Scrivener VS Word

I think Scrivener is excellent. The only reason I would not make it my primary writing tool is that it lacks the Auto correct feature of Word. With something like that or a Typeit4me or a Typinator feature it would make my life a whole lot easier. I am a novelist and I have a ton of shortcuts created in auto correct in Word that cut my actual typing down considerably. When you get to an upgrade of Scrivener, a feature like this needs to be added.

I still end up importing my Word chapters into Scrivener, so I do value it.


Out of interest, why can’t you just use TypeIt4Me with Scrivener? They work together.

The next version adds a table to the preferences that allows you to define your own auto-correct substitutions, much like the one in Pages. I’m not sure if that is what you mean.

Thanks and all the best,

I look at Scrivener as more of a “creation” or “drafting tool” where you hammer out ideas and organize those thought however you wish (i.e. corkboard)

I look at Word as more of a “Polishing” tool where you bring in your hammered out ideas and finalize its look and feel.

Both programs excel at different methods and you have the ability like Team Keith suggested in using 3rd party utilites to customize both programs to fit your own personal needs.

But one thing I tend to shy away from is bloatware. A prime example was Corel Draw for PC. It did millions of different things and it did each of them only mediocre and very slowly. They tried to cram every thing into that program and wound up with a monstrosity that did a gazillion different things but did not shine at doing a single one of them well.

Sometimes it is actually nice to have a program that serves a particular purpose and manages to do that purpose very well.

Scrivener to me does the creating and drafting process of writing better than anything else out there in my opinion. It shines in the fact that not only does it do this well but it does it fast and has little distraction or bloat features to intimidate users. Users can harness the full power of SCR very quickly and with little learning curve compared to say something like learning Photoshop or even Word.

I guess what I am trying to say is some features are sometimes best left to third party programs because that is their place where they shine and do it well.

Sometimes the most productive setup is instead of using one program for everything, you instead use many programs that each are designed to excel at their purpose. That way you get the most out of each feature without slowing down your progress or workflow.

A good example of this is the ADobe Creative Suite. Each program excels at what they do but each program doesn’t burden the other with clutter they instead work in tandem for a productive workflow.

Please forgive me I am babbling.

I use TypeIt4Me for my tons of shortcuts and automatic corrections, and I can only strongly encourage everybody who likes to use shortcuts to do so as well. The major advantage is that you have your abbreviations and keystrokes available everywhere - while writing emails, taking notes, writing in whatever application, be it Scrivener, be it Pages, be it :unamused: Word…

Typinator is, no .Mac(†) sync and no AppleScriptabilty notwithstanding, superior to the other two programs (TextExpander and Typinator; not counting the free RapidoWrite) because of its better algorithm.

Keyloggers like these have limitations opposed to smilar working app-inbuilt features because they simply logg what you’re typing and they don’t know anything about the text surrounding the characters you’re typing and their styles etc. But on the other hand, like Andreas said, it is just great to have your abbreviations at hand in every app.

I also like the fact Typinator is a normal application. If you do not need it, just quit it.


I’m with AndreasE – I’ve been using TypeIt4Me for longer than I can remember (or to be more precise, since back when I could actually remember something! :open_mouth: ). If you don’t want it to work with a particular program, you can tell it so. It works with Cocoa and Carbon – everything. Great.

Wocky – I take issue with you over your championing of Adobe’s bloatware. Since moving up to OS X, I do all my DTP in Canvas – a lean, mean program that was built up from a vector graphics program to incorporate vector graphics, raster graphics, type, DTP, Web, and presentation (with master pages).

A jack of all trades and master of none? No way!

The whole program is about as big as Adobe Illustrator but:

  • It does as much or more as a vector program as Illustrator does; it has been ahead for a decade. Try
    Sprite Effects, applying image filters to raster.
  • It’s image/raster capability covers Photoshop up to about v.4 but with a few particular things of its own added that P’shop users would love. Apart from a handful of automatic bits, like red eye and stuff, how much more capability than P’shop 4 does the average user want? Especially when you can do stuff interactively between image and vector (P’shop has caught up with some of these things now, but it took them years).
  • It is a capable DTP program (see for a book completely DTPed in Canvas, including manipulation of the cover to convert it from Australian drive-on-the-left to American drive-on-the-right, and then saving out to PDF of a standard that satisfies the notoriously picky LSI). Another Canvas user is producing a graphics-heavy 400+ page full colour book. (He also does highly detailed aircraft plans in Canvas, a number of which are incorporated in his book.) PageMaker/InDesign is better in pure DTP terms, but Canvas wins through its integrated interface.
  • Provides you with the capability to build about 80 percent of websites you now see on the internet, including making your own buttons and animated gifs, then export direct to good quality HTML (see my marketing site which was built entirely in Canvas). If I have a client who wants more, I can call in specialist help.
  • Does presentations, animated gifs, SWF exports, etc.
  • With available extensions, is a favourite for many scientific imagers and map makers.

