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I made Scrivener do something ELSE cool!

This is a post for the Scrivener Mac geeks out there (wouldn't work in Windows).

One thing that pulls me out of typing is when a character has a name that's complicated to type, a sort of tongue-twister, but for my fingers. If I were working on a PC, I'd just write a little macro or something so I didn't need to keep typing that name in. Yes, I could type a goofy symbol in the story and find-and-replace it with the real name later, but that just doesn't flow for me. And I could leave the name on the clipboard and Command-V it in, but then if you cut/paste something else it gets cumbersome.

In Word, if I had a really clumsy name, I'd add a shortened version of that name to the dictionary and have it autocorrect to the full name...but how to do it in Scrivener? Hmm....

Scrivener for Mac utilizes the text edit engine in the Mac's operating system, so if you need Scrivener's text to do something, dig in there. I know I never open that program and I always assume it can't do anything other than type plain text. But it turns out I'm wrong! I was able to access an autocorrect panel on the system level through Text Edit, and program in my shortcut and name. (Look at the bottom entry.)

L0U15E's name in Zero Hour was a total pain to type with the numeric characters in there. If I'd been working on that story in Scrivener, I could have just typed LLL and as soon as I hit the space bar afterward, it would insert her machine-name.

Here are the instructions (found in Text Edit Help) on how to access this yourself if you want to try it:

Automatically replacing text
You can set TextEdit to recognize and replace text you don’t want with text you do want. For example, when you type “teh,” you can have TextEdit automatically convert it to “the.”
To specify text that TextEdit should use to replace particular text:
Choose Edit > Substitutions > Show Substitutions, click Text Preferences, and then click Text. You can also choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Language & Text, and then click Text.
Use the table to set up text replacement criteria. Each replacement is described in a separate row.
To activate or deactivate a replacement, select or deselect its checkbox in the first column.
To specify a new replacement, click the Add (+) button. Press Tab, and in the second column, type the text you want to automatically replace. Press Tab again, and in the third column, type the replacement text.
To remove a replacement, select it and then click the Delete (-) button.



( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 19th, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC)
That's a cool function. I hope they add that to the windows version. I have yet to play with it yet. I need more hours in the day.
Mar. 19th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's a feature they can add, as this is an adjustment made in Mac system preferences and not anywhere in the Scrivener program itself. I, too, need more hours :D
Jul. 25th, 2011 05:13 pm (UTC)
Does this actually work in Scrivener?
Yes, Mac OS X allows substitutions in applications that include a substitutions function (usually found in the Edit menu) like TextEdit, Mail and Safari. But Scrivener includes no such function to turn on system-wide substitutions, as far as I have been able to find. My substitutions (i.e., text replacement) are not working in Scrivener. How do you actually make this work in Scrivener?
Jul. 25th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
The steps I detailed above do work in Scrivener for me, except for anything involving quotes. I suspect some "smart quote" function is messing up the way I'd like it to handle quotes.
Jul. 25th, 2011 09:20 pm (UTC)
So, how do you turn this on in Scrivener, given that there is no Substitutions menu option under Edit, as there is in Mail, Safari, etc.?
Jul. 25th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC)
Scrivener for Mac utilizes the text edit engine in the Mac's operating system, so if you need Scrivener's text to do something, dig in there. You don't turn anything on in Scrivener. You do it in Text Edit.
Sep. 11th, 2012 12:39 pm (UTC)
Why through Text Edit and not just through System Preferences?
Sep. 11th, 2012 01:12 pm (UTC)
Scrivener for Mac utilizes the text edit engine in the Mac's operating system, so if you need Scrivener's text to do something, dig in there.
Ryan Calder
Jul. 18th, 2013 04:51 pm (UTC)
works perfectly
Thank you. This is a big help. I use abbreviations the same way you do in MS Word, and was missing that feature in Scrivener.
Jul. 25th, 2013 05:41 pm (UTC)
Re: works perfectly
That's great, Ryan! I could stand to use this feature more. Since I posted this I bought an app called Text Expander that does this too...but again, I really could utilize it more.
Patti Albaugh
Jul. 7th, 2015 08:55 pm (UTC)
text substitutions
This is brilliant! I was looking for a way that Scrivener could alert me to use of a filter word like "even" or "felt." Now when I type "Even I was tired." "Even" is replaced by "NONONO!" Saves manuscript search and replace later.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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