Working with Snippets

Over the course of a draft, you probably type the same character combinations hundreds if not thousands of times. Why not let Storyist type them for you? Storyist can insert multi-line text snippets (bits of text) with just a few keystrokes.

Try this:

  1. Make sure tab shortcuts are enabled.

  2. Place the cursor at the start of a blank link.

  3. Type “lorem” and then press the tab key.

When you press the tab key, Storyist replaces “lorem” with

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras non libero vitae tortor ullamcorper pharetra. Suspendisse fringilla consequat augue, nec hendrerit orci tincidunt in. Ut leo nisl, bibendum quis porta sed, porta a leo. Aliquam et ante lorem. Nullam vel lectus tellus, quis luctus mi. Nam non eros sit amet sem ultrices consectetur eu malesuada felis. Mauris rhoncus interdum eros nec aliquam.

Now try this:

  1. Place the cursor at the start of a blank link.
  2. Type “na” and then press the tab key.

This time you’ll see the following:

What are the bubbles? Placeholders!

  1. Press tab again to highlight the dialog bubble and type some dialog.

  2. Press tab again to highlight the name bubble and type a character name.

  3. Press tab again to highlight the end of the line and press return.

Here is an example:

Using the snippet editor, you can quickly define define your own snippets. To view the snippet editor, choose Storyist > Preferences and select the Text Editing pane.

To add a new snippet:

  1. Click the + button.

  2. Add a name and tab trigger (abbreviation).

  3. Enter the replacement text.

To create a placeholder bubble, just wrap the placeholder text with <# and #> like this: "<#dialog#>?" <#name#> asked.<# #>

You might use snippets for:

  • Character names

  • Locations

  • Dialog

  • Terminology

Go ahead and experiment!

-Steve

Working with the Versions Browser

You probably know that Storyist automatically saves copies your project as you write. Did you know you can interactively browse these saved versions and grab bits of text to paste into your current version?

Try it:

  1. Open a project you’ve been working on.

  2. Choose File > Revert To > Browse All Versions. This opens the Versions browser (shown above) and displays the current version of your project on the left and a stack of the previous versions on the right.

  3. Click the arrow buttons to navigate through the stack of previous versions.

  4. Click a previous version to enlarge it. The project view and search functions become active, and you can find what you’re looking for and copy it. After you exit the browser, you can paste the text into your current project.

If you’ve you made extensive changes you no longer want, or you inadvertently delete something important, you can restore your entire project to a previous version. Just navigate to the desired version and click the Restore button.

Time Machine

If your project is stored on your local hard drive, you can use the built-in Time Machine support to browse not only the versions on your local disk but also the ones stored on your remote Time Machine disk.

Follow the instructions in the Time Machine pane of the System Preferences window to get started.

iCloud

If your project is stored in iCloud, the Versions browser can show versions that were created on another device. Say you’re on your Mac and the changes you’re interested in were made on your iPad. No problem! Just open the browser in Storyist for Mac, locate the desired version, and click “Load Version.” You can now copy (or restore) from that version.

Powerful!

What’s New in Storyist for Mac 3.5

Storyist for Mac 3.5 is out! This release adds support for a very popular feature request: Creating PDFs for Print.

Print-Ready PDFs

Starting in version 3.5, you can use the book templates in Storyist to turn your manuscript into a print-ready PDFs. The new book editor lets you add front matter (like a table of contents); specify verso/recto pages; and set trim size, margins, and bleed.

Blurb Trade Book Templates

Storyist has partnered with Blurb, a popular self-publishing platform, to provide you with book creation and distribution tools that make it easy to print and sell your work. Use the included print-optimized templates to quickly build beautiful Blurb Trade Books.

Storyist is Ten!

Storyist turns ten today!

Hard to believe, I know, but it was on January 8th, 2007 that Storyist 1.0 first saw the light of day at MacWorld. I’m feeling nostalgic this morning, so I hope you’ll indulge me in a brief walk down memory lane.

The Apple community was a little different in 2007, and MacWorld really was the center of the world for all things Mac. That year, Apple featured a Developer Pavilion next to their showroom (to call it a booth would be an understatement), and Storyist Software had a kiosk there (to call it a booth would be an overstatement).

