Scrivener 3 Themes (macOS)

With Scrivener 3 comes a plethora of new settings for adjusting how the software looks. The ability to save themes either as presets that you can switch to on the fly, or as files that you can share with others, is found along the bottom of the preference pane in the Manage... button.

Managing Themes

You might want to save your own settings as a theme first, before trying out others you’ve downloaded. That way you can quickly switch back to your own settings if nothing else works for you:

  1. Use the Scrivener/Preferences... menu command.
  2. Click the Manage... button along the bottom of the preferences window, and select “Save Theme…”.
  3. Select which options the theme should have saved into it, and give it a name. Now your core appearance settings are safe, and can be restored if none of the themes you installed suit your fancy.

You can also return to the factory default theme at any time with the Scrivener/Theme/Default menu command.

Installing Themes

To install and apply a theme, such as the one provided here:

  1. Use the Scrivener/Theme/Import Themes... menu command.

  2. Select the .stheme file that you wish to install into your copy of Scrivener.

    The settings will be immediately applied to your preferences. Theme settings only change those settings that relate to select appearance options.

Removing Themes

Have you installed a theme as a preset that you don’t care for? You can uninstall it with the following steps:

  1. Use the Scrivener/Preferences... menu command.
  2. Click the Manage... button along the bottom of the preferences window, and select the theme you wish to delete from the “Delete Theme” submenu.

For bulk management, or if you prefer to use a file manager:

  1. Use the Scrivener/Reveal Support Folder in Finder menu command.
  2. Drill into the Themes folder (used to be “PreferencePresets”).
  3. Locate the .stheme or .prefs file you wish to remove and drag them to the trash.

Purple Haze

As of Scrivener 3.1 for macOS, the font-less theme now ships with the software.

For Scrivener 3 (currently macOS only):


Unzip the downloaded file if necessary, and within you’ll find two variants. One will set up fonts the way they are shown in the screenshots, and the other will just change the colours, leaving your user interface font settings alone.

Theme Index

I will do my best to keep an index of the themes posted to this thread, to save folks from having to read through the entire thing. If you’ve created a theme and you don’t see it appear with a couple of days, give me a nudge via PM. If you update your post—perhaps to remove its “work in progress” status, let me know as I’ll otherwise not see notification of the edit.

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Good idea, I’ve uploaded those and added the link.

Here’s a preliminary dark mode
. (2.95 KB)

I ran into some issues… a lot of elements (Search Results, Outliner, among others) couldn’t be set to have a black background b/c the text was fixed as black (or dark grey). Also the buttons at the bottom of the Binder are invisible (though still active).

But I really like the black binder, esp. in fullscreen mode with the toolbar hidden.

Would be a great modern option for night owls like me to be able to have a full dark mode in the editor and the full UI (user interface) in Scrivener 3.

Just like the IOS version, a Dark Mode would be a welcome addition to the MacOS version. It would be be a great option to have in Preferences or View Menu > Dark Mode.

Is this something that is hight on developers list? For me, and lots of people who work full time on computer displays, it is a necessity.

I’ve been fiddling around in lots places within Preferences, and after 30 mins, I’ve made a half light / half dark theme. I wish it wasn’t so messy to try to do this, and the end result is not very pretty. :neutral_face:

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Apologies if you know this already, but have you tried the ‘Invert Colours’ option in System Preferences > Accessibility > Display?

You’d have to play around a bit (a lot?) with the colours to get it right (I haven’t with the screen shot) but it might be worth exploring perhaps?

(PS: you’ll have to do the inver t colour thing to see the screenshot in inverse colours – apparently screenshots always take in ‘real colour’! I learn that just now :wink:

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Thanks for sharing! I’m hoping this thread continues to grow as people added more and more themes.

I am a bit bummed that Scrivener 3 doesn’t come with at least a variety of pre-built themes as it seems there are a lot of users on a variety of online forums who want to use themes effectively but don’t know how to do so or what colors to change.

I’m not sure about everyone else, but I am color-coding-challenged, so I can’t come up with a complementary color palette to save my life. Since there are still aspects of the Scrivener interface that can’t be changed, I find it almost impossible to configure my UI colors in such a way that they don’t clash with the unchangeable areas. It would be a really big help if the good folks at Scrivener would start releasing either the theme files themselves or at least the Menu Option and corresponding Color Hex in these forums or on a series of blog posts or something.

