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When you open Gramarye Writer for the first time, you'll see a tutorial project that offers information about the app and how it works. This documentation offers a more in-depth view of how Gramarye Writer works.
Basic system requirements are just a desktop/laptop computer using a modern browser, with at least a 1024 x 768 screen resolution. Phone use is not supported at this time, but is on our roadmap.
To start a new project in Gramarye Writer, click the Plus icon in the lower left corner of the toolbar. You will be asked if you’d like to save your current project and to fill in a new project name.
If you’re using the chaptered mode, a new project opens by default with an unnamed scene in a chapter called “Ungrouped.” You can modify this scene and chapter at any time.
If you have an existing document — either a .txt file or a .gwf file — you can start a fresh project by uploading it. Text file uploads delineate scenes by looking for a user-designated scene separator. GWF files are Gramarye Writing project files; these retain chaptering, scene data, and archived data.
If you opt to use Dropbox with Gramarye Writer, you can open .gwf or .txt files directly from the “Gramarye Writer” folder in Dropbox. This option is available both from the Open Projects prompt and from the upload box.
Saving your project is the same as anything else: you can either click the save button on the toolbar or use the “Ctrl-S” keyboard shortcut. Gramarye Writer does not save and manage files to your local hard drive — it can only save to either the browser’s local storage or to Dropbox.
Projects are always saved as .gwf files, which retain all your content and project information. If you want to save in another format, look at “Downloading Files.”
In “Settings” you can specify if you want Gramarye Writer to save your projects to browser storage, to Dropbox, or to both simultaneously. Dropbox allows you to move between devices seamlessly. Browser storage retains information in the browser's local storage, and allows you to use the tool offline.
Even if you choose not to save your writing to browser storage, the tool still uses browser's storage to keep certain settings information about Gramarye Writer.
If you have previously used Gramarye Writer, you will be presented with the Open Projects prompt when you open it next. If you opt to include Dropbox for saving files, Gramarye Writer remembers the last five files you accessed and offers them as options the next time you open the site.
Hovering over a project shows edit and delete options to the right. If a project exists in both browser storage and Dropbox, it will be edited/deleted in both. You can also opt to delete and edit files from Dropbox that don't exist locally. When editing Dropbox files, the pane has a blue border.
To create a new scene, click the small yellow plus icon above your project’s scene list. You’ll have the option to give your scene a title, and — if chaptering is enabled — designate which chapter the scene belongs in.
Scene tiles show the text from the beginning of the scene and the scene's title, if one has been designated.A scene's title fades out if it is too long to be read in the width of the tile. Hovering over the title shows the full text.
Rearrange scenes by dragging and dropping the tiles in the file list. If chaptering is enabled, you can create a new chapter by dragging a scene to the bottom of the list. You can move scenes between chapters by dragging them into other chapter borders.
If you have chaptered mode enabled, clicking the caret icon beside the chapter name can collapse or expand the chapter.
Hover over a scene to see the rename option — the second icon on the tile. Click to rename your scene. Leave the prompt box blank to save a scene without a title.
Gramarye Writer offers the option to archive scenes. This removes them from your active project flow but retains them in a separate space in case you would like to review or restore them later.
When your project is saved in .gwf format, these scenes are saved in the file. When downloading your project into .txt, .html, or .doc formats, you have the option to include or exclude archived scenes from the file. When included, these scenes are appended to the end of the file.
To view and manage archived scenes, click the archive button above the file list. This pulls up an archived scene box. Click a scene to view the content. You can restore the scene by clicking the restore icon or delete it for good by clicking the trash icon.
This action removes a scene entirely. You will be prompted to confirm, as this action cannot be undone.
For simplicity's sake, Gramarye Writer uses markdown formatting in a plain text view. You can read more about the basics of markdown on the Daring Fireball website, though the formatting used by Gramarye Writer (and other projects I've created) is more basic than the whole specification.
Clicking any formatting button will insert the appropriate formatting &mdash but for quick reference:
If you have chaptered mode active, create a new chapter by clicking the small yellow plus icon above your project’s scene list. Two tabs appear as options: create a scene or create a chapter.
Click “Create Chapter.” Chapters must have a name. You can select any number of scenes to add to that chapter (or none) from the scene list; hold the “Ctrl” key while clicking to select multiple.
Reorganize chapters by dragging and dropping them in the file list.
Sometimes you can't displace the first chapter if you’re dragging from below. If this happens, I recommend pulling the first chapter down, rather than trying to drag a different chapter above it. This behavior is seen in the above gif.
Double-click on a chapter name to see the chapter options. This box includes the chapter name, as well as optoins to rename or delete the chapter.
When you delete a chapter, you have the option to either archive or delete the scenes within it. Deleted chapters and scenes cannot be recovered.
Downloading allows you to export your whole project into one file. Gramarye Writer currently supports downloading into four file types: plain text (.txt), HTML (.html), Word document (.doc), and Gramarye Writer Project File (.gwf). Click the download button on the toolbar to view your download options. When you’ve set your download options, click “Download Your Work” to get the file.
You can rename your downloaded file or use the same name as your current project title (default). The default scene separator used is ***, but is customizable if you prefer something else.
Scene titles and archived scenes are not included in the downloaded file by default, but you can add them by clicking the checkbox next to either option.
Click the “Save to Dropbox” button to save your file to Dropbox instead of your local machine. All other options and file types are identical. The app saves the document to the “GramaryeWriter” folder, located in Dropbox within “Apps.”
If you hail from the land of National Novel Writing Month, you’re familiar with the concept of a sprint: a structured chunk of time wherein you focus on writing and nothing else. This feature could just as easily be called “Timer” or “Focused Writing Time,” but I’ve landed in the habit of calling these sprints.
Click the hourglass icon on the toolbar to start a sprint. Set how long you want the sprint to last in minutes, in either whole numbers or decimals. You’ll get a notification that the sprint has started, and the hourglass will fill as the sprint continues. Another notification pops up when the sprint is done.
If you have Gramarye Writer set to track your word counts and goals, it will also keep track of how many sprints you’ve run and how many words you wrote in them. It doesn't (currently) keep track of how long your sprinting times were.
Sprinter, written in November 2018, was the first proof-of-concept for me in deciding that I could finally start creating Gramarye Writer, after setting the project aside for a while back in 2017.
For writers who work better with viewer visual distractions, Gramarye Writer offers two ways to reduce what’s on the screen.
To hide the scene list, click the left-pointing caret icon directly above the scene list. This keeps the controls and project name visible. The caret becomes right-pointing, and scenes can be revealed again by clicking the icon again.
To focus only on the current scene, click the fullscreen icon on the bottom toolbar. This fills the majority of the screen with the current scene and blots out the interface in the background. This mode can be closed by clicking the “Escape” button on your keyboard or click the “x” button in the upper right corner.
Gramarye Writer offers options to track word counts, goals, and what you’ve worked on. By default this feature is turned on; turn it off by clicking the settings icon on the toolbar, and deselecting “Track Word Counts and Project Data.”
Stats are not visible to anyone other than you; they are not retained on the server and are not shared with any third parties.
“Statistics — Day” shows what you’ve worked on that day.
“Statistics — Month” shows what you’ve worked on in the current month. You can navigate to another month using the date selector above the table on the left. If you have any saved stats for that month, you’ll see them in the table.
Stats can be exported in the form of a CSV file. CSV files open in any spreadsheet program, or a plain-text editor, and give you the most flexibility in terms of taking the data to another program or managing it for your own needs.
If you no longer want to see these statistics, click the “Delete All Stats.” This deletes all locally saved data from your stats — which are saved in the “gramarye-writer_settings.gws” file. Deleting your statistics does not delete any logs you may have saved.
This does not delete any downloaded CSV files saved to Dropbox, but it does remove them from the “gramarye-writer_settings.gws” file if you have mapped “Ctrl+S” to save to Dropbox. In this situation, the “gramarye-writer_stats.gws” file is also removed from Dropbox.
Logs keep track of how you’ve navigated Gramarye Writer and what you've done. By default, data logs are not retained between refreshes of the page, but you can choose to save logs between sessions by selecting the “Save Logs” option.
If you no longer want to retain logs that you previously saved, click the “Clear All Logs” button. This deletes the logs from your “gramarye-writer_settings.gws” file, both locally and on Dropbox, if applicable.
To change certain behaviors and visual options in Gramarye Writer, click the Settings icon on the toolbar. Different settings are separated into tabs. Buttons along the bottom of the Settings box allow you to import and export settings, as well as restore Gramarye Writer to the default settings.
All settings are saved to the browser storage even if your writing data is only saved to Dropbox. When you’re saving your files to Dropbox, a copy is saved to the “Settings” folder. Gramarye Writer first checks the browser storage for settings and applies those if found. If none are in the browser storage, Gramarye Writer uses the default settings.
A quirk to keep in mind: There's a delay (10 seconds) between when your project saves and when the settings are saved. If you close the browser immediately after saving, you may close before settings have a chance to save.
An on/off toggle that controls if Gramarye Writer works with chapters. Chaptered mode is enabled by default. If chapters are not enabled, scenes are ordered sequentially in the file list; all scene management tools work the same regardless of whether chaptered mode is on or off.
If you turn on chaptered mode and open a file created without chapter data, all scenes are added to a chapter called “Ungrouped.”
Word Count Bar
An on/off toggle that controls if Gramarye Writer shows the word count bar above the toolbar. The word count bar is displayed by default.
Track Word Counts & Project Data
An on/off toggle that controls if Gramarye Writer tracks word counts and project data. This setting is enabled by default. When enabled, Gramarye Writer tracks:
Set a daily word count goal, if desired. There is no word count goal set by default, and it can be disabled or changed at any time. If you have a word count goal set and are tracking word count statistics, your daily goal is tracked each day as well.