Attendance reached 45,572 and being so close to Apple, the kiosk got tons of traffic. We talked to celebrities like the comedian Sinbad, industry insiders like MacWorld magazine editor Jason Snell, and hordes of passionate Mac users.

MacWorld 2007 also marked the start of a pivotal year for Apple. With the introduction of the first iPhone at the show, the company dropped “Computer” from its name and became simply Apple Inc.

Skeuomorphic design was still in vogue, and Storyist’s icon and interface followed the Aqua design guidelines at the time. (Apple introduced Aqua at MacWorld 2000.)

The Storyist 1.0 system requirements seem quaint by today’s standards:

  • Mac OS X version 10.4.4 or later.
  • Macintosh computer with a 500MHz or faster PowerPC G4, PowerPC G5, or Intel Core processor.
  • 15 MB of available disk space
  • 256 MB of RAM
  • 32 MB of video RAM

Oh, and Macs came with devices that read optical media known as Compact Disks (CDs). Here is the jacket design for the Storyist CD that we gave away at the show.

Mobile apps were still a few years away (Storyist for iOS wouldn’t launch until 2011), and iCloud was still called .Mac.

That concludes the stroll. Thanks for your indulgence. Ten years is a long time in the software industry, and I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has used Storyist over the years. It wouldn’t be where it is today without your feedback and support.

So with a tip ‘o the hat to 2007, it’s on to the second decade! 2017 is shaping up to be an amazing year for Storyist. Stay tuned.

-Steve

What’s New in Storyist for Mac 3.4

Happy Holidays everyone!

Storyist for Mac 3.4 is out, and adds support for the Touch Bar on the 2016 MacBook Pros.

Apple describes the Touch Bar as follows:

The Touch Bar replaces the function keys that have long occupied the top of your keyboard with something much more versatile and capable. It changes automatically based on what you’re doing to show you relevant tools you already know how to use — system controls like volume and brightness, interactive ways to adjust or browse through content, intelligent typing features like emoji and predictive text, and more.

Here is the “and more” that Storyist 3.4 brings to the table:

Text Bar

The text bar, active when you’re using the text editor, adds Touch Bar shortcuts for:

  • Choosing styles
  • Setting text color
  • Bold/italic/underline
  • Setting text alignment
  • Managing lists

Outline Bar

The outline bar, active when you’re in outline mode, adds shortcuts for:

  • Adding chapters/sections/scenes
  • Choosing a background color

Storyboard Bar

The storyboard bar, active when you’re in storyboard (index card) mode, adds shortcuts for:

  • Adding chapters/sections/scenes
  • Settings the zoom factor
  • Choosing an index card color

Project View Bar

The project view bar shortcuts for adding files and folders to your project.

Have a new MacBook Pro? Download the trial version and take it for a spin.

What’s New in Storyist for Mac 3.3

NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and Storyist for Mac 3.3 is out with some new features to help you in your month of noveling!

Updated Goal Inspectors

The updated goal inspectors are now accessible directly from the toolbar and give you more ways to track your writing goals.

You can:

  • Use the calendar view to get a sense of how your writing sessions vary from day to day. Dates are color coded with your progress, and the mouse and cursor keys allow you to select individual dates to view.
  • Use the graph view to show your progress over time. You can get daily, weekly or monthly graphs of your word count data, or even specify a custom date range.
  • Use the summary view to see your average and best days in a given range.
  • Export your writing session data to a .csv file for use with a spreadsheet application like Excel or Numbers.

Support for macOS Sierra

Version 3.3 comes with support for macOS Sierra so you can take advantage of new Sierra features like tabbed windows and Siri.

