Special characters and shortcuts

A good few of you have asked if we might make shortcuts for special characters, such as:

Curly quotes


We think this is a good idea, so we need to know what characters you’ll need – is it just the accent and umlaut? What are your priorities?

I did manage to somehow get an icon of a telephone (corded, landline telephone) to appear in my Novlr by using my Nexus 5 mobile. It wasn’t intentional. NB: we probably won’t go as far as emoticons…


This feature has been proposed by a user!


22 replies
  1. Arlene Harris
    Arlene Harris says:

    no, there are many characters that are needed, that can be typed on the fly rather than imported through the clunky character map. Even though I do write in English mostly, I am on the NA continent so I have to be able to write in French and also Spanish. So being able to use hotkey characters on the fly is essential, especially when writing fiction; having to stop and look up stuff wrecks the writing flow. To be able to go ctrl ~ n and get a tilded n immediately would be awesome. Also needed are the cedil C’s that are prevalent in French and Portuguese. These special characters functions are apparently available automatically on a Mac keyboard but not on a PC. The only way I can write uninterrupted and maintain my speed, right now, is to use MS Word. I was hoping to be able to fully use Scrivner but, while it’s available to Mac users autoatically and they build first for mac then release windows versions when they feel like it, I’ve been literally waiting five years for them to bother to hotkey special characters so I can write without having to stop every time I write a non English name or place.

    Anyway please ocnsider it. I have the Novlr beta but until I get a syste that accomodates the hot keys I’m stuck using Word.

  2. Graham Brand
    Graham Brand says:

    I think curly quotes is a special case. I can’t think of a situation in fiction writing where you would want to mix straight and curly quotes in a document. Consequently, I think that curly quotes should be a toggle set in preferences, and switching this toggle should intelligently flip the novel between straight and curly quotes.

    I do welcome the emphasis here though on special character support being via keyboard shortcuts rather than simply by a character map. (Since Novlr is browser-based it’s straightforward to copy and paste from a third party character map anyway, such as a Chrome extension.)

  3. MG
    MG says:

    Definitely some characters to allow words from other languages. I’d also like to be able to use greek characters as I’m very sciencey and they are used for a lot of equations ans such and so might be needed in any story needing to reference math and science things. Also being able to add superscript and subscript characters would be good.

    • MG
      MG says:

      In word superscript and subscript are available as buttons next to your bold and italics and underline and they also have short cuts. Making the short cuts for those match the standard in word would make the most sense I think. Also strikethrough text would be good.

  4. Joe Adams
    Joe Adams says:

    Foreign alphabets a must and consideration should be given to mathematical symbols also as well as historic characters, Roman, etc.

  5. Aka Shika
    Aka Shika says:

    I agree with the comment about Greek characters. I’d also like Russian (One of my novels contains a Russian speaker and he uses certain phrases a lot). While I may have to change my keyboard settings to Russian to type those phrases, it’s easier than having the words written in a Word document to copy/paste into Novlr.

  6. Darkmagess
    Darkmagess says:

    Is there where I’d get em and en dashes included? Those are standard English formatting. A quick-replace of — to en dash and — to em dash would suffice, but these characters are recognized by other programs and should export as their proper ascii character.

  7. Kimber
    Kimber says:

    I am pretty much adding a ‘ditto’ to all of the above – I think alternate language character sets as well as the option to use the wingdings and such are an excellent idea. I would really like to see the ability to use the keyboard shortcuts, and support for the autotype functions turning a single dash into an en-dash and a double dash into an em-dash. I use those all the time. As it stands, I’m forced to copy/past my novlr text into an MS Word doc and convert the dashes to what I need them to be and THEN print.

    • Clare
      Clare says:

      Further suggestions from Kimber: I write in English, but for some things I need British English and for others I need American English. I’m sure others have multiple languages or versions of languages they write in, too. So, what about being able to set each individual novel’s language separately. So the built-in spellcheck will monitor Novel A in – for example – British English and Novel B for American English, or maybe French, or whatever language the author needs. :)

  8. Morgan
    Morgan says:

    I need the Æsh aka ae ligature (æ, and Æ), one of my characters names uses it. Ideally just a character pallet where you could customise and just write in the characters you need would be good (Or the & codes for the characters?) , since you can copy and paste each one from wikipedia or whatever once but that gets tiring pretty quickly!

    • Clare
      Clare says:

      Thanks Morgan. It’s good to know what our users need. Nice idea about the palette and the ability to type the codes for the characters – thanks! :)

  9. Andie
    Andie says:

    I write in Spanish, and every time I add an accent on a letter, the cursor moves to the beginning of the line, making it extremely tedious and annoying to write.

  10. Sharon`
    Sharon` says:

    Being able to either copy and paste (text) or drag and drop (picture) custom font work into the document. I am working on an original story and I will have some custom font work to add to it as the art of the font is part of the story.

  11. Joel
    Joel says:

    I would expect support for the full extended ASCII character set. Without that how can Tolkien come back and write another Middle-earth novel? ;-)


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