Working with lists is annoying

  1. The selectable bullets issue
    In Scrivener (at least the Mac version), CMD+Left will move the cursor to the far left of the line, which is annoying. Because, I guess no one would like to select or edit the bullets in a list (if he wanted to quit the list mode, he could just “decrease the indent” by Shift+TAB). I hope Scrivener could work like most other editors such as Word and Evernote that CMD+Left brings the cursor to the first character of the line (left to right text direction).

  2. The indent issue
    I think the default indent for list items is too much. No editor I use gives it an indent of 6 characters! And it’s not customizable. It’s weird.

Send your complaint to Apple … it’s hard-baked into their text engine! Microsoft use their own text engine.

Mr X

I don’t think so. At least Evernote Mac and the native Notes app do not work like that. They indent only 4 characters.

When looking into a particular behaviour with Scrivener’s text editor, you need to be using TextEdit, or other native Mac software, as your reference. Evernote, like Microsoft and Adobe, does not use the standard Mac text editor—plus, Evernote’s underlying format is HTML, not RTF, so comparisons between the two are only going to be surface-deep.

As for customisation, there is a small amount available to you in Scrivener:

Things will be clearer if you enable Format/Options/Show Invisibles. You will see that the bullet is wrapped on each side by a single tab character. Pop open the ruler (Cmd-R) and you’ll see that both the tab stops and the block indenting tools match what you see in the list. Use the ruler to manipulate the spacing as you desire, and match the left-block indent to match the second tab stop. When you have things set up the way you prefer, use the Format/Formatting/New Preset from Selection menu command. At a minimum, you should save paragraph formatting alone, all other levels of format preservation are optional.


  • Since this is a preset, it works best if you apply it after you’ve started typing in the first bullet line.
  • This works for single-level lists only. Presets cannot store the entire list definition within them, only one at a time.
  • Apply a shortcut to your preset by Assigning or Changing Keyboard Shortcuts in Scrivener for Mac

That aside, there is no way to control the defaults for new lists, to my knowledge, nor is there any way to modify the default bullet types. All of that is a sealed “black box” provided by the Mac.