This theme was created a while back, in response to this thread, but when that thread was active, the best I could have done was provided a few Scirvener 2 tips—which would have worked, but Scrivener 3 does all of this so much better!

As this includes both a look and feel, it is distributed not as an .stheme file alone, but as a project template. Much of what it aims to do is provide a project window that functions similarly to a 3-pane navigation style program, with numerous tweaks to the project options and settings.

Download “Butterfly”.

To install the project template:

  1. Unzip the downloaded file if necessary.
  2. In Scrivener, use the File/New Project… menu command.
  3. Click the Options… button in the bottom left corner.
  4. Use the “Import Templates…” command, and select the file you unzipped in step 1.
  5. Click on the “Blank” category if necessary and select the “Butterfly” template to create a new project.
  6. Read the help file at the top, as it includes instructions for extracting and installing the .stheme from the project, as well as the monospace font the settings were designed to work with.

With all respect to the team behind Ulysses, whose elegant UI work served as inspiration for this theme.

I too second the vote that there could be a Scrivener 3 theme pack of sorts, for those of us who only wish to write and not “fiddle” with things, but enjoy and appreciate another’s fiddling about. :laughing: (Although it would probably do me some good to learn how to tweak the appearance settings in Scrivener.)

Wow Ioa, it does look like Ulysses! Are you sure it’s not Ulysses??? :smiley: Just kidding, I downloaded it and I’ll have fun with it. Thanks

This is spectacular! Thank you for sharing. I love being able to have different look and feel in my software :smiley:

To L&L,

You folks are incredible. Thank you so much for the ability to tweak the software to our liking. You surely didn’t have to go [i]that[i]far beyond the update, but you did. And that shows a commitment to your users. I cannot wait to see what ya’ll come up with (I live in the southern US) as days go by.

Aw shucks! :smiley: You’re welcome!

Adding my request for a DarkMode/Nighttime theme. I dont have time to fiddle myself.

Also, what about putting a Theme manager menu item in the Scrivener menu under preferences? Would make it much quicker to switch between themes.

Let’s try to keep this thread on posting themes we’ve made and commenting on those themes. There is a whole board for feature requests. Thank you!

Hi Amber, I visited the thread for those requesting a Dark/Night MODE. That idea was shot-down by KB and you directed another user to this thread about Themes, hence my posting here requesting a THEME, not necessarily from LL.

I can see I am very much not alone in this request. Grateful if someone can help create a suitable theme.

Seems that if someone at LL made such a Theme and shared it here and in the other threads requesting an actual MODE, that would satisfy your customers (many of whom, like myself, have been paying customers since you launched your software).

Sorry for the misunderstanding; part of my confusion originated from there already being a dark mode theme posted earlier by derick. I haven’t tried it out myself though.

That theme only changes the Binder.

Again, seeing as there will not be any forthcoming Dark/Night MODE from LL, if someone at LL were to create a THEME which could satisfy those who need some kind of solution, it would be very welcome. Thank you.

BTW, the Manage dropdown in Scrivener>Preferences allows us to ADD themes, but there is no apparent way to REMOVE them. Please advise.

I’m probably not the right person to do so. I’ve never really seen the point of making one window dark—if I need to rest my eyes I invert the whole screen. But mainly I don’t consider the Scrivener window capable of properly achieving “night” status all by itself. There are too many elements that cannot be modified, where the only recourse is to fully remove them or avoid ever using certain features like the inspector or toolbars. I can’t imagine using Scrivener without the inspector—hence why I think inverting the screen so that all software and all elements within them is darkened is a better solution.

To remove a theme use the Scrivener/Reveal Support Folder in Finder menu command and delete the file from the PreferencePresets subfolder. I’ll add a tip for this to the index post for this thread.

Hello there, the image you posted is part of a current dark theme? If so, is there a link to download it somewhere?

If the theme isn’t finished, I can help. I do themes for other apps and for the following couple of weeks I have spare time that could go to making a proper dark theme for the community.

Since I spend 12 hrs a day in front of a computer screen programming, and then try to write on any time left before going to bed, I’m very interested in this dark theme.

Happy holidays,

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These themes are amazing. Really looking forward to using them when Scrivener 3 for Windows comes around. I’ve always loved Scrivener’s customization capabilities and this only adds to it. Thanks Lit and Latte!