The L&L Blog  /  Scrivener for Windows

Scrivener 3.0 for Windows - from the horse's mouth

Our Windows development team provides an insight into progress.

I understand that some Windows users are getting more and more frustrated, wondering if the release of Scrivener 3 for Windows is ever going to happen! I get it. Two months ago, similar frustrations and questions were thumping around inside my head. Heck, if I were a Scrivener Windows user without the perspective and insight I have, I'd be mulling over some verbal eggs to lob across the fence in frustration right now too. We initially slated “some time in 2018” for release, but later revised that to “by the end of Q2 2019”, and we're not going to make that either. Thankfully we are very close now, so I wanted to personally give some insight into the hurdles and challenges we have had to overcome.  

Scrivener for Mac has never stopped moving - ever! Keith once compared my role akin to Sisyphus

First and foremost, we are all determined to get it right. We just don't release half-baked software, but strive for the best it can reasonably be with a high utility yield. We do this because we genuinely care about our audience, and our software. Often, that last 5%-10% of development tweaking and fixing is hard to justify as it takes an inordinate amount of extra time; especially when many organisations just push it out and fix it later, but we don't see the need to frustrate our audience that way. Intrepid users can always download the beta of Scrivener 3 after all and the beta has been robust and stable for at least six months or so now. 

I believe Scrivener for Windows history speaks for itself. For version 1 we spent around a year in beta; I still have the nightmares - don't ever try and build your own rich text engine from scratch debugging that thing is like opening Pandora's box. After that we released 24 FREE updates. Scrivener 1 for Windows was only ever supposed to match Mac Scrivener 1.5.4, but soon incorporated many Scrivener 2 Mac features (that Mac users paid an upgrade fee for). Things like:- eBook formats (ePub and .mobi), Meta data, Inspector Comments and Footnotes, Collections, Multimarkdown, Multiple Project Notes, Final Draft import and export, Composition mode background image, Custom Binder icons, Syncing with iOS and cloud, etc. None were ever in our target Mac 1.5.4.

Scrivener 3 for Windows

Scrivener 3 for Windows

Scrivener for Mac has never stopped moving - ever! Keith once compared my role akin to Sisyphus - you know the Greek who was punished to push a large rock up on a steep hill, only to find it rolling back when nearing the top. Whilst this does frustrate me at times no end, I would not have it any other way as Scrivener is constantly getting better, more refined and useful. Keith is really good at what he does. So, as much as pushing another dozen rocks up a hill pains me and spits expletives at my computer screen at times, Scrivener and our audience is all the better for it - and that floats my boat to some extent; the satisfaction that comes from extreme effort. 

Scrivener for Windows, for the first time ever looks just as beautiful and useful as the macOS version! We want as much parity between Scrivener Mac and Windows as possible. The meeting point was version 3, but since then Mac Scrivener has already had six releases! So, my role as Sisyphus continues with the only constant being change itself and the never ending cycle of steep hills. We keep running, but the gap feels like it shrinks minimally. So, there's already stuff in Windows 3 that the current macOS version has. Things like:- many specific placeholders, progress bar improvements, themes and dark mode, menu parity is constantly changing, etc. A lot of the blame for wanting to add great features like dark mode is squarely on my shoulders as I wanted it for me too; my eyes are just ruined by bright screens. 

Scrivener 3 for Windows - Dark Mode

Scrivener 3 for Windows - Dark Mode

Outside of this, Windows has always been a tougher development platform. Nothing new there. Microsoft don't give as much away to entice development on the platform like Apple does. We've had to build our own Dictionary & Synonym engines, Emoji functionality, we even built our own version of the Mac only Menu Search functionality (so useful for finding where something sits in the menu structure). To the best of my knowledge we're the only Windows software to offer that. The list is actually really long as to all the bespoke stuff we've had to build from scratch that Mac devs just get out of the box. We've had a lot of issues with Windows Scaling and Zoom also i.e. looking awesome on one device and crappy on another, or scaled differently across multiple simultaneous displays. A large part of this is that the Windows world has so many different vendors building their own versions of hardware. Apple devs only have to worry about one and Apple typically does all the heavy lifting for them - it's going to look how it looks in Xcode and that's it. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some more rocks to push.

