Scrivenings mode

Maybe I’m missing something here, but I don’t see a way to access scrivenings mode in IOS. If it isn’t there, can it be added, please?

Sorry, it isn’t there. This is an unfortunate side effect of the more limited iOS platform.

There is an alternative, however, the Draft Navigator view. (iPad only) Tap the three lines next to the Bookmark icon at the bottom of the screen.

You can also use the iPad’s Compile function to create a draft copy in the format of your choice.


Aw well, I understand.

Really love the app! :slight_smile:

Thanks for the pointers.

This (lack of scrivenings Mode in iOS) is a dearly missed feature. So much so that it makes my workflow on an iPad very clumsy…

I really hope this will be implemented in the near future.

In the meantime, my I suggest at least the possibility to tap/move (e.g. via < and > symbols) between the texts easily while in Composition mode?

Thank you!


It is not that L&L are holding out on you – I am sure they would like nothing better than to give you a full Scriv’ings Mode on iOS. What we are told is that current limitations of iOS made that impracticable. Didn’t work. Draft Navigator view was developed, I suppose, as a way of doing what could be done. So, what you should wish for is for iOS to develop in the right ways to make a Scriv Mode possible in the future!

This is what the up/down icons at the upper left of the editor header bar do (on iPad at least).

Draft Navigator View would be fine if the text wasn’t so small. (I’m working on a 12.9” IPP.) Switching to Editor Zoom makes the text a nice size, but the column width is so narrow as to make it unusable. If we could just change the text size in Draft Navigator View, or the column width in the Editor Zoom, all would be well.

I’m really enjoying the app on my iPad! Once I figured it out and had everything set up correctly, it’s syncing perfectly so I can work on the manuscript on my Mac.

The draft nav view window is the full (portrait) width of my ipad with minimal margin aside the text. It couldn’t really be any wider!


EvPowers: could you show a screenshot? The text shouldn’t be so small or narrow, strange. Thanks for the kind words!

Scrivenings is actually a lot more complex than might be first evident. If you look at other apps that have adopted a scrivenings-like view, they all do it by creating lots of individual text boxes in a long column. (Even our Scrivener 1 for Windows does this - the developers have had hell getting it to work like the Mac version for 3.0.) So, each section of text is in its own little invisible view. You can see this because if you try to Select All, it only selects text in the current selection. In Scrivener, however, the combination of the texts is done at the model level. So I actually have a big chunk of text that coordinates with all the text sections. This means that you can select all of the text, format across different sections, and it can be loaded into a page layout view on macOS (something you could never do with individual boxes). The coordination is quite intensive and very complicated.

Now, in theory, my scrivenings text model could be brought across to iOS, because the code itself is not Mac-dependent and could run on iOS. However, even on macOS, loading text into all scrivenings can be quite intensive. If you just have a few text documents containing nothing but text, it will load quickly and could run fine on iOS. But we have users with multiple large images in text, and with hundreds of text documents. That sort of strain would end up crashing through lack of memory even on many iPads.

That doesn’t rule out scrivenings from a future version, however - in fact, scrivenings is on my list of things I would like to bring to the iPad if possible (it definitely couldn’t run on an iPhone). But it presents a number of far-from trial technical challenges (it was challenging enough implementing scrivenings on the Mac :slight_smile: ).

I hope to look at this again later in the year or early next year, though. (There are a few other big updates I want to look into for the iOS version before then, concerning other much-asked for features.)

Thanks and all the best,

EvPowers - thanks for that. I’ve fixed that bug for the next update. The problem is a change in iOS 11 that breaks the way text fits in the container. I’d fixed it in the main text editor but had missed it in the Draft Navigator.

All the best,

Excellent, thanks.

I don’t mean to butt into this thread but I think that this is the same problem I am having. After updating my IPad with the iOS11 my project text is formatted into a narrow column. Even thought the font is normal the look of it is tiny. How can I fix this? Should I delete Scrivener from my IPad then reinstall? I’ve spent hours this afternoon looking for what I have done to it and how to fix it.
Thanks, Rebecca

Can you explain what the iOS limitation is that prevents Scrivenings? I can’t believe that it’s really a display issue, but maybe a selection modalities issue?

If it comes down to “no shift or command key”, take a look at how Affinity Photo for iOS manages multiple selections of non-contiguous layers: a swipe on the layer (which is a display very much like the list of individual chapters in a Scrivener file) toggles a select/deselect of that item. Works with nested stuff.

I am working on a graphic novel, writing the script in Scrivener, doing the artwork in various programs, am transitioning from my MacBook Pro to an iPad Pro. This is mostly because of the outstanding drawing and painting environment it offers, with Concepts and Affinity Photo as my main artwork apps, using the stylus. Some of my workflow is going to the Mac because it still does some stuff better. I had hoped that using Scrivener on the iPad would become part of that shift, but the absence of Scrivenings is not a show-stopper, but basically kind of mysterious to me. A program called Scrivener that doesn’t support its famous Scrivenings mode? Bizarre!

