Release 2.3#

Release Date: March 10, 2024
Patches: 2.3.1

Release Notes#

Release 2.3 comes with a lot of design updates to dialogs and tools outside the main GUI. A lot of these changes have been made both to modernise the look of the UI and hopefully to make it easier to use. The UI is after all built on technology that has been around for decades and looks a bit out of date in its unmodified state.

There are also a number new features requested by you, the users. Please keep them coming!

Welcome Dialog#


The first change you will notice when launching novelWriter 2.3 is the new Welcome dialog. It replaces both the old Load Project dialog, as well as the New Project Wizard, and combines their functionality into one. You will also notice the amazing artwork in the background, which has been created specially for novelWriter by Louis Durrant.

The list of projects has gotten a cleaner design, but otherwise contains the same information as before. You can remove projects from the list by right-clicking on them and selecting “Remove Project”.

At the top of the dialog is also information about the current version of novelWriter, and a link to the releases overview page here on the website. You can also query for information about the latest release by clicking the “Check Now” text. This replaces the old Check for Updates dialog that used to be in the Help menu.


The functionality that used to be on the New Project Wizard is now available when you click the “New” button on the Welcome dialog. The settings are mostly as before, but note that you can now also choose to create a project by copying an existing project. That project can be a special project you’ve created to be a template project if you wish. It can also be a novelWriter project in a Zip file, including one of your backups.

The About novelWriter dialog has been updated to a similar design as the Welcome dialog, with the same header and version check capability. All the text tabs have been removed, except from the credits. The release notes will no longer be available in the About dialog. They are instead now only kept here on this website. This allows for better formatting of the notes, a capability the in-app text box lacked.

Consistent Design#


All of the dialogs in novelWriter that contain multiple pages of information or settings have been updated to a new layout and design first introduced for the new Manuscript tool in version 2.1.

Most importantly, perhaps, the Preferences dialog has been redesigned. All settings are now in a scrollable list, with quick navigation along the left edge and a search box at the top. The new layout is also a lot more flexible in terms of text flow, allowing for a better response to languages where text tend to run longer, like for instance German.

In addition to Preferences, also the Project Settings, Novel Details, and Manuscript Build Settings dialogs have been updated to use a similar design.

New Features#


New design is not the only changes in 2.3. A number of user-requested features have been added as well.

  • A new root folder type called “Templates” is now available. Any document added to this folder will be available in the “Add Item” menu. You can create a new document like you normally do, but selecting a template from the “From Template” submenu will populate the new document with the content of the selected template.

  • You can now insert the name of a scene or chapter’s “Point of View” or “Focus” character directly into the title in the Manuscript tool. They work just the same way as the other heading formatting features from the 2.1 version, like automatic chapter numbers. By default, the name inserted is the text of the @tag you specify in the character’s note. However, if you want the name to appear in a different way in the manuscript, you can set a “display name” after a | symbol, like so:

    # Main Character: Jane
    @tag: Jane | Jane Smith
  • A new way to eliminate text you don’t want to be included in the manuscript has been added. It’s called “Ignore Text” in the Format menu. Previously, you may have “commented out” text you wanted to exclude, but that’s impractical if you actually want your comments included in, say, a draft manuscript. If you instead use this ignore text format, the text will never be included anywhere, regardless of other settings. The format differs only slightly from regular comments:

    ### My Scene
    % This is a comment I want included in my draft.
    %~ This is a paragraph I want out of my text, but haven't yet decided to delete.

    Just like regular comments, these also don’t count towards your word count. The new format is also available as a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+D.

Other Improvements#

Among other improvements are:

  • You can now create regular documents and folders directly by right-clicking in the project tree. Root folders and template documents must be created from the “Add Item” menu button still.

  • You can change the label of a document in the project tree by right-clicking it and selecting “Rename to Heading”. The option is only available if there is a heading in the document already.

  • When multiple paragraphs are selected in the editor, activating one of the formatting commands in the Format menu starting with “Toggle”, will apply the formatting change to all selected text instead of just the first paragraph.

  • You can now filter out tags from project notes set to “Inactive” in the little triple-dot menu in the References panel under the document viewer.

  • You can customise the format of the Document header in Open Document files created from the Manuscript tool from the Manuscript Build Settings dialog.

  • The words in the Project Word List can now be exported to a plain text file, and also imported from such a file. Only unique words are imported.

  • The content of the table in the Project Outline can be exported to a CSV file, which can then be imported as a spread sheet in for instance Excel or Libre Office Calc. The export is initiated from a new “Export CSV” button in the toolbar above the outline.

Further Details#

The next upcoming release of novelWriter is 2.3.

You can follow the development progress on the 2.3 Milestone.

Feedback for the 2.3 RC 1 release can be posted on the GitHub Discussions thread.

Patch Releases#

Patch 2.3.1#

Release Date: March 17, 2024

This is a patch release that fixes several issues with translations into other languages than the default English, and adds completed translations for French.