A large part of this problem time wise is that it's hard for us to duplicate reported issues as we can't possibly own every combination of Windows hardware; hence why we are so grateful to those committed beta testers who really help us wade through these problems. We had issues getting the C++ Qt framework, that we use for Scrivener Windows development, to accomodate Multi Document View a.k.a. Scrivenings as a result of a grave design flaw in the document/layout structure of Qt - this has been around since v1 of Scrivener for Windows, but we've improved it massively in 3. Adding extra list item types has also been a challenge as has Page View. Fortunately, most of these are behind us now and our last focus is getting the Compiler 100% and fixing remaining reported bugs. 

We've had to replace eSellerate, our payment, serial generator, software registration and activation provider - that was a month plus of recent interruption and had to be completed before 30th June 2019 before eSellerate turned out the lights for good. This impacted Windows: Scrivener 1.x, Scapple and Scrivener 3. 

Finally, something that's not visible to users is that we have the Scrivener for Android backend completely abstracted and built into the Scrivener Windows desktop, so once 3 is out we can focus on the Android interface only as all the heavy lifting on the complex backend has been done and dusted. These are not excuses. We're late and I'll wear that no problem. It's purely some insight into the challenges Tiho and I face each day. We are both extremely committed and passionate about delivering the best Scrivener 3 possible, as is the rest of the team at Literature & Latte. I will personally commit, and be held responsible, for having Scrivener 3 for Windows ready for release on the 30th August 2019. I appreciate everyone's patience and look forward to releasing soon. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some more rocks to push. 

Lee Powell 
Scrivener for Windows Developer



josephinewrites  /  30 JUNE 2019

THANK YOU for all your hard work on this. Scrivener makes my life better on a daily basis, and I look forward to the next version whenever it's ready!


PierreR  /  30 JUNE 2019

Thank you Lee for this clear and detailed status update. Showing great respect to the windows users community with this communication will certainly contribute to diminish the pressure (and the number of ironic comments). At the end of the day, transparency with custommers is always paying. That said, I'm very thankfull for your hard work and eager to install version 3 before september 1st. :-)


tmhayes  /  30 JUNE 2019

Thanks for this update and all your hard work! I cannot imagine writing in another platform, your efforts definitely pay off for all of us dedicated users.


Kyttin  /  01 JULY 2019

If you guys get this out by the 30th it will be one of the best birthday presents of the year. Blizzard bringing back Classic WoW ON my birthday and then Scrivener having dark mode available to Windows users 5 days laters. *squee! ....Mind Blown* Thanks for the update and Good Luck!


Anatoli11  /  01 JULY 2019

Awesome! I love your product, and the release will be on my birthday! Best present ever!


SD56  /  01 JULY 2019

Great product and it sounds as if even better things are on the way. Good luck, and thanks for all you've done already.


Brad  /  01 JULY 2019

Thank you! Thank you! I'm glad we have an update. I'm glad you're working hard to get it right...but, please hurry. :-)


JeffreyPerren  /  01 JULY 2019

Extremely grateful for all the hard work on this product. As a professional novelist, I use the tool almost daily and have been eager to have the new release. Unusually, I'm guessing, I was on the Mac platform for several years and switched to Windows a couple of years ago. I've missed the Mac version only a little bit, but always happy to have improved software. Thank you again for making this possible.


Just Mick  /  01 JULY 2019

I look forward to paying my money. Scrivener is a great value, and I'm happy with the current version. I will likely be ecstatic with 3.0. (Not to put any more pressure on you or anything like that.)


Symphony  /  01 JULY 2019

Lollllll, you guys. You could just not announce any updates at all until a hard release date if you developed and released Scriv for Mac and Windows at the same time. Y'all keep missing deadlines. You need a new update release model, cause this isn't working and never has.


Kramii  /  02 JULY 2019

Fantastic news! Thank you for all your hard work.


