Scrivener Bug - Icons & Text

When I right-click on the blank space within the main app window menu bar, and select “Icon And Text” (normally work with just Icons visible) I get a weird error message superimposed over the top left of the window:

From what I can see it says “All specified constraints visualized / Layout is ambiguous / Click a constraint to log it to the console” with additional text “Exercises Ambiguity” highlighted, hinting that perhaps it might be a button - but clicking it has no effect.

The problem is repeatable.

It seems like the app continues to work after this happens, but the rogue text does not go away.

There does, however, appear to be a duplication of windows - a second, almost identical Scrivener window seems to appear behind the first one. It looks a little confusing, so I have quit each time, and all seems well after restarting. No files have been corrupted.

Once I have restarted Scrivener, the icons and text are present correctly.

So, this is not a serious issue. But I thought somebody would like to know!

I’m running Scrivener 3.3.6 (16305), on a 2018 MacBook Pro 2.6GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7, and macOS Sonoma 14.4.1

Any thoughts?

Richard C

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I’m on an M2Pro Mac mini running Sonoma 14.4.1 and Scrivener 3.3.6. All is normal with me when I do that, so it must be either something to do with 6 year-old intel machines running Sonoma, or something in your machine specifically.

I’d suspect the latter but I can’t imagine what. In your position I would reboot the machine and then run Onyx or similar maintenance app to see if there’s some code fragment lurking that can be removed.

Good luck. :slight_smile:

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Yeah, I don’t see that either, strange! We do have an open ticket for finding these though, as we do have scattered reports of them, even though we haven’t seen them ourselves. I’ll add this thread to the ticket.

As for what they are, they are completely harmless (though annoying, yes). It’s basically a developer debugging tool for fixing user interface issues. They should all be turned off when building a production copy of Scrivener, but as noted, some have gone missed in that toggle.

I was reminded there is a way of suppressing these debugging cues in your preferences, which should fix this issue for you right now, without having to wait for an upgrade:

  1. Use Go ▸ Utilities from Finder.

  2. Double-click on the Terminal icon to load the command shell.

  3. With Scrivener closed, copy and paste the following command (it should all be on one line):

    defaults write com.literatureandlatte.scrivener3 NSConstraintBasedLayoutVisualizeMutuallyExclusiveConstraints false
  4. After that, you want to reset your preference cache system to ensure this change “takes”:

    killall -u $USER cfprefsd
  5. Now launch Scrivener and the problem should be gone.

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Thanks for your tips.

I just noticed, before trying your remedy, @AmberV that there was a message top-right when the error occurs.

Clicking on it gives this information:

Perhaps that will mean more to you than it does to me!


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Thanks, I think overall the layout in the stable version is fine; these little hints are sometimes going to be a bit more picky than we need to worry about if nothing is already broken. But, if something comes up that messes the layout up we can always investigate it with these kinds of tools.