Composition Mode in Scrivener 3

A reader recently pointed out that Composition Mode in Scrivener 3 is different from what I posted back in May 2104. He wrote:

“This has all changed with Scrivener 3. The defaule background in composition mode is dark and the text is bright. There is no “Paper” option listed., though the text option is still there.

I’m looking for a way to set things up in 3 the way I have them in 2…”

Let’s take a side-by-side look at the differences in Composition Mode in Scrivener 2 and 3.

Scrivener 2  

Scrivener 3

Apart from the obvious design changes in the footer, (see below), the big difference is the color of the editor (paper) and text. Before we get to making changes to the editor and text, let’s take a quick look at some differences.

Composition Mode Footer in Scrivener 2

Composition Mode Footer in Scrivener 3

As you can see, Paper Position is no longer a drop down menu in Scrivener 3. To change the position of the editor, just use the slider. Paper width works in the same manner, and remember that if you want to change the height of the paper, simply hit the alt key and it will toggle over to Paper Height. Keywords works in the same way as in Scrivener 2. The window floats, but the design has changed.

Keywords in Scrivener 2

Keywords in Scrivener 3

Ditto for the Inspector and Go To (see below).

Inspector in Scrivener 2


Inspector in Scrivener 3

Go To in Scrivener 2



Go To in Scrivener 3

The color of the paper and background isn’t absolute—don’t despair—you can change it to suit your aesthetics. Simply go to menubar and select Scrivener->Preferences->Appearance ->Composition Mode. In the pane to the right you’ll see Options and Colors. Click on Colors.

From there, select the feature you want to change. Click on the box that shows the current color and a color wheel will open up. At the point, make your preferred color selection.

I fiddled a bit with mine and this how it looks:

Note: If you want to use an image, make sure to resize it to less than 1 MB.

  3 comments for “Composition Mode in Scrivener 3

  1. Alan McGrath
    December 25, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks for the information. Excellent post as always!
    You must have far more mental discipline than I do…if I have anything other than bland blank backgrounds my mind will wander off into them.
    I’d be playing fetch with your dog out in a meadow somewhere. 🙂

    • RS
      December 25, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Thanks, Alan. I typically use blank backgrounds, but for this post I thought I would pretty it up with my girl.

      • Alan McGrath
        December 25, 2017 at 2:40 pm


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