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!


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.


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.


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.

Should I Store My Files in iCloud or Dropbox?

Storyist 3 for iOS can store files in (sync with) both iCloud and Dropbox. Both work great, but there are some subtle differences between the services. Which one should you choose? Here is some information to help you make your decision.


  • Works better with large Storyist projects. Storyist projects are zip archives. When you edit a project, Storyist saves your changes and compresses the project files into an archive for you. Unlike Dropbox, iCloud is able to tell which elements of the zip archive have changed, and sync only the parts of the archive that have changed to the cloud. If your project contains lots of images, storing your project files in iCloud could save considerable network time and battery life.

  • Easier Setup. If your iPad or iPhone is signed in to your iCloud account, you’re all set. There are no additional accounts to create or passwords to enter.

  • Better sync conflict handling on Mac. Since iCloud is integrated into OS X, apps like Storyist 3 for Mac that support iCloud can automatically update to a new version from another device or handle a sync conflict as soon as it occurs.

There is something to be aware of, however.

  • When you sign out of iCloud from the iCloud pane of the Settings app, files stored in your iCloud account are no longer available in Storyist. This may be what you want, or may scare the Dickens out of you. Note that when you sign out, your files are still safe in the cloud and will be available in Storyist when you sign back in to your iCloud account.


  • Keeps old versions of your files for at least 30 days. This is a big deal. Dropbox keeps old versions of your files in the cloud, so you can revert a change even after it’s been synced with your other devices.

  • Allows easier collaboration. If you have a cowriter or editor you can share folders and work together from a single folder.

  • Ability to change sync folders. You can change which Dropbox folder you sync with simply by re-running Cloud Setup and choosing a different folder.

The Dark Mode Cometh

If you’re running Yosemite, you probably noticed the beautiful new dark controls in the Notification Center and (if you found the “Use dark menu bar and Dock” checkbox in the system preferences) in the menu and dock.

Did you know that the dark mode user interface controls are available to applications too?

Starting in version 3.1, Storyist for Mac can take full advantage of the dark mode controls when running on Yosemite.

Here’s how to set  it up:

  1. Launch Storyist for Mac version 3.1 or later.
  2. Open the Storyist Preferences window.
  3. Select the Appearance pane.
  4. Select the theme you want to modify.
  5. Click the Interface tab.
  6. Check the “Use dark interface elements” checkbox.

That’s it. Whenever you switch to the theme you selected in step 4, you’ll get the dark mode UI shown above.