I am finding rearranging the order of bulleted lists is not working as expected. Here is a screen capture, where I am using Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Up/Down (which I believe are the default key assignments) to move text up and down.
I’m expecting that when moving text up and down, the text will move as one with its numbered bullet, and that the bullet’s number will be automatically updated higher or lower, and the rest of the list will also be updated as necessary, as the text is moved up or down. Or is there some other way of doing that?
When undoing that, it never undos fully – the strange renumbering is not simply undone in reverse sequence – and you’ve got to undo all the way back to just before or maybe just after the list was created to fully undo whatever is happening. The text is fine, but the bullets are not happy.
As I understand it, the way they’ve had to hack lists within the text engine, to make them work better than their vanilla condition, causes several side-effects like undo breaking things, and probably this as well if I had to guess.
In short, I’d treat lists like I do on the Mac:
Use Markdown instead, because it’s easier (ha) and doesn’t require piles of complicated unsupported hacks and features to type in asterisks or numbers.
If that can’t be done, then treat them as unstable dynamite when editing around them.
Finally, when heavy revision needs to be done to and around a list: best practice is to remove the list formatting, edit, and then re-apply.
I appreciate the candor about the “unstable dynamite” that is Scrivener’s list functionality, and that the Mac version is apparently no better here than its “poor relation” Windows hack.
But it seems that the “best practice” here as in some other circumstances would actually be to sync the Scriv project’s external folder, open the rtf in Microsoft Word – where lists and styles are easy and reliable and where other “advanced” features like Track Changes and macros are available – then sync it back into Scriv when you’re done and hope it makes it back intact, until the next time you need to play with dynamite.
On the Mac, lists are this really basic thing they added in 2005 or so, along with a few other features (like tables). Since then, they have barely touched it, along with the rest of the text engine—it’s quite out of date at this point, and only relevant for the fact that at one point in time, it was ahead of its time.
On the whole though, it probably has to do with there not being many programs that aren’t word processors needing a really robust and feature-rich formatting interface. You have your email client with the dirt basics; maybe a notepad program that does a little bold and italic stuff here and there, Comic Sans; a bunch of Markdown-based stuff… and then dedicated programs like Word and LibreOffice that put all of their effort into these things. We’re kind of in an awkward middle of all that, particularly in that a lot of people somehow expect us to make both LibreOffice and Scrivener at the same time. Somehow.
Another problem, with lists specifically, is that there is no real standard way to make lists in RTF, as I understand it. It’s a combination of convention and hard-wiring, and it’s not uncommon for one program’s lists to not work in another’s as a result. Some of our issues stem from trying to coerce two completely different engines, with their own assumptions, into working together.
External folder sync is not a bad idea as well! It’s probably a bit of setup if you only need to shuffle a list around a bit here or there, but if you have a workflow built around using Scrivener more as the content hub and document generator than the text entry/editing UI, then it’s a natural way to go. I totally get that inclination. As a Markdown-based writer, Scrivener’s editor is adequate but not ideal. With some projects I use the folder sync feature with software like Obsidian or Visual Studio Code to act as a kind of front-end writing tool.
(not so)Mad Girl Disease, I often like your clear thinking and ideas, and this sounded like a good one. Also I learned Sync External Folder, which I hadn’t before.
I tried first in what seemed an even simpler path, to copy-paste between Scrivener and Word. But if not dynamite, in this there are still too massive explosives. In short, don’t do it…
So, what about with Sync External File? Well, this does work, I think as far as I tried it.
You don’t get explosives, but you do get egregious graffiti-paint.
You can make it work, best it seems, if:
You allgn so that Word and Scrivener are using the same font ((or do a quick select the whole list and change font to what Scrivener uses, in Word
You use the Style Painter as a simplest solution to what happens when you move items around or change their indent. That’s because Word and Scrivener have a different idea about hanging indents and hierarchy indents in formatting lists. Don’t try to understand, just put the cursor in one at the same level you didn’t touch, and use the painter on the line you did which now rests with it.
When you’re done, don’t forget to save, close the page (so Scrivener could up-sync it again if you need that), and go back to Scrivener to sync your results in.
All in all, something that I think sounds ornate, but that a person can learn quickly. Do it a few times, and your fingers will know how.
I’ll use it next time I have a nasty list situation. In the mean time, playing Microsoft and Scrivener’s solution, Scrivener is actually easier to make a nested list with. Until you run into problems with some changes…so we can tip the hat as ever to the efforts of Tiho, Lee, Amber, and team…
as a p.s. , I note that lists are a little funky here on the new Discourse forum as well - it is a definitely not at all easy programming challenge
Wouldn’t it be less hassle to select the list, remove the numbering/bullets, rearrange the items, and then re-apply, than to set up folder sync, and pop back and forth from Scrivener to another word processor?