Gramarye Writer saves in a variety of ways: via autosave, by clicking the "Save" icon, or pressing "Ctrl + S" on your keyboard. By default, manually saved projects go to the browser's local storage. You can optionally toggle Writer to save to Dropbox, or both Dropbox and local storage simultaneously.
Gramarye Writer uses colors on the autosave toggle and save icon to help indicate where the current file has been saved. The save icon only blinks the indicated color when the file is saved. The rest of the time the icon is grey like the rest of the toolbar icons.
|Save Icon||Autosave Toggle||Save Behavior|
|Saving projects to browser storage|
|Saving projects to Dropbox|
|Saves to both Dropbox and browser storage|
|Autosave not active|
An on/off toggle that controls if the project autosaves. Autosave writes your project to the location(s) specified by the “Save Behavior” setting, and is not enabled by default. You may also set how often you would like the project to autosave. If you do not set an autosave interval, it defaults to 5 minutes.
Certain visual options for the writer portion of Gramarye Writer can be customized to meet your needs.
Gramarye Writer offers six font options:
By default, the textarea uses Inconsolata, and most of the tool uses Krub.
The font size can be increased or decreased, with the current size shown in pixels. The default font is 16 pixels.
By default, Gramarye Writer uses black text on white background. In the settings, there are two other preset color options: a beige background with dark text, and a black background with white text. It also offers the option to set custom background and text colors.
Gramarye Writer offers some color and style customization options, allowing for users with more specific visual needs1 to make it work for their needs.
Users can choose from a series of subtly patterned backgrounds, or set a custom color. They're also able to customization the color of text/icons, scene tiles, box colors, the blue color and yellow colors used, and the color of the textarea border.
The following visually distracting items can also be toggled on or off.
An on/off toggle that controls if Gramarye Writer shows alerts. Alerts include when your project is saved, when a project is opened, and various other actions. Alerts are turned on by default; if alerts are turned off, Dropbox loading alerts and error notifications are still shown.
An on/off toggle that controls if Gramarye Writer shows hint text over icons that have hover-based hint text. This does not impact the hover text that shows up for truncated scene titles.
Not every aspect of the Gramarye Writer interface is customizable at this time -- but on the whole, most items that visually impact the user are.
1. Which is to say, different from my own. I have a preference for somewhat monotone palettes in light colors, hence the Gramarye Writer defaults. However, I built this in part to cater to my needs in a way a lot of tools couldn't quite, and didn't want to pigeonhole users like me who need control over the visual space of their writing.
These permissions can be viewed — and revoked — at any time by going to the “Permissions” section of the Settings, and clicking the “Manage Permissions” button.
You can also, at any time, revoke Gramarye Writer’s permission to access your Dropbox account by following these instructions from the Dropbox website.
Cookies are used to store certain Dropbox information, including:
Dropbox permissions are labeled by what is currently set. If you have Gramarye Writer set to save to Dropbox, your access token is stored in your browser’s cookies, as well as your Dropbox email address. Even if you do not save automatically to Dropbox, if Dropbox is used to open or download a file, your username is stored in cookies and an encrypted copy of your access token is saved on the server.
This button restores Gramarye Writer to the default settings, and removes all saved settings from the browser’s storage. It does not delete any copies of settings that have been saved to Dropbox.
Custom settings for Gramarye Writer can be exported as a Gramarye Writer Settings (.gws) file. This file can be used to import your settings at a later date, such as if you frequently work at different computers for writing, or simply want a backup in case you change computers. The settings file not only retains visual and interface options, but also holds on to any saved logs and writing stats.
Settings can be downloaded to your local device or saved directly to Dropbox. If you have set Gramarye Writer to save automatically to Dropbox, the settings are also automatically saved to Dropbox upon save.
Gramarye Writer offers two ways to import .gws files: either by direct upload from your local machine or by importing a file saved to Dropbox.
There are a handful of issues & quirks that are known, but were put on the backburner for a variety of reasons. These incude:
Here are some error messages that you may see when using Gramarye Writer, and what they indicate.
"You are offline. No changes made to or data fetched from Dropbox."
Gramarye Writer has tried to communicate with Dropbox but the browser is offline.
"Gramarye Writer cannot manage .xxx files. Please choose either a .txt or .gwf file."
You've tried to upload a file with an extension that doesn't match the supported file types.
"This browser cannot manage uploads. Consider using Dropbox to open external .txt or .gwf files."
You're using a browser that doesn't support file uploads. File uploads have been tested in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge.
"Dropbox token not available. Please click here to reauthorize saving directly to Dropbox."
"Changes to filename not made in Dropbox; no token available in your browser cookies."
"Unable to compare local files to Dropbox files: no access token saved in cookies."
Dropbox has tried to engage in an action that requires a browser-saved access token, but none has been found. Clicking this error message will initiated saving a new access token cookie to your browser.
"Filename not found in Dropbox."
You have tried to open a file that Gramarye Writer hasn't found in the "GramaryeWriter" Dropbox folder.
"An error has occurred."
This is a catch-all for any error that occurs in the action of Gramarye Writer. It is non-specific, but reports the error so that actions, if any, can be taken to check into the issue.