User Dictionary for each project


I’ve read the posting rules (the terse and the long winded version) and searched for dictionary suggestions.

I’m not sure if it would be useful to many people besides myself, but I was thinking that a user dictionary for each project might be useful.

With such an option, I could allow Scrivener to learn special words in each different story, reducing the chance of error that occurs with one generic user dictionary.

Not sure how much trouble that would be, as you’d have to tinker with the UI and manage each dictionary. Probably a lot.

But anyway, that’s my only suggestion and the only thing that I’ve wanted to improve after using the program for several years now.

All the best,


A project-specific ‘dictionary’ would be especially handy if could be compiled as a glossary to be included in the front matter. Or, conversely, if the spellchecker could be flagged to look for such a glossary in addition to the standard dictionary. Extremely handy for sci-fi/paranormal worlds, military/medical jargon and acronyms, and historical/foreign language dialogue!

Yes, definitely want this. Each of my novels will have its own set of words that I don’t want flagged. Character names, special words (especially for Science Fiction and Fantasy).

But each fresh work needs to start from scratch - if I invent a word such as “scubbie” for Novel A, it should still be flagged if I accidentally use it in Novel B.

Also relates to my wish list post where I’d just like to be able to extract a list of words not in the dictionary.

The following thread in the Windows forum gives a possible work-around that may interest you: … 30&t=33538

As for the main issue here, I’m not anything to do with Lit&Lat, merely someone who’s been using Scrivener for Mac from when it was in pre-release beta in 2006, nor am I a programmer, but my impression is that if it was easy to implement separate user dictionaries it would probably have been done. Mind you, any issues will be different on the Mac, I imagine, and it may be easier to do on Windows. However, LAP and Tiho_D still have a lot to do to bring the Windows version up to parity with the Mac version, so other things may be more of a priority.

Mr X

Useful link!

In which case (speaking as a programmer) most of the logic is in place, and Scrivener simply needs to be modified to store the wordlist.ini file in the xxxx.scriv folder (or a subfolder thereof) instead of at %LOCALAPPDATA%\Scrivener\Scrivener\wordlists.ini

That’s something that needs to be made backward compatible, so you’d need a settings check box to choose the old behaviour (unchecked, default) versus the new behaviour (checked, explicit choice)

So, pretty please L&L …

I think this is a genuinely interesting suggestion.

There may be some technical business to juggling together the Scriv-global and a project-local list, since it is likely one doesn’t want to do away with the global one.

And while that might be possible for Windows, things may well be different on the Mac—the dreaded word ‘sandboxing’ comes to mind—which would perhaps create problems for those who work across platforms. But then I’m no programmer, merely a very long time member of the Scrivenerati.


Mr X

I would also like to see multiple user dictionaries but not necessarily project specific (although I like that idea, too). I also write Science Fiction/Fantasy/Speculative Fiction and I’m also a Conlanger (someone who creates constructed languages).

I will often create a language that may have several hundred to several thousand words for a particular group of people in my story. It would be nice if I could create a new dictionary for this constructed language. I could then use it across multiple projects that feature the same people by selecting it in a list of dictionaries I want to use in my project.

I could see it as surfacing an interface that allows you to set up a “named” dictionary file like the ones that appear in the list in the Options dialog and allowing the user to select multiple dictionaries to use. For example, let me put a check box next to English and my constructed language dictionary in the list and the program would use both dictionaries. There might need to be a reasonable limit on the number of dictionaries you’d be allowed to select, though.

That would allow project specific dictionaries (just create a new named dictionary for each project) and language/setting specific dictionaries for multiple projects (but not every one).

What do you think?


Multiple user dictionaries are possible using Spell Catcher, but this may not be a viable option since it is regrettably no longer being developed (although it does still work in OS 10.9, and this is the main reason that I am sticking with 10.9 for as long as I can).

Apparently I didn’t use the correct search terms to find this topic when I was looking (I used “personal dictionary”) but I could greatly use such a feature myself. Currently I’m using OpenOffice for my writing, because it has this feature. Also, I just did a web-check and it is still labeled as open-source. This means that you can legally go in, look at the code for how it handles user defined dictionaries, and utilize said code in your own program. Yes, you have to give credit to the developers of OpenOffice for utilizing that particular feature, but it is the only highly useful feature from OpenOffice that (for me) is lacking from Scrivener. I do find it rather sad when people don’t make proper use of open-source tools.