Thank you @AmberV for the background and angle on Lists a few posts up. Very interesting! I’d been wondering since your previous post if it really was the same over on the Mac side. it seemed kind of hard to believe, to be honest. But you convinced me!
I discovered a similar routine using the style painter to tame some list anomalies. But there’s obviously more to lists than indenting.
I am finding that basic copy and pasting between Word and Scrivener, in either direction, is converting text formatting just fine for the most part, including in lists. Unnumbered bullets copied from Word into Scriv display an unusual widget font instead of conventional “dot” bullets (more at this post.) And Word “Headings” do not paste into Scrivener AS “Headings,” but the actual formatting is retained. Which is a relief. I remember wrestling with that back in the Scrivener 1.8 (or earlier?) days.
I’m finding that using Scrivener’s sync to generate rtf versions and then opening them in Word is working very nicely, with formatting as well as actual “Headings” getting converted reliably, provided the Style assignment originated in Scrivener. Word reads them fine, and if you add Headings in Word, they are read as actual Headings when synced back into Scriv. Lists too are making the round trip well – though trying to reorder them in Scriv brings us back to the OP.
Well it depends on how long the list is and how many levels, and how often you might want to revise it. Having to remove all the list formatting from a multilevel list (which turns it all into undifferentiated paragraphs) just to be able to rearrange the order of some items, is not an appealing way to work. With sync, once it’s set up, it’s proving to be quite straightforward, though not quite yet routine. I wish I’d known that sync was available back in version 1 before I took my Scrivener hiatus to wait for version 3.
It seems so ridiculous, why not just provide working lists instead of doing all of that ridiculous nonsense above (just to “get a working list” in a word processing program)? Everywhere lists do work, just not here. A basic option in each (free) word processing program.
OK, but at least bold and underlining work…and you can use capital letters…and different paragraphs…and text does not disappear anymore (how it was in an older version)…that’s great, of course.
I’m confused at your hostile tone as it seems to come out of nowhere. The answer to your question, “why not just provide working lists…” has been answered in-depth above—and if not sufficiently here in this thread, many dozens of times over the years in others. It’s also a disingenuous question as lists do work, and work fine for those that use them very simply (which his arguably their target usage anyway).
I’m confused at your hostile tone as it seems to come out of nowhere.
Very sorry about the confusion. No no, it absolutely was not meant to sound / be hostile, actually friendly (my English is very bad), very sorry again.
No no, the (polite) tone not out of nowhere at all. I use lists very much, all the time and it is extremely enoying to have to use lists which do not work at all (in a word processing program). For many years. That just is extremely ridiculous, I would think. And I cannot imagine you do not think so as well. So I actually just say what you are thinking.
The answer to your question, “why not just provide working lists…” has been answered in-depth above—and if not sufficiently here in this thread, many dozens of times over the years in others.
Sorry, could not find the (a senseful / none ridiculous) answer. Yes, I would dare to ask politley again, why not just make working lists instead of generating threads “many dozens of times over the years” how to get to work those ridiculous, crappy lists? It is just unbelievable to me that such a basic option like lists do not work over many years (or even longer) in a word processor program. What sense does that make? Tons of threads / discussions because of that. Just ridiculous.
It’s also a disingenuous question as lists do work, and work fine for those that use them very simply (which his arguably their target usage anyway).
No no, not disingenuous at all, I would say honest. Ah, the kind of use. So not using them simply is the wrong use. What does that mean to use them very simply? Not too many words? Only small letter case? Or such? So in general Scrivener works fine for those that use it very simply, I guess. Is that the “philosophy” of Scrivener? Just use it simply (and all is fine)? I assume, the lists work perfectly for those not using them. No problems until now. Sounds like a good marketing slogan. “Scrivener, made for very simple use. For very simple people. With a very simple brain. Just very simple as that: Scrivener.” Imagine this spoken from a good voice on the radio.
“Our cars without working brakes and wheels work for those which use them very simple (better drive slowly and straight ahead only).”
Sorry again for the confusion, but, again, this is meant to be said in a very, very polite tone.
Here is the post that I was referring to. If anything in there strikes you as nonsense or ridiculous, let me know. In case it is not direct enough, the list feature comes from the text engine we use, for both platforms. We have tried to make it better, but it is very difficult to do that without breaking it, and our ability to do much with it is very limited.
Sounds like a good marketing slogan. “Scrivener, made for very simple use. For very simple people. With a very simple brain. Just very simple as that: Scrivener.”
…this is meant to be said in a very, very polite tone.