There’s a lot of back-and-forth in my workflow, with a rather large page layout file in Affinity Designer the main thing that requires that, as I create page roughs and finished art on iPad, I use AirDrop to move the work to the Mac, and then insert that into Designer. Each new page rough that I create, I add to the Notes of the corresponding item in Scrivener (there’s one item per page/spread). That way I have a visual reference for each page if I change it. It would be great if there was a dynamic way to update that, and my motivation for using Scrivener on iPad is mostly to shorten the steps in that workflow… and use Scrivenings to have a per-page view…

Anyway, I’ll look into the suggested workarounds, but having been a Mac Developer, I imagined that the main problem is an interface one, and the Affinity selection model is non-standard, but elegant and now that I use it a lot, indispensable. It seems that only one direction of swiping is supported in the iOS Scrivener list of files, so perhaps it could be implemented?

One limitation is memory. Even powerful iPads do not have the same memory or processing capacities as a Mac. Because Scrivener uses rich text, texts can contain many images - we have users who embed many large images in their text. iOS can grind to a halt, freeze or crash if too many images are embedded in text. Scrivener does a lot of custom display work to optimise this, but throwing it together with scrivenings can cause slowdown and crashes.

As for it begin bizarre that Scrivener doesn’t support Scrivenings on iOS - well, “Scrivenings” was named after “Scrivener”, not the other way around. :slight_smile:

There are certainly UI issues involved too. I don’t rule out ever bringing scrivenings to iOS - the underlying code for unifying multiple texts into a single text could work on iOS too - but it is far from trivial. And it is further complicated by how buggy and unstable the iOS TextKit is - I have hundreds of lines of code just working around Apple bugs on iOS (and iOS 11 made that much worse).

All the best,

Hi Keith,

Just want to add my voice to this, though I hear what you’re saying about complexity and platform limitations.

Even if it were severely limited to contain implementation complexity and memory use (sections must be less than n words, total length limit, no image rendering), even a simple version of scrivenings on iOS would be a huge benefit in my work.

My documents aren’t huge and have no images, I organise documents into sections, each of which has key points to hit, though the order of those sections is fluid and changes frequently during editing. So I use the cork board to move things around by summary and flip between that and scrivenings to see how the new whole fits together. From scrivenings I can adjust the text to make the new shape work. This capability is a central reason that I’ve been a long-term fan of Scrivener on the Mac.

But my need to zoom out and tweak the whole composition can happen at any time - even when I’m out and away from the Mac. So if there is a way to get an MVP scrivenings-with-text-editing working on iOS, I’d find it really useful.


Yes, but as explained above this isn’t a realistic expectation given the current level of technology. That your described conditions are technologically simple enough to probably work is beside the point. We can’t implement a system based on the most basic possible usage of it, it is nearly always better practice to implement something based on the assumption that it will be abused well beyond anything you can even think to test for.

What you are looking for, the “zoom out” capability, is already provided for by the Navigator button. With the infeasibility of true Scrivenings being taken as a given, a tool that does provide that kind of big picture view of your text, coupled with it being able to navigate into the sections of that larger text, is the best possible implementation of the underlying design goal being achieved by Scrivenings itself.

The second design component that was made prominent in the iOS version are those Up/Down arrows in the editor. So while you cannot see and edit the text around the current chunk, you can very easily get there with a single tap (and there are keyboard shortcuts for that too).

Both the Navigator and Scrivenings are working to achieve the same type of goal in making it possible to both have a detailed outline and to work with that detailed outline as a singular text, they are just approaching that problem from different angles in a way that best suits the environment the software exists within.

Until you (or some other user) accidentally crossed the invisible line between “feasible,” and “too big.” Causing attempted Scrivening to fail, and abuse to rain down upon the heads of the support team.

As Ioa pointed out, people seem much more inclined to stretch Scrivener’s capabilities (on any platform) to well past where we thought the breaking point was, than to peacefully accept limits of any kind.


Hi Keith,

Thinking about getting the next Ipad Pro which is due to launch on Sept 12 2018, and using it as my ‘main’ device for using Scrivener (I have the Windows version, so not sure what I will ‘miss’ from that feature wise?)

That is going to come with IOS 12.

I wondered if that was likely to bring any changes to the IOS version of Scrivener in terms of what is possible?

Is Scrivenings mode for example likely to put in an appearance?


In addition to the L&L representatives’ thread replies, there’s an L&L knowledge base article regarding desktop/iOS differences here: … er-for-ios

This sounds exciting – could you elaborate on what features you’re thinking about?