Some keyboard shortcuts not working

I’ve just switched from Windows to Mac and am learning the new Scrivener shortcuts. But, they seem to be pretty messed up. Intermittently so, of course.

In the binder, moving docs up and down, pro/demoting them is fine. But, the plain arrow keys only occasionally will move through the binder docs. Part of the time it highlighted the Mac apple up at the top. I closed and reopened the program and now the up arrow will work but the down arrow won’t.

Tab is supposed to move focus but it does nothing.

This is pretty critical for a keyboard addict. Any ideas what I might be doing wrong? Or is it just a bug?


On a Mac, when it comes to keyboard navigation there are two choices (available at the bottom of the “Shortcuts” tab of the Keyboard system preference pane:

  1. Text boxes and lists only
  2. All controls

The latter will open up the Tab key considerably. In my experience it doesn’t always get everywhere, but once you figure out where it does go and how to get from one element to another, it’s a vast improvement to the Mac experience, as a keyboarder anyway. It will also open up keyboard input in dialogue boxes, such as placing a secondary highlight on the “Replace” button with the primary default highlight on “Cancel”. The spacebar is used to trigger controls (I think that’s the same as Windows).

As for highlighting the Apple menu—I’m not sure precisely what happened there, but that definitely isn’t normal behaviour by any stretch—I’ve never even heard of anyone hitting the UpArrow button and ending up with keyboard focus on the Apple menu, so that’s all a bit bizarre to me. Do you see this inconsistent behaviour in any other sidebar style programs? You could also check in the “Keyboard” section of that same system preference tab. There is a hotkey entry for moving keyboard focus to the main menu. Maybe some wires are crossed with those settings.

One last thing to take a look at within this tab is the “App Shortcuts” tab. In here you can customise keyboard shortcuts for virtually all software so long as the feature has an exposed menu command. We have some tips for setting up custom shortcuts on our knowledge base.

Oh, and Scrivener does also have a built-in pane navigation tool, Ctrl-Tab (actually Windows has that as well). That’s completely separate from the OS level control navigation capability.

I think I did a lousy job of describing the focus problem. I think it’s what you refer to as the pane navigation too that I can’t get to work. I wasn’t trying to navigate the Apple menu bar.

According to the Scriv manual, I should be able to move between binder, editor and inspector with just the Tab key. I did try the ctrl-tab as you suggested and that only seemed to work in the editor, toggling focus to and from format bar.

I did indeed have the All Controls box checked, but I didn’t know about the App Shortcuts option - that’s going to come in handy when I figure the rest of this out, and the tip link you included, too!

And, no, I don’t seem to be having sidebar problems in other programs. And, I’ve rebooted, so I guess I may as well reinstall Scrivener, it’s simple enough.

Thanks for the tips!

Yes, it might be worth trying a simple reinstall. For whatever reason, sometimes things don’t copy over correctly from the install “disk” and it can cause weird things like this. A reboot, if you haven’t for a while, could also help.

Okay, maybe I misunderstood what you meant about the UpArrow key taking you to the Apple menu, but my tip to check the assigned shortcuts was to make sure they hadn’t been set to something easy to trigger accidentally, like “Shift-UpArrow” (it is perfectly valid to do that, but will break basic selection system-wide if you try!:)), I should have made that more clear.

Regarding expected Ctrl-Tab behaviour, yes it only cycles between the three main content and organisation views: Binder, Editor and Other Editor (if split). It will also transport the cursor to main editor split when called from an area of the project window outside of that cycle, such as the Inspector.

As for getting to that, there is a whole set of shortcuts for targeting specific panes, or moving the focus there if that pane is already showing. Check out §19.11, Advanced Inspector Keyboard Usage, starting pg. 278 in the user manual for details, but it’s pretty straight-forward.

By the way, where did you read in the manual that just Tab rotates between views and that the Inspector was among them? I’d like to fix that, but the only mention I can think of is in the menu appendix, which correctly states ^Tab (Ctrl-Tab) as the shortcut and otherwise reads correctly to me.

