Iconography in iOS (Or: Yes We Haz Custom Icons)

Scrivener can contain all sorts of different documents: whether you need to gather together notes, research, character sheets, to-do lists or, you know, some actual writing, Scrivener is a big bucket of everything for your writing project. With all those documents ready to hand, you might want to make some of them stand out a little, so that you can see them at a glance as you browse.

In the Mac and Windows versions, you can apply custom icons to your documents. And in this funky world where one of the biggest cheers at this year’s WWDC was for the announcement that emojis are getting three times bigger in Messages, I think it would be remiss of us not to provide some gratuitous graphical goodness in our iOS version. Which is to say: custom icons! In the iOS version! Three times bigger! (Disclaimer: not actually three times bigger.)

I love custom icons, because when my writing is terrible, I can at least make the document it’s in look purdy (I have a lot of pretty-looking documents). You, however, cool professional that you are, will no doubt use them as structural markers and navigational way-points. Which also works.

Scrivener for iOS: Exporting Single Files

A writing app wouldn’t be much use if you couldn’t get your work out of it. In an earlier blog post, we talked about Compile, which allows you to export or print your entire Draft folder (or a subfolder of it) as a single document, piecing together the fragments of your text into a complete manuscript.

Sometimes you’ll want to export (or print) individual documents from Scrivener, however. Fortunately, this couldn’t be simpler: just tap on the “share” button at the bottom of the editor, choose a file format, and off you go. You can choose to email the document to someone, print it, or open it in another app.

Scrivener allows you to export to PDF, Word (.docx), RTF, plain text or Final Draft (.fdx) formats, which means that you can easily share a document with someone on a PC, open a text document in Pages, or send a script document to Final Draft for some final touches.

Scrivener for iOS: Making Writing Easier on (Sm)All Devices

One of the challenges in bringing a complex, rich text app to iOS is how to provide quick access to a tonne of features on a small screen. Things aren’t so difficult on an iPad Pro, where there is lots of screen real estate, but on an iPhone, space is at a premium.

Another challenge is how to provide a frictionless writing experience with an on-screen keyboard. We’ve been able to add loads of keyboard shortcuts for those using external keyboards, and an external keyboard makes it much easier to navigate through text (using the arrow keys). But what if you don’t have an external keyboard handy?

These challenges have been met with the extended keyboard row: a row of eight buttons that sits across the top of the keyboard (which can be turned on or off). These buttons provide quick access to common commands.

Not just eight buttons: in fact, there are twenty-four, divided into three sets that you can swipe between. By default, there is one set containing common punctuation marks, another to make text selection and navigation easiser, and another for formatting commands such as bold, alignment, highlights and footnotes.

The keyboard row is fully customisable—long tap on any button to bring up a list of commands that are available. Tap one to replace the button you long-pressed with the command you selected.

Along with the extended keyboard row, Scrivener for iOS also supports smart punctuation, so you get curly quotes, ellipses for triple-periods, and em-dashes for double-hyphens automatically as you type (unless you turn smart punctuation off via Settings app).

Scrivener for iOS has a whole raft of cool features that will help you organise your work and refer to research—but at its centre we have worked hard to provide a beautiful writing experience.

Thank You

Today has been amazing. Seriously. And the reason it has been amazing has been because of you, Scrivener users.

Sure, there have been teething problems, mainly concerning sync, and we are working to improve the documentation and our Knowledge Base, and will continue to look at how we can improve things.

We know there are a few features users want, and I’m looking into them – this is only 1.0 of the iOS version, after all. This is just the beginning.

But above all, we’ve been blown away by our fantastic users. We have had numerous users on our forums helping other users out, helping them get set up. We have had countless users on Twitter, Facebook and our forums telling us how much they love Scrivener for iOS, and telling writers who have never heard of Scrivener all about it. We have had over 150 very kind users already give us great reviews on the App Store in different territories. Just: thank you!

