.4.11).

The problem is I cannot obtain those special letters if they are not typed by a single key: as soon as I need a combination of 2 or more keys, unless I type those keys very quicly one after the other, I can’t get what I want. And if I need to type ¨-shift-U, it’s impossible to get my Ü, or my É with option-`-shift-E.

I do not know why, but the problem began some weeks ago. It’s very annoying as writing with Scrivener, at least in french, becomes very difficult.

Any help appreciated, because Scrivener is a fabulous tool (when it works OK…)


I’m not sure if this is the cause, but it sounds as though it may be: try turning off typographer’s quotes via Preferences > Typography. My guess is these are interfering with special characters that use apostrophes or double quotes as part of the accent.


Hi Keith,

I’ve done that, but it makes no difference at all.

Still hoping for a solution,

I am unable to reproduce this with my Scriv installation (likewise on a Powerbook 1.5 on Tiger 10.4.11). Mine is Scriv vers 1.11.

After hitting the option-e or option-u, for example, the accent mark appears with a yellow highlight and I can wait indefinitely long before following up with a a finishing keystroke to get my é or Ü or whatever.

I tried enabling various typographic options in Scrivener preferences to reproduce your problem, but could not make the problem you are seeing happen.

For troubleshooting, it is natural to think that some small operation is being performed on your machine that is having the effect of dismissing the accent before you get your next keystroke in. (You can effect such dismissals manually by i) clicking a menu or ii) just clicking elsewhere in the text. Note these to result in two different kinds of dismissals and it may be instructive to know which type you are seeing–a) accent mark disappears entirely, b) accent mark gets entered but as a separate character rather than a modifier.)

Are you running some sort of utility on your Mac that, as part of its function, pays attention to keystrokes/typing? Definitely something to think about in troubleshooting this case.


Mine is also Scriv 1.11.

The yellow highlight comes after hitting the accent that has to be combined with the letter, but disappears aftrer half a second or less. When I manage to type the letter rapidly, i.e. before the yellow highlight goes off, I get what I want. Otherwise, the accent mark gets entered as a separate character before the letter it should modify.

I tired both troubleshooting operations, but it makes no change: the accent mark remains in both cases.

I use Textexpander, but the problem does not change when I switch it off. Otherwise, in my Sytem Pref panel, I see Apache2, Logitech control center, D-Link Air Utility, Déjà Vu, DivX, Flip4MacWMV, Growl, Hazel, Mouseworks, MySQL, Pen Tablet, Perian, Salling Clicker and Synergy.

A few things to try.

One try changing the font to another font. (Some fonts cannot display certain characters)

Make sure you are not running a third party app Like Typeitforme.

Turn off Check Spelling while Typing and also turn off (in Scrivener Preferences) Smart Symbols

See if that helps

Lots of third-party system extensions her. If it was me, I would switch them all off and see if the problem went away–quick way to see if you have a software conflict.

You might also try unplugging other input/usb devices that you have plugged in–like a digital tablet–to see if that makes any difference.


I have disabled text spelling in Scriv prefs, and the problem is over. But of course, I would like to have check spelling on AND the problem fixed.

I wonder why Scrivener has worked perfectly for months and suddenly had that bug… Software or system update ?

Thanks for your help !


I’m afraid that this sounds like a bug with your particular set up and nothing to do with Scrivener. The spell-check is a system service (provided by OS-X) and Scrivener does absolutely nothing with it. There isn’t a single line of code in Scrivener that does anything with spell-check (apart from turn it on or off) - nor is there any code that would override the way accented characters work. The fact that it works fine for everybody else who has posted here - and on my computer - definitely suggests it is something your end. Try setting up a different account on your machine and run Scrivener on that to test to see if everything works fine there - if so, it must be something running on your other account.

All the best,

Select the Keyboard tab and move the slider for Key Repeat towards SLOW and also the slider for DELAY UNTIL REPEAT towards LONG. The OS by these settings may think while you are holding down a modifier key that you wish to “repeat it” by adjusting the delay to longer it would give you more time to hit the other key before it (OSX) would assume you wish to “repeat”.

Just a thought

OK, I was just asking me why it happend in Scrivener and not in the other word processors using the same OS X ressources Mail, Nisus Writer, MacJournal, TextEdit…)…

Latest news: I checked the text spelling box again, just to see what happens, …and now everything works beautifully. Don’t ask me why, but it does, and I’m really glad. Thanks again for the support.


Ah, keystroke demon. No wonder! :wink: