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Liven Up Scrivener’s Composition Mode with a Background Image

Hey ya’ll,  it’s Lauren Miller back with another Scrivener tip for today.

Did Santa leave you a copy of Scrivener under your Christmas tree this year?  If so, you’re in for a lot of fun!

Have you tried using Scrivener’s composition mode yet?  I don’t know about you but when I want to focus on a writing project (whether it’s a screenplay,  a poem, a college essay, or some other form of writing), sometimes, I just need a distraction-free environment.

That’s what Composition Mode is great for!

Last time, I talked about how you can add images to your Scrivener project.  Did you discover any great backgrounds while you were browsing through those photos?

What about one you’d like to use as your writing backdrop?  Cool!  I’m going to show you how simple it is to set up your Composition Mode to do just that.

To access the option, go to ViewComposition Backdrop (see below).

composition backdrop menu

A side menu will open revealing all of your images currently in your Binder. Just select the one you want from the menu, and it’ll automatically update for you.  If you look closely in my binder, you’ll notice that I’ve got some typewriter-color files that I am using.  I picked these up as a freebie download at one point but I don’t remember from where (sorry!).  If the creator will contact me, I’d love to credit you for your work. 🙂

Right, well, once you’ve chosen your photo, all that’s left is to enter your composition mode.  Just as a reminder, this is what that button looks like:


Here is what my Composition Mode looks like:

inside composition mode

You can use Paper Position to align the writing area (center) to the left, center, or right.  You can  also choose the level of Paper Fade to make the writing area more or less visible.

The Inspector window (black box, top right) and Keywords window (not shown) are optional and can be either visible or invisible. The toolbar (bottom) goes into a hiding mode when you start typing.

Depending on your project and how you work, maybe your ideal background is black (the default).  And that’s okay.  But experiment.  Maybe your history project would benefit from a classic painting, portrait, or map as your background.

Your science fiction space opera could be even better with a nebula or galaxy, or maybe the latest artwork from your favorite artist.  Writing a western? What about a desert or a ghost town?  Get inventive.  It’s your Scrivener.

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Lauren Miller is a Midwestern born writer with a passion for Jesus, the written word, and dogs. She has two decades of experience in the library field and reviews books for the Historical Novels Review (UK). She likes to spend her free time enjoying period films, discovering new reads, and being surrounded by other people’s pets. Lauren, her husband, and their wily Maine Coon (who isn’t quite a dog) live in Missouri. You can learn more about Lauren’s writing at

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