Word processing key shortcuts

As a pretty new user I find Scrivener a great tool, in my case for writing research books and articles. Congrats! I was so happy to finally be able to migrate from Word, having written numerous articles and a few book in Word :stuck_out_tongue:! I love having everything at my fingertips and in whatever windows I like, I like the fullscreen mode. A little nervous to see how Scrivener will handle my new 300 page book with lots of footnotes etc, but I had some nightmares with Word that cannot be worse…

However, what I miss is the many smart keyboard shortcuts found in fullgrown word processors, e.g., alt-cmd-z for going backwards without deleting
alt-cmd-C for changing lowerr case-uppercase-first letter capitalised
and much more that can be found under Configure keyboard (Tools meny in Word), including creating new own shortcuts for any of the possible operations. I think developing this would maje Scrivener much more attractive.

Footnotes: I work a lot with footnotes and
1/ would like a further integration with Endnote—you’re on the right track, though
2/ a better way to go back and  a footnote reference in the text into ONE sign, which you can move around, change etc. To change the position of the footnote or change the last word or interpunction without loosing what’s in the footnote, I must copy what’s in the footnote not to lose it, and then delete the old thing and mae a new footnote. Not smart (maybe there is something I’ve misunderstood, then tell me).

I’ll be back as I continue using Scrivener, expecting it to be the ultimate word processor for authors :wink: !

Just a quick response, because I’m exhausted, not because I intend to be curt. :wink: First, I’m clearly not up in the word processing world, because I have no idea what cmd-alt-Z does and don’t quite understand what you mean by “going backwards without deleting.” Isn’t that what the left arrow key does? I’m obviously missing something, sorry. Anyway, point is, the Mac OS lets you create your own shortcuts for about anything, so you can assign your own to menu commands like converting lower case to upper case, etc. Here are instructions, if you’re not familiar with the process.

Re: point two on footnotes, Keith mentioned in another post that he’s made some changes for the next release (due out in a week or so) which will make it easier to move around linked footnotes/comments.

Glad you’re enjoying Scrivener generally! It is a fabulous program. :slight_smile:

Well as I mentioned, my old context is MS Word and then my post makes sense.


Welcome to the forums! Glad you are mostly liking Scrivener so far!

Scrivener uses the OS X text system so its key bindings are the ones set by Apple, and are consistent with the ones used in most Mac programs (I know Word is slightly different, but it is kind of the odd-man-out on the Mac in this regard and it’s better to follow Mac conventions rather than Word ones when coding for OS X). But actually I don’t have any control over them anyway as they are part of the system (I’d have to write my own text system from the ground up to control these things). However, as MM has already pointed out, OS X gives you complete control over many keyboard shortcuts via the System Preferences (if you followed her link). Also, I think there are ways you can override key bindings using special files on Macs, although I’ve never tried it - it might be worth Googling “Mac key bindings” or “Mac key bindings, Word” (I would try to provide some links but my internet is running incredibly slowly thanks to a Cornish connection and trying to download a 1Gb file at the moment. But I know some other users are very knowledgable about key bindings and so may pop by - or you could search the forums for “key bindings” as I have seen something about this before).

I’m not sure what you mean about being on track with integration to Evernote regarding footnotes - I’m not sure what Evernote has to do with footnotes - but there are no immediate plans for anything like this. (“Evernote integration” comes up from time to time and not long ago I asked the community what it meant by this and what everyone would like if I got the time to look into it properly - and everybody came up with something different and still vague. :slight_smile: )

As for the moving of footnotes, in 2.0.3 you will be able to select some text, ctrl-click on a footnote in the inspector and choose to have it reassigned to the selected text.

Thanks and all the best,


Word invisibly ‘bookmarks’ the previous three (I think) editing positions: cmd-alt-z cycles the cursor through those positions, from the latest to the earliest, without affecting the text.


I’ve not seen an equivalent in the Apple text engine on which Scrivener is based - there may be one, but I’ve not seen it - so you may be out of luck there, unless KB, the developer wishes to add the facility.

As for the ‘change case’ commands, they’re on the Format / Convert submenu. Mimeticmouton has already explained how to attach shortcuts to those commands.

You can supplement the built-in text manipulation commands with Devon Technologies free WordService, which, as the name implies, provides additional text-manipulation (such as sorting, replacing line endings etc) to the Services menu. You can add shortcuts to these as well.