I’ve been working on Scrivener for 12 years now. One day I may even finish The Novel. In the meantime, it’s been brilliant to see so many Scrivener users who have – using Scrivener. I hope to see many more novels and books written using the iOS version – who knows? Either way, one of the best things about the past 12 years has been interacting with our users, and today has been a reconfirmation of what a great user-base we have. So: thank you again. For your enthusiasm. For your support even when it seemed like the iOS version was in limbo. Great users really help us focus on keeping driving Scrivener forward.

And we will continue to drive Scrivener forward. But today is about iOS, so I’ll leave news about big updates to other versions of Scrivener for another day…

In the meantime, get in touch. Talk about what you’re writing on our forums. We love hearing from you.

Thanks again!

It’s Here! Scrivener for iOS is Now Available!

Scrivener for iOS is now available for sale on the App Store. At the time of writing, it is not yet showing up in searches on the App Store, as it can take several hours for Apple’s records to update. However, you can find it by following this link:


If you tap on the above link on your iOS device, it will take you to Scrivener in the App Store.

Thank you everyone once again for all the enthusiasm that has kept us buoyed in getting to this point. Happy mobile writing!

Important Note on the Scrivener for iOS Release

Many thanks to everyone for all the enthusiasm about our Scrivener for iOS release tomorrow! As we’ve been receiving a lot of questions, I just wanted to clear up a few things:

  • Scrivener will be released in the morning of July 20th UK time. I apologise to our antipodean customers, as I’m aware that it will be very late on the 20th for them, but we need to release it at the start of our own day so that we can deal with as many initial support requests as possible.
  • Price: Scrivener will cost $19.99 in the US store (“price tier 20” in Apple terminology, which is £14.99 in the UK, for instance).
  • Requirements: Any iOS device running iOS 9.0 or above.
  • Availability: Scrivener for iOS will be available in the iOS App Store in all the same countries the macOS version is available in the Mac App Store. (Please note that we are unfortunately unable to sell into territories where neither Apple nor our own accountant handles sales tax.)
  • Language: The UI for Scrivener 1.0 for iOS will be in English only. We will be adding support for other languages in upcoming free updates. (Translation takes time, so we would have had to delay the release further to get non-English languages in 1.0. This will be a priority over the next couple of months.)
  • Compatibility: Scrivener for iOS uses Dropbox to sync with the macOS and Windows versions. (In answer to all of our Windows users, yes, of course it works with the Windows version as well as the macOS version!)

If you are an existing customer, please make sure you update Scrivener for macOS or Windows to the latest version (2.8 on the Mac, 1.9.5 on Windows). iOS projects and edits will not be recognised in older desktop versions.

On the subject of existing customers, I’m afraid we are unable to offer discounts on the iOS version to existing customers of the Mac and Windows versions. This just isn’t possible with the App Store, which is the only way we can sell our iOS version – Apple has no facility for providing partial discounts, so there’s just no way for us to do it.

Note that Scrivener for iOS is called… Scrivener

Please be careful when purchasing, as there are other apps available in the App Store that have names similar to Scrivener, which come up in searches for “Scrivener” and which have been designed to open Scrivener files but which are nothing to do with us. The official Scrivener for iOS app is simply called Scrivener. If it’s not called “Scrivener”, it’s not our app.

When Scrivener is available on the App Store, it will be at this link:


Tomorrow’s a big day for us (and it’s been a long time coming!), so thank you again for everyone who has supported us on this journey and shown so much enthusiasm. We hope you like it as much as we do!

Scrivener for iOS: for Scriptwriters, Too

Scrivener on the Mac and PC have a fully-featured scriptwriting mode, and there are a lot of scriptwriters using it. Episodes of Luther and Doctor Who, award-winning documentaries and feature films have all been written in Scrivener. And we love our scriptwriter users—so we couldn’t very well leave them in the cold with our iOS version.

To be entirely honest, we don’t just love our scriptwriter users—we’re also a tiny bit scared of them. Your average scriptwriter is not the sort of wordsmith who is (as my mother would have it) backwards in coming forwards. This might be because, to get their names in the credits of a movie, they literally have to fight the other writers to the death using only a rubber spoon and puns from death scenes in Arnold Schwarzenegger movies (“He’s letting off steam”). This makes them tougher than your average coder—so we really couldn’t very well leave them in the cold with our iOS version.

