All the little bits and pieces

No piece of software is perfect. There are always just some little tiny things that it would make a big difference to tweak, but they probably don’t constitute a whole feature – and some haven’t got a place to go – well this is the feature to put those in. I’ll pop a couple of examples down and keep adding to them.

  • When you’ve Created a New Novel it should land with chapters sidebar open.
  • When the scroll bar appears it shouldn’t shift the text a little bit to the left.
  • When you click on the dropdown for novels the novel title shifts 1px to the left. It shouldn’t.

Please add anything you’d like tweaked in here and we’ll try and fix it for you.

Status

This feature was proposed!

TELL US IF YOU WANT THIS FEATURE:

58+
69 replies
  1. Matt Wilkinson says:

    How about making the word count in the bottom right hand corner click-able to toggle between words in the current chapter and words in the whole novel?

    Reply
  2. Graham Brand says:

    How about:

    A hotkey to toggle the Chapter sidebar.

    Other hotkeys that might be useful:

    Switch to next chapter
    Switch to previous chapter
    Split chapter

    Reply
    • Karen says:

      Hotkeys as per Graham Brand’s suggestions: Yes – I was going to suggest a keyboard shortcut that would enable me to skip through the chapters one by one.

      I also would like it to pick up where you left off when first opened, as others said above.

      Reply
      • Clare says:

        Nice idea about skipping the chapters Karen. We will be looking into opening up where you left off as this seems to be a popular request! Thanks 🙂

        Reply
  3. Matt Wilkinson says:

    One thing I would like to say is that you’ve implemented new features perfectly so far, by making them optional. I think it’s the way all new features should go, make all of them optional, as I’m seeing a lot of people saying they love the simplicity of the app. I love a lot of features and would probably have them all on, but some others might be overwhelmed with the extra options and decide not to use the app.

    Keep it up. 🙂

    Reply
    • Graham Brand says:

      I completely agree. It’s the simplicity and beauty of presentation of Novlr that I appreciate.

      I don’t mind cluttering the display with the features that I need as long as they fade away as we go into Focus Mode, but as the features I want may be different to the ones others may want having them switchable in Preferences is great.

      Reply
  4. Graham Brand says:

    Could Novlr always open at the place where you last stopped writing?

    I think that currently if you log in at the basic URL you get taken to the first page of the first novel you created. You can also save the specific URL as a bookmark but this has a different URL for each chapter, so if I wanted to maintain a single link to my current work I’d probably need to update it regularly.

    Reply
    • Jessica Waters says:

      I too would love to have the land where you left off feature. Having to go through my novels, scroll down my long list of chapters, and click on it isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but it would be nice to just dive in.

      Reply
      • Clare says:

        Thanks for your comment Jessica. We are building a tool from your suggestions so it is great to know the little things that you, our users, want to make your experience even better!

        Reply
    • KA Mitchell/Colleen says:

      Having the app even open to the last chapter I was working on would be heavenly. I often have multiple projects going on due to deadlines and edits. I have no way to sort them and change the order that I know of so I’m always taken back to the first page of the first work. This is the only issue I have with the software. But the never losing a word feature is what makes this so good for me.

      Reply
      • Clare says:

        Hi Colleen, Thanks so much for your comment. We are going to be looking at changing Novlr so it opens up on the last chapter you were working on in an upcoming release so make sure you keep an eye out for it 🙂 Glad you are enjoying Novlr and let us know if you need anything else! Clare 🙂

        Reply
  5. Graham Brand says:

    At the moment, when you open the chapter sidebar the body texts shifts to the right. However, if you are using a larger font size, or if your browser zoom setting is greater than 100%, the text can get shifted off the screen on a smaller display, like the 1366 x 768 of a typical Chromebook or small Windows laptop.

    Would it be a small tweak to have an option to wrap the body text within the screen regardless of browser zoom or font size?

    Reply
    • Graham Brand says:

      I’ve noticed that the text does wrap correctly when the browser is in a window but not maximised. It stretches off the screen to the right when the browser window is maximised or full screen.

      Reply
  6. Graham Brand says:

    Please could the input field for the Chapter Title extend further across the chapter panel, and ideally wrap and expand to accommodate multi-line titles?

