Too many preferences?

One thing I can’t seem to find discussion of is the preferences window. Granted, I’m sure you’ve had plenty of forum posts begging for more options to tinker with, but I for one find the preferences overwhelming. In this I mean I’m scared to touch anything lest I alter some precious default.

Fonts & Colors is particularly egregious: a pin tint opacity slider? Shadow meters? Colour preferences for every last pixel? How many writers spend that much time in cork board mode? Perhaps these options are best left buried, a la Adium’s theme editors. See attached.

The irony I suppose is that writers procrastinate a lot - tinkering in this window for hours on end suits them fine. The below discussion of icons is a perfect example of all the work writers aren’t doing. Get back to it!

FYI - I’m a huge fan of your work and in a short time I have pumped hundreds of thousands of words into (and out of) Scriv. The fact that I’ve done so without the need to tinker is a testament to a great product.

NOTE - Pictures attached are in reverse order
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Hi alexius,
I know the number of preferences is something that Keith is concerned about, and in fact I have seen him turn down some suggested features on the “no more room in the preferences tab” interface.

For most users I don’t think it is too much of a problem though - I set it up how I wanted it initially, and now I rarely venture into the preferences window at all.

Regarding corkboard: you will find there are many fiction-writing users who swear by it and use it all the time, others who don’t touch it and use the outliner, others who use neither.

Starting a new project with a lot of planning, I decided to try using the corkboard mode. I am using it fairly primitively compared to most, I am sure, but the very first thing I did was tint the cards on the corkboard, and slide the tint opacity right down so it wasn’t such a bright colour.

I think most preferences need to be in there at the moment.

As for being scared of changing the important ones - that is what the “reset to defaults” button is for!


You can also save sets of preferences using the Manage… pop-up button. There are a lot of preferences, but I have found that most users prefer more rather than less in this regard. And judging from the screenshots that people have posted in various circumstances, it seems that many make use of them too - with different coloured binders, text and so forth.

"The irony I suppose is that writers procrastinate a lot - tinkering in this window for hours on end suits them fine. "

You should think this out a bit more. The idea is to set the preferences the way you want to leave them, so you DON’T have to fiddle with them any more.

Also, I would bet there are loads of writers on this forum who are, at least, as productive as you seem to think you are.

I’m one of the users who likes having lots of choices.

Miles, I did not mean to upset anybody, I don’t think you sensed the jest nor the self-deprecation in my post. I also think you may have missed my point.

I love Scriv and I think I’ve provided valuable feedback: its preferences window is indeed the most crowded of the apps I use regularly. Think about it: Ghost notes opacity slider? Corkboard shadows meter? Right there in the main preference tabs?

I’m not disputing that these options are useful, miles, just that they might be better presented or laid out: I provided the example of Adium to this end.

I made my comment because I am a somewhat advanced Mac user and, while you seem to express doubt, in fact a very busy writer. Scrivener has most definitely helped my efficiency, not only in getting words down but in organizing large swaths of writing. But still to this day, I no sooner open the preferences window than I cower in fear of the sheer amount of choice!

I didn’t mean to affront those who enjoy their preferences, for that, miles, I apologize! :slight_smile:

I use and like Adium myself, and agree that it has a well-organized preference panel.

It also has only a tiny fraction of Scrivener’s functionality, so of course its preference panel is going to be simpler. If you look at the panels for similar applications, you’ll find a similarly vast array of options.


Wow. I’d certainly debate that about Adium. In fact I see more choices in Adium’s preferences than in Scrivener’s. Let’s remember that my point is not about quantity, rather organization.

Looking at other writing apps on my computer, Ulysses, Pages, let’s throw in Final Draft for good measure, I see “lighter” preference windows than Scriv.

Can you tell I take weekends off?

