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Frequently Asked Questions
About Writer's Café | Licensing and Support | Technical Issues
About Writer's Café
Licensing, Support and Privacy
About Writer's Café
- Why was Writer's Café created?
Story-writing tools tend to lie near the ends of two poles: the word processor at one end, which has
minimum support for creativity, and at the other end, more complex theory-driven applications. The
latter can be far too prescriptive (and frankly, baffling) in our opinion. We wrote a set of tools to help
fill the gap in the middle for freer, less structured story planning, and we believe it's the best way to
work with, and not stifle, your creativity. We also wanted to provide tools
to help make writing fun.
- Who should use Writer's Café?
Writer's Café is suitable for writing novels, screenplays, short stories,
biography, autobiography, and more. It has also been used to help structure business reports!
The multiple storyline ability is great for screenplays and soaps that
have complex interwoven plots. Writer's Café helps get those ideas flowing, whatever the story form.
- Is Writer's Café for professionals, or beginning/part-time writers?
Both. We firmly believe that all writers deserve a set of professional tools that will serve throughout
their journey as a writer. So don't be deceived by Writer's Café's friendly interface. Writer's Café
has been designed and shaped by professional writers and is used by working novelists, screenwriters and directors.
Since Writer's Café can import from and export to industry standard tools such as Final Draft,
it's as at home in a film production company's office as it is in a student's bedsit.
Writer's Café has power features, but you don't have to use all of them - you can use it
at the level you feel comfortable with.
- What platforms are supported by Writer's Café?
Unlike most software, Writer's Café is cross-platform and runs on most popular operating systems.
If you want, you can install the Windows, Mac and Linux versions on a USB memory key and
switch machines as much you like, retaining all your settings. Specifically, we support:
- All recent 32-bit desktop Microsoft Windows platforms - that's Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.
- Mac OS X 10.3.9 (PowerPC and Intel processors) up to macOS 10.14. PLEASE NOTE that macOS Catalina (10.15) and above is not
currently supported as Writer's Café on Mac is a 32-bit application.
- Most Linux distributions (32-bit or 64-bit). Debian, RPM and tarball packages are provided.
- Raspberry Pi 2+ running Raspbian or other Linux.
- Pinebook running a 32-bit or 64-bit Linux.
From Writer's Café version 2, we no longer support Windows 95/98/ME due to these systems' limitations for more complex applications.
You can still use Writer's Café version 1 on these operating systems, or you can install Linux on your older machine for free.
- Will there be an iPad version of Writer's Café?
Unfortunately not in the short term. We will monitor developments and consider how we might support
iPad and other iOS devices in the future. Writer's Café is complex
and would have to be considerably simplified for iPod/iPhone/iPad use.
- What hardware is required by Writer's Café?
Hardware requirements are modest: a high colour video card,
512MB RAM, 30MB hard disk space, and for the boxed product, a CD-ROM drive. If you have the CD-ROM but no
access to a CD-ROM drive, you can use the download version together with the registration information on your
CD box. Or, you can copy the CD-ROM files to a memory key (512MB or greater).
- What tools were used to develop Writer's Café?
Writer's Café is programmed with the popular open source cross-platform GUI toolkit, wxWidgets,
created in 1992 by Anthemion Software director, Julian Smart. Dialogs are edited with Anthemion's DialogBlocks.
wxWidgets and DialogBlocks are being used by organisations large and small all over the world, the more exotic applications
including space telescope control, science at the South Pole, genetic research, Formula One racing, and hunting for extra-terrestrial life.
Licensing, Support and Privacy
How much does Writer's Café cost?
Please see the purchase page for pricing information.
- Will upgrades be free?
Upgrades and bug fixes for each major version of Writer's Café will be free. You can download
new versions of Writer's Café as many times as you like. We will make a small upgrade charge
for major new versions, usually denoted by a change to the first version number.
- Do I pay for each operating system I run Writer's Café on?
Each separate user must buy a separate copy, one copy each. But
if you want to run Writer's Café on both Windows and Linux, for example,
then you only pay once. The licence is not tied to a particular
- What are the restrictions of the demo?
The demo is restricted to 20 cards and 20 scraps, and does not display the Fiction: The Facts e-book.
- Can I use the same registration key for Writer's Café both at home
and at work?
Absolutely. You can use the same registered copy of Writer's Café on multiple
machines so long as only one copy is being used at a time. In fact we'd
very much encourage you to install Writer's Café wherever you can take a few
minutes to do some writing.
- How do I register to unlock the demo?
Run Writer's Café and click on the Help menu,
followed by Register Writer's Café. Now find the user name and registration
key that you were sent when you paid for Writer's Café. Copy and paste (or type) the information
into the user name and registration key fields, and press OK. (Note that any '0' characters
in the registration key are zeros, and not letter 'O's.) Your copy of Writer's Café should
now be registered.
- What do I do if Writer's Café doesn't accept my registration key?
Normally this is due to a typo. The most reliable method is to use copy and paste to
transfer the user name and key (on Windows: select the text in the email, then Ctrl-C, then Ctrl-V in the registration dialog).
If typing manually, please note that there are no letter Os in the key: only zeros.
If your user name contains an accent, this could be a cause of registration failure.
In this case, please email us for another user name and key.
If all else fails, please email email@example.com for
further help. If you're using Windows I can create a registry file for you to run that usually solves the problem.
Note that if you want to register with a different key, and the registration
dialog is not available, you will need to reset the applications as detailed below.
- What do I do if I've lost my registration key?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll
find your key. Please quote your order reference number, name and preferably the email
address you used when ordering Writer's Café.
- What happens to my work if I uninstall Writer's Café before upgrading?
If you created new files, they won't be deleted even if they
were saved in the Writer's Café program folder (except on Linux and Mac, where
uninstalling means deleting the whole program folder). Your application settings will be
- How can I get support?
Please email us at email@example.com
if the Writer's Café help and FAQ don't answer your query.
At Anthemion Software, we only store enough information about our customers to be able to communicate with them for support. We do not receive any information about customers' credit cards or bank accounts, and we do not share any information with third-party companies.
No personal information is taken by or stored on our web sites, since we use the secure web sites of a third-party payment service to take payment and notify us of the customer's name and their email address. You may read the privacy policies of this service (2Checkout) when you are on their payment page, but they will take the minimum amount of information for the purposes of completing payment.
The Writer's Café software works completely offline, except to check for and download updates to the software (under user control). It stores the customer's user name and Writer's Café key for the purpose of activating itself. Any project file history can be cleared using the Privacy page in the Preferences dialog.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or to remove your information from our records.
- How do I install Writer's Café on Windows 8?
After you have clicked on the Windows Setup link in your web browser, and it has finished downloading, double-click on the downloaded file.
You may see a screen saying "Windows Protected Your PC".
Click on the small link More info, and you will see a screen with the choices Run anyway and Don't run. Click on Run anyway.
You will then get a User Account Control screen, with "Do you want to allow the following program from an unknown publisher
to make changes to this computer?" Click Yes to run the Writer's Café setup program, which will guide you through the installation. The reason for these
steps is that Writer's Café does not come with a publisher certificate, so Windows 8 is being extra careful.
- How do I reset Writer's Café?
On rare occasions, for example if one of the Writer's Café components starts behaving strangely,
you may wish to try resetting the application back to the installation
state. First try removing the application preferences, and then if necessary the folder containing the application
data, such as report templates, sample files, toolbar customization and other data that may be
saved by Writer's Café between sessions. Note that by removing the application data you will lose some
of the customizations you have made, though not your project data.
How you achieve reset Writer's Café differs according to operating system. First,
quit Writer's Café.
On Microsoft Windows, to reset the application preferences, you need to delete the relevant registry entries.
- click the Windows Start button, click on Run, type
regedit and hit the return (enter) key.
- Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Anthemion Software,
and select the Writer's Cafe 2 entry. Press the Del key and confirm
- Quit regedit.
This deletes the preferences. You can optionally delete the application data that Writer's Café stores,
by navigating to \Documents and Settings\<your user name>\Application Data and deleting the folder Writer's Cafe 2.
Note that the Application Data folder may be hidden unless you have enabled Show hidden files and folders in
the Folder Options dialog (available from Tools | Folder Options in Windows Explorer).
On Linux, you need to remove the file ~/.config/writerscafe2/WritersCafe2, and optionally, the application data folder ~/.WritersCafe2Data.
On Mac OS X, you need to remove the file /Users/<your user name>/Library/Preferences/WritersCafe2 Preferences.
Using Finder, you can click on the Home icon and then navigate to Library/Preferences, from where you
can delete the WritersCafe2 Preferences file. You can optionally delete the folder /