Hope this helps


Before you go too crazy mapping keyboard short-cuts, you can do yourself a favor by learning what ones are there. The reason I say this is as you begin using more and more mac apps, you will find that the Word shortcuts are indeed the odd man out. By learning the Mac shortcuts, you can save yourself a lot of lost productivity by being able to translate your keyboarding on one mac app to another with minimal fuss.

As for jumping around your text, there are annotations, which can show up in the side-bar. That would make any particular section of text a mouse-click away, though you might have to be in Edit Scrivenings mode to jump from one document (scene/chapter) to another*.

  • Not being at my mac, I’m not 100% sure if side-bar annotations are visible when viewing multiple documents in Edit Scrivenings, or how they might stack up in the side-bar.

OK, thanks.

Just wanting to reinforce robertdguthrie’s comment about learning Mac OS X shortcuts. As I become more and more familiar with the various built-in shortcuts, I become more and more frustrated with teh inconsistencies of Word. For example, pretty much every native Mac app used Cmd-Z to undo and Shift-Cmd-Z to redo. Simple and logical - adding a modifier to an existing shortcut “shifts” the behaviour. But no, Word has to go it alone and use Cmd-Y. In other Mac apps, Cmd-F = find and Cmd-G = find next. Every native OS-X app seems to do this (Mail, Safari, Text-edit, Papers, WriteRoom, DevonThink, Scrivener, even Chrome, Firefox and Evernote - just to name a few). But again, Word won’t play by the Mac’s rules.

I know that Microsoft wants to keep shortcuts the same between different versions of Word, but I rarely use the Windows version now and I want my Mac apps to work like Mac apps. Consistent user experience between them all makes all of them easier to use. My fingers now just use the shortcut until I find myself staring at the screen wondering “What happened?”. Then I remember I’m using Word and have to switch into “Word only mode”.

I consider myself an experienced Word user - I am the only person I know, in an academic environment where text rules, that regularly uses styles. I learnt, over a decade ago, how to compile multiple chapters in separate files into one large document that would then create it’s own table of contents. Having said that, I did not know about Alt-Cmd-Z and, my new favourite, Alt-Cmd-C. Learn something new every day! :slight_smile:

Ah, thanks! I had no idea. I only have Word '98 (95?) on the ancient Windows machine (which is currently in a deep sleep mimicking death until I have a chance to reinstall the OS and see if it can be revived or if the hard drive has finally given up the ghost) and the VM, and I don’t use either much. Never knew that one, though. Now I need to go try it, just to see how it works. Interesting!

From memory, I think the Windows Word shortcut is actually Shift-F5 (not sure about the modifier, definitely F5).

I sympathise with the OP’s plight - I used winword heavily and its shortcuts are fully ingrained in my fingertips.

Yes, I will go over to Mac-OS shortcuts after a similar history as yours, having written three academic books in Word for Mac—that’ß why I wanted to change to Scrivener :stuck_out_tongue:. My point is still that a program like Word does have some additional functionality, and without that in Scrivener, there is no use talking about shortcuts. Therefore spying on the good things in Word and other competent word processors can make a great app like Scrivener a whole lot better. Scholarly writers also could benefit from deeper integration with e.g., Endnote, where Word and Endnote have a two-way communication (Endnote reading tags in Word and replacing them with ready formatting of footnotes and adding bibliography… www.endnote.com) But I am basically satisfied so far (after one week :wink: ).

There’s an Endnote API which I intend to look at in the future, although most users seem happy with the integration as-is. The problem is that processing a .scriv document is of limited use since it is a first draft document (by nature and design) and so constitutes the raw material and not the final draft that will be shared with others. Scrivener’s purpose is to help structure and then compile the original MS. With an academic manuscript, the chances are that you would export (compile) this as RTF, and then scan it through Endnote. If I understand the process correctly, the only advantage of having two-way integration with Endnote being able to scan the citations within Scrivener itself would be if you could then print the MS directly from Scrivener without needing a third-party word processor for final formatting. But for academic writing, you are still going to want to export to a third-party word processor for printing, because Scrivener doesn’t do full layout of footnotes and endnotes. I can do a half-decent job of endnotes, but it can’t print footnotes at the end of each page. This is just out of scope of Scrivener as it stands - there are already plenty of good tools that allow you to do these things, so Scrivener concentrates on the first-draft process. Would it be better if Scrivener could layout footnotes properly at the printing stage? Probably, yes, but that would involve me writing my own full word-processing page layout engine, which is far from trivial, and with only one coder (me!) working on Scrivener I think it’s best to concentrate on the things that Scrivener adds to the process - the things it provides that most word processors don’t, such as the structural tools - and leave word processors to handle the more advanced formatting and post-processing. Off in the future - when Scrivener has dominated the world :slight_smile: - if we grow as a team, more things may become possible.

