I’m having some trouble figuring out how to set up my default styles. I’m trying to set different text colors for default vs strike through, but whenever I change one, the default goes back to black.
I’m basically trying to get a light text / dark background mode set up so I can tell if Scrivener will work for me, but the “Prefer an old-school green-text-on-black look?” mentioned on the site doesn’t seem to be a default preference set. If there’s a theme package I could down load for this, that would be great too.
Here are the steps I’m taking:
Select “preferences” then “text editing”
Click “set font”, click the text color box on the font dialog. Unselect the sample text (color doesn’t change unless I do this), click green on the color picker. The text changes to Green. I click apply.
Select ‘struck through’ from styles. Click on a red color, the text changes to red. Click apply.
Go back to ‘default’ on styles, text is back to black.
I’d really appreciate it if someone can clarify what I’m doing wrong here.
By selecting “Default” from the menu, you’ve actually reset the text to OS X’s default style, rather than changing Scrivener’s default. This is a little confusing, but the “Default” style in the Style menu of the ruler is different from Scrivener’s “Default Main Text Attributes”. The former is the system-wide setting for default text in things like TextEdit. The latter is the result of exactly what you see in the little preview window in the Preferences dialog. So as long as you get the text looking the way you want in that preview, you’re good to go in Scrivener, which overrides the Default style in the Style menu – text in any new document will look like that preview.
However, if you really want styles that are selectable from the ruler, you should get the text the way you want it in your Scrivener document, select it, choose “Other…” in the ruler’s Style menu, click on “Add to Favourites”, type the name of your new style. You can select whether it includes the ruler settings and/or the font settings of the currently selected text. OS X doesn’t allow you to actually edit styles in its text engine, which is incredibly annoying, but you can replace them by typing the name of the style you want to replace when you’re Adding to Favourites. I’m not sure you can replace “Default”, though – whenever I’ve tried, it doesn’t retain either the font or the ruler settings.
Uh, well, it’s more than a little confusing. Why not change Scrivener’s UI to call this what it is? Labeling it “Mac System TextEdit Default” (or something similarly obvious and descriptive) would save a lot of frustration for people like me and lauraw – and it’s a really easy fix that’s also (happily) in full accord with Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines. BTW, this Default OSX Text Style to which you refer? Does Scrivener mention how/where one configures that? It’s also very non-obvious. Is it being suggested that a newbie Scrivener user has to (know that they need to know how to) do that in TextEdit?!
This is where my next problem arises: I cannot get that weirdly anachronistic dialog to display what I want. Just like lauraw, I prefer the easy-on-the-eyes “amber text on black background”. I have old eyes that started staring at screens back when all you could get was amber/green on black, and guess what: that’s turned out to be the best ergonomic color scheme for your eyes! Problem is, there’s no way to “set” the BG Color in Scrivener’s Style dialog (and if you open the Font palette, it does not honor the BG Color change). You can set the BG color in the Preferences, but then it’s set for an entire Project (or globally for all Projects?) such that if you want a different BG color in one file out of hundreds in one project (like I have), or a different BG in another Project, you’re SOL.
So, not only do Scrivener users need the ability to bind all of the colors involved to a Style, we need portable Styles and we need a better UI for managing them. OSX’ Text Engine just does not seem to provide a professional tool like Scrivener with adequate capabilities. I suppose I’m preaching to the Choir on this one.
Of course, Scrivener could just support using BBEdit as an external editor for .txt files. At minimum: note at how BBEdit does this, because it’s absolutely the best config I’ve ever seen for this – which makes sense, because the various syntactical colors are critical in a programming environment or an XML/HTML editor. Related nit: Scrivener does not let me set a custom Text Highlight Color: since I want amber on black, this is a significant problem. Scrivener could have a nifty Text Color preferences layout like BBEdit’s and also store this value.
I’ve tried replacing the Default style, and the results are iffy: it seems to save, but it saves all of the Font attributes EXCEPT the Font Colors (text plus background colors), probably because Scrivener is relying on OSX text engine. This means I can’t use the Default style because the Default doesn’t “take” and I have to manually set each and every file to the right Style. There are already over 700 files in my Project. I think you can see why this is a bit frustrating.