Out of love and fear (but mostly love), then, we have managed to port the Mac’s scriptwriting features across to our iOS version: full script formatting, with import from and export to Final Draft FDX baked right into Scrivener for iOS.

Use tab and return (or keyboard shortcuts if you have an external keyboard) to move between script elements (Scene Heading, Action, Dialogue and the rest), or tap the name of the element at the top of the screen to bring up the elements list. You turn scriptwriting mode on for a project using the project settings, and from there you can decide whether any particular document should use script mode or not, just as you can on macOS and Windows.

Projects created on iOS and only ever used on iOS only support Screenplays. However, if you bring in a project from the Mac or Windows version, or if you sync with the Mac or Windows version and change the scriptwriting settings there, the iOS version will use whatever script format is set for the project, whether that is UK Stage Play, Comic Script, your own custom script format or anything else.

And while the scriptwriting experience is undeniably better on an iPad, we have done everything in our power to make sure that you can comfortably create and edit scripts on an iPhone, too.

Scrivener for iOS Release Date

Apple has approved Scrivener for sale on the iOS App Store, so we can now give an official release date: 20th July. To recap the details:

  • Price: $19.99
  • Release date: 20th July
  • Requirements: any device running iOS 9.0 or above (iPad, iPad Pro, iPhone, iPod Touch)
  • Available in all the same territories as we sell our macOS version on the Mac App Store. (Note that 1.0’s UI is English-only, but we will be adding other languages in a free update.)

Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with us. A huge thank you to the 600+ beta-testers who have helped us squash bugs and (I hope!) provide a stable release version. Thanks to the L&L team, who always push me to make things better and make sure I have the time and space to do so. But most of all, thanks to the gazillion of you have stuck with us and waited so long, through all the problems we had getting our iOS version together. All those of you who love Scrivener nearly as much as we do, and who have been so eager to use it on all your devices. This time next week, you’ll be able to carry your Scrivener projects around in your pocket. I hope you like it.

Quick Reference in Scrivener for iOS: Side-by-Side Editing and Research

Scrivener for macOS and Windows allows you to view (and edit) two documents right alongside one another. You might have your writing on one side and a photo or PDF document to which you need to refer on the other, or you might be checking a previous or later chapter right alongside the one you are currently writing.

Did I say “Scrivener for macOS and Windows”? Well, now we can add the iPad to this list.

On the iPad, this is done using the Quick Reference feature: simply swipe left on a document in the binder, tap the “More” button, and then select “Quick Reference”. The document you swiped slides into view right there in the sidebar, replacing the binder, so that you have it alongside your writing. (You can easily make the sidebar wider to see more of the document, too.)

When you have the corkboard in the main editor, you can swipe left on a card to “throw” its document into the sidebar as a Quick Reference document. This is not only incredibly useful, but also quite a bit too much fun. (Though perhaps I should get out more.)

Scrivener for iPad: The Draft Navigator

One of Scrivener’s many nifty features on the Mac and Windows is the ability to view the pieces of your manuscript either in isolation or in context. You write your text in chunks as large or small as you like, and then you can view and edit them together as though they were a single document. The feature that allows this we call “Scrivenings mode”.

As much as we love Scrivenings mode, a number of important considerations meant that it wasn’t something we could bring over to the iOS version in its entirety (considerations such as limitations of the iOS text system and hardware, the necessity of maintaining a small memory footprint, and ease of use within an environment where minimalism reigns).

So how do you get an overview and see your work in context on iOS without Scrivenings mode? On the iPhone, there’s not really space to get much context anyway. On the iPad, however, there is the Draft navigator, which is always accessible from the bottom of the editor.

Not dissimilar to the Page Flip feature on a Kindle, the Draft navigator shows all of the text in your Draft folder in a single, scrollable view, and you can quickly navigate between documents using the back and forward chevrons or using the slider. Tap on a document in the navigator to load it into the main editor; to edit a document, simply double-tap into the text you want to edit to load the document into the editor at the place you tapped.

So, in Scrivener, even on an iPad, getting and working with an overview of your manuscript is only a tap away.