You’re right that you can’t add shortcuts for things that don’t exist, of course, such as some of the Word features. Much of this comes down to Scrivener using the OS X text engine - again, I’d have to write my own text engine, or modify the existing one more than I have already, to achieve all of Word’s extra text key shortcuts, and that’s beyond what L&L are capable of at the moment. Off in the distant future I would love to be able to commission a full-on, powerful, custom text engine, but that’s a pipe-dream right now. :slight_smile:

Anyway, glad you’re liking Scriv mostly so far!

All the best,

Yes, I think you are right when it comes to Endnote, I would also do the last part of the work in Word or Mellel anyway. What is most important for me is the more genral way to work with footnotes, and I welcome the change which you said is coming.
As for formatting it was good for me to know that that part come from Mac OS and is not your own creation.
So: I will scriv on and will come back with any questions and wishes…

Sorry, I don’t want to mislead you - I wouldn’t say they are “coming”, just that if in the future sometime we become a bigger company with team members who can work on a text engine, then these things are a possibility. But currently you make footnotes “Scrivener’s way” and they will become real footnotes, laid out as normal, when you export to RTF and open the RTF file in Word or Mellel or whatever your chosen word processor is.

All the best,

Since Scrivener is, as Keith said, for drafts with final print preparation best left to another word processor (such as Word) there is limited need for the two way process. It is simple enough to add Endnote tags in Scrivener now - which is what I am doing for my thesis. At the moment my workflow is to drag the reference(s) in from Endnote, which automatically creates the citation flag(s).

Having said that some tighter integration would be nice (I’d like to not need to use the mouse), so good to know that Keith is at least considering looking at the EndNote API. Hope: it’s enough to live on sometimes… :slight_smile:

In the meantime though, there is a workaround and the EndNote tags do work (I tested thoroughly before committing my thesis to them).

Thanks, Keith! This was a good change in 2.0.3 and it seems to work fine.
Another request is to mark the footnote a bit clearer (for example a thincker frame) when I mark its reference in the text. Now it is difficult to immediately see which footnote it is.

I agree, this is quite elegant. I notice though that it’s possible to choose “move to selection” even when no text is selected, and if you do this, you delete the comment or footnote you were trying to move. Might there be a way to disable this option if there’s no selection in the editor, or to automatically select the word to the left of the cursor and apply the comment to that the way it works if you create a note from scratch? I just foresee accidents happening with it as it stands.

…Ahaha, in fact, I notice I get a huge console report when I do this. :wink: The NSATSGlyphStorage inconsistency just keeps going forever as long as the project window is in focus. It’s quite exciting. On further testing, though, I think that part’s a red herring and has to do with some other error, possibly from the project I’d closed just prior (though no idea what specifically–I was testing the divider line bug, but I can’t reproduce the console error with that). The other big error where the HIToolbox ignores the exception is the one you get when moving a comment without a selection.
movecommenterror.zip (1.96 KB)

Seriously. Ruining. My. Morning. MimeticMouton.

Eep. I know. I’m sorry. I’ll bake you rye bread? And send it with beer?

Already fixed for 2.0.4! I’m sorry I ruined your morning, but you seem to have gotten over it. :slight_smile: Put it back in its place, anyway. And moving the inspector comments/footnotes like this is a fantastic feature.

It’s still possible to select an empty line and assign it a comment or footnote, which gets a slightly funky result since there’s no text to link, which means the comment exists and you can see the shaded comment box, but you can’t click the box to see which comment it is (making it a little trickier to reassign to where it ought to go). I doubt it’s likely to happen much–presumably if you’re moving a comment, you deliberately selected the the placement text–but there you are.

Now I’m going to be quiet and leave you in peace.