Other New Features and Bug Fixes

Version 3.3 also includes the following new features, bug fixes and usability enhancements:

  • You can now designate a project or text file template as the default template. The default text file template is now used when creating a new text file from a wiki link or via Command+Return commands.
  • The cork board background now defaults to a solid color rather than the cork texture. If you prefer the cork texture, just open the Appearance tab in the Preferences window and set the storyboard background to the cork pattern.
  • The text view no longer “wobbles” slightly when you scroll after double tapping the trackpad to zoom in.
  • The Command+Up Arrow and Command+Down Arrow shortcuts now take you to the beginning/end of a document as they do in other text applications. Previously, the Command+Up Arrow shortcut took you to the enclosing folder (like in Finder). Now, it only takes you to the enclosing folder if you are already at the start of the file.
  • Changes to the theme’s collage background color now appear immediately.

What’s New in Storyist for iOS 3.3

Storyist for iOS 3.3 is available in the App Store–just in time for summer! Here’s what’s new.

iCloud and Dropbox Versions

Prior to version 3.3, you could browse and restore the previous versions (backups) of your projects that Storyist created on your iPad or iPad. Starting in version 3.3, you can access previous versions stored in iCloud and Dropbox too.

To do so:

  1. Navigate to the Storyist home screen.

  2. Tap Edit and then tap the Versions (umbrella) icon.

  3. Choose Show Previous Versions.

You’ll see a list containing the versions stored on your iPad or iPhone and the versions stored in either iCloud or Dropbox. (Please note that by default, Dropbox only keeps old versions for 30 days.) If you want to revert to a specific version, simply select it and tap Restore.

Smart Quotes and Dashes

It’s odd that the iOS text system doesn’t natively support automatic “smart” quote substitution. It’s a popular feature that the OS X text system has supported for years.

I’ve held off implementing the feature for a while now thinking that Apple would add support “any day now.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the iOS 10 text system will be any different, so I’ve gone ahead and added smart quote support to Storyist 3.3.

To enable smart quotes:

  1. Open a text file.
  2. Tap Tools > Edit > Substitutions.
  3. Turn the “Smart Quotes” switch on.

By default, Storyist follows the standard English conventions for smart quotes, but other languages have different conventions, and you can change the default behavior in the Preferences window.

  1. Open a text file.
  2. Tap Tools > Preferences
  3. Select your preferred single and double quote style.

Import and Export PNG and JPEG Files

Previously, you could add images to a Storyist project by selecting from the Photos app or by using copy and page. Storyist 3.3 adds the ability to import and export images using the document picker. Finally!

To import an image to a Storyist project using the document picker:

  1. Navigate to a project folder.

  2. Tap the Add (+) button.

  3. Select the cloud service (iCloud Drive, Dropbox, etc.) containing the image you want to import.

Similarly, to export an image from a Storyist project:

  1. Navigate to the project folder containing the image you want to export.

  2. Tap Edit, and select the image.

  3. Tap the Export button.

  4. Choose Copy to Location.

  5. Continue exporting as you would with other file types.

Bug Fixes and Stability Enhancements

As always, this release also contains bug fixes and stability enhancements. Here is the list:

  • Dragging outline items in the sidebar now works correctly in cases where the “Show Body Text” setting is off. Previously, dragging text to a chapter that contained a hidden body text section would result in the text being placed between the chapter title and the hidden section. It is now placed after the hidden section, matching the behavior of the index card editor.

  • Storyist no longer crashes in certain circumstances when undoing a drag in the outline sidebar. Previously, Storyist might crash if you reopened a project, dragged an outline item, and then executed an undo before doing any other undoable operation.

  • Folders containing images of different aspect ratios are now displayed more uniformly in the folder view.

  • Storyist now handles the case where some cloud services (e.g. Dropbox) deliver Scrivener files as zipped packages even though these packages have the proper “.scriv” extension.

  • Storyist now correctly handles the case where a Scrivener file contains a PDF that acts like a folder (i.e. the binder item has “children”).

  • Styles are now imported if necessary when you paste text from one file to another.

  • Storyist no longer appends an unnecessary newline when pasting text.

As always, thanks for using Storyist. And keep the feature requests coming.

-Steve

Storyist for iOS 3.2 is Out!

I’m delighted to announce that Storyist for iOS 3.2 is available in the App Store! It’s got support for dark mode, PDF title pages, and draft mode enhancements for iPhone.

Dark Mode

One of the most popular feature requests over the years (Storyist for iOS has been in the App Store since 2011), was for a dark editing mode. Storyist for Mac added the feature in version 3.1, and now it is available in Storyist for iOS.

