Distraction-free Writing in Scrivener

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If you like writing in a distraction-free environment, Scrivener has just the tool for you.

It’s called Composition Mode.

You enter Composition Mode by hitting alt-Cmd-F on the MAC or F11 on the PC, or by clicking the corresponding button in the toolbar.

Enter Composition Mode - Distraction-free Writing in Scrivener
Enter Composition Mode

Composition mode gets rid of the whole interface and shows your document only.

But if you want you can still access the menu bar. Just move the mouse pointer to the upper edge of the screen, and let it sit there for a moment.

View menu bar at the top - Distraction-free Writing in Scrivener
View menu bar at the top

If you slide all the way to the bottom, you have a control strip that lets you adjust Composition Mode and gives you access to additional information and navigation tools.

Control strip at the bottom - Distraction-free Writing in Scrivener
Control strip at the bottom

In the control strip on the left you can adjust text scale, paper position, and paper width.

You can also show your keywords and your inspector as floating windows, so you can refer to your notes without having to go into the “real” Scrivener interface, so to speak.

View keywords and inspector as floating windows - Distraction-free Writing in Scrivener
View keywords and inspector as floating windows

The Go To – menu in the control strip lets you access all the other documents in your project, so you don’t have to leave Composition mode to do that.

Go To - Menu in the control strip - Distraction-free Writing in Scrivener
Go To – Menu in the control strip

Now, how do you determine which documents are loaded into Composition Mode?

It’s always the ones you have selected. If you have only one document active it’s the one that will be shown in Composition Mode. You can access all the other documents through the Go-To menu.

A single document in composition mode - Distraction-free Writing in Scrivener
A single document in composition mode

If you have multiple documents selected AND you are in Scrivening view mode, Composition Mode will show you all of them in a row, and you can select each of them directly via the Go To menu.

Multiple documents in composition mode (scrivening view mode) - Distraction-free Writing in Scrivener
Multiple documents in composition mode (scrivening view mode)

If, however you have multiple documents selected and you’re NOT in Scrivening view mode, Composition Mode will show you just one of the documents, and you can jump back and forth between them by hitting Cmd-[ or Cmd-]. You can also choose any other document you like from the Go-To menu below.

In the middle of the control strip you have a words and characters counter.

If you click on it you should be able to select if you want to include footnotes, comments, and annotations in the count, but there seems to be some kind of bug in this version, so you can’t do this at the moment. I’ve already reported this to literature and latte and I hope they will fix it in the next release.

On the right you can adjust the opacity of your paper, which means you can make it kind of see-through if you want to.

Change paper opacity - Distraction-free Writing in Scrivener
Change paper opacity

And the button on the bottom right brings you back to the Scrivener interface.

Back to Scrivener interface - Distraction-free Writing in Scrivener
Back to Scrivener interface

If you don’t like the look or the behaviour of Composition Mode you can go to Preferences – Compose and here are many, many settings that you can use to adjust it to your personal taste.

Compose settings - Distraction-free Writing in Scrivener
Compose settings

 

Are you using composition mode for writing? Leave a comment below…

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