Yes, I could just go into the files on my computer and copy out the user dictionary file and then switch it around on an as needed basis for each project (creating new ‘blank’ ones to start with when needed), and I have done similar things with other programs in the past, but it is the fact that Scrivener hasn’t included the feature when there is an open-source set of code for the feature available to utilize that has been around for several years (at least since 2009, which is when I first started using OpenOffice) that bothers me. I’d think that surely someone would’ve filled them in, especially when they do such a great job with importing .odt files (Open Document Text, the default format used by OpenOffice which, although I’m having problems finding confirmation for this, I do believe was developed partially for the OpenOffice program suite). Oh, and OpenOffice is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, so right there you most likely have the specific code variants needed for each platform.

editAnd after originally posting this I went over to the “Wish List” board to post a thread there, mentioning the bit about OpenOffice, and low-and-behold here’s the thread I’d just posted in. Someone posted a link to it for me in a thread of a similar theme that I started elsewhere (I didn’t know it wasn’t directly supported, so I was asking for help how to utilize it). Now I guess I just need to periodically step in and ‘boost’ the thread until I either get booted from the forum or we get a statement as to whether or not the feature is coming.

It’s Sunday and we don’t have an official reply to this feature yet. Time to bump the thread.

That is an amazingly entitled post. I think you have managed a stunning run up to first place in the “most amazingly entitled post I’ve seen on the L&L forums” race.

True, it had been only five days, but without this feature Scrivener is just an over-priced ebook compiler for me. Of course, considering what I’ve seen on Calibre’s website about Calibre I’m not interested in attempting to use it unless I run out of trial days with Scrivener and still don’t have the finances to purchase a full copy. The thing is, this tread itself is pushing two months old, and yet we don’t have an official post in here from the dev team about the possibility of this feature happening, and I flat out stated in the previous post that I was going to keep bumping this thread regularly until I did get a response from them. I’d hardly call that an “amazingly entitled post” when I had said I would regularly bump the thread until I got a response form the dev team or I was banned from the forum, whichever came first, once a week bumps isn’t all that “entitled”.

If you don’t like it then report me to the mods or admins and have them ban me, or if you can contact the dev team then get them to post as to whether or not they will consider adding this feature so that those of us who work on several different kinds of projects and could really use having a user dictionary for each project know whether we have to use the pain-in-the-ass file swap method for the rest of Scrivener’s existence or if we’ll eventually get the feature officially added. That’s all I’m asking for, whether or not this feature will ever get added. I’m still planning on buying a full copy of Scrivener some day, and once I do so even though I will detest having to use the pain-in-the-ass file swap method I will just so that I don’t have to import my story from OpenOffice .odt files just to compile it for submission. As OpenOffice does support this feature I am currently using it.

If you do some searching around the forums, you’ll see that you’re not the first person who raised this topic, and the devs have weighed in on it. The whole concept of “if you don’t respond I’ll keep bumping” is the entitled bit.

Although I believe that this thread would benefit from more politeness in tone and also that Scrivener is a terribly useful tool even without this feature, there is a true core in what Razmoudah says.

Technically the feature is a no-brainer, because whether Scrivener takes two dictionaries into account (normal and personal) or three or more (which then could reside in the project folder or whatever locations the user chooses) does not make a big difference.

However small, this would be a new feature and it must fit within the targeted release cycles. But nevertheless I would also wish that the mods gave better feedback on posts suggesting reasonable features. And, while I am at it, and which I find even worse, is that none of the bugs reported since version 1.9. has made it into a bug fix so far. Quite a few bugs did not even get an answer from the mods. This is really frustrating and I cannot understand how this disrespect for bug notifications and feature suggestions goes together with the otherwise very helpful posts on usage problems.

Sometimes a simple “thanks, we have put this bug on our to-do list and it will be addressed in the upcoming bug fix” or “thanks for your suggestions, we will consider it / not consider it because…” would do.

I’ll admit that I’m not the most patient person in the world, but I did do a search for “personal dictionary” to try and get help with selecting an active personal dictionary so that I could have one for each writing project. When I didn’t find any help for that I started a thread for help with it, as the only threads I was finding were old enough for it to be reasonable for the feature to have been added. It was only when someone posted a reply to that thread mentioning this thread, and its request for such a feature, that I came over here to ask for it as well. Now, I’m a new member of the forum, who literally joined just to ask for that help regarding a feature I was unaware wasn’t implemented (because to me it is just too basic and important of a feature for a word processor targeted towards those who may work on highly varied writing projects to not be implemented), so I really don’t care if I get banned at this point. Also, you’re mentioning the fact that this feature has been brought up several times before would be significantly more important if they had a stickied thread listing features that had been suggested, indicating which ones have been implemented, which ones are coming (preferably with progress indicators), and which ones won’t be implemented with the reason why. If there are several threads asking about something there are two basic reasons for it, the forum mod(s)/admin(s) doing a poor job of organizing the requests and creating a quick/easy reference thread for things (preferably one that is locked so only the mod(s)/admin(s) can post in it to keep it clutter free) or the question being something so basic, and yet possible to be phrased in many different ways, that it should’ve had a stickied answer a long time ago but no one has gotten around to answering it.

Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease, sometimes the nail that sticks out gets hammered, but right now I’m intending to make a weekly nuisance of myself until I’m either labeled a squeaky wheel or a nail that needs hammered. You, devinganger, with your rather decided inability to post links to these other threads you mentioned, are coming across more as the local troll whose mere existence is to irritate people until they decide it’s not worth putting up with you so they stop coming around, which is a great way to make sure people bad mouth Scrivener and the other software supported here. Now, if you’ll post a link to where the devs have weighed in on this I’d appreciate it. Also, by the time I posted in this thread I knew I wasn’t the first to raise this topic, as this thread in and of itself is older than I’ve been a member, I just didn’t find a relevant thread when going through the first three pages of results I got under what I did search for, and for me that is being extremely patient as I don’t normally go half-way into the second page of results. I made an exception here because the majority of the results linked back to the same thread. Besides, if this was a forum where it only got a handful or three of posts a week I wouldn’t bother bumping the thread more often than once a month, but I have been on forums in the past where if you didn’t bump the thread it would get lost and you’d never get your response.


They’re actually talking about something different in that thread, but that answer likely holds true for this req as well.

It’s not my job to do your research for you, but in this case, I’ll Google that for you.

Try searching for “dictionary per project”.

Some topics I do help with, but I tend to reserve my help for the posters who don’t ooze entitlement out of every orifice and show that they’re at least trying to learn on their own. Announcing up-front that you’re going to bug the devs until you get an answer isn’t some cute new courtesy – it’s being a bully. And I hate bullies.

Wanted to loop back and address this bit. I don’t know if we’ve heard that there are going to be any upcoming bug fix releases for the 1.9 branch, or at least had any timeline for them. My impression from the hints KB has dropped is that the Windows dev team is busily working on the major upgrade (3.x) which will help get Windows much closer to parity with the also-forthcoming Mac upgrade (3.x).

If that’s the case, they may simply not have bandwidth (or they may have made an executive decision) to address 1.9 bugs when major chunks of code are getting re-written (just upgrading to the newer version of the Qt framework is probably a pretty major undertaking, given that’s when the Windows version gets a multi-editor/scrivening capability more in line with the Mac, if I remember correctly).

And given how some users around here insist on pissing in the well regarding estimates and tentative timelines, I’m not surprised that we’re seeing silence on any of this.

Just some food for thought and ruminations based on putting bits and pieces together…

Thank you, SarsenLintel, for giving me a useful and informative post. Although it doesn’t give me an explicit answer on this specific topic it does give me an effective answer. Until such time as MacOS whatever’s internal dictionary support supports having multiple user-defined dictionaries it is an unrealistic expectation for the Windows version. Having someone around who actually knows what exactly to look for, and is willing to post the relevant quotes and links, is very helpful, especially for those of us who don’t have the time, and for some inclination, to wade through what must have been the rough equivalent of two years worth of topic results when you can only get them ordered by relevance (which isn’t always relevant if you used the wrong keywords) or date. Now that I have my answer I can let this thread sink into the murky depths of obscurity.

@ devinganger: No, a bully threatens to pursue legal action and/or bad mouth the product everywhere they can on the internet until they get an answer. Although I’ve only shared my opinion in two locations, here on the official forums and on the forum where I learned of Scrivener, in both I stated it was a wonderful tool, even if it did lack the single most useful feature of the program I am using to type up my serial, and I will gladly recommend it to others who are pursuing a writing career, along with a nice .txt copy of the instructions for swapping out the user-defined library file so that they can have multiple user-defined libraries for working on projects in multiple settings. Now that I have my answer I am content to let this thread sink into the murky depths of obscurity until the next person comes and asks this question. Of course, I probably won’t be here, or at least being active, when that time comes so I’ll just have to hope that someone other than you gets to them first to provide help. And if you want to know why the information SarsenLintel provided works for me, it is because I studied computer programming years ago, and actually understand many of the difficulties in designing and implementing complex features as well as the desire to make use of a helpful tool that enhances inter-application support that is already available on a platform. I now release you to go and troll someone else, maybe you can succeed at turning them against KB and his various software, but you failed miserably with me.