Side-by-side Paragraph and Character Styles Lists Possible ?

After almost a year, I still consider myself a newbie at Scrivener, and especially LaTeX, as I am constantly amazed at the software’s capabilities and expansiveness, both separate and together. Like in the movie I-Robot, I constantly try to remind myself to “ask the right question”. So often either Scrivener and/or LaTeX have an answer.

The flexibility within the Paragraph and Character Styles tools have over the past year become an area of increasing interest for me. As a result, the pull down list has become lengthly as I have added features that I constantly use:
[attachment=1]Long Styles Listing.png[/attachment]So the question I’ve asked myself is: Can Scrivener display the list of Paragraph Styles alongside the list of Character Styles (side-by-side), instead of in one long, continuous list, as envisioned in the bottom screen shot?
[attachment=0]Paragraph+Character Styles.png[/attachment]The Paragraph Styles and Character Styles tools are very powerful. Expanding on Scrivener’s Paragraph and Character Styles to develop homegrown tools to:

  1. Select different varieties of either Enumerated or Itemized lists simply by selecting an item from Paragraph Styles, and
  2. Automatically add complex entries and sub-entries to the LaTeX-generated Subject Index simply by selecting an item from Character Styles

have been invaluable both for myself as a writer, and hopefully for the reader. As I learn more about how to use Scrivener and LaTeX, I can imagine I will be adding more features to the Paragraph and Character Styles lists.

The side-by-side feature might not save an enormous amount of time. It would be helpful, however, to view –and select from– as many of the Paragraph Styles and Character Styles as possible all at once, particularly as I continue to add tools and features to the lists.

With such a powerful way to add tools and features to Scrivener, I would image others have already added their own tools and features to the Paragraph and Character Styles lists. Having side-by-side listings may help them navigate their homegrown lists of tools and features as well.

If such a feature is not currently available in Scrivener, is this a feature that might be worth considering for the next version of Scrivener?

Happy New Year!


P.S. Thank you to devinganger for suggesting I add this query to the Wishlist, (thereby confirming the feature is not available in Scrivener) ! :smiley:

I would also love a better way to organise and choose styles, though I’m not so sure splitting the current floating window vertically is the optimal solution. A floating panel is not so flexible when you want to use all the space available in the UI (split editor, inspector, binder etc.), as it always occludes something. And depending on the screen, horizontal space can be more valuable… Many other Word processors offer an integrated (as oppose to floating) styles panel as part of the UI, where a search field can dynamically filter what is seen, or a button can toggle different sets etc. but I think KB doesn’t like this design (I asked to be able to dock the styles panel into the Inspector during the Scrivener 3 macOS beta phase)…

One more “wild” option that doesn’t take up screen space is to expand the use of “Quick search”. Currently it applies to documents only, but an “omnisearch” like function has become a super popular UI motif. This started with Quicksilver OS-wide, but then became used within apps themselves. The wonderful text editor Sublime Text developed this, where you can “quick search” to toggle app features as well as select documents, like a command line to run menu and UI fuctions…

@nontroppo - Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions relating to the inquiry and suggestion I posted on L&L.

Hands down, KB’s software is beyond amazing, and I am in constant awe at what they have created. I pause each time I post a question on L&L, particularly as a ‘newbie’ to Scrivener.

My lack of overall knowledge of Scrivener is deep. For example, it was not until recently that I learned of the floating Styles Panel available via ^S. Although this does not obviate my suggestion, it provides a flexibility I was not aware of, as I have always used the easily available pull-down Styles listings and will likely continue to do so.

I jumped into Scrivener with essentially no prior knowledge of such an advanced writing tool. After a lifetime of education and experience, I have been focusing on the content of my writing which presents challenges apart from this amazing tool I have to work with. The combination of Scrivener and LaTeX is incredibly powerful, and I may be pushing the ‘feature set’ envelope. As such, if I am permitted to do so, I will sometimes ask uninformed questions, and possibly make naive suggestions.

I am working with a single, small screen that limits what I can view at a time, and is a large part of why I posted my suggestion to possibly streamline my work flow. I view the Styles list options as a way to leverage the power of Scrivener further. I look forward to adding more tools and features to the Paragraph and Character Styles lists, statistically increasing my access to the lists.

I agree with your assessment that you expressed of not being “so sure splitting the current floating window vertically is the optimal solution”. I have been in software, both as a user and developer, long enough to know there are many ways to present data on a screen. I also agree that any configuration “always occludes something” and I regret not including other thoughts for other options in my suggestion. My goal was to present the topic as a way to open a discussion on the:

  1. potentially powerful tools available to the user via the Styles lists,

and (as a result of having the option to add features and tools to the lists):

  1. possible alternatives on how to present possibly expanded lists on the screen.

My hope was to raise awareness of a unique and powerful Scrivener tool.

Thank you,

Hi scrive, I totally support your amazement about Styles in Scrivener 8) Unlike any other writing system, they enable not only in-editor visualisation, but provide flexible semantic “containers” that can be sliced, diced AND spiced at compile time! For those of us that use additional tools for final formatting this is brilliant…

UI is hard, and while KB is always open to suggestions he has a clear vision of what Scrivener should do (a good thing; software made by a “chef”, not by a cooking committee…)

My suggestions to optionally make the panel more permanent and add some filtering options (search bar, buttons to toggle between paragraph and inline styles etc.). As an alternative, I imagine a dynamic search that allows you to quickly apply any style as long as you can type in enough of its name, without rooting around in lots of onscreen UI (panels, dropdown menus and the like). An increasing number of apps contain such a flexible floating search interface, mainly led by text editors like Sublime and VS Code but even my preferred browser (Vivaldi) contains such a search tool.

Scrivener only allows you to assign up to 9 key accelerators, so this doesn’t scale up to larger numbers of Styles, however I find it hard to remember which keys I assign to which styles anyway. 3rd party apps like BetterTouchTool can apply any accelerator so this can help.

For reference here are some of the Style interfaces from several word processors, Libreoffice wins in terms of flexibility IMO (you can filter styles using buttons for different style types), but Scrivener’s UI is no worse than any of them I think. None of them allow placing paragraph and character styles next to each other. I like that Scrivener allows you to choose the split placement between paragraph and character styles, and has nice UI to navigate to the next style built-in.


For the floating UI, I image something like the UI when using ⌘⇧/ to access Help > Search, but floating and able to rank the results by “most used”

[attachment=1]Screen Shot 2021-01-05 at 08.07.58.png[/attachment]

For comparison, here is my browser “quick search” that combines document results (browser tabs) and program commands in a floating interface:

[attachment=0]Screen Shot 2021-01-05 at 08.01.38.png[/attachment]


Thank you for your latest work to assist me with the lists. I am just amazed at the level of support from yourself, as well as the larger Scrivener community.

It will take me some time to research all the options you’ve provided (I’m slowing down with age), and I am very grateful. At the same time, however, I am feeling a bit awkward at somehow having garnered so much of your time to the address the subject. Writing is such a time consuming issue for me, a condition I suspect is prevalent for other writers as well.

All the more reason why I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.
Stay safe!