    Reply
  7. Graham Brand says:

    If you click in a chapter title field (easy to do accidentally when switching chapters) it opens the field for editing. You can then click on another chapter panel – outside the title – and it will select that chapter.

    Unfortunately the text cursor focus stays in the previous chapter title, so if you start typing without clicking in the new chapter body you overwrite the previous chapter title.

    I think a selected chapter title should lose the focus when you click on another chapter.

    Reply
  8. Graham Brand says:

    Focus Mode works beautifully if you’re working on a machine with a mouse, but if you’re typing on a laptop it can be tricky while typing not to brush the touchpad, which kicks you out of Focus Mode, distracting you as the toolbars reappear.

    It’s a good way to motivate me to keep a good typing posture, 😉 , but would there be a way to make the trigger to leave Focus Mode less sensitive?

    Perhaps it could only react if you move your mouse cursor into the outer 15% of the screen, or if the mouse moves a certain distance?

    Reply
  9. Graham Brand says:

    At the moment the word count treats two words separated by an em dash or a pair of hyphens as a single word.

    Since the em dash is typically used without spaces to either side, would it be possible for Novlr to treat it (or a pair of hyphens) as a space when counting words?

    I notice Google Docs does the same, so maybe it’s standard practice not to do this?

    Reply
    • Graham Brand says:

      I’ve just noticed that if you do separate the em dashes out with spaces, Novr counts the em dashes themselves as words:

      Counted as 4 words, but intuitively looks like 6:

      John—that John—took the stage.

      Counted as 8 words, but intuitively looks like 6:

      John — that John — took the stage.

      Reply
  10. Jennifer Rehnay says:

    I don’t know if this is the right area to mention this, but I think it would be nice to be able to customize all the word count areas to include all copied and pasted words. For example. the NaNoWriMo goal seems to not be counting all the words I’ve pasted in from what I wrote in MS Word, and thus there seems to be no way to make it match what’s reflected on the actual NaNoWriMo site.

    That much of the statistics area seems to discard anything written outside of Novlr and then pasted in seems pretty silly to me. I was hoping to use Novlr more seamlessly and keep my stats the same everywhere (for pride and self-motivation) but that’s definitely not currently possible. Like, really it kind of makes me feel less inclined to use Novlr when I log in to see crappy stats here, when I know the reality is I’ve written way, way more (and every other site and MS Word reflects that).

    Reply
  11. Pamela says:

    I’m currently at work and I have noticed an interesting bug which seems to happen with the till computers which display web pages as if on mobile and tablet. Every time my writing auto-saves (which is after every letter) the program will try to start typing from the beginning of the page again meaning that I can only type one letter ever three seconds as I have to wait for the program to finish saving. I was wondering whether it was a keyboard issue, but I tried it on all the tills to be sure and it does happen on all of them. Obviously this is not something that will affect the majority of users, but I thought I’d bring it to your attention in case it causes problems later down the line.

    Reply
  12. Clare says:

    Facebook suggestion from Timothy: it’s a minor suggestion, but an option to change the gutters/margins on either side, regardless of window size would be _awesome_.

    Reply
  13. Von Jocks says:

    When I log in, I would love it if Novlr automatically opened to the chapter I most recently worked on. Currently, it opens on the first novel (alpha-numerically) and the first chapter of that novel, so I have to click to get to the correct novel and then click again to get to the right chapter. Thanks for considering this!

    Reply
    • Ranjani says:

      Yes, this! I have three pieces of writing in Novlr, but rather than take me to the one I most recently worked on, Novlr will take me to the first chapter of the first listed novel. I also noticed that when I clicked on the correct novel, it would sometimes take me to the first chapter I CREATED, but not necessarily the first chapter in the current order.

      Also: EM DASHES! That would make my day!

      Reply
      • Clare says:

        Hi Ranjani. Thanks for your comment. We are going to be looking at developing this soon so that Novlr opens up on the last chapter you worked on. We’ll let you all know via social media when it comes out in one of the next releases 🙂

        Reply
  14. Graham Brand says:

    I’d quite like an option to turn off the Online/Offline warnings when in Focus mode, as if you have a slightly dodgy connection (or if the browser/server connection is playing up) they can be distracting, appearing repeatedly while you’re writing.