TessaS  /  02 JULY 2019

I have just recently purchased Scrivener 3, and notice that it does not have bookmarks and a top search bar. Is this only applicable to the Mac version, or will Scriv 3 still get these features? Love the program so far.


Northern_light  /  02 JULY 2019

Great, that more or less coincides with my deadline for first draft of current novel. I look forward to working on later drafts in the new version, with DARK theme! So, so glad you share that particular preference.

And your comments about the heavy lifting on the back-end for an Android front end is hugely promising. Cross-platform between Windows and Android is going to make users far more mobile and able to be productive in all sorts of places.


MorganBlackwood  /  02 JULY 2019

I have been waiting for so long. I really hope this comes out on that date so I can buy it and enjoy it already. This software is beautiful!


Philjaq  /  02 JULY 2019

It's getting closer .. I can really feel it arriving. I check in every couple of months or so and at last I find a firm date.

Can't say I'm excited about dark mode. I find white text on black background very tiring and dark mode seems to have become the fashion these last couple of years or so. So many applications now have dark menu bars with drop downs using coloured text - dark blue against black gives very poor reading. Your screen shot above illustrates this point for me - the link in the 4th paragraph takes a bit of concentration for my old eyes.

The menu search functionality will be valuable but Scriv won't be the first Windows software to have it, Avid's Sibelius music notation software has had menu search for a few years now.


Lee  /  02 JULY 2019

Thank you for all the effort you and the team put into this! So excited to see the new baby!


Grant_B  /  02 JULY 2019

Exciting news! Craftsmanship is a rare and fine thing. I look forward to appreciating the craftsmanship and design of this software. Thank you.


JamieDons  /  02 JULY 2019

Looking forward to it! Just subscribed for updates.


Sully  /  02 JULY 2019

That's good news and I look forward to purchasing--but please, do not miss another self-imposed deadline. Then, I really will be out of patience.


tonyarmoore  /  03 JULY 2019

Hi! You have probably addressed this question somewhere on your website but I can't seem to locate that info at the moment. I purchased my current copy of Scrivener in October of 2015. Purely for the sake of being properly informed and making sure I'm ready to upgrade when the time comes - when Scrivener 3.0 for Windows is released, will I be required to buy Scrivener anew or purchase an Upgrade? (I imagine there would have to be a cut-off timeframe somewhere as far as being able to upgrade goes and 2015 does seem like an awfully long time ago...)


mpedone  /  03 JULY 2019

Thank you for the update. It does get a little disheartening to see myriad updates come out for the Mac version, while there is very little visible movement on the Windows side. It's easy to think that you've been forgotten. Best of luck hitting that target date - I know committing to that can be a daunting prospect.


OneTrueNobody  /  03 JULY 2019

Glad to know things are still proceeding, and I'm content with the new target release date. As a Windows user, I'm looking forward to working with Scrivener 3 soon!


danalouwho  /  04 JULY 2019

@tonyarmoore no, you don't have to pay for it anew. Anyone who purchased Scrivener for Windows from November 2017 onward gets a free upgrade, and all other Scrivener for Windows users get the upgrade for $25 .


AndrewHarvey  /  05 JULY 2019

OMG - and android is next! That truly made my day. Finding something to edit RTF files on android is a real pain, and the solution takes up a lot of memory (two full and separate productivity suites).

Bit worried about you making the 30 August deadline as you've just had to release two hotfixes for 1.9. Hope you'd left yourself a little bit of wriggle room.

Regards Andrew


JayceE  /  07 JULY 2019

Crossing my fingers for 8/30 release. I don't want to hold my breath, but eighteen months of not being able to use my desktop with its 30" screen because I updated the Mac version and can't go between them has been rough. I really applaud the work you guys have done and love the platform. Hoping that my Labor Day dreams come true.


Adam  /  08 JULY 2019

Thank you for the update guys. I've been using the beta and can't wait for the full release. You guys are doing a great job and I really appreciate you guys working to make the release version the best it can be. To many times software companies push out products that need more time in the oven to meet an arbitrary day. So thank you for not doing that.


