Dark Mode Tips

Dark Mode Tips

A few people have written to ask how I created the dark mode screenshots for the Storyist 4 Sneak Peek post. Now that Storyist 4 is out, I thought I’d take a moment to describe that process (it’s straightforward) and offer some tips for using dark mode on Mojave.

In short, to create the screenshots, I simply combined different standard accent colors and desktop pictures.

Choosing the Accent Color and Desktop Picture

Mojave lets you choose the accent color that is used to tint the buttons and other controls in the system. You’ll find the setting in the General pane of the System Preferences window. The choices are Blue, Purple, Pink, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, and Graphite.

The desktop pictures are available in the Desktop & Screensaver pane. Not surprisingly, Apple provides desktop pictures that look great with the different accent color options.

For the screenshots, I chose:

  • The blue accent color with Mojave Night.
  • The purple accent color with Flower 4.
  • The orange accent color with Flower 5.
  • The pink accent color with Flower 7.

If you click on the gallery above and compare the screenshots, you’ll notice a subtle effect: The hue of the toolbar and page background changes slightly to reflect the average color of the desktop image. You’ll get this effect with your own desktop backgrounds too, so experiment with photos from your albums.

Choosing the Text Editor Properties

By default, Storyist 4 displays light text on a dark background in dark mode. This is usually what you want if your project is just text. However, if you’re designing for print, or you want complete control of text color, you might want to see dark text on a light background. To accomplish this, open the Storyist Preferences window, select the Appearance pane, and select “Use light appearance” for the text editor.

As you see in the screenshot, you can also set the application appearance to be always light or always dark independent of the system appearance.

Special Considerations for Text in Dark Mode

When the text editor is in dark mode, text having the default text color (black) is automatically changed to white. However, text having another color will not change. You may run into this, for example, if you import text that is dark gray instead of black. You can easily change the text color to work in both light and dark mode by selecting the text and clicking the “Set Text Color Automatically” button in the font color chooser in the inspector.

If you have other questions, let me know. And good luck with your projects.

-Steve

Working with the Files Interface

Working with the New Files Interface

Don’t be surprised if the new start screen in Storyist 4 for iOS looks familiar. It should. Starting in version 4, the Storyist home screen is essentially the Files app with a few important additions. If you’re not familiar with the Files app, you’ll find information about how to use it in Apple’s tutorial.

Here are some of the new features it brings to Storyist.

Edit in Place

If you’re a long-time iOS user, you know that files originally “belonged” to the app that created them. One side effect of this model was that you needed to copy a file to another app before editing it in that app. If you weren’t careful, you ended up with multiple copies of the file in different apps and needed keep track of which modifications were made in which app. Some apps still operate this way.

However, when using apps that support the “edit in place” Files functionality (like Storyist 4 does), you can edit a file wherever it is stored without having to copy it. This means you can organize your work in whatever way suits your project while avoiding the multiple copy problem.

3rd-Party Cloud Storage Providers

Another main feature of the Files app is that it gives 3rd-party cloud storage providers like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive a single, Apple-approved, way to integrate their services with iOS.

While Storyist 3 supported only iCloud and Dropbox, Storyist 4 can use any provider that supports the Files app. For example, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive all support the Files app.

To set up a 3rd-party cloud storage provider:

  1. Download and set up the cloud storage app.
  2. Open Storyist 4.
  3. Tap Edit in the Locations list.
  4. Turn on the cloud services you want to use.
  5. Tap Done.

Folders, List View, Tags, and Searching

Storyist 3 showed all of your files at the same level as a grid of icons. Using the Files interface in Storyist 4, you can

  • Organize your files into folders.
  • Display your files as a list.
  • Tag your files with a label or color.
  • Sort by name, date, size, and tag.
  • Search across all storage locations on your device.

Share Sheets

The Files interface works with iOS share sheets so you can

  • AirDrop your files to other devices.
  • Send a copy of your file using Messages, Mail, or 3rd-party apps that provide a share extension.
  • Share your work with collaborators using iCloud Files Sharing. (More on this below.)

To share a file:

  1. Tap Select.
  2. Tap the file you want to share.
  3. Tap Share.
  4. Select the sharing method.

iCloud File Sharing

iCloud Sharing lets you share files you’ve stored in iCloud with friends and collaborators who have an Apple ID.

As with iCloud Photo Sharing, you can

  • Give access to the file to anyone with a link, or only to those you invite.
  • Set permissions to let them make changes or just view the file.

Recent Files

The Files interface gives you quick access to recently edited files both in the app and on the home screen.

To see your recently edited files in the app, just tap the Recents tab on the Storyist home screen. To see them on the home screen, press and hold the app icon.

Tapping a file in the Recents lists opens it in the app.

Version History

One thing that the Files app doesn’t offer is access to previous versions of your file. Storyist 4 lets you view and restore previous versions stored in iCloud and in the Storyist folder in the “On My iPad” location.

To view the previous versions of a file, press and hold the file icon and select Versions from the popup menu.

