Wine Optimization, Tips and Tricks?

I’ve just switched to PopOS after a life of using Mac and one of the few programs I was worried would be irreplaceable was Scrivener. I was thrilled to find that it was trivially easy to start Scrivener in Wine and to find that even if it isn’t supported officially, lots of the folks developing Scrivener use it this way (Less thrilled about having to buy a new Windows license, there should be an option to buy a license that somehow allows LL to track people installing on Linux).

My question however is about tips and tricks to optimize Wine. My main complaint is that it looks terrible, but looking around, it seems there are a few other small optimizations that people make, though a lot of the information seems to be pretty out of date.

So: How do you get Scrivener running the way you like it on Wine? Anyone want to share their .msstyle sheets or do you have another way you fix the appearance? What other tweaks are needed to make sure it works optimally?

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Hi. I registered in this forum a couple of weeks ago, precisely to record that I have been using the unofficial Linux version of Scrivener for years. I wish the developers would give Linux a chance again. Linux is a free (freedom) operating system that many professionals from various fields use every day to free ourselves from the abusive policies of Microsoft and Apple.

I can’t help you much because, as I already said, I decided to settle for the unofficial version of eight years ago (how long!). There are some basic tweaks for fonts and such, but I don’t know how much of a native look and feel can be achieved, especially in GTK environments (if it’s the case).

The best option, as long as version 3 is strictly necessary and you have a powerful computer, is to install a virtual machine with Windows 10. There are many programs to do it. One of the most famous in Virtualbox. You can, for example, activate the license and then take it off the internet to ensure that Windows doesn’t spy on you. Its aggressive telemetry even damages hard drives.

You can also use the unofficial version. It is quite stable and feature-rich despite its age. Let’s see if the developers fulfill our wish and we can update our Scrivener. @AmberV (a developer) offered an explanation of what happened years ago and opened up the (still remote) possibility of making it happen:


Here is what I have done to make Scrivener look more as intended:

  • Grab yourself a Scrivener theme that looks nice. If you generally like the idea of default but wish it looked more like you’d see in a Windows screenshot, then check out the theme called White. The purpose of this theme is to recreate from scratch the “default” look, but as a theme. For Windows users it probably looks very much the same, but for Wine users it gets rid of all the 1995 era UI stuff.

    The software also comes with a number of example themes. If you find one of those you like, they tend to work as well. It’s really only the “Default” light theme that lets a lot of Wine’s native UI through.

  • Alternatively, if you don’t mind the UI, you can make some adjustments in winecfg like changing the colour of the UI elements. There may be an .mstheme that looks better than the default, but even just setting the background to white can make a big difference.

  • Next, go into the Appearance: General Interface options area and set the Menu & Windows Font. Noto Sans, which comes with a number of Linux distributions, works well in my experience. There are a few other panes in here you might want to tweak. Binder, Outliner, Corkboard and Index Cards are usually what I change to Noto Sans or something along those lines.

That’s pretty much it! Most anything else you might find that looks odd is probably that way for everyone.

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Thanks for this advice, Amber. Are .msthemes really an option? Is there a robust set of them (not a Windows user; never dealt with them).



I don’t really know the answer to that question as it isn’t something I have messed with. I tried looking for one ages ago but could only find XP themes which in my opinion are even worse than old school Windows. Maybe there are better options now.

I would think though, that if the theme works in the most recent versions of Wine, it should be fine and if anything if one can find a Win10+ looking theme, it might make the whole thing look much more like it does on Windows, where the custom elements are seamless with the native elements.

Fedora 39 + Wine 9 + Segoe UI font copied into the prefix from a Windows machine (although Open Sans looks even better in the UI, imo). With Grey Matter Dark theme it looks exactly like Windows. The only tweak I did was enable subpixel font smoothing for RGB LCDs via winetricks.

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Go to Wine Config → Graphics → DPI. Raise that to 120 at least. You have to reload Scrivener to see the difference, and it’ll depend on the screen resolution (so yeah, you’ll need to change it between a laptop screen and a desktop screen, sigh), but you can make it look a LOT better by increasing that DPI.