Mike  /  09 JULY 2019

Hi Lee, Thx. I really appreciate your honest statement. In times where everybody releases buggy software with missing features, it is a delight seeing people having the guts to delay release dates and focusing on the qualitiy of the software. So thank you and your team for your great effort, I'm sure it is worth it. I'll be looking forward and will buy your software for sure. Thx a lot, Michael

Will Gant

Will Gant  /  11 JULY 2019

As a windows software developer who has already written one book using Scrivener, I feel your pain. I'm just glad to see a developer release a solid product and not allow broken things to be rushed out the door. That's a rare thing and laudable.

Looking forward to the August 30th release. I'm going to use that as motivation to get my current book done quickly.


Toybits  /  12 JULY 2019

It's coming along great and I've been using it happily for a while. I backup a lot more often as it's Beta and I'm paranoid but not had one issue yet.

One question.

The formatting is quite different when you open projects in different versions. Is this down to the OS or will this change.

Or put more simply, Should we choose one version (Mac or Windows) and stick with that on a per project basis?



MQubed  /  12 JULY 2019

Will this Windows version enable us to edit TABLE margins (outside=width, and inside= cell spacing) especially in Screenwriting Format (for Dual Dialogue)?? Please?


narrsd  /  13 JULY 2019

Hallo Lee and Tiho,

Missed this post the first time around, but then this lets me compliment you later


tonyarmoore  /  13 JULY 2019

@danalouwho - Sweet! I can hardly wait :)


jd  /  13 JULY 2019

Looking forward to it! Scriverner 1.x.x is one of the best designed software programs I have used and while the wait has been long, I really appreciate your commitment to releasing version 3 only when it is truly ready. Thanks!

PS. Hoping for a "write book for me feature" :)


Tom  /  15 JULY 2019

Thanks Lee! You guys are rock stars!


fenniPete  /  15 JULY 2019

Glad to hear of the August date. Birthday for me too (few days before, but... hey) - seem to be a few Leo types here. To the complainers, yes, time has passed. But software like this is horribly complex, and all we have to do is plonk down a few $$ and get something that just works.


Scot  /  16 JULY 2019

Thanks for this update and for the fantastic writing tools. I'm going to go home and tell my wife what I want for my birthday present. :)


DemandingLittleWitch  /  16 JULY 2019

I'm a little late to this news. Thank you so much for the detailed explanation. I'm sure the update will be worth the wait (and cost).

Software releases are a nightmare on the user end too-- what will work, what won't, what went poof... (No, I'm not bitter about the latest Quicken update that lost 4 accounts. Nope. Not at all.) Thank you for pushing the rock and stomping on the bugs. It's not the roaches that will survive the Apocolypse, it's the computer bugs. (Insight courtesy of my husband, who still swears by FORTRAN.) Please thank your team for the collective as well. They are dreaming in code too.


Nyland  /  16 JULY 2019

Thank you. Really looking forward to it.


Frankie  /  17 JULY 2019

Hello Development Team, thank you for all your efforts! Kudos! And good luck!


Dave  /  17 JULY 2019

I have been using the Windows 3 Beta for my latest project and find it an exceptional improvement. Given the Beta warns me that it will expire on July 31st upon opening, and the final version will not be released until August 30th, there is a month (or more) of nail biting in the interim. UGH! Development Team, please take away this angst!


DeepWinter  /  19 JULY 2019

Hey Guys,

This is the sort of update I ( and I'm sure others) have really wanted for a long time now. Typically we see some ultra defensive flaming back and forwards, but this here is more along the lines of what the community needs. Personally what I'd love to see is just a semiregular update with how things are going, and if current ETAs are on track on not, not looking for excuses, I understand development is not easy, its a moving target and it always takes longer than you think.

But instead of blowing past a target and making your community feel like shit for thinking you meant it (some of the posts I've read could almost be decribed as gaslighting your community), if you keep us in the loop we know that, "ok we set the target here, we've made this progress, but we know we have another couple of months more time we need." Its ok to move the goalposts in this here, if your keeping us involved so we understand the progress and feel like things are still happening.

