Screenplay Workflow Oddities and Requests

Hi Keith. I recently took a writing retreat to work on a script and spent everyday for a week in Scrivener. I got into a really comfortable workflow, and now that I’ve spent so much time with it, I’m not sure what else I’d ever be comfortable using.

Below are several notes I took for things that seemed odd or missing to me now that I’ve spent some dedicated time actually working in Scrivener. The application help was great, but did not find answers for these particular items.

COPY BETWEEN PROJECTS: Is there a way to copy and paste document between projects without having to import/export?

SWITCH PROJECTS: Is there a keyboard shortcut to switch between open projects? Minimizing to “hide” one and bring up the other seems a little clunky.

UNDOS: Why not more undos? Why can’t I undo document moves, adds, deletes? Shouldn’t undo be document wide, not just the area of focus? Example: I make an edit in the document field, then edit in the notes field. If I want to undo them both, it appears I must click in each field.

COMPILE A FOLDER: I want to see how many pages all the documents in my “Screenplay” - Act III folder come out to when printed. Right now it appears it will compile the entire contents of “Screenplay” or nothing. It’s a little time consuming going through and (un)checking the documents. I just want a quick way to see which Act of my screenplay am I light or heavy on page count.

HELP SEARCH: When I search the help file (e.g. “label”) Can it not highlight all instances of that word when I select a found document from results? Next level improvement would allow command-F keyboard shortcut to “find” a word within the resulting found document, so I don’t have to mouse to the gear icon>Find>Find…
Side-note: I believe the word “customisable” in the help file should be spelled “customizable”.

DOUBLE SPACE AT THE END OF A SENTENCE: Should there be an option for double space after a period in Text>Scriptwriting>Script Mode - Screenplay/Script Settings…? I believe proper script format calls for two spaces after a period. Modern word processors (e.g. Word) and publishing packages (e.g. QuarkXPress) take care of proper kerning for you automatically, so I haven’t double-spaced in years. I’m not sure what to do here with Courier being a monospaced font. Do I have to do this manually, like I’m at a typewriter again?

Thanks Keith. Keep up the good work.

I’m not Keith, but I think I can help with a few of these…

Open both projects. Drag and drop from the Binder area of Project A to the Binder area of Project B.

But what if you have three edits? Document edit (A), Notes edit (B), and another Document edit (C). You want to undo both document edits, but like the notes edit fine (or vice versa). Because each field has its own undo buffer, you can undo only edits for that field, leaving the rest of the project alone. Reasonable people can disagree, but Keith’s approach seems more intuitive to me.

Deleted documents can be undeleted by dragging them out of the Trash area of the Binder. Mistakenly added documents can be deleted by hitting the delete key.

Select the appropriate folder using the dropdown in the upper left corner of the first screen of the Compile Draft dialog. (Right above the check boxes.)

Not if you’re British, which Keith is. The idiosyncratic spelling is part of Scrivener’s charm. :wink:


Thanks! Glad it’s proving useful.

Just drag the items between the binders of the two projects.

Window management is handled under the hood by OS X. So this sort of thing is left to the system. What do other programs have in this regard?

There is some information on this in the Help file and also if you search the forums on “undo” you should find a number of replies from me explaining this. From a quick search on “undo”:

Undo is also explained in some detail in the Help file under the Edit menu, as I replied to you previously here.

Here’s a more thorough explanation:

If you use “Lock in Place” whilst moving items around in the binder, you can undo changes made to the binder.

The problem lies in how Cocoa handles undo. Undo is one of the trickiest areas of coding, in fact. This is made more difficult by the fact that in Cocoa, it is the views that handle undo rather than the underlying data, which is probably what you would expect. Thus, when you make changes to text in the main editor, it is the text view itself that makes a note of all the changes and registers for undo, NOT the actual text. Thus if, as in Scrivener, you swap out the text (like when changing documents) to a different text, the text view still remembers all of the changes made to the old text, and has no idea that you have changed text. So, if you made some changes to the end of a 1,000 word text and then changed documents to something with 100 words and hit undo, the text view would try and undo the changes made to the 1,000 word document on the 100 word document, and then panic and throw an error because there aren’t enough characters to do the undo, and then the program would start acting oddly. The only way around this is to clear the undo stack. However, the programmer can tell the text view which undo stack to use. Thus in Scrivener each document has an associated undo stack for the main text, so you can undo changes made to text whilst the focus is in the main editor even between swapping documents. This means there has to be more than one undo stack, though. The inspector cannot, however, use the same undo stack as the main text because the inspector can change attributes that can also be affected by the binder (title, label, synopsis etc). So the inspector uses the same undo stack as the binder (the main project undo stack). This undo stack gets reset when changing a document. If it didn’t, then the same problem as described above would occur - the notes area and would try to undo changes that were made to another notes document.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg… In short, undo is very, very complex, and you’ll see a similar issue with programs such as Ulysses and CopyWrite.

Please do take a moment to familiarise yourself with the Compile Draft sheet, or refer to the Help file. As is explained in the Help file under “Compiling the Draft”:

So this feature has long been present…

Tell me about it. I guess you are using Leopard… This is down to Apple, I’m afraid. All I do is provide the HTML files for the Help tool that is built into OS X. With Leopard, for some explicable reason Apple made the Help tool a floating window that does not respond to common commands such as “Select All” or “Find”. Really annoying. But sadly there is nothing I can do about it - this tool is used by all Cocoa programs (if you are using Safari, go to Help > Safari Help now, then load up Scrivener and go to Scrivener Help and you will see that it is the same program being used for the Help file but just the contents get changed).

You already posted this in the Bug Hunt forum and I already responded: I am British, so I use common British spellings for the Help file and website. Licence. Customise. Colour. And so on. (Except where the words represent menu items; in Scrivener Gold, menu items also used the British spellings, but I changed them to their US equivalents for Scrivener for the sake of consistency, given that it turns out that underlying system menu items such as “Show Colors” do not use British Equivalents even if the language settings are set to British. VERY annoying.

If you really want that, then yes, you’ll have to do it manually, I’m afraid. I don’t think this would make for a great typing option…

Thanks and all the best,

Thanks very much for taking time to read and respond to my post. Sorry if some of these are covered in the online docks and/or forum. I spent about a week in a location with no Internet access (hard to believe I know), so only had the included help file to go by when I wrote this up.

I hate to use this as an example, but Microsoft PowerPoint in Windows will allow you to Switch Between Presentations by:

  1. Press CTRL + F6 to switch to the next open presentation.
  2. Press CTRL + Shift + F6 to switch to the previous open presentation

I guess this was less a feature request and more a general question. Am I correct that the proper script format calls for two spaces? Am I correct that a monospaced font like courier will not auto kern and would require manual double spacing?

Thanks again. I really do love the product.

In OSX, command-tilde (that is, the ~ key) switches between open windows within an application. Works fine in Scriv.