If you want to return to an older version of the file, just select the file and tap Restore.

Note that version history is only available for files stored in iCloud and for files stored in the Storyist folder on your device.

If you’re using a 3rd party cloud storage provider, you may also be able to get version history from the provider’s app or website. For example, both Dropbox and Google Drive support this feature.

For more information, see the “Backing Up Your Work” section in the Users Guide.

As you can see, the Files interface brings some powerful new file management features to the app. Storyist 4 for iOS offers a free trial, so download it and take it for a spin!


-Steve

Storyist 4 is out!

I’m delighted to announce that Storyist 4 for macOS and iOS are now available. As mentioned in the Sneak Peek, version 4 brings many new features and usability enhancements.

Storyist 4 for macOS

Dark Mode on Mojave—Storyist 4 for macOS sports a beautiful new content-aware dark mode when running on Mojave. Many apps only support dark mode when your Mac is in dark mode, but Storyist 4 takes it a step further. Dark mode is available even if your Mac is running with the Light appearance and you can choose either dark text on a light background or light text on a dark background.

Quick Navigation—Getting around your project has never been easier. You can use the new Go To command to get to any project view with a few keystrokes.

Enhanced PDF Export—Sometimes you just need to make a PDF from several files in your project. Storyist 4 lets you quickly assemble and export a PDF without needing to create a book. This is useful for adding a title page to a manuscript or for assembling a couple of chapters to send to your critique group.

And More—Storyist 4 comes with many other enhancements, including an updated outliner, a more flexible full-screen view, and animation, performance, and usability improvements.

Storyist 4 for macOS requires macOS 10.13 High Sierra or later.

Storyist 4 for iOS

Files App Support–The Storyist home screen is now based on the Files app, so you can:

  • Store files where you want and edit them in place.
  • Use 3rd party cloud storage solutions like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.
  • Share files with others over iCloud using iCloud file sharing.
  • Organize your files using nested folders and tags.
  • View recently-edited files stored across multiple cloud storage providers.

New Themes–Storyist 4 includes several new themes, including both a light and a dark theme. Like the original theme? No worries, it’s still there. Tap the More button on the home screen and choose Themes to see the complete list.

Storyist 4 for iOS requires iOS 11 or later.

Free Trial and Upgrade Discounts

Storyist 4 is free to download on all platforms and offers a 14-day free trial, so you can test all features before purchasing. If you decide to keep the app after the trial period expires, just use the in-app purchase window to unlock the features permanently. Even if you choose not to purchase the app, you can use Storyist as a free viewer.

Enjoy!

As always, if you have questions, please feel free to contact support.

-Steve

Storyist 4 Sneak Peek

It’s been quiet around here. Maybe too quiet. Let’s change that. I’m happy to announce that Storyist 4 for macOS and Storyist 4 for iOS are currently in beta testing and will be available soon. Here’s a peek at what’s coming.

Storyist 4 for macOS

Dark mode on Mojave

Storyist 4 for macOS sports a beautiful new content-aware dark mode when running on Mojave. Many apps only support dark mode when your Mac is in dark mode, but Storyist 4 takes it a step further. Dark mode is available even if your Mac is running with the Light appearance and you can choose either dark text on a light background or light text on a dark background.

Quick navigation

Getting around your project has never been easier. You can use the new Go To command to get to any project view with a few keystrokes.

And More…

Storyist 4 for macOS supports High Sierra and Mojave and includes many other enhancements, including

  • Additional workflows for exporting PDF files and books.
  • Increased performance for large files.
  • Updated user interface elements.

Storyist 4 for iOS

Files App Support

The Storyist home screen is now based on the Files app, so you can:

  • Store project files where you want and edit them in place.
  • Use 3rd party cloud storage solutions like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.
  • Share files with others over iCloud using iCloud file sharing.
  • Organize your files using nested folders and tags.
  • View recently-edited files stored across multiple cloud storage providers.
  • Open recent files from the home screen.

New Themes

Storyist 4 for iOS includes several new interface themes, including both a light and a dark mode. Like the original theme? No worries, it’s still there. Tap the More button on the home screen and choose Themes to see the complete list.

Updated User Interface

Storyist 4 for iOS requires iOS 11 or later. The UI has been updated and includes new icons, animations, and usability enhancements.

  • Commands are organized in a simplified More menu on each screen.
  • Expanded keyboard shortcuts include cut/copy/paste and undo.
  • The text and index card editors take better advantage of larger screens on X model iPhones.

Free Trials and Upgrade Discounts

Both Storyist 4 for macOS and Storyist 4 for iOS are free to download and offer 14-day free trials so you can test all the features before purchasing. Both versions also offer upgrade discounts for owners of previous versions!

Want to Help Test?

Storyist 4 will be out of beta later this quarter, but if you want to help test, there are still some slots open for both the macOS and iOS versions. If you’re interested in helping, please send an email to support@storyist.com and indicate which platform(s) you’re interested in.

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.