So once again, thanks for this update it is much more in line with what I was hoping to get from you, I'd love it if you can keep up the communication, it doesn't have to be an essay each time (I feel like this needed to be because of the lack of real engagement on progress), but even if its a paragraph every month and even if you don't want to give actual rough estimates on time frame, at least give us something like " ok we are still running to current schedule" or "we've hit a big issue and dev has been pushed by at least 3 months..." to get that sort of information makes us feel included and valued.

I own scrivener and have since about 2016 and I intend to upgrade to this once you guys are happy with a stable release (I'm also super super excited that you have android on the roadmap, even if its probably a year or 2 off). Lots of great and exciting news, so please, please keep up with the community engagement on this so we can continue to support you!


Dollo  /  21 JULY 2019

I'm really happy to hear that. Thank you so much for your hard work and the insightful explanation!


GregNJ  /  22 JULY 2019

I purchased Scrivener for Windows a few months ago and fell in love with it! It was only after I purchased a product about learning Scrivener that I learned how much more the Mac OS version could do. Needless to say, I'm very excited about the release of version 3 for Windows, and want to say Thank You to the development team. I'm sure all of you are working very hard to get this out the door by the end of August. I'm eagerly looking forward to using the new version!

arthur yip

arthur yip  /  23 JULY 2019

greatly appreciate the update and even more excited for the upcoming android version!


Iamking@1  /  30 JULY 2019

30th August 2019 is my birthday . I like it . thanks for your hard working . Scrivener 3 should be perfect , I am so exciting


Iamking@1  /  30 JULY 2019



Jos  /  30 JULY 2019

Thank you for the update. I bought a MacBook Pro in 2018, especcially for Scrivener 3.0. Now i'm in love with Apple too.


enginpost  /  04 AUGUST 2019

The latest beta claims it is valid to use until the end of September. Does that mean that the official version 3 for windows isn't going to be released in August?


AdrianM  /  05 AUGUST 2019

Thanks for the update Lee. I definitely intend to buy the Windows 3 version when it's available. Very pleased to know that it'll be available on Android soon too.


ThaddeusLW  /  08 AUGUST 2019

AWESOME! Thanks so much for the hard work! Can't wait!


AlanK  /  08 AUGUST 2019

Thanks for letting us know - Really looking forward! (not long now =-)


nomid  /  08 AUGUST 2019

Recently switched to Windows. Just now trying out the trial on the software to see if it works for me. Hope to try the trial on the new release coming. Thanks for the information.


Rudi_UK  /  13 AUGUST 2019

Fantastic news. Your incredible hard work is really appreciated. Besides the new functionality, I was always casting an envious eye towards the elegant Mac UI - it sounds trivial but having a pleasing, balanced and intuitive interface is really conducive to creativity. A very pleasant surprise to read about the dark mode too - I do a lot of music writing and virtually all the software vendors have switched to dark mode too - so much easier on the eye.
I am looking forward to spending my money on the upgrade...
Well done guys!


wordsmith  /  13 AUGUST 2019

Lee, can't tell you how much I appreciate your hard work. I confess I never gave Scrivener for Windows a second thought until Dragon abandoned the Mac. Now Scrivener 3.0 for Windows has reached the top of my wish list. All the best to you and the team!


LG  /  14 AUGUST 2019

T-minus 16 days before the putative 30 August 2019 release of Scrivener for Windows 3 and I’m bookmarking this page -- so that I can have a front-row seat when either the usual litany of excuses or dead silence once again emerge as Literature and Latte's proxies for the badly-needed, long-awaited, stable, non-beta, leveled-up version of the various iterations of Scrivener for Windows 1.

Cynical? Sure, but such cynicism is a rational response to *years* of awaiting the promised Scrivener for Windows 3 -- even as other developers’ originally-designed-for-Mac software has progressed through not one but *multiple* new versions for Windows; as the well-intentioned pleas of posters in online tech forums to crowdfund whatever extra help is needed to speed the Scrivener for Windows 3 project are dismissed as risible and impossible; and as unwitting Windows users continue to buy Scrivener on the basis of the *dozens* of online reviews (e.g. I'm looking at you, _PC Mag_) that fail to make clear that the majority of the most useful and impressive features described are available only in Scrivener’s Mac versions.

