Questions from a screenwriter

I am a screenwriter for television, and I just downloaded Scrivener hoping to be able to use it professionally (I’m trying to get used to the Scrivener workflow, but I love your outlining features and the thought of having everything combined in one document).

I have a couple of questions though (and as always, I apologize if this is covered elsewhere but I have searched without finding it).

  1. The “dividers” in the document window (i.e. the horizontal bars in the combined text, showing where texts and folders begin or end) – can they be turned off?
    As of now, they take up vertical space in the flow of the document, making the page count grow. I love the fact that Scrivener 2.0 has a page view taking into account the screenwriting way of defining length in pages rather than words or characters, but unfortunately with those dividers taking up actual space will render the page view less useful (while also disturbing the flow of the script).
    Is there a solution to this?

(a suggestion related to this would be to give us the option to, rather than display that large divider between every section, have the background of each section alternate between two shades just like we can get in the outliner window. That way we would easily see where sections start and end, but without the non-wysiwyg divider in an otherwise almost-wysiwyg view.)

  1. Again, as a screenwriter, I would love for the document window to show ALL of my script at all times, but being able to jump around in it by clicking different objects in the outliner and/or binder window.
    As of now, clicking a folder seems only to give me the scenes below it, and clicking a scene gives me that scene only, without letting me see what’s before or after.
    I would love a “switch” for the document window where I could choose between today’s behavior and a mode to always show the entire document, where clicking the outliner takes me to that place in the entire text rather than just hides everything else.

  2. Equally, is there a way to see in the binder or outliner in what section I’m currently working (ie, where the caret is placed)?
    It would make great sense to have the overview visually show which section I’m currently in (and/or what closest parent(s) I’m currently in, especially if the section I’m in is in fact collapsed) so that I can quickly see where in my story I’m working.

I hope I’m making myself reasonably clear, these are features that would greatly help getting Scrivener closer to a one-stop for screenwriters!

And again, sorry if I’m misunderstanding something and this is already doable. If so, please let me know where to find the settings.




Thanks for your interest in Scrivener.

No, but this is on the list for a future refinement… Well, you still won’t be able to turn them off, but they will appear as smaller markers at the edges of the page and will not take up two lines (optionally). I’m not sure when I’ll have chance to add this though - hopefully before the end of the year, but no promises.

Ha, that was how Scrivener 1.0 used to do it. However, the Cocoa NSTextView isn’t built to draw different backgrounds like that and it was way too slow, so the new method has been chosen because it is faster.

Click on the “Draft” folder to view your entire draft. You can lock the editor (cmd-L) and then clicks in the binder take you to the place in the editor.

View > Reveal in Binder (or opt-cmd-R).

We do already have a good number of screenwriters using Scrivener - there have been a number of BBC shows already written in it, for instance. :slight_smile:

All the best,


Thanks for your answers!

And sorry for turning this into a wishing thread (but quite frankly, this is the most stable and well-written writing software I’ve tried for a very long time, and it would be great to be able to have it replace those two buggy “industry standard” programs that still continue to make screenwriters’ lives miserable year after year…) :slight_smile:

Great. To a screenwriter, they’re just a bit too visually obtrusive — plus obviously they do destroy the on-screen page count. Happy to hear there are plans to refine it!

Oh. Really? Pity. That sounds like a much more unobtrusive method… (plus you could get even more visual benefits from playing around with backgrounds: Let’s say you allowed the document background for each scene to inherit the color for that element as set in the outliner and/or binder, thus signaling what type of scene it is. Combining that with overlaying every other scene with a shade of gray, you’d be both visually helping to tell where scenes start and end, and also if it is part of the a-story or b-story or whatever meaning I choose to give to different scene colors…)

Aha! Cool. Is there a specific reason why the outliner doesn’t work the same way? Would be great to have the outliner do the same thing — it does contain the same structure but with more info…
(The way it currently works, unfortunately I’ll have to keep both the binder and the outliner open simultaneously, which takes a bit more screen real estate than really needed…)

I see. Partly what I’m after, so fair enough. But to be more specific: Is there a reason why that can’t happen automatically rather than only if forced by me as a user?
I must say it would be great if as soon as I click somewhere in the script window, its corresponding container (or closest parent if the current container is collapsed) would aoutomatically be highlighted. That way I would always know where in the large structure I’m working, even if I got there by browsing the document window.

Finally, another wish for the future: :slight_smile:

  1. As a screenwriter, the only measure that counts is “# of pages”. It would be great for us if there would be an outliner column not only for # of words and # of characters, but also # of pages. (Preferably rounded up to eighths, such as 1 1/8, since that’s how we talk about lentgh in our world…)

Thanks for listening! For whatever it’s worth I just bought it, and I hope I can gradually move over all of my writing to Scrivener rather than the apps I use today! Some further refinements in the screenwriting approach and I can’t see why you wouldn’t be the next “industry standard”.


Thanks for the kind words!

Speed has to come first, and personally I prefer the new method anyway. To colour backgrounds, Scrivener has to calculate the line rects with every letter you type. Anyway, this won’t be coming back as I’ve only just got rid of it.

Hmm, it should work like this: If the “Selection affects other editor” is selected (the two arrows at the bottom of the outliner), then clicking in the outliner should open the selected document in the other editor. When the other editor is locked and there is a Scrivenings session, clicking in the outliner should just take you to the document in the Scrivenings session in the other editor if it is available there. However, checking this there’s a bug whereby this does nothing. I’ve just fixed this for the next minor update.

Please see the FAQ on our wiki, because this comes up from time to time from new users. But it really isn’t standard behaviour for source lists to change their selection based on the editor, and Scrivener’s interface has a left-to-right flow. In short, this won’t be changing. :slight_smile:

This isn’t really possible because a page count is much slower and more dynamic. Scrivener’s text can store the word and character counts and so report them instantly; page counts can only be reported once the text is laid out in a page layout view. Scrivener would have to generate a page layout view and count for text in each in the outliner - ouch. So no, sorry.

Thanks for buying! I feel I have to emphasise that I’m not really aiming for Scrivener to be a scriptwriting industry standard though, and that I have already refined the scriptwriting features a lot for version 2.0. For the next few months releases will focus on stability and minor tweaks - I would hate to mislead you.

Thanks again!

All the best,