Really hating this program right now


Lot of emotion out there. Happy New Year.

First off, thanks to everyone who posted actual advice on how to get this done. Having slept on it, and overcome a bit of the flu that helped to make screwing around with this so tedious yesterday, I’ve discovered that the problem was that I had a color wheel that was appearing in Full Page View but was adjusting the color for Editing View. Not sure how or why. Killed it by clicking on the font color in the bar on Editing View.

Re: myself, since many seem interested. I am a “professional writer” in the sense that I earn my full living by writing novels. That’s all. I regularly appear on bestseller lists all around the world, including in the U.S., and yes I’m proud of that, but on the other hand it took literally decades of very hard work. During those decades I’ve seen any number of writing programs come and go (my first, Bank Street Writer for the Apple II+, didn’t display lower case), and I know that the single most important element is to be able to dive in and get a writing shift done, and figure out other options on the fly. Frankly I think that my point that font color appears on 3 preferences menu and the Edit View screen is valid. And while it’s not a requirement that every program have a one-click option to enable the dark background/light font option that a lot (obviously not all) writers like, and which is clearly a popular enough option that it’s shown in the overview video tutorial, I think I have a valid point that it should maybe come before the ability to choose the texture of margins that are not actually part of the document.

My point about new tech too often becoming a focus for procrastination rather than production is amply supported by the comments to my post, including this one.


I suspected as much. :slight_smile:

As Keith, the author of Scrivener, has already replied to your issue I don’t think more needs to be said save to point out that there are a large number of professional writers who contribute to these forums—one of your respondents is a best-selling novelist, himself—and the overall quality and generosity of advice is extremely high, here, particularly when the original post is not tinged with unbridled petulance.


As dafu pointed out, Scrivener has a single developer - I designed and developed the whole thing myself, no one else codes the Mac version - and I’ve already said that I welcome suggestions on how the check button and colour could be better placed. (As I already explained, I spent a long time thinking about this already - I don’t think users realise just how much thought and attention goes into every single checkbox; even though I code and design it myself, I discuss a lot with Ioa, and he picks apart everything. Not that this means there aren’t things that can’t be improved - but we don’t just place things randomly; everything has a very good reason). I’m not sure what you mean about choosing the texture of the margins…

As for the “lot of emotion”, I think this is just because most users here realise that Scrivener is very “indie” and not the product of a team creating something based on “market research” - Scrivener is a labour of love as much as a living; I developed it because it was the tool I wanted myself - so arriving on the forum to declare that you’re “hating this program right now” in the subject title is very much the equivalent of someone turning up on the forum of your website (if you had a forum) and saying, “I’m really hating this book right now,” about one of your novels, and then demanding that you prove them wrong about one of your bestsellers. :slight_smile:

Anyway, welcome aboard and happy New Year.

All the best,

You, sir or madam, are mistaking sarcasm, vituperation, and hilarious parody for interest.
We’re having giggles at your completely tone-deaf posts.
Can’t wait for more news from that pulpit of imagined superiority.

PS: sorry about your flu, and HNY again.

Mr Gilbert wishes it to be pointed out that his contribution was not created as a substitute for collaborating on his next light opera (“The Scrivener”, a humorous excoriation of contemporary mores and piracy amongst the shareware community, set in a thirteenth century ruritarian principality strangely reminiscent of Truro, and involving a oddly disturbed pirate crew and many drinking songs), on which work is progressing satisfactorily, thank you very much.

No, he wrote it to try to put off washing up for twenty minutes. Just saying…


Absolutely LOVE your Gilbert&Sullivan–however, shouldn’t it be:

“And deadlines hold no fear for me” ? Simple eye-skip, I’m assuming.

Love it, love it, love it!

And Happy New Year to y’all.

PS–I’m not so sure about this white on blue thing…

I prefer to emulate Malaysian squid ink on stretched Hellenic vellum, myself.

Anyhoo, I set up what the OP wanted in about 10 seconds. And having relived happy memories of WordPerfect 5.1 and {reveal codes} I have gone back to my standard set up - based on either David Hewson or that comics writer whose name I can never remember but is a GTD demon - p22 typewriter black font on white at 125%. No italics, no underline, no bold. No bother. Don’t fuck with me son, I’m a writer with a distressed font fetishising form over function. And your mother.

I went one step further and saved those WordPerfect preferences as a preference file, so if I ever want to recreate the day that the old geezers in the saloon said to the incomer FYATHYRIO, I have it there. In white-on-blue.

I do kind of agree that there are lots of settings nowadays. But maybe sharing preferences files would be a way of providing ‘skins’ for Scriv, that may have got around the OP’s ferreting-around-aversion?

Damn, you’re right - completely missed that! Edited, and thanks!


At least one can say that it shows a sense for what attracts attention to name a thread in this forum like this one. A useful skill for writers.

Maybe we should start a competition to top that. Who comes up with the most jaw-dropping thread headline?

I do kind of agree that there are lots of settings nowadays./quote]

I would be perfectly happy to get rid of about 75% of the preferences to make them simpler, seeing as a few users do seem to be moaning that there are too many options there. I would be content to remove all of the following preferences so that they are less confusing:

• Get rid of all options in the “General” pane except for Scratch Pad hot key and notes location, and bibliography manager path.
• Get rid of all “Appearance” and colour options except for the main full screen colours (background and paper - which could go in the Full Screen pane because of reduced options there).
• Get rid of all “Corkboard” options entirely.
• Get rid of all “Full Screen” options except for the text colour (and move the other two remaining full screen colour options into this pane).
• Get rid of all “Navigation” options except for the “Rewind when paused by” option (which would now fit in the “General” pane.