Sorry I dropped the ball here. Don’t know where I read that tab key moves between editors and inspector. I probably just missed that it’s ctrl-tab…

No worries! I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t a typo.

There’s a small Mac app called KeyCue that I’ve found very helpful when learning keyboard shortcuts in the early days of using a new piece of software.

Wow, great tip, thanks! Going to have to spring for this even though I’m cheap, lol.

I’ve set up Scrivener keyboard shortcuts successfully in the past [in Apple Preferences Keyboard] but, for some reason I can’t get one for “Append Selection to Document” [to get the pull-down menu]
I’ve tried:
“Edit->Append Selection to Document” [the form I use for my other shortcuts]
“Edit>Append Selection to Document” [just in case]
“Append Selection to Document” [alone, again just in case]
I’ve tried various keyboard combinations for the shortcut. And I’ve rebooted. And I’ve made sure my other Scrivener shortcuts work.
Clues? Something obvious?

There isn’t actually a command there that you would be targeting with your shortcut, so I am not sure what it is you’re trying to do. It would be like adding a shortcut to the Edit ▸ Copy Special ▸ submenu.

Thanks. That’s what I thought but I was sure I did it once.
The point would be that the shortcut would pull down the menu while you pointed and clicked the file you wanted to append to. Would probably save about .001 seconds. Thanks.

Yeah, that would be nice! Unfortunately I don’t think the Mac supports that capability—at least I’ve never seen it in native programs. The few places where Scrivener does that are all hard-coded, like the Styles shortcut (Shift-Cmd-Y). I don’t think it would be very easy or even possible to make a generalised system where you could select your own custom submenu to bring up (and you may note that style menu isn’t even the Styles submenu verbatim, like I say, it’s hard-coded).

Hmm, I was going to suggest searching for the name of the binder item you want to target, via the search tool in the Help menu (⇧⌘?), but alas, that actually moves keyboard focus out of the editor, and thus disables the append menu. Normally that’s a useful technique for accessing these types of functions.

So the only keyboard-only approach I can think of is with a third-party tool that lets you bind a shortcut to trigger the contextual menu. That does exactly what you want. If you use BetterTouchTool, copy the following, and paste it into the keyboard shortcuts area for Scrivener:

[ { "BTTTriggerType" : 0, "BTTTriggerClass" : "BTTTriggerTypeKeyboardShortcut", "BTTPredefinedActionType" : 162, "BTTPredefinedActionName" : "Trigger Context Menu Item", "BTTTriggerContextMenuPath" : "Append Selection to Document", "BTTAdditionalConfiguration" : "8650753", "BTTEnabled2" : 1, "BTTKeyboardShortcutKeyboardType" : 40, "BTTUUID" : "2F286320-B003-48FA-980E-19CE7082F34A", "BTTTriggerOnDown" : 1, "BTTNotesInsteadOfDescription" : 0, "BTTLayoutIndependentChar" : "F9", "BTTEnabled" : 1, "BTTModifierMode" : 0, "BTTShortcutKeyCode" : 101, "BTTShortcutModifierKeys" : 8650752, "BTTOrder" : 1, "BTTDisplayOrder" : 0, "BTTAutoAdaptToKeyboardLayout" : 0 } ]

Because that 0.001 seconds matters!

I know it has been a long time since this was first posted but in case someone else is looking for this info I was able to assign a shortcut that pops the dialogue box for appending a new document.
Edit->Append Selection to Document->New…
I found it was those 3 dots that made all the difference. Without them it doesn’t work. The shortcut title really does have to be exactly as it appears in the application. I assigned Command+D and now the select location box pops up like magic!

I attached a Scrivener Keyboard Shortcuts Cheatsheet I found which came in handy when I was looking to reassign a shortcut.

I have received so much help from this forum I hope this helps someone else out there!

Scrivener v3.1.5
Mac OS Catalina, 10.15.4
scrivener shortcuts cheatsheet.pdf (234 KB)