Screenplay mode - keyboard shortcuts

Hi all, apologies if this has been answered or is very obvious.

I like to write, then format my screenplay scene-by-scene at the end while I’m reviewing it after its all done. I find it a bit annoying to keep doing this with a mouse and clicking on the format bar. Can anyone tell me how to get some keyboard shortcuts - so i can highlight a name, press two buttons and voila, all the names in the scenes are formatted appropriately?

or i can just scroll down and make the changes with the keyboard?

Any help is much appreciated.


Yes, you can do this. The format options are paragraph level actions. This means you can simply place the cursor anywhere in the paragraph (which of course is a technical description. A paragraph can simply be “Character name” and nothing else), and then press Cmd-Y to access the format menu. From there, you can press one of the letter keys associated with the different format options.

thanks amber. but can i have SEPARATE shorcuts for each command in the screenplay?

ie. one command for dialogue, one for names, for action, etc?

You could try doing this using the OS X System Preferences, under Keyboard and Mouse settings. You have to manually type in the menu name precisely for each one. It might work, it might not. That feature is somewhat spotty when it comes to menus attached to the interface (opposed to the main global menu). If you are unfamiliar with this tool, the FAQ has a section with the steps.

Keep in mind Scrivener already has a billion keyboard shortcuts (or perhaps just shy of a Billion), so you might have a hard time finding open slots. In the Tips & Tricks forum, there is a sticky note with a link to a PDF containing all of the existing default keyboard shortcuts. You can use shortcuts already assigned elsewhere. Your preference over-rides Scrivener’s defaults. So if there is a set of features you never use that has a handy range (like say the Highlighter shortcuts), you could use those.

Everything is as Amber says for the current version. But for the next update I have added a “Change Element To” submenu to the Scriptwriting menu which will allow you to have a single command for each element, just as you wish - the next update won’t be out until early next year, though.
All the best,

amber, thanks very much for replying. i might give your suggestion a try.

keith, great to hear and look forward to that update. appreciate the reply.

Pressing fn + the letters listed in the format menu (e.g. c for character, d for dialogue, a for action) formats the different script elements instantly. The only keyboard shortcut that doesn’t work out of the box is fn + p for parenthetical.

Hi, what’s Fn? Is one of the function buttons?

I think this is what I’m looking for…

Fn = Function. You only get the Function key on laptops, though.

Keith, thanks very much. I’m on a desktop but maybe i can alter one of the keys to be the function key. Appreciate the help, just what I wanted.

Thanks for the tip KB, I hadn’t noticed that the fn key worked that way.
BTW, the newer - flat - extended apple keyboards also sport a Fn key under the f13 key.


I could be wrong about this (Apple does like to do things differently), but with most implementations, the Fn key is somewhat special in that it doesn’t send a signal to the operating system like the other modifier keys, it adjusts the target key in-place, making the keyboard seem like a full-size keyboard. So it might not be possible to set up a key on a standard keyboard which emulates the Fn key. Though, since Keith has managed to trap Fn events in several places, it might be that Apple handles Fn differently than PCs. There were a few projects (fKeys and uControl) for this kind of low level keyboard modification, but they haven’t been updated in a while—probably because Apple now lets you move the standard modifier keys around in the keyboard preference pane, and most people used those tools to move the Cmd key up to the Caps Lock.