Scrivener for Mac or PC?

I’m a little spoiled in the computer department. I have multiple Mac’s and PC’s of all sizes and shapes and portabilities. I like both OS’s for different reasons, so I’m not interested in an OS battle.

What I’m wondering is what are the pros and cons of the Mac Scrivener vs. the Windows Scrivener. And for that matter what are the implications of the “2” for the MacOS “Scrivener 2” vs. the Windows version still “just” branded as “Scrivener”?

I’m aware that I can buy both versions, in a bundle. That’s great and I will more than likely do so, but what I’m really trying to glean is which version is likely to be my “go to” version and thus I can/will configure some of my desk space accordingly for writing.

I’m a Mac-user—I’ve been using Scrivener since January 2007 when a Windows version was unforeseen, but I also have a licence and access to the Windows version, currently the v.3 Betas—so naturally, I’d say go for the Mac version.

As for Scrivener 2 for Mac, that will depend on your version of MacOS. If it’s 10.13 (I think) or earlier, it will run; if it’s 10.14 or 10.15, it won’t, as it’s 32-bit. In any case I would still go for the current release 3.1.5—I have it running happily on this computer with 10.13.6.

In terms of Windows, my Windows-based collaborator has been using the v.3 Betas for two years so that we can share projects seamlessly. In that time, the very few hiccoughs we have had have been due to one of us shutting down or opening up before the server sync’ing process has been fully completed. Scrivener 3 Mac and Windows 1.9.x is possible as the Mac end can save a project in V.2 format, but it’s a pain as each time a new version of the project has to be created in v.2 format.

So then it’s up to you and your preferences.



as far as my experience goes windows version is slightly more faster than mac version ( especially with new NVidia cards )

The Windows version has some technical limitations (because of the toolkit which is being used) which don’t affect the Mac version.

These may or may not be important to you. I think the one I’d miss the most is the reduced features for Scrivenings on Windows. For example, you can’t select all the text in an entire Scrivening (Ctl-a only selects the individual document you’re in), and you can’t use Page View mode in a Scrivening.

There are other things which differentiate the two: on the Mac spelling and grammar are more integrated; Linguistic Focus has more features; the preference dialogues are not modal on the Mac (so you can see the changes being made in your text as you make them, rather than having to apply, quit the dialogue, and reopen the preferences if you’ve got it wrong); and no doubt a few others.

(Of course, there may be additions to the Windows version which improve on the Mac—I can’t think of one off-hand, though.)

These differences are down to the fact that Scrivener was first created on a Mac, so it took advantage of technologies which are built in to the OS and easily available (albeit often highly customised and improved by the developer), while they have to be written from scratch on Windows using toolkits which may not make this as easy if it’s possible at all.

Are any of these important in themselves? I don’t think so—if I had to use Windows, I’d happily use Scrivener without a moment’s thought: the developers have done an excellent job, and I’m sure that some of the differences will be ironed out as we move on).

But if using Scrivener is your only criterion now, then I think you’d have to go with the Mac, because that way you get the full experience.



Let me add a bit of version history:

  • January 2007: Version 1.0.0 for Mac released. Windows Scrivener was not even a gleam in the developer’s eye.
  • November 2010: Version 2.0.0 for Mac released. Still no Windows Scrivener.
  • November 2011: Version 1.0.0 for Windows released, nearly 5 years after the debut of Mac Scrivener. In this month, Version 2.2.0 for Mac is also released. Feature parity between Windows Scrivener and Mac Scrivener is a pipe dream, though from this point forward, both apps will use the same project format.
  • November 2017: Version 3.0.0 for Mac is released. This release is pushed hard by the fact that 64-bit only MacOS is imminent, but Scrivener 2.x.x is a 32-bit app. One can no longer buy a license for Mac Scrivener 2.x.x. Windows release version at this time is 1.9.7. Many features from Mac Scrivener 2.x.x have been incorporated in Windows 1.9.7, but it’s never received an official version upgrade to 2.0. At this point, Windows Scrivener released version cannot access the new, improved 3.0 project format. L&L state that Windows Scrivener will never have an official version 2.x; Windows will jump straight from 1.9.x to 3.0.x. In order to let Windows users collaborate with Mac 3.x.x users, Literature & Latte put Windows Scrivener 3 into public beta, with a promise that Windows 1.9.x license buyers from this point forward will receive a free license to Windows 3.0.0 when it is finally officially released.

Present day:
L&L have officially updated Windows “beta” to Windows “Release candidate”. It’s feature complete and close to release, but no one knows how close. Windows Scrivener 3.0.0’s stated goal is “feature parity” with Mac Scrivener. It will be close, but not identical to, Mac Scrivener in capabilities. In the meantime, the current Windows “Release Candidate” is available in the pinned thread at the top of the Windows Beta forum. Here’s the link: [url]]

The whole question of Mac Scrivener 2.x is made more complex by the fact that L&L’s old license provider, eSellerate, went out of business, so many legacy versions of Mac Scrivener won’t run at all. Legacy Mac Scrivener 2.9 is available for download, but cannot be used on any Mac system running Catalina (10.15.x) or newer, and isn’t supported for use on Mojave (10.14.x) (though it ran fine on my machine.) Mac Scrivener 3.1.5 can’t be used on systems older than Sierra (10.12.x).

Were I you with your plethora of systems, I’d avoid Mac Scrivener 2.x and Windows Scrivener 1.x. I’d install and use Mac Scrivener 3.x.x as my go-to Scrivener version, with Windows Release Candidate installed on my various Windows systems. I’d probably buy a Windows license to support development, but I wouldn’t install the release version—it wouldn’t interact well with Mac Scrivener.

But of course I’m not you, and you will do what you decide. :smiley:

PG Wodehouse was one of the worlds most prolific writers. When once asked how he managed to be so productive, he replied simply: I just love typing.

I love this image! Wodehouse sitting at his desk, pipe gripped between grinning teeth, as his hands bounce joyfully up and down on the keys of his beloved typewriter; writing with abandon to the symphony only an old Monarch or Royal can make!

With this in mind, my reminder to you is that the most important “spec” of any writing solution (hardware or software) is the keyboard. The second most important is the monitor. Both of those dwarf the OS choice for me, even taking into account what are — in the grand scheme of things — pretty minor feature differences between Scrivener versions. So, while this is an interesting discussion, my most honest advice would be: which computer do you most like typing on? Which will get you closest to Wodehousian joy?

There in lies your answer to which version you should use!