But most of all, in Canvas, you do EVERYTHING on the page. You work in the familiar vector graphics/DTP “page on a pasteboard” analog and do everything right there. To work on a picture, you just select it and apply the tools (there are specific tools for paint stuff, but lots of stuff that is shared). Right there, with text and vector graphics right there too.

That integrated interface is simply magic. You have no idea what a pleasure it is to work in and how fast it is.

The sad thing is that Canvas, which started on Mac back in the original day, cunningly built as a full competitor for MacDraw but set up as a Desk Accessory so that in those days of a single window open at a time, you could actually open up Canvas in front of PageMaker, do you graphic, then copy and paste it into PM, has now ended for Mac. ACD Systems (a Windows image editor developer which bought Canvas a few years ago) has dropped development of it, retaining development on Windows (Canvas went cross platform at v.5). Canvas X as it stands, left with a handful of bugs I know how to work around, will keep me going for another few years, though.

I’m waiting for soime smart Cocoa developer to come up with a full integrated Canvas replacement. In Cocoa, we are seeing lots of little image apps (how many do we need, for heaven’s sake?), a few vector apps (EazyDraw, for example, looks very neat) and some very good Word Processors, but only one full DTP program that I know of – Stone Create, although EazyDraw has some excelent DTP capabilities, it seems. But even the Stone man, who incorporates vector and DTP in one app., has not integrated image work and a number of other bits and pieces into Create. I don’t understand it.

Will there ever be a better platform for than OS X for an integrated application like Canvas? I don’t think so. Will there be a better market opportunity? I don’t think so either. Even such a conservative corporation as Quark is edging towards integrated now in an effort to hit back at Adobe. And Adobe keeps edging towards integration; it knows that with the computer power we have on our desk now, there is absolutely no excuse left for not having integration. Sorry – no technical excuse. In business terms, keeping the various apps separate so you can get a premium price for a “suite” makes a lot of sense.

When I bought Canvas 7 after escaping from Illustrator 7, Canvas with all its attributes was about two-thirds the price of Illustrator. (And that was a problem – they should have been asking about twice as much for it and using the extra income for marketing in my view – speaking as a marketer! On the other hand, general DTP, illustrators, etc. wasn’t really their target market – they had big sales, thousands of seats at a time, to corporations in the aircraft building, mining, etc. fields.)

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

“Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes” – the secrets of how type can help you to sell or influence, now at the new low price of $29.95. See the book at or Amazon.

Sorry Keith, the above is totally off-topic . Got carried away.

Cheers, Geoff

Geoffrey Heard, Business Writer & Publisher

“Type & Layout: Are you communicating or just making pretty shapes” – the secrets of how type can help you to sell or influence, now at the new low price of $29.95. See the book at or Amazon.

I’ve been using Scriv with Typinator for some time now, and I think they work well together. I didn’t like Type4me, but Typinator is made for semi-computer literates – and semi-literates – like me.


I am a lover of an option that brings up words in a popup window myself and as said in another post, used it to write 2 books in Atlantis on the pc with the poweroption. I hope that something like this will come into scrivener as well. Maybe it just sounds like that this option would be anyoing when a little window comes up all the time, but it really isn’t. The way it worked in Atlantis was, when used a word more times, it remembers it and shows it the next time and canwith a single enterkey press be inserted in the text. If you don’t want to insert it, just continuing typing normally and the popup window will close.

I think it’s NeoOffice that has this too … maybe OpenOffice as well. It drove me loco until I discovered I could switch it off. The only thing I ever found that was equally — or perhaps only slightly more — disturbing of the thought processes was that damned paper-clip in Word.


Thanks for the hint for Neooffice. This is excactly what I mean! The autocomplete option is how I love to do my writings and helps a lot in speed. Is this going to be in Scrivener sometimes? Neo office doesn’t show an popupwindow (Like for example the wordprocessor Atlantis does) and I beieve this is even better.


Well, I’m glad my comment helped, but I have to say, my personal experience is precisely the opposite. I can no more write anything fluently with autocomplete on than I can hold anything approaching a decent conversation when someone else in the group is talking at the same time.

I had the experience with a very good friend who was training to be an interpreter at the time. She, her husband and I were out somewhere together. At the time her husband didn’t speak any English and I didn’t speak any Chinese. As we were walking she suggested this would be a good opportunity for her to practise simultaneous interpreting … her husband and I should converse and she would interpret as we talked. The conversation lasted about two minutes, because I found I could not talk while she was telling her husband what I was saying at the same time.

It’s the same with autocomplete. It’s like the computer prattling on at me the whole time, “Is this the word you want? … Oh, no, perhaps this one? … Or this one?” And then I hit the return key or the enter key by accident and the wrong word has gone into my text and I have to spend time correcting it!

I can see it could be useful for sluglines (if that’s the right word), character names and things like that in scriptwriting … the technical parts, not the creative dialogue … And maybe a glossary system such as that in Nisus for names in a novel, which again are repetitive items which once made up become a technical part as I see it. But for the creative part, the back-chat for me renders creativity impossible.

