Seriously annoying shortcuts

I realize that Scrivener was a Mac program long before it was ever conceived of as a Windows port. I know things work differently over on that side, and I accept that.

That said, there is a standard among developers on the Windows side for certain keyboard shortcuts. Ctrl-C copies, Ctrl-X cuts, Ctrl-V pastes, Ctrl-A selects all, etc etc ad nauseum. These shortcuts are the same for 99.9% of windows programs, which allows users to find or use the same tools in every program the same way (hence the term ‘standard’). This is a vital feature when so many programs exist in so many different configurations.

So I would appreciate it greatly if someone from the Scrivener team could explain to me why Alt-F|A - a keyboard shortcut that nearly universally means “Save As…” - instead corresponds to “Close All”. I’m lucky in that I haven’t set the “save every X seconds” to anything higher than 10, or I would’ve lost a LOT of work with that silly difference.

I realize this is not a big deal for most people. I get it. But I’ve accidentally closed my files four times today because of this ridiculous development error.

You can change keyboard shortcuts in the Options menu.

Options -> Keyboard then find the appropriate options you want to change the shortcuts for. Currently the Save As shortcut is Ctrl + Shift + S.

praetorian75 is talking about menu accelerator keys which are different than keyboard shortcuts. Shortcuts, when assigned, are shown in a column on the right hand of each drop-down menu. Accelerators are indicated by the underscore (_) under a single character in the menu item name. That includes the top level menu; just press ALT to see the underscores appear.

The CTRL-C, CTRL-V, etc. shortcuts are, in my opinion, only a defacto standard due to near universal copying.

I’ve never seen anything about there being a standard for menu accelerator keys and I think if there were it would be mentioned in any of the GUI builders and GUI tool kits I’ve used. I think it’s simply up to the developer to pick a non-conflicting character with some mnemonic meaning out of those available. Some menus don’t have all 26 alphabetics available which further reduces the possibilities.

Of course, there are some things developers can do, like not assigning accelerators to data critical functions.

I tried to hit ALT-F A and lose some text. I also tried clicking the menu item. Couldn’t make it happen even with the save delay set to 60 seconds. So I think your data is safe.


I’ve also been struggling with shortcuts. The interface for re-assigning them is not intuitive to me. For instance, I cannot delete a shortcut to free it for other purposes.

I agree with praetorian75 that there are certain Windows conventions that many users are used to:

Alt LeftArrow / RighArrow moves back and forth in the viewing history: From Firefox to Windows File Explorer to ConnectedText to many other software.
The Scrivener default for Alt Arrow keys, however, toggles toolbars. How many users keep toggling toolbars all the time? Contrasted to how many have a need to see the last viewed document for a quick check? Back and Forward, like in WIndows browsers.

Cloning the Mac will only benefit those who use both systems simultaneously. I don’t know how many there are. For the rest of us, who stick with one OS, I wish we had seperate branches that respect the habit pattern of each side.

Turn it around: What would Mac-users say if we told them: Think out of your box, we do things differently, Scrivener may not be for you, after all. A statement that I have read repeatedly in response to user suggestions, in addition to “everything here was peaceful until you Windows guys came along with your outlandish requests.”

I used Windows for many years before coming to Mac — as many others here did — so I can understand your dismay. And apologize for having contributed to it. Still, as you write

does seem to be exactly what you (plural) are saying to us.

A truce? I’ll try to ignore Windows comments, and you try to ignore Mac comments, at least until poor Keith has time to sort out the conflicts.


While I sympathize with the oddness of some of the shortcuts and accelerator issues, can the posters here please stop assuming it’s because of some Mac convention? I tried various equivalents of Alt-F|A last night, and this is what happened on the mac:

CMD-F = Find dialogue appears
CMD-A = Select all text/documents (depending on if I’m in a document’s text or in the binder)
ALT/OPT-F= Nothing happened
ALT/OPT-A= I think I ended up switching focus from one part of scrivener’s interface to another.
CTRL-F and CTRL-A… I honestly don’t remember, but it certainly didn’t close my project.

