Symbols and superscript/subscript improvements

As a science writer, I have to type a LOT of Greek letters, and subscript/superscript for chemical formulas. I would prefer to do it in Scrivener, rather adding them all after exporting to Word. However, I find the current systems in Scrivener bothersome.

For Greek letters in Scrivener, you have to go to Edit->Character Map, manually search for the correct symbol in the list, copy the symbol, and paste it into the text. In Word, you would go to Insert->Symbol, and choosing Greek and Coptic as subset greatly speeds up the searching. Also, the most frequently used symbols panel in Word makes re-using a letter much easier.

For superscript and subscript in Scrivener, you have to use Ctrl+G and up/down arrows. In Word, there are buttons in the ribbon for these, and there are also the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+Shift++ or Ctrl+Shift±, which I find faster to type (1 key press instead of 2).

Is it possible to improve how symbols are inserted, and make it easier to type in subscript/superscript? These are probably the only things stopping me from purchasing a Scrivener licence!

Scrivener uses the Windows Character Map tool for accessing symbols, so that’s all handled by the OS, but you can pin it to your taskbar for easy access from Scrivener or any other program. I don’t have Windows open at the moment to verify exactly what the options are, but you should be able to extend the symbols dialog to show “Advanced” options or something like that, which I think will let you search or sort a little better.

Something you might want to look into is using a text expander to add your Greek characters–you can set those up to work in different programs and act as substitutions, so if you type one thing it will immediately replace it with the correct symbols. There some free options out there (AutoHotKey, I think maybe PhaseExpress for non-commercial users) as well as paid ones. It would be additional software, but it may be handy for you not just in Scrivener but in other programs, and not just for adding the Greek symbols. It may be more than you want of course, but you should be able to at least get a free trial and see if it might be useful.

For superscript and subscript, you can choose Tools > Customize Toolbars to add the buttons to the format bar, and you can change the keyboard shortcuts in the Keyboard tab of Tools > Options.

Thanks for the quick reply! Adding the character map to the taskbar and adding subscript/superscript to the quick access toolbar are good ideas. I couldn’t find these suggestions in the manual, maybe they could be added?

Another technique is to keep a Project Notes sidebar up, and a collection of your most favored doodads within reach for copy and paste. No Greek among mine: :slight_smile: ≠ █ ⟰ ⧠ .

(The Project Notes pane is also an excellent place to hold your standard rulers. Just add lines of text, ruled as you like. Copy one, and run “Paste Ruler” in the editor to give table contents a preferred indent, for example.)

– Jerome