Speeding up search within the manual

I’ve just installed 2.1 and I love it. Amazing update, and the updated manual is also greatly appreciated.

The manual is simply excellent. It’s clear and well organized. But there’s a problem: maybe because of the length of the document, the search is amazingly slow. And the navigation of the results is cumbersome and slow as well. There’s no mechanism for the user to quickly retrieve information about what’s within scrivener’s commands. For instance, I wanted to locate the new footnote marker function (great addition!!!) but it took me a few minutes to simply locate the setting under Project/Text preferences. The problem is not with the organization of the settings, but with lacking a mechanism to quickly retrieve information about scrivener’s commands.

I wonder if it’s possible to speed up in some way searches in the Manual, or if it’s possible to implement some other type of mechanism to search it.I imagine that search within the PDF manual is beyond your control. But maybe the manual can be put into some kind of notational velocity database that allows quickly retrieval of the information, or maybe it’s possible to expand the help search box functionality to locate settings buried in scrivener commands.

Thanks for such terrific program, for the attention to user feedback and the excellent user documentation!

Like you say, part of the problem is that it is a PDF file, so it’s up to the program you are viewing the PDF in to provide swift and useful searches, and some are better than others at that. Skim provides a good searching interface. It assembles a sidebar list, much like Scrivener’s project search feature, with a short excerpt of text around the match—that’s often enough to figure out if the search result is in the right area.

But speaking of Scrivener’s project search, if you don’t mind staring at a little MMD code, you could download the user manual as a .scriv project from the support page and use Scrivener’s organisation and searching features. The outline in the project is pretty much the outline in the PDF’s ToC, so you can look for material in much the same way you would using the PDF.

Thanks, Ioa. After upgrading to Lion, Preview search improved a lot. Not it lists snippets and is faster. Still, I think it’d be great to have a sort of Help file version of the manual, but I understand this is a huge undertaking and not a good use of resources!

It’s a very low priority, but it is also on my list of things to look in to, and a solution to that problem would probably be something of interest to the Mac development community in general. A way to compile a PDF and Apple Help using Scrivener+MMD would be nice for those that would like to support both tastes, without the horror of having to maintain two different manuals, or steeply compromising the quality of one for the other.