  • Get rid of all “Editor” options except for ruler units, default zoom, and three or four of the options relating to page layout appearance.
    • Get rid of all “Formatting” options except for whether scrivenings should have lines between them (which could now go in the “Editor” pane).
    • Get rid of many of the “Auto-Correction” options.
    • Get rid of all “Import & Export” options.

This would leave Scrivener with some very streamlined and easy-to-use preferences, much more in the Apple vein. It would be left with only the “General”, “Full Screen”, “Editor”, “Auto-Correction” and “Backup” panes, and each of these would be greatly simplified with fewer options.

I’m absolutely serious - I would be happy to remove all of those options and have them set permanently to the settings I prefer them to use (light blue binder, white editor, the fonts and colours that Scrivener uses by default in its views being unchangeable, the corkboard having my preferred settings, Scrivener links and navigation using my preferred behaviour rather than allowing the user to choose what they open, and so on). All of those options are only there because over the years users have requested them, wanting full control over their writing environment and not always agreeing with the way I like things set up. But if users now feel that Scrivener would benefit from a greatly reduced set of preferences, and if they are happy to have many of them removed and set to the way I prefer them and think they should be set, then it really doesn’t make any difference to me.

Thanks and all the best,

I think this would be a big mistake, although I can understand and sympathise with your frustration at the support calls the complexity brings.

One of the best parts of Scrivener is precisely the flexibility it allows: that you can play with the settings till you find something that works for you - once that has been done, the program fits like a glove. I don’t think my hands are the same size as yours… so there would always be a nagging feeling of ‘if only I could change X like I used to be able to…’ In other words, removing that freedom now would seem (would be, IMHO) a big step backwards.

If you must do it (and I really hope you don’t), then could you at least give access to the full flexibility - perhaps through an ‘advanced tab set’ to which users are only given access after agreeing that they’re prepared to RTFM…:wink:

But as I said, the program is superb as it is and I really don’t think you need to take such a drastic step.



I know we don’t do things here by vote, but you can take this as my vote for The Great Simplification, perhaps in the upcoming Lion Transformation.

In the very first version of Scrivener, I did set Full Screen text to green on black, to recall those thrilling days of yesteryear, writing on a Whole Earth XT clone, DOS 2.11 and Word 1.01. But with 2.0, I just use all the defaults. Like my Toyota Tacoma or my Stihl chainsaw, Scrivener’s a grand tool, and aesthetic enough for me out of the box.


I think it’s a really hard balance between usability and utility in this case. More people are using your software in more ways than you could ever have envisaged - so there is obviously a need for some people to fine-tune to an Nth degree. However, 95%+ of them probably only want to change <3 things. If only those 3 things were constant…

Is it too complicated - yes, I think it probably is. For the current issue, maybe something as simple as splitting ‘colours’ out into its own tab - so that you have more room to explain/show that preference set, and that change would give ‘colors’ more prominence than for example ‘target progress bars use smooth transition between colours’. You would also have more room on that tab to explain where to set what. Personally, I would also like a cross-link to set the colours of Full Text, Editor, Corkboard from those preference sets (which confusingly do have some appearance options, but not all).

And I was equally serious about the possibility of saved preference sets becoming skins/themes, in the same way that binder/document sets have become ‘templates’.

I wasn’t entirely serious, given the amount of work I put into the preferences only recently for 2.0 - every preference there is something that has had some serious requests and debate. :unamused: If I simplified the preferences, there would be just as much moaning the other way.

Well, the first time I was being flippant. Then you made me think about it and do an actual comparison with the bastard child Word.

So. Ner. :imp:

Happy to hear it KB, it looked like you were going to go the Ford route :wink:

I’m happy that I can play around with the interface according to how I want to work and what I’m doing at the time, you wrote a fantastic program, I am using it to write blog posts and my book and couldn’t be happier, I have stopped using Word entirely since discovering Scrivener, in fact it’s (Word) only still on my computer because I need to troubleshoot documents as part of my day job that were written in Word. Can’t remember the last time that I used it (or Pages) for any actual writing though.

Ha. :slight_smile:

More accurately, I was serious that I’d be happy to wipe out all of those options for my own part and my own use, but in reality it would cause a tremendous amount of grief. Even Ioa uses only a fraction of the default options and has his interface highly customised using many of the preferences from what I’ve seen.

Thanks for the kind words, aproudlove!

In general I do like to keep things streamlined and accessible, but I think the preferences are a special case. They aren’t used frequently by most users, and I think the payoff for the complexity - the fact that users can set up their writing environment however they want - is worth it in this case. Which isn’t to say they are perfect; they aren’t, but I think the full screen text colour being split from the other full screen colours is really the only egregiously placed option.

Is there any possibility that:

–diddling around with Preferences
–writing to harass the developer about one’s diddling
–writing to harass the harasser (mea culpa maxima)
–posting pleasing parodies of plump partisans (G & S)
–constructing converse convexities of color (blue on white)
–amortizing ancient annuities of algorithms (WordStar, etc)
–are all adding up to procrastination, depredation, and dehydration
–of our appointed duties as pundits, reporters, scribblers, and scriveners?

I ask you.

No no no. You’re missing the big Apple picture, Keith. What you need to do is reduce the complexity completely, as you suggested, and then sell a Pro license that allows users access to all the customization settings!