Shortcut to move paragraph up or down ?

Does Scrivener have a shortcut to move a paragraph up or down (the way MS Word does)?

No, you’d need to use cut and paste for this, although that’s pretty easily done with the keyboard. If you’re rearranging paragraphs frequently, you might consider splitting them into their own paragraph-length documents (and then viewing them together in Scrivenings); you can then just drag an drop the documents in the binder to get them into the order you want. A lot of academic or non-fiction writers use Scrivener with their manuscript broken down to this level since it also allows you to apply keywords, notes, and other meta-data to individual paragraphs.

I came to the Forum specifically to ask this same question. I got my answer.

So now I’m lodging a feature request. PLEASE add a command for moving paragraphs up or down, and assign a keyboard shortcut (probably something with the arrow keys). This is something I used to do in Word all the time. Now that all my serious writing jobs are done in Scrivener, I really miss this feature.

It’s impractical for me to put every paragraph in a separate document because I move paragraphs of notes, partial outlines, and scraps of text up and down constantly to get the right order. In Word, I move whole sentences between paragraphs by splitting them into paragraphs, moving up or down, then deleting the paragraph marks. It’s easier and faster than selecting the sentence and cutting and pasting. I have it all assigned to keystrokes and can move things around very fast–which is how I write.



You can do it!
See … 59#p272959

Yeah, in Scrivener 3.

There is a way to move paragraphs up and down on the Mac in standard text program (even Scrivener 2). It involves changing a text file in the Library (see below for details).

The problem for Windows is that it’s a lot less flexible in the way it deals with keyboard entry (except that the Alt+letter process is sensible and I wish the Mac would adopt it…) – so this sort of thing has to be baked into programs in a way that often isn’t necessary on the Mac.

In case anyone’s interested on how to add shortcuts for basis text editing to all Apple Text based programs, you need to edit the file ~/Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict (creating the folder and the file if they’re not there already.

You can then add lines to this file such as:

// move line Up "^@k" = (selectParagraph:, setMark:, deleteToMark:, moveLeft:, moveToBeginningOfParagraph:, yank:, moveLeft:, selectToMark:, moveLeft:); // move line Down "^@j" = (selectParagraph:, setMark:, deleteToMark:, moveToEndOfParagraph:, moveRight:, setMark:, yank:, moveLeft:, selectToMark:);

These bind ctl-cmd-k and ctl-cmd-j to 'move the paragraph up and down respectively (I like vim keybindings…). [^ is Ctl, @ is Cmd (you can also use ~ for opt. For shift you simply use the capital letter rather than the lower case one.]

While I don’t use these bindings anymore (because Scrivener 3 makes them unnecessary), I use this method to add / override some basic keybindings that you can’t get at using the standard System Preferences method.

Eg: I use the vim bindings ctl-f and ctl-b for page up / down (useful on a laptop keyboard), as well as opt-w and opt-b for forward and back a word etc. Two I’ve found useful are to add shortcuts for therefore ∴ and because ∵, which I’ve bound to opt-1 and opt-9 respectively.

Anyhoo… I’ve not given the full steps here as there are several wrinkles – if you are interested, then you’ll find some good examples by searching for DefaultKeyBindings.dict. The reference page is at

Hope this is interesting and/or useful for somebody…

Huh? :open_mouth:
Splitting the text in small documents to make it easier to shift it around is sort of the basic idea of Scrivener.
Why is that impractical?

This could be done with an Autohotkey macro, but since it’s coming in Scrivener 3 it might not be worth the effort. If there’s an urgent need for it, let me know and I’ll take a shot at it.

“Huh? :open_mouth:
Splitting the text in small documents to make it easier to shift it around is sort of the basic idea of Scrivener.
Why is that impractical?”

Because Scrivener is NOT designed to have a document for each paragraph or sentence. This would entail thousands of documents and rapidly become unwieldy.

It wouldn’t, because the paragraphs would be organised in bigger chunks, which in turn could be organised in bigger parts. It really doesn’t matter if you have lots of sub-documents because you can view them as one single entity using scrivenings view and you can collapse and expand the Binder and Outline view as you please.
Kepping track of the thousands of sub-documents is Scriveners job. That’s the big difference compared to Word, where everything is one long single document, so you really need something to make it easier to manipulate chunks of text.

I’d agree that the design of Scrivener is not built around paragraph sized chunks. It can certainly handle that level of detail where it makes sense to (and in fact we recently made some adjustments to the compiler that would allow for sentence-level chunking, though that would surely have only niche uses). The user manual project has areas, many hundreds of items large, with nothing but paragraph sized chunks (the entire menu appendix for instance). It has other areas with rather long sections. I use the outline depending on what the content demands.

But on the other hand, to suggest Scrivener crumbles at thousands of items and that such becomes unwieldy—I wouldn’t go that far at all. :laughing: In my experience the quantity of items use in the draft folder has very little to do with now navigable or readable the text it represents can be. There is no point where having lots of items truly becomes unwieldy. I’d say if anything that degree of optional granularity and scale is one of this program’s great strengths.

If anywhere it does become unwieldy is perhaps the opposite: those trying to work with large Word size files instead of breaking things up a bit further.

Because I don’t want to use CONTROL-TAB (to go to the binder), then ARROW UP/DOWN (to select the document’s paragraph), then CONTROL-COMMAND-UP/Down (to move the document’s paragraph up or down), then CONTROL-TAB (to go back to the text) every time I just want to move a single paragraph… (what is the topic of this thread).

Fortunately, CONTROL-COMMAND-UP/DOWN does the job :smiley:

Easy Amber, I am well aware of Scrivs excellent handling of detail and large numbers of files. I have projects with huge amounts of documents. I am referring to it being unwieldy for the user to produce and handle projects broken into such small units. Yes, I make full use of search, keywords, collections ect which are great but any project becomes unwieldy for the user, not the program, when breaking it ALL into tiny parts as Iunk suggested. Maybe it would work for fiction but I imagine even that would become cumbersome.

I have a use case where splitting a text into “paragraph” size chunks is extremely helpful.

Some of the translation tasks my collaborator and I work on need to be in the form of text in Chinese, text in English, text in Chinese, text in English. It would be possible to treat it as a single document, just typing the relevant translation below each chunk of Chinese … in fact that’s what she does in her initial translation. However, that makes it very difficult to read the English through as a continuous text to check for wording and style inconsistencies and cohesion and coherence.

So on receiving the project with her initial translation, I split it up so that every chunk is its own document; even a heading of a couple of characters/words becomes a separate document. Each document is labelled “English” or “Chinese” as appropriate, and I set up collections on that basis. The “English” collection is opened in one editor in Scrivenings view, the Chinese collection in the other. If either of us wants to have only one paragraph to work on in the editor with the relevant Chinese open in the other, that too is possible and has its advantages. When we’ve finished working on it, the binder is already in the correct interleaved order, so it is simply a matter of compiling the draft.

I admit that we haven’t had to do it for anything of novel or doctorate thesis length, but being able to work in collaboration like that is one of the main reasons I got her onto using Scrivener.


Very interesting, Mark!