question about dictionaries

I’d like to be able to use a custom dictionary for each book I write, since I use a lot of specialized terms (fantasy and science fiction) and be able to switch back and forth to the book-specific dictionary at need. According to the documentation I can only load one dictionary at a time. Is it possible to copy an existing library and give it a new name (e.g. WildSpaceAdventure6) and then add my specialized terms to that? I want to avoid putting specialized terms from Wild Space Adventure #6 in the general dictionary where it might conflict with the specialized terms from Epic Fantasy #3.

I also saw the “how to add spelling words” folder in resources, which seems to contain a complicated way of adding words to a dictionary, but wasn’t sure how that differed from the regular method of adding terms.

Okay, I think what you want here is the personal word list. This is global, so you will need to do some hackery to get the project-specific lists you’re after, but I think this is going to be a better option than trying to modify a full dictionary, which would mean, for instance, taking the full English(UK) dictionary and adding your words to it. When you click “learn” on a word in spell check, for instance, the word gets added to your personal list, not to the language dictionary; you can also open Tools>Options… and click “Vies Personal Word List” to enter a bunch of words there directly.

The messiest part of this will be switching between list files, since there’s not a way to do that in the interface and you’ll need to just continually swap out files via Windows Explorer. This will be much more a hassle if you’re hopping between books in a day rather than focusing on a single project for a month, since you’ll have to do the switch more often.

The word list file is stored as “wordlists.ini” inside the Scrivener directory in your AppData folder (or Application Data, if you’re on XP). This is hidden by default, so you’ll need to either switch on “view hidden folders” or type in the specific file path in Explorer. For Win7 and I believe Vista, this will be C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Local\Scrivener\Scrivener and on XP it will be C:\Documents and Settings\YOURUSERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data\Local\Scrivener\Scrivener.

What you’ll want to do then is create the word list for one of your projects, which will generate the wordlists.ini file, then when you need a new one, go to the directory listed above and either rename or move this file–potentially both, as you’ll want to have a way of indicating which project it belongs to. You’ll then be able to generate a new list in Scrivener, which will again be called wordlists.ini. When you switch to the other project, go back to this directory in Explorer, rename/move the current wordlists.ini file and then put back the first one, fixing the name to again be “wordlists.ini” so Scrivener recognizes it.

It’s obviously a bit of extra work, moreso if you find you need to do it frequently, but at the moment there’s no project-specific list that will be recognized by the dictionary, so this is the way around that. On the other hand, if dictionary recognition isn’t what you need and it’s more about helping you type names correctly or faster, there is a project-specific Auto-Complete List, available from the Project menu. Words you add to this list will come up as suggestions when you type if you turn on “Suggest completions as you type” in the Auto-Correction pane of Tools>Options…; make sure you disable “In script mode only”. Then if you add “Frodo” to the auto-complete list, when start typing “fr” in the editor, “Frodo” will pop up as a suggestion; hit Tab or Return to accept it and continue writing. It will be caught by spell-check as incorrect, but this will help ensure you always call him Frodo and not accidentally Frood. :slight_smile:


I have a question about the personal word list. I´m still using the NaNo version, but when I purchase the full version, will the personal word list go over there?

Thanks, Sarah

Yes, the word list is saved in the AppData folder, so it won’t be removed when you uninstall the trial to upgrade; it should be recognized automatically once you’ve installed 1.0.

Thanks, MM.

It is so great how fast you get answers here . You all are awesome!