    If you feel that a warning has to be given, then perhaps a single warning that you’ve gone offline would be sufficient (reset the next time you exit Focus mode).

    Reply
    • Graham Brand says:

      Thinking about this, I suppose the workaround is turn off your wifi locally and force yourself offline, but that guarantees that your work will not save when it can.

      Reply
      • Clare says:

        Hi Graham. Thanks for your comments. As you say, that would be a way around it although the idea of one notification is a good one which would be less distracting.

        Reply
        • Matt Wilkinson says:

          I’d be fine with the pop-up notifications when going into offline mode if they appeared in the margins instead of over your words, or at the top. The bottom is the worst place for them while we have no typewriter mode.

          Reply
  15. Clare says:

    Email suggestion from Tim about the “You’ve written some more of your novel on a different device” message:
    a) show the time format according to the users browser setting. Eg. in belgium we use a 24h format, not 12am/pm (which still confuses me :))
    b) It might be handy if a summary of the changes is shown, so that you can safely discard or save your changes
    c) I didn’t do these changes on a different machine, I simple did them in chromes private mode. Not sure if you should change the message accordingly (eg “or in another browser”)

    Reply
    • MG says:

      On this topic:

      1) I’ve found that if I’ve opened novlr on another device, even if I haven’t actually written anything more, I’ll get this message when I go back to the first device. Sometimes I’m really confused by this as I’m not sure which “version” from “another device” it’s referring too. I know a lot sites like facebook have some kind of thing that tracks logins and gives you notifications if you’ve logged in on a different device. Not sure how they track it, but it will tell me that i logged in with such and such browser from some location (which is nearly always the wrong location), and will usually ask if I want to save that as a trusted device. Logging into a steam account on a web browser has a similar thing. ANYWAY, if there was some way to have Novlr recognise/save the different devices you commonly use whether that’s just what browser was being used or the option to somehow label the device, then it would be really nice if when you got that message it could give you a little bit of an indication as to which device it’s taking that later version from.

      2) Related to number 1, I was having an issue recently where my tablet would not for the life of me stay in online mode. Which wasn’t a problem for writing but became a problem with syncing. I was very close to writing an email requesting help because I had opened novlr on my computer to find it hadn’t synced (even though on the tablet it thought it had saved.) When I went back to the tablet to try and get it to reconnect and saved, every time it got into online mode again (which was breifly cause my tablet has having a lot of issues that night), I got a message that there was a more recent version from another device. Only it wasn’t more up to date really. The computer had autosaved being open so novlr was seeing that as the most recent version but what was on the tablet in offline mode was actually the most up to date version. So first I got very confused not sure if it which newer version it was actually refering to (tablet or computer) and then I had to keep telling it not to replace but to keep the current version. (And then after I said no to the pop up i’d lose the connection again before it would sync because my tablet was being a pain). So I could have used a way to have more information on what it was seeing as a more recent version. I eventually got the problem to resolve by logging out of novlr on the computer entirely so it would stop throwing “newer versions” at me and then making a specfic change in another chapter/novel so the next time it tried to sync there would be a recent change for it to pick up. Restarting my tablet probably would have fixed the connection issue I was having but I was too scared that it might lose the offline save on reboot if I did that.

      SO ANYWAY, after that big long story: there may be something there to tweak with those different devices when one has been in offline mode and hasn’t saved to the cloud and then novlr is opened on another device creating a version that is technically newer by the time stamp by the offline save but actually isn’t the most up to date. (Hope that all makes sense).

      AND that relates to Tim’s point B: where some sort of summary or comparison would be really useful to know that you aren’t discarding something you want by saying no to the message or replacing something you want by saying yes.

      3) Making that notification novel specific. I haven’t tried this yet but I could see where it could be an issue right now if you wrote offline on one device on one novel then before syncing those changes worked offline on a different one of your novels on a different device. Now you would have two competing offline versions. (or even if you worked on different chapters offline in different devices). As I understand it right now, when it connects and syncs it seems to sync everything. So this could become an issue.

