The Scrivener Basics Blog

Scrivener Basics | Menus + Customizing Your Toolbars


  1. MAIN MENU BAR: This functions much the same as most computer programs. Clicking on a menu option reveals a drop-down list of further options.
  2. THE TOOLBAR: Contains buttons and controls that let you add or delete items, switch between view modes, open the compile menu to compile your document for export and many more.
  3. THE FORMATTING TOOLBAR: Provides many of the most common options for formatting selected text, such as font, font size, font weight, alignment and color. 


If you do not see the alignment and tab stop ruler open the View menu in the top left of your toolbar and select Show Ruler. Or go to View > Text Editing > Show Ruler

NOTE: The Help drop down tab in the Main Menu is particularly useful, with links to Scrivener Tutorials and User Forums. Also, if you can't remember which drop down menu the function you need is in, just type a clue into the help search bar and Scrivener will point to it.

The number of tools you can fit in your toolbars is determined by the width of your computer screen. The icons you choose to keep in your toolbar depend on the type of project you are doing and which tools you end up using most frequently. 

Customizing the Toolbars (Mac):

If you don’t see labels below your tool icons, right click anywhere in the grey area and click on Icon and Text in the check box. 

If you have a very small computer monitor and you need more space you can always reverse this later on when you are familiar with what each tool does.

Right click anywhere in the grey area again and choose Customize Toolbar from the check box:

Which brings up your Tool Bar Menu:

  1. Drag the Default toolbar up into your Toolbar, or choose tools and drag them up separately. 
  2. Those tools you hardly ever use can be dragged off into the Toolbar menu where they will disappear in a puff of smoke. Don’t worry the original tool is still there if you want to reinstate it later.
  3. Make sure you include the Quick Search bar and the Inspector button in your selection because you will use them a lot.
  4. The number of tools you can have in your toolbar depends on the width of your computer screen. Excess tools will stack inside a dropdown menu which you can access via the >> arrows.
  5. When you have your toolbar the way you want it, click on Done.

Customizing the Toolbars (Windows):

To add or remove tools from your toolbar go to Main Menu > Tools > Customize Toolbars...

In the Customize Toolbars dialogue box, first select whether you want to make adjustments to the Format Toolbar or the Main Toolbar. For this exercise we will add a tool to the Format Toolbar.

  1. Choose a tool from the Available Toolbar Actions menu. I chose Copy Formatting.
  2. Click on the arrow pointing to the right.
  3. This adds your icon to the Toolbar Actions menu.
  4. If you don't like its position back on the Format Toolbar menu . . . 
  5. You can move its position by clicking on the Up/Down arrows.  
  6. When you have your toolbar the way you want it, click on OK.

To remove tools from your toolbars open up the Customize Toobars dialogue box again, select the tool you want to remove from the Current Toolbar Actions column and click on the left pointing arrow. Then click on OK.

If you reduce the size of your screen and you don't see all your tools on your toolbars: 

  1. Click on the >> arrows to bring up a second row of tools in the Main Toolbar
  2. Click on the >> arrows to extend the formatting options in the Formatting Menu.
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