This is what I call “behavior conventions” of the software. They are mostly the way that you get to certain functions and features of the software. To contrast, the presence of a cork board view, or Document notes are what I just call “features”. Based on my experience with both versions of Scrivener, I don’t think the behavior of Scrivener is being cloned from the Mac, but the features are.

I just wanted to re-inforce what was mentioned in another response, I think: Closing a project should automatically save any unsaved work, no matter how long of a delay you put on the auto-save feature. If it’s not doing it, then please report it as a bug ASAP. It’s one of those things that Scrivener (but not other mac programs) has been doing for years, and is an intentional design element designed to minimize loss of data due to crashes (of the software or the OS), and it’s why Snapshot exist; so that you can always get back to a known good version of your text.

In other threads I disputed the clear-cut line between features and behavior. But here you are definitely right: Shortcuts are behavior.

Although - Windows Scrivener allows shortcut profiles. I consider that a feature, which the Mac-version does not have. And I am glad this feature exists, I am used to it from other applications and I appreciate Scrivener offering me this option, too.

Truce it shall be. I will skip over comments below the Windows belt line, and will try to refrain dealing out similar blows to the Mac-user-body. :smiling_imp:

This time 'round, I made sure that my definition of “behavior” was more clearly stated, to avoid the fuzziness your ascribed to the term.

If by that you mean the Options tab for keyboard shortcuts, the reason it’s not in Scrivener for Mac is because it’s something users can control system-wide, for any installed program. Poor Lee had to program that part, whereas Keith was able to leverage a Mac OS feature. I too am glad that Lee went to that effort, and look forward to the expansion of items that can be set up with custom short-cuts, if for no other reason than to override those annoying Windows-oriented Scrivener shortcuts. :wink:

Yeah, I am a fuzzy thinker, really am. :blush:
Don’t see any options tab, but I guess we’re talking the same thing: Being able to use different sets of saved shortcuts. I wasn’t aware the Mac had this centralized for each program. Guess it’s been too long I switched over (wanted to have the cool right mouse button so badly, and Mac at the time didn’t seem to ever introduce it)

I am glad too. Kudos to Lee, it is not easy to override some of the Windows stuff. I know a tiny bit about low level keyboard hooks etc, from using AutoHotKey and PhraseExpress.

What shortcuts are Windows-oriented? I’d like to know :question:

I was “fuzzily” referencing the tab in Tools->Options labeled “Keyboard”. :slight_smile: Are we talking about the same thing? If not, then I’m curious what nifty feature I’m missing out on.

Not that nifty, really, but extremely useful, to me at least: Profiles
At home I work on my natural keyboard (that curved thing with sloping keys that fit snugly under your palms). My laptop, however, small as it is, has this crazy layout with FN-keys, to get to missing stuff like Numpad, Home, End etc.

Well, thanks to profiles I can work fluently on both machines, without having to re-assign my shortcuts all the time. But I also use profiles in another way, which is too complicated to explain. I gotta sign off for today.

The real issue with the Alt-F|A “shortcut” for save as is that Scrivener for Windows has the ‘v’ of save underlined, so it becomes Alt-F|V.

“A” isn’t used as an accelerator on the Files menu, so it could be assigned instead of “V”

While most people call them shortcuts, they are used to navigate the menu, and rely on the correct letter to be underlined.

Microsoft used to have a “windows certification” program, which included a list of standard menu entries and their “accelerators” or underlined letters.

It would certainly be useful for those of us who are long time windows users to be able to navigate the menus in a standard way.

just my $0.02


Actually, there is a standard for these, yes. CTRL-C etc. were standardized by IBM in the early 1990s in their CUE, “Common User Experience” guidelines, later adopted and expanded by Microsoft and others. If I remember correctly, even things such as F1 as the standard help shortcut comes from it.

Additionally, Microsoft publishes a very detailed set of common rules in its Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines (also available as a 900-pages PDF file). There’s a section in there for keyboard usage with all kinds of recommendations, including lists of standard Ctrl-Something shortcuts as well as a table of standard keys for menus and dialog boxes (where “a” is indeed the recommended one for “save all” functionality).

I have no idea how much Scrivener for Windows follows those guidelines though, but the more the better. So, there’s an idea for future improvements.