Just my 2 角


For what it’s worth, I agree with Mark 100%. I can’t imagine anything more egregious than a writing app constantly guessing what I’m trying to say.

Well, of course, when you say it like that it does sound very annoying, but from my experience I can only say that it it helped me a lot with my two books. It’s especially with longer words and names and the words that I always spell wrong (I believe I have some kind of dyslectic, even my wife who is a teacher disagrees on this). I don’t use this option because I don’t know what to write and need the help of my mac to write my story. And even when it pops up with words that I don’t need, it doesn’t disturbs me; in that case I keep on typing as if nothing happened.

No, of course not, and my apologies if that’s what it sounded like I was saying. My point is rather that I actually would find it disturbing and distracting. I do use the autocomplete feature in Final Draft, but as Mark says, that’s for the “technical” side of things - sluglines, transitions, character names. If FD also tried to autocomplete words in the body of the text (i.e. dialogue, action descriptions) it would drive me nuts.

That said, if you are dyslexic then I could see how it might help. But even then, I think a good proofreader after the fact would be much more useful (and necessary regardless, in case you accidentally picked the wrong word from the autocomplete list).

Simple solution.

Write in NeoOffice. Once your “scene” or chapter or whatever section you are writing is complete. select all copy and paste into Scrivener.

Use Scrivener to “organize” your writings, use NeoOffice to pound out characters.

USed both in conjunction could make a powerful adversary to your style of writing.

PS: Geoff. Canvas was a nice niche program but it suffered from what many one solution programs suffer from. It did many things good but did not do anything great. Hence the program dying on the Mac because of lack of demand.

Photoshop 4 usability is not good enough for me or any other high end designer because we need not only the function but the power that Photoshop harnesses with large image files. (1-3GB image file). Canvas is a lot like Fireworks is in that it has some Vector, some raster, some web, some layout functionality but for production it is and was not very productive to do things in canvas when compared to CS suites.

CS is the market standard so native compatibility is much less of a problem. Each tool in the suite is honestly the “best” at that function overall by industry standards. Look how many programs can read or write to AI files, PDF, EPS and postscript. The amount of tools and functionality of each specialized program makes each program offer more for that specific task than an all in one program.

A better analogy may be hardware.
Take an iMac and a MacPro.

Say you want to edit a 2 hour film in HD.
You could do it on an iMac in iMovie
or you could do it on a MacPro Quad in Final Cut Pro.

Both are functional but where they differ the most is this.
iMac+iMovie is for your everyday user and offers many professional tools but is limited in speed and function but is cheap on price.

MacPro Quad + Final Cut Pro is for “professional” use. It is harder to learn and costs much more but is faster and offers more professional functions because that is what it is specifically designed for. A dedicated system and software for one task instead of a system made for about everything and to cover the most general of all functions.

Now you could look at the functions of Indesign 5 (CS3) and see many of the “general functions” such as vector drawing and support, editing imported vector drawings, raster effects such as drop shadows, etc, creation of PDFs, JPGS, SVG, and XML. Not to mention its exhaustive amount of functions specifically designed for layout but I still use Photoshop for all my Raster Needs, Illustrator for all my vector needs, Dreamweaver with ImageReady/Fireworks/Flash for my web design needs, And Acrobat Pro for PDFs.

Each one is the industry leader in their specific function and design. Each one is the standard. They didn’t become that standard because of the price :slight_smile: but rather because of the performance and features each program offered designers for each industry standard.

In other words the “all in one” option will offer you many of the standard features of most things but it won’t offer the best of anything because it doesn’t focus on offering one thing great but rather trying to offer many things good enough. The idea of the all in one software is a dying notion because of that. People want software that offers them the best of the best of the best in most cases.

If you look at programs such as CorelDraw and Canvas they are usually marketed towards the “average user” who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles but rather a large collection of the most common functions instead.

Quantity of features over Quality of features.

If it truly worked though then their market share in the industry would be larger. I remember when Corel made an attempt at the Mac market. Didn’t go so well. And like you stated about Canvas. r.i.p.

Most people want specialized software instead of generalized because then they can unlock all their design powers instead of being limited to a generalized subset of features.

I think it’s Word’s autocorrect (rather than autocomplete) feature that I used and liked. I’d set up some abbreviations that I wouldn’t use in regular prose and when I’d type a specific abbreviation, it would spell out the entire word (or phrase). Amazingly helpful when writing a novel set during the War of the Spanish Succession with all the tongue-twisting (make that finger-twisting) battle names.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it was very nice not to have to stop and figure out how to spell ‘Ramillies’ when in the middle of a good writing session.

It’s also helpful when doing first draft work on a device like Alphasmart’s Neo. Easy to type in an abbreviation for a character’s long name, for instance, and have Word expand the name as it gets the text entered upon transfer.

I’m sure I can set up one of the available text expanders out there for Mac (I even have two!) but I haven’t taken the time to do it yet. It helps that, this time around, I can actually remember how to spell ‘Rome’ and even ‘Avignon’. 8)