A related Style problem: none of the “Styles” on my main Desktop machine appear when I open the same Project file on my laptop… I copied all of the Application Support files (Export Settings, Layouts) between both machines, but my Styles are all gone. OSX Text Engine you say? Styles, or at least additional Styles that are automatically added to the OSX set while Scrivener is launching, should be stored right inside the Scrivener Project file, so they appear consistently on both machines. To be consistent with the whole concept of a “Project”, all of its Styles, Layouts… everything should “stick with” that Project regardless of the machine on which you open it.
About Layouts: I’d like to save two different layouts inside the same Project file: one for my lilliputian laptop screen, the other for my supersized Studio Display. Ideally, if I open my Project on a 12" screen, Scrivener should remember the last time I opened that Project on that screen and open it with the 12" layout I’ve saved inside that Project. If I then remove the external storage device on which my Project is stored from my Laptop and connect it to my desktop Mac and open the project on my 30" screen, if I’ve saved a 30" Layout in that same Project, Scrivener should recognize where it is now and open the Project in that Layout.
The Point: some writers like me occasionally take their Projects along on Research trips or just away from their hovels to, y’know… get some solar radiation to charge the creative batteries, flog a dead editor by the side of the road or drink a mocha java badda-binga-frappa-dappacheeno-grande at the corner JavaCorp™ Office. I’m not asking that Scrivener should grind my beans or wipe the splortches off my screen, but it really should recognize easy stuff like where I am with it, and it should also make its Project metaphor inclusively store of all of the Stylistic and Layoutish bells and whistles that such mobile writers take the time to configure so patiently and for such good reasons. Non, mes amis?
It merely means KB having to write his own text engine, or like Nisus, spending several years writing modifications. Styles in the Apple Text Engine are common to all applications that use it, so if you set up a paragraph style in Scrivener, you’ll find that same style available in Yojimbo, Swift Publisher … a whole host of apps apart from TextEdit that use it. If you change the font, for instance, in one of the styles, any paragraph in that style in any other of the apps that use that style will also make the change.
As I believe he’s said, one of the advantages with the Apple Text Engine is that small developers like him don’t have to start by writing a text engine … they can produce a great app like Scrivener because Apple provides necessary underlying frameworks and engines; on the other hand, the disadvantages are being stuck with or having to cope with the limitations and the bugs in those frameworks and engines.
And then of course, he’d have to rewrite the whole app starting from the point at which Scrivener would recognise which individual machine it was being run on.
Seems to me that what you are calling for suggests you should think about changing over to Ulysses 2. I don’t use it, but from what I read, it sounds much more the sort of app you are calling for.
The underlying problem here is really the bloody awful implementation of styles in OS X’s native text engine, as xiamanese sort of says.
Keith’s right to stick with the OS X text editor though. It’s good enough for basic text writing and editing, which is what Scriv is based on. And in a way, it promotes a good workflow: do the text, then do the layout, because I suspect everybody gives up on the native styles system eventually.
So I am not much of an author, or even a writer, except in my own little dream world. But the styles and Ulysis threads got me wondering. I think the formatting aspect is best left out of scriv. Here’s why.
Scriv is about creative process, not finishing process.
Basic formatting does not require styles. cmd-i cmd-b etc.
The “default” style will let you work in a method that is pleasing.
Auto-complete will let you put MMD or other bulk processing tags in pretty simply.
I know that some folks have complex needs. Not arguing that. I just wonder if things like block quote really belong in the creative side of a project.
Now if scriv were really designed as a word processor, I think my argument would be completely bogus. As KB has said many time, scriv is NOT a word processor.
With respect, I disagree. You never describe the nature of the Projects that you are writing, but with 700 of them active, and your need for multiple colors/styles, and with the reference to BBEdit as a glorious alternative, I infer that you may be writing code and/or markup.
If so, many good text editors are available to do all those tricks. A friend recently recommended to me TextMate as a superior alternative to Scrivener. I didn’t agree, and I don’t think Scrivener can or should do what TextMate, or similar coding apps, do. Scrivener is for writing text forms like poetry, prose, or drama. Its use of styles, colors, etc. is pretty much governed by familiar usage in typography.