Questions regarding markup preview and keybindings

Hi! First post here for me.

I’m considering switching to version 3, but I have two questions important to me, which I didn’t find the answer for in the manual or the forum.

  1. Can I input Markdown in the editor and have a split preview of the rendered markup like in Mou (

  2. Can I alter the keybindings, e.g. I want cmd+> and cmd+< to switch between open documents, not in/decrease font size?


Welcome to the forum!

  1. Not right inside Scrivener, no. It is a separate project, but the Marked software project is capable of loading Scrivener projects passively, meaning you can put its window beside your project and it will render the draft folder as you write, using a selection of styles (and the ability to make your own). It’s a great tool all around if you work in Markdown, because it instantly nullifies the need for dedicated built-in features like this, in every single text editor you use—all the way down to ed on the command-line.
    Note you will need to use the beta version for Scrivener 3 compatibility.

  2. Yes, but that is a general macOS capability. We document it briefly in appendix A.1 in the user manual PDF, Custom Keyboard Shortcuts. In this case you would probably want to bind the zoom shortcuts to something else, to free up those slots for the system, if I understand you correctly (Swedish keyboard?).

Thank you for the explanation.

  1. Marked does not seem to work very well at all, it does show something from a document, but it looks far from complete or reliable. I believe Scrivener would greatly benefit from such a feature if it was included.

  2. It does work to change the System Keybindings for this application, it’s just not very convenient or intuitive (German keyboard, btw, but I’m not exactly sure how this would be relevant).

I’m not sure if Scrivener would be much different than Marked in that regard. It would be doing the same exact thing it is doing—piping the contents of your text through MultiMarkdown and displaying the result in a static HTML window with some kind of CSS in place. If you have verified good Markdown syntax in the editor then I’d consider reporting the issues to the beta board over there to make Marked better, if you’re interested.

I encourage looking for external solutions because it is very unlikely for Scrivener, a non-Markdown editor, to end up with a Markdown preview pane in it. Prior to Marked, I used a macro to dump the current text buffer through MMD as a shell command, saved to a temp file and then opened in a browser. So I’d punch F5 and keep a browser open on the right.

As for why the keyboard matters, the standard shortcuts you refer to to switch between applications is not something most keyboard localisations use, and those characters are located on different keys entirely. So it’s one of those things where our shortcuts work well with a good majority (they are for example the very same shortcuts used in TextEdit), but there are a few localisations (Swedish and now German) that I’m aware of where if you are accustomed to using them otherwise you need to change them.

You probably need to spend a bit more time with Marked, it is completely customisable (even if you want to use a more advanced markdown engine like Pandoc) and very flexible (preview uses CSS after all). What exactly is your problem? Marked 2 beta is still a bit buggy so perhaps this is the problem you face?

But let me ask you another question: would using styles in Scrivener to visualise the final output work for you? Scrivener 3 can use paragraph and character styles you customise to drive a full markup output — in this workflow you do not need to enter any markup, you just write, apply styles and compile to markdown. The main things that will not be visualised is Maths, tables or dynamic content; but for plain writing you can visualise your structure in the editor, no need for a split-pane preview…

Regarding the key bindings, I really like that we have a central robust place in the OS to manage key bindings, either global or per app. It is one of the highlights of macOS in my opinion. You can also use an app like BetterTouchTool for even more fine-grained control…

I suppose it helps where I to disclose, that I’m not using Scrivener for writing books or articles, but as a convenient collection of notes. I’m not interested in formatting for publishing, rather I want to be able to structure text conveniently. For writing notes, it’s best to be able to use markup and not having to select text and apply formatting. For viewing notes, an integrated rendering of markdown is superior.

The problem with Marked2 was it is trying to display the whole document, which doesn’t suit my needs. Maybe I’m just using Scrivener in a way it wasn’t intended to be used and I should look for other solutions.

Thanks for your input, it is appreciated.

  • David

I see, yes both Scrivener (by default) and Marked will be assuming that the contents of your Draft folder are “a work” of some sort that is made of many smaller sections that should all be glued together and presented as one large document.

Now one thing you can do is to take advantage of how Marked uses the Include in Compile checkbox intelligently. As with Scrivener, that checkbox is a bit like “commenting out” sections of the draft folder, without having to move these comments physically out of it. You could thus leave that off for just about everything except whatever it is you currently wish to be working on in a live-preview fashion. (Here is a tip for making this a default; and to get everything off to start, use the Outliner with this checkbox added as a column, expand all, and then opt-click on any checkbox to disable them all.)

As for how to work with the flag: that little page icon with a checkmark in the lower right corner of the footer bar is what you’d use to tell Marked you want to preview the document you’re typing in. You thus have control over when the live preview is working off of what you’re typing. Incidental edits and jumping around to reference things won’t disturbed.

Not at all! Scrivener is an excellent note-taking system. While it is true that the Draft folder and much of its design is indeed about writing, it’s also good to be aware that the other half of its design is about notes, research and keeping track of myriad details. That’s a big chunk of what it does, and so it isn’t an accident that it is good for that as well. The only thing you’re doing differently is not using the bulk writing capabilities in this project. And that’s fine, a good percentage of my projects never even use the draft folder once. I create a “Notes” folder, hoist the binder, and never look back. :slight_smile:

I do, though, have an F3 shortcut that triggers a Keyboard Maestro macro that previews the current text selection (select all if necessary) in Marked. I use that shortcut in all programs, including those Scrivener projects that aren’t draft-oriented.