Re. Screenplay - Can I Map Keys to Execute Common Elements?

I know that I can use my mouse to go to the bottom right of the screen to access elements such as Scene Heading, Action, Character, Parenthetical (and so on) in ‘Screenplay’ mode, but I was hoping that it would be possible to make things quicker by mapping these elements to combinations of keystrokes.

This kind of function is what makes Movie Magic Screenwriter (and, I suppose, Final Draft) so appealing and easy to use.

Is this possible?

Thanks for any replies.

The shortcuts for ‘normal’ mode styles (e.g. Heading 1, Centred Text etc) also work in Scriptwriting mode. So, if the document is in ‘normal’ mode, alt-shift-1 will trigger a specific style, but if it is in ‘scriptwriting mode’, the same shortcut will trigger a specific scriptwriting element (e.g. Dialogue).

You can see which elements are attached to which shortcut by looking at the menu Format > Scriptwriting > Change Element to.

If you want to change the assignments, then use Format > Scriptwriting > Script Settings. You’ll see that the shortcut numbers are in the order of the elements in this dialogue, so if you drag an element higher or lower in the list, it will change its shortcut number.

(EDIT: actually, dragging and dropping the elements works in the Mac version, but it doesn’t seem to on Windows for some reason. Not sure why… so it looks like you’ll have to live with the numbers built in - but they’re in a fairly logical sequence, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get use to.)

Alternatively, if you use the shortcut for Format > Scriptwriting > Show Script Elements Menu (it’s ctl-\ for me), then it will bring up the menu at the bottom of the screen and you can press the shortcut key to apply the element. You can change the shortcut in the Script Settings dialogue as you can see in the screenshot below (under ‘Menu Shortcut’ on the same line as Color…)

Does that help?


Yes, there are keyboard shortcuts for each element. in Format>Scriptwriting>Change Element To. You need to be sure to use the shortcut on a blank line, or it will reformat your existing line.

Also, Scrivener supports the popular “tab-return” shortcuts in Screenplay Mode, just like MMS and Final Draft.

In case you’re unfamiliar, here’s how it works:

After a Scene heading, you type a Return, and it skips a line and starts an Action line.
When you’re done typing the action, hit Return for another action line, or hit Return and then Tab to go to Character Name. After you type the character name, hit return to type dialogue. If you wanted a parenthetical after the name, press Return, then Tab.

Many writers prefer using Tab/Return over the multi-key shortcuts.

You can customize the Tab/Return settings of each Screenplay Element in the Script Settings>Tab/Return section.



Hi brookter,
This is very helpful.

Thank you.

I had also discovered how the tab + enter combinations work, after I had posted my original message, so I am now well set-up.

Thanks again.

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Hi popcornflix,
Many thanks for this.

After I posted my original message I did some experimentation, and discovered Scrivener’s version of the Tab + Enter keys - but thanks for including that information in your reply.

The other information that you and brookter have given me here is very helpful, too, so thanks again.