      Reply
      • MG says:

        So that was a really big long explanation. To summarize the very basic jist of it: I keep getting these notifications when I’ve only logged in on another device and looked at stuff without making any actual changes then I get freaked out when it comes up cause I’m not sure if I did make changes or not, and also I’ve had trouble with that with offline mode.

        Reply
      • Clare says:

        Hi MG, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. It is always really useful to know any problems or things we can change.
        Your first point is a good one and kind of fits in with the versioning feature just with a little bit more upfront information which could be useful to the user.
        Novlr is not yet optimised for use on tablets, iPads or mobiles and can run into some syncing issues and technical issues which could be the root cause of this. We would advise you to stick with using the desktop/laptop for Novlr until we develop the app which will be soon so that you don’t run into issues like this.

        As you and tim both say, however, it could be useful to have a summary of the changes so that you know where your novel stands at the time you get the update message.
        Novel specific notifications is also a good idea, could potentially be a difficult one to sort, but moving forward definitely something to look into. Thanks again!

        Reply
    • mtn says:

      Or the option to choose which novel opens when we login: Oldest Creation, Newest Creation, Last Novel Edited, or choose another.

      Reply
  16. mtn says:

    I use Novlr on my Mac and Tablet, and often when logging in I’m greeted with the message about updating to my ‘latest version’. I would like to be able to know the differences between the two – i.e. have a split-screen or text exerpts comparing the last updated versions from my Mac and Tablet, so I know which one I want to keep. 🙂

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Cool. Just to make you aware, Novlr isn’t optimised for use on tablets yet and can cause a few syncing issues so just go careful with using it! We are developing a mobile app which can be used on Mobiles/iPads and tablets soon to prevent this 🙂

      Reply
      • mtn says:

        😀 !!! yayyyy! That’s wonderful news! I try to be careful for now though, but it’s good to know there’s an app on the way.

        Reply
  17. Clare says:

    Twitter suggestions from @__AkaShika@ – Numbers as well as bullet points would be awesome and really useful for planning and Autonaming chapters “Chapter 1” etc would also be appreciated.

    Reply
  18. Annie says:

    I’d like to be able to reset my stats to zero if I want – say if I’ve deleted a novel and I want a clean start. This is psychological.
    I’d also like to be able to change background/font colour as sometimes black on white hurts my eyes and a beige-ish background solves that.

    Reply
  19. Kayla Curry says:

    Please, please, please put in an “Undo” button. There have been a few times where I either accidentally deleted a huge chunk of text or something like that where an undo button would have come in really handy. I once deleted an entire chapter, but luckily it was backed up Autocrit as I was editing.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Kayla. Good news – undo and redo buttons are in Novlr! If you go to your writing preferences, switch the new Novlr backend on. Sign out and in again and when you type in the bottom left hand corner, you should see an undo arrow and a redo arrow 🙂 Let us know if you need any help.

      Reply
  20. Clare says:

    Suggestions via email from Brad: The first one is that italics, and I assume bold and underline and strikethrough, are reset on a carriage return. It would be very nice, and expected, for the current formatting choice to be persistent until it is turned off, even if it goes through multiple paragraphs.

    The second, and more minor issue, is that when one of the formatting options is selected the corresponding button at the bottom of the page should be highlighted to reflect current edit state.

    Reply
  21. Graham Brand says:

    Tiny, tiny tweak. Could you make the doc, pdf and odt icons active in the export section so that we could click/tap on these as well as the smaller export buttons below them?

    I keep doing that intuitively, but they’re just pictures at the moment.

    Reply
  22. Dalton says:

    One thing I’ve noticed, and this just might be something on my end, I haven’t read through all the comments to see if anyone else has this problem, but when I click on the end of the paragraph, the cursor jumps to right after the first word in that paragraph. Since I go back and fix things while writing this is a huge obstacle, as I have to click in the middle of the paragraph and then use arrow keys to get back to the end of the paragraph. If there is anyway to fix this bug that would be great!

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Dalton, thanks for your comment – have you got Grammarly installed on your browser? We have noticed things like this with users who have grammarly installed (we are looking into it!) So If you have, try disabling it and you shouldn’t have these issues anymore. If you haven’t, could you drop us an email with any further information for us to be able to look into it? Thanks 🙂

      Reply
  23. Josefine says:

    I don’t know if this has been brought up elsewhere, or if i missed a setting somewhere, but I would love a tweak for automatically starting a new sentence with a capital letter. It is a small tweak, i know, but important in the long run.