Enabling dark mode is simple:

  1. Navigate to the Storyist home screen.
  2. Tap the More (…) button.
  3. Set the Dark Mode switch to on.

That’s it. Now you can write in ’till the wee hours without the glare of a white page to tire your eyes.

PDF Title Pages

Another frequent request, especially from screenwriters, was to be able to add a title page when exporting a PDF.

Now, when you select PDF as the output format, you’ll now have the option of choosing a title page from the project (or home screen) or having one generated from the file metadata.

Adjustable Font Size in Draft Mode on iPhone

Rounding out the trio of features is the ability to change the font size when in draft mode on iPhone.

To change the draft mode font size:

  1. Open a text file.
  2. Choose Tools > Preferences.
  3. Move the Draft Mode Font Size slider to the desired setting.

That’s about it. Enjoy! And keep the requests coming.

-Steve

Storyist and iPad Pro

Judging by the questions coming in to the support address, quite a few Storyist users are considering purchasing an iPad Pro to handle their day-to-day writing tasks. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions to help with the descision.

Does Storyist support the larger iPad Pro screen?

Yes. Storyist for iOS supports the larger 2732 x 2048 screen. It does not simply scale up the pixels from a standard 2048×1536 screen (something you’ll see on an app that hasn’t been updated with iPad Pro support). This means you can use the extra space for your text or for another app via Split View.

Does Storyist support Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture?

Yes. You can use Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture in Storyist.

  • Slide Over lets you temporarily overlay a second app on the right side of the screen.
  • Split View lets you display two apps side-by-side, and interact with both of them.
  • Picture in Picture lets you continue watch a video in a small, movable window while you write.

Additionally, Storyist uses the new Shortcut bar on iOS 9 to display extra keys and other shortcuts. Unlike the old extended keyboard row (available in many apps on iOS 8), the Shortcut bar is able to use the full width of the screen for the active view, which means your extra keys are still available to you when you’re using Split View.

Does Storyist support the new Apple Smart Keyboard?

Yes. The Smart Keyboard works great with Storyist. In fact, in the last post, I mentioned that Storyist 3.1 added a bunch of new keyboard shortcuts that make getting around even easier. Here’s a sample.

Navigation shortcuts

  • Use the arrow keys to select files or index cards.
  • Use return to start editing a selecteded file or index card.
  • Use ⌘ 1 and ⌘ 2 to switch between text and index card mode.
  • Use ⌘ option T to open and close the project view.
  • Use ⌘ [ to navigate back in your browsing history.

Text Editing Shortuts

  • Use ⌘ control C to insert a comment.
  • Use ⌘ option L to insert a link.

Press and hold the key to see some of the available shortcuts. You’ll find the complete list in the documentation.

Does Storyist support the Apple Pencil?

Yes and no. Storyist does not do anything special to support Pencil. However, it does work great with several 3rd party “keyboards” that provide support for handwiting input. MyScript Stylus, for example, is perfect if you want to write “long hand” for a change of pace.

If you have other questions, please feel free to send a quick email to the support address.

Taking Advantage of the New Keyboard Shortcuts

With iOS 9 now available and iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard on the way, it’s a great time to mention the new keyboard shortcuts in Storyist 3.1 for iOS.

As many of you know, Storyist for iOS has long provided shortcuts to make text editing with an extenal keyboard a productive experience. Version 3.1 brings a bunch more to the table. Here’s a sample.

Navigation shortcuts

  • Use the arrow keys to select files or index cards.
  • Use return to start editing a selecteded file or index card.
  • Use ⌘ 1 and ⌘ 2 to switch between text and index card mode.
  • Use ⌘ option T to open and close the project view.
  • Use ⌘ [ to navigate back in your browsing history.

Text Editing Shortuts

  • Use ⌘ control C to insert a comment.
  • Use ⌘ option L to insert a link.

You’ll find the complete list of keyboard shortcuts in the documentation. Take ’em for a spin.

And if you forget a shortcut (and are running iOS 9 or later), just press and hold the key to see the list of available shortcuts.