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Scrivener Backgrounds

Scrivener backgrounds are a powerful way to customize your virtual writing environment to your exact liking.

Every writer works well under different circumstances. Some prefer to work in a quiet and focused environment while others prefer the hustle and bustle of a coffee shop or open-plan coworking space.

Scrivener is great insofar as it allows you to change your virtual writing background to an image and pattern of your choosing. This is one of the many ways that Scrivener allows you to focus on your writing and produce your best work.

Read on to discover –

  • Where to make use of Scrivener’s backgrounds capability
  • How to use Scrivener backgrounds
  • How to use custom images for your background

Where Can I Use Backgrounds In Scrivener?

The most popular place to use a background image while working in Scrivener is as part of the full-screen composition mode.

This feature is fabled among writers for its ability to block out all possible digital distraction and really get into the zone of productivity.

By default, the full screen composition mode looks like the following image, with a plain grey background color and the pop-up controls at the bottom of the page.

This plain mode may be fine for some writers. If so, nothing further needs to be done.

However, if you want to customize your background image, read on to discover how.

How Do I Use A Custom Background in Scrivener?

In order to choose a custom background, go to the ‘View’ menu in Scrivener.

In the ‘View’ menu, you will see the option ‘Full Screen Backdrop’, as seen below.

‘No Backdrop’ is the standard plain grey color as seen in the earlier image.

If you want to use an image already loaded into your Scrivener project as a backdrop, it is easy to do so, and will appear in the list seen above.

To load a new image, simply click ‘choose’ and you can then load an image from your computer into Scrivener.

How Do I Use Scrivener Backgrounds?

Once you have loaded a custom image to use as your Scrivener background, there are a few cool ways you can modify and alter your image until it is exactly as you prefer.

Change The Text Scale

You can change the relative size of the text by clicking on ‘text scale’, as seen in the below image.

This allows you to have your text appear smaller on screen, as seen in the above image, or larger, as seen in the following image.

This feature allows you to compose in a way which makes your text appear larger or smaller without actually changing the font size.

Change The Position

You can also change the position of the paper in relation to your Scrivener background, by clicking ‘paper position’, as seen in the following images.

You can choose to position your paper in the center of your background –

Or on the left of your background –

Or on the right of your background –

Some writers choose to associate different paper positions with different stages of their project. For example, paper in the center might be for writing, paper on the left during editing and paper on the right for proofreading, for example.

Other writers simply have a personal preference. Scrivener makes it easy to work exactly the way you want.

Change The Paper Height

While working in Scrivener, you may find that you want to switch things up from time to time. You may want to have more or less of your background showing depending on what mood you are in or the particular project you are working on at the time.

Scrivener makes it easy to change your paper height and therefore the amount of your background image that you see.

Simply adjust the ‘Paper height’ slider, as seen in the below images.

This allows you to have only a small amount of paper and a large amount of background showing –

Or to have only a small amount of background and a lot of paper –

The slider makes it very quick and easy to switch around the height of your paper until you find the perfect option to help you get in the zone.

Change The Background Fade

If you want to change the fade/transparency of your background, Scrivener makes it easy.

Simply go to the ‘Background Fade’ slider, as seen in the below image.

By changing the transparency of your background, you can use even intense or subtle images as backgrounds in Scrivener. This allows you to select the perfect image to help you write, safe in the knowledge that its aesthetic is totally under your control.

Scrivener Backgrounds – Ideas and Inspiration

Now that you know exactly how to change your background in Scrivener, and the many ways you can customize it to your preference, let’s think about some of the possible choices of background and why you might want to use them.

  • Nature scenes. A popular choice to inspire creativity and focus no matter where you are writing.
  • Patterns. If you are distracted by photographs, a patterned background may be the right choice to help you zone in on your work.
  • Inspiration for your project. You might find having a background related to your writing project to be an inspirational way of working. For example, an image that evokes the setting or mode of your work.
  • A personal image. Writing can be tough and require mental strength. An inspirational image such as your family or pet can help you through tricky times.

Scrivener Backgrounds Summary

You now know that Scrivener allows you to –

  • Load an image file to use as a background
  • Customize your background image
  • Choose an image type that allows you to work best

What are your personal preferences when it comes to Scrivener backgrounds? Do you prefer something photographic or something simple? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Mike Thompson

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