Rearranging words, sentences, and paragraphs.

The key feature of Scrivener is the easy rearranging of pages within a project. Rearranging material is one of the most important aspects of making any worthwhile piece of writing. So the natural progression from rearranging pages would be to rearrange paragraphs, and then sentences, and then words. This would be incredibly time-saving and beneficial to creating a well-articulated paper. I imagine there would be three different modes, one for paragraph, one for sentence, one for words, and as you hover over whichever one, it would highlight or outline a selection (based on punctuation), and then allow you to click and drag it to fit in wherever you wish.

Almost impossible to program, I would think. How does this work in Chinese, French, Russian, Arabic? Scrivener is not only used by anglophones, you know.

Scrivener doesn’t rearrange “pages,” it rearranges documents in the Binder. Those documents can be as large or as small as you like. Splitting your documents down to single words might be a bit extreme, but splitting to the paragraph or sentence level is exactly how Scrivener is already intended to work.

Use the Document -> Split command to break an existing document into chunks, Document -> Merge to glue the chunks back together.


…how would it not work for those languages? Do they not use punctuation? For something like Chinese, if it doesn’t use spaces, I suppose it would simply let you select individual characters instead of entire words.

Can you not just select, cut, paste? I understand that you can select text and drag it around in Word, but I don’t see this as significantly easier than old ctrl-x ctrl-v. This can also be done across documents in the binder.

You can rearrange paragraphs using the keyboard (on the Mac and AFAIK on Windows beta):

Put the cursor in a paragraph in the editor and use cmd-ctl-up/down — this works exactly the same way as it works to move documents when the cursor is in the binder. Cmd-ctl-left-right outdents/indents the paragraph in the way you’d expect (and obviously up / down / left / right all work on bullet points as well. If you’re on Windows, then as far as I remember (not used the beta for a month or so) then there are equivalent shortcuts, though I can’t remember what they are, sorry…

For sentences and words, highlight them, then click on the highlight and you can drag the selection to the new location.


What I miss in Scrivener, and use all the time in a real word processor, are commands to move and to delete by sentence. Especially, shift-ctrl/cmd-backspace to nuke a sentence that has gone wrong is a command I use multiple times a day. Not having it is one of the thing that keeps me from using Scriv more for serious writing.

Nor can I make a keyboard shortcut for the command to select a sentence – at least, I can’t on the Windows beta. It just doesn’t show up in the list of customisable commands in the settings menu. It does exist in the edit menu of the real program, so to say.

You can use Alt, e, s ,s , enter, del/backspace since there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to add a shortcut for the Windows version but it seems “Select Sentence” has interesting behavior. Or actually it’s buggy. You might want to test it out while it’s still in Beta.

One thing I noticed is that if you have lines without any punctuation (headings for instance) and then write a sentence (fragment), it won’t select anything.

Ah. With a little more testing, it seems to need punctuation at the end of the sentence (fragment). So .(period),left arrow (because it needs to be inside the sentence), Alt, e, s ,s , enter, del/backspace You might gain the muscle memory faster than you think :smiley:

Again, it’s not something I use so you might want to test it out and give a report. I’m not really sure what expected behavior is

I was curious about this general topic. If you find all those to be too many keys to press and are a superuser/programmer, you might be able to use software to add shortcuts. … tem-in-win mentions AutoHotkey and how it might be done. I’m sure there are other programs

Ah. I do use autohotkey for all sorts of things in Windows, for instance a system-wide shortcut to transpose characters, like ctrl-T in OSX, and other helpful macros that I would use keyboard maestro for on a mac. So I’ll try out your suggestion, and thank you for it anyway.


Glad to hear it’s something you’re familiar with and is potential helpful

Thank you so much for your help. A morning’s fiddling produced three little autohotkey macros which will remap shift-control-Backpace to delete the current sentence; and shift-ctrl-left-arrow/right-arrow to move to the beginning or end of a sentence. In case anyone needs them, here they are.

The only real hassle was the discovery that Scrivener won’t respond to letter shortcuts when they are sent from a macro – the cursor has to be moved around with the arrow keys instead.

This would of course be easy to adapt for Keyboard Maestro and similar programs on the Mac.

;msgbox "Backspace will go here"
;SetKeyDelay, 1000
send, !e{Down 9}{right}{down}{enter}
Send, {Backspace}

send, !e{Down 9}{right}{down}{enter}
Send, {Left}

Send, !e{Down 9}{right}{down}{enter}
Send, {Right}

Congrats :smiley: