Monthly Archives: March 2014

Split Screen Mode

I was planning to write the second part of formatting, but I thought Split Screen Mode was a more important feature to discuss. It’s one I use on an almost daily basis. Prior to making the discovery, I was going about it the old-fashioned way of resizing a window in another program and resizing Scrivener so I could view two different documents at the same time.

With Split Screen mode you can divide the Editor screen into two different panes. Each pane works independently of each other. If you need to change settings on one pane, no need to worry that it will switch the settings in the other one. For example, let’s say that you’ve imported a document (NOTE: this only works with text documents, not PDFs or web pages—at least that’s what I noticed) and you discover the print is a tad too small to read, you can change the text scale in one pane and it doesn’t affect the second one. Split Screen mode also remembers the settings of each pane and you don’t have to fiddle with them the next time you use this option.

How do I use Split Screen? When I write the letter from the online editor for HAND/EYE Magazine, and summarize four articles featured that week in the online issue. I have the letter open in one pane, and in the second one the article that I’m trying to summarize. I also use Split Screen when I’m writing and reviewing my research notes, or reviewing two different chapters to see how the transitions work, or incorporating notes from one version of a document into another.

To activate Split Screen, select a document in the binder, which will appear in the Editor. Click on the split toggle screen icon that’s next to the two up/down arrows to the right of the pane header. The pane with the blue header bar is the one that’s active and the inactive pane is a light gray. To open another document, click on the inactive pane to make it active, go to the binder and select the text you want to view. Just an FYI, if you have the Inspector open, the synopsis, the data section and the document notes will also correspond with the active pane.

Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 7.40.48 PM

Here’s a neat trick—say you want to work on one document, like that letter from the editor I write. I tend to forget which is my active pane and I end up closing that document when I switch to view the next document. If you know that you’re working on a document, but just viewing others, you can lock that pane by clicking on the document icon in the pane header that’s on the left.  A drop menu will appear and at the bottom you’ll see “Lock in Place.” Once it’s locked, the pane header will turn a pink/salmon color.

Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 7.53.12 PM

If you don’t like the horizontal panes and prefer vertical, hit Option and click on the split toggle button. You can also resize the panes by dragging the sizing handle that’s between the two panes (it’s a very light gray).

The beauty of Split Screen is that it’s not exclusive to text documents. You can view your corkboard, the outliner, or an image (you can see in the example below that the top pane is locked by the pinkish pane header.

Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 8.14.23 PM

That’s a brief rundown of how I use Split Screen. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to get back to you.

Formatting the Editor, Part I

Wow. Almost two and a half months of radio silence. Suffice it to say, I’ve been busy. During these last few days, when I reviewed all the formatting options, I saw there’s a great deal to cover so to make this easier to understand, I’ve broken this down into two parts. For today, Part I covers customization of the Editor’s screen, changing fonts from the format bar, and creating/adjusting/removing tab stops and indents.

First, if the stark white background of the Editor seems too bright  go to Preferences->Appearance->Customizable Colors (for Windows, go to Tools->Options). In the first pane on the left, select Editor. In the next pane to the right, select Text Background. In the next pane at the extreme right, click the Text Background to activate. The color wheel will open and from there, choose the color you like best. I like an ecru color, which is easier on my eyes.

Customize Editor Appearance

Customize Editor Appearance

If you want to change the font, size and spacing, the most obvious way is to go to the format bar and make your changes there via the drop down menus, but you can also go to Format->Fonts->Select Font. A window with the fonts will open and you can make your selection. 

Not happy with the tab stops and indent settings? You can readjust your indents and tab stops by clicking on the ruler of where you want to set them. If the ruler is hidden, go to Format->Show Ruler. A note about tab stops you’ll notice that Scrivener offers four different tab stops, each one is represented by a different icon :

Tabs and indent icons

Tabs and indent icons

Left: Standard tab most used. The text is left-aligned at that tab stop.

Center: The center tab center-aligns the text at that tab stop.

Right: Text is right-aligned, with the right edge of the text at the text tab.

Decimal: This is typically used to align rows of numbers. The decimal tab aligns the text with the decimal point at the tab stop. Text before the decimal point is right-aligned; after the decimal is left aligned.

To add a tab stop, you can do the following:

  • For the left tab, click on the desired spot in the ruler and drag it up into the gray space above that spot.
  • For the different types of tabs, Control-click (for Windows right-click) in the ruler and select the tab type from the contextual menu.

To remove a tab stop, drag it off the ruler until the icon disappears. Or you can go to Format->Text->Remove all Tab Stops. To move the tab stop, drag and drop it to its new location.

Scrivener offers three indent controls, which shouldn’t be confused with margin controls (something the ruler in Scrivener does not address).

Left: The left indent specifies how far away towards the right the text is from the left margin.

Right: The right indent indicates how far away to the left is the text from the right margin.

First line: The first line indent is where the first line of a paragraphs starts. If you rather work with blocked paragraphs, place the first line indent marker at the left margin.

Hanging indent: To create a hanging indent, where the first line is further left than the rest of the paragraph, you inverse which marker comes first.

And now before I forget…Starting April 7th, I’ll be teaching a six week online course for those new to Scrivener (that’s why I’ve been so busy). The course is hosted via the Colorado Romance Writers, a chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Scroll down to April and you’ll see the class. To sign up for the class, go to

Next time: Changing the default document format and presets.