Note that I’ve already given the official answer. :slight_smile: I entirely agree that the preferences panel is a bit busy. It started off simple, but with various user suggestions and new ideas I kept on adding more and more preferences. (Nonetheless, there is no doubt in my mind that the opacity sliders do belong there.) I have taken your comments on board and may very well come up with a different way of organising them in the future (a list on the left rather than using a toolbar, for instance, so that there can be more cetegories and less in each one). However, it’s not likely to happen any time soon, because - as I’m sure you can appreciate - it’s a very low priority, given that it does its job and my main priorities right now are: 1) stability and 2) using Scrivener myself!

All the best,

As long as you don’t eliminate them, please?? I actually like the way things are and have gotten quite used to it (as other newer users will I’m sure). I myself do not find them to be a distraction from my writing! Nor do I find them at all confusing. Rather, they are a way to make Scr. even more tailored to my needs (both practical and aesthetic).

Just a small voice from one who would find it more of a hassle to have to deal with changes, which, btw, WOULD be a distraction from the writing process. :slight_smile:


My only request for Preferences is that you move the Label and Status Setup box into Preferences (along with the prefs about Labels and Status from the Fonts and Colors pane).

Although – I guess Preferences are universal, and Label and Status values/colors are on a per-project basis?

All I know is, I keep looking in the Preferences pane to set up the values for labels and status, and I have to keep reminding myself to look in the File menu!

Yes, that is the issue. It wouldn’t really make sense to put project specific settings in the global preferences area. That used to be called Project Settings a long time ago, but then it got minimised and now it is just labels and status set up. You can also get there via the drop-downs for label and status selection, in the project itself.

I also get confused whenever I need to rename Highlighter colors – going to Edit>Find>Find Highlighter isn’t really intuitive for me. A place to put all similar project settings (like labels, status, highlighter colors…) would be really nice.

2.0. Honestly, I’m not doing anything else to Scrivener for a while other than bug-fixing. As far as highlight colours go, though, it’s just easier to have them in the Highlight finder panel as it’s all in there anyway. It’s kind of a hidden feature. Scrivener is pretty good as it is - nit-picky minor refinements are going to have to wait until I’ve written my Novel.

EDIT: Re-reading my reply, it seems a little grumpy. Sorry about that, I didn’t mean it that way: I wrote it after having come back from a tiring day traipsing around a river with my class. :slight_smile:

All the best,

Our house is waiting to hear the dates for an OFSTED, so I am about to discover the true meaning of ‘grumpy’.

These issues are something I’d like you to look at… whenever you get around to it. No worries.

Diane –

Please think about what Alex said:

Those of us comfortable with Scrivener as is will be seriously unsettled if suddenly we have to re-learn how to use it.


pssstt!! Phil!

does this remind you of any of the women in your life? Sounds shockingly like my wife’s way of telling me to do something, by yesterday:shock:

[quote…"These issues are something I’d like you to look at…

double spacing for reading in-between

whenever you get around to it. No worries."…end quote.]… as long as you do it! (soon) :open_mouth: :open_mouth:
:unamused: :unamused:

And there are those of us who like Scrivener a lot and are seriously unsettled because we have to look for various things in different and quite frankly unintuitive places.

And vic-k: yes, I’m just one of those uppity women, I’m afraid.

So… you are both intuitive and uppity? They’re not exactly antithetical, but the combination is a bit unusual.

Perhaps we should conduct a poll. Do Scrivener users want Keith to start juggling preference patterns and locations?

Next, of course, we’d have to have a poll on where to move them.

Then one on what to call them.

And when we’ve come to agreement on how Scrivener must be reconfigured, we’ll mass our troops with torches and placards and bullhorns, and march to Keith’s humble abode to demand…

I’m sorry. Sort of lost control there. Think I’ll nip downstairs for a nip. Or a nap.



Pass me a bullhorn, Phil. I’m with you on this one: I use Scrivener every day for my work. I don’t want extra features and I don’t want to have to learn new ways of doing things before I can get on with writing. Occasionally I procrastinate by trying out new software like many others on this forum, but when I’m working I don’t want to be distracted – and that’s why I bought a Scrivener licence in the first place.

Thanks, Keith. It’s a great program for writers – and I hope you’ll be one of us very soon.