So scrivener for Windows 3 will be here on 30 August 2019? Oh; okay. I'll believe it when I see it.


Louis the C  /  16 AUGUST 2019

I've registered here just so that I can leave this comment: What's up with all these nasty nasty comments? I'm eagerly awaiting the release of vers.3, but L&L doesn't 'owe' its Windows users anything... nil... nada... zero. In fact, I'd continue happily using my vers.1 even if they were to drop the new version altogether. The current version is still a wonderful product that enables my productivity, and at a very reasonable price point. The fact that a newer and slicker version is forthcoming is just icing on the cake.
I'm embarrassed that I represent a user group (PCs) with so many whiners. Coming from a computer programmer: You try building your own publicly released applications that go well beyond a simple 'Hello World.'
Lastly, my gratitude to LL for their fantastic program, and Godspeed for the development team. Hoping for a timely release on August 30, and if not, looking forward to whenever it will be ready for public use. Thanks!


LG  /  17 AUGUST 2019

@Louis the C, you're quite right that Literature and Latte 'owes' Windows users nothing -- who's arguing that they do? -- but you've neglected to note that Windows users likewise do not 'owe' Literature and Latte undue goodwill given: (a) that the time between Scrivener's Windows exceeds that which industry insiders (including programmers-turned-product-reviewers) consider standard or reasonable and (b) Literature and Latte's short shrift of a long series of previous release dates has made consumer skepticism a matter of rational common sense, not self-indulgent 'whining.'

Speaking of 'whiners,' I'm always amazed that the comments sections of tech discussions like this one invariably contain affronted posts from developers who at once accuse critics of 'whining' and argue that the fathomless difficulties of computer programming should preclude critique. (e.g. "Coming from a computer programmer: You try building your own publicly released applications that go well beyond a simple 'Hello World.'")

Engineering is hard. Brain surgery is hard. Making compelling and beautiful art is hard. Shaping young minds is hard. Yet engineers and neurosurgeons take 'getting it right' so seriously that they submit themselves to stringent professional oversight. Artists accept that whole industries have evolved solely to critique their work. And teachers at both the secondary and the university level submit to peer and student evaluations each semester as a condition of keeping their jobs and/or being promoted. In none of these professions is "But the lay public has no concept of how hard my job is!" a proxy for honest appraisal or an accepted excuse for poor performance. To argue that it should be any different for computer programmers is nothing short of -- well -- whiny, @Louis the C.


DemandingLittleWitch  /  21 AUGUST 2019


Everything you said is reasonable. I'd like to add there's a difference between a well-written complaint and bitter litany of attacks. We're writers. We should be able to voice our displeasure with more than Eff You! Believe it when I see it!!! neener neener. A complaint or counter-argument such as yours is taken seriously and given due consideration. The knee-jerk response of insults (whiners) is not constructive.


HowardC  /  21 AUGUST 2019

Y'all, Scrivener 1 is STILL the best writing program I've ever had, and still completely usable. What's more is that it is STABLE - does anyone ever worry about their work in Scrivener 1? No! We're getting bells and whistles with this new program - and just imagine how sweet it's going to be to transition seamlessly into a working 3rd edition without the headaches of incomplete development.

Thanks for the hard work y'all. Your products have been on point as long as I've been a user (7 years) and having you take the extra time to gold plate your newest work doesn't hurt my feelings at all.


HowardC  /  21 AUGUST 2019

Y'all, Scrivener 1 is STILL the best writing program I've ever had, and still completely usable. What's more is that it is STABLE - does anyone ever worry about their work in Scrivener 1? No! We're getting bells and whistles with this new program - and just imagine how sweet it's going to be to transition seamlessly into a working 3rd edition without the headaches of incomplete development.

Thanks for the hard work y'all. Your products have been on point as long as I've been a user (7 years) and having you take the extra time to gold plate your newest work doesn't hurt my feelings at all.

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