    Reply
  24. Julian says:

    As someone who’s worked fairly extensively with pagination and novel layouting, I’d love for some simple options that would greatly improve readability (and, as a result, the ability to focus).

    More specifically, I’d like for the ability to change the paragraph width (ideally to be chosen from a set of presets, for simplicity’s sake) and the ability to set the paragraph’s alignment to ‘justify’. The former reduces the need for eye movement when reading through the paragraphs, whereas for the latter the loss of unnecessary white space makes for a much calmer appearance overall. These may seem like rather frivolous adjustments, but on a subconscious level they really do go a long way in improving readability and focus.

    Reply
  25. Clare says:

    Suggestion from Wagner via email: to be able to change the novel list to have the WIP at the top of the list in the drop down novel menu rather than in the order created

    Reply
    • MG says:

      I second being able to rearrange the list. That would let me put the ones most important to me at the top where they are easy to find. Esspecially as I add more of my work into Novlr and my list gets longer and longer. (At the moment I’m holding off on adding a lot of mine minor works because my list is already fairly long and I don’t want to have to scroll forever to find the ones I want).

      Reply
    • MG says:

      Agreed! Both these things are very needed features!!!! I NEED to be able to group my novels cause I have so many in Novlr already and want to add more but am waiting til they add a way to group them before I do.

      Reply
  26. Stacey Koch says:

    I’m using Microsoft Edge, so I don’t know if it’s just that browser or my computer but I’m having trouble with the select all function and the mouse selecting function. It makes copying large sections of notes really hard to do from one page to another. I had to copy a large page out in sections to move it.

    Reply
  27. Douglas Kirchgesler says:

    I have two small tweaks that I’d like to see:
    1) When you enable the option to indent paragraphs, the space between paragraphs should be eliminated. It’s a persnickety print design detail, but it annoys the bejeezus out of me every time I see it.
    2) When you export, I’d like to see * * * or blank space inserted between scenes, more like a printed book layout.

    Reply
    • woster says:

      I agree with Douglas on taking away the space between paragraphs.

      It takes up extra space on screen and is quite irritating and looks different from the finished product (I hope nobody is actually publishing with space between paragraphs because you are automatically loosing 25-50% of your potential readership/buyers when they see it in “take a look inside”.. just a tip and yes, proven by trial an error)

      Reply
      • Thomas says:

        Hi Douglas and Woster

        On the paragraph spaces, that’s definitely an addition we can look into – ie adding that as a writing preference. Our goal with Novlr isn’t to make the screen look like the finished book. We’ve tried to make the best writing space and most of our users find the spaces between paragraphs soothing. However, we want to make it work for everyone, so we’ll take a look at adding the option for those who want the spaces removed. Thanks for the feedback it’s really helpful.

        Thomas

        Reply
  28. woster says:

    Lack of responsive logic in writing area.

    Just realized that the chapter tab pushes the whole writing area out of the frame if you have a 1280 screen, or tab. Why? this makes it impossible to write AND have the chapter tab open at the same time. If you open the version tab then the writing area IS responsive like it should be when you also open the chapter tab.

    This very small but simple problem makes the whole writing interface a no buy for me. Take a hint from every other writing aplication, structure is a key component and being able to see the structure while writing is something many of us make use of. If the lack of responsive resizing of the writing area while having chapter tab open is a bug, the please fix asap and let us know.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Thomas says:

      Hi Woster

      Thanks for reporting this. Responsiveness has been important to us from the beginning, so I’m not sure how we didn’t notice that one. A recent release must have thrown it out, as it’s been responsive for a long time. We’ll get on it. Thanks again for letting us know.

      Thomas

      Reply
  29. Ellesa Vec says:

    The export function needs time stamping within the file name. “Novel_yyyy-MM-dd_HH-mm.docx” vs “Novel.docx” This will help the user better with locally saved Exports. Also .JS should require less then a line of code for this modification. Currently users would have their older versions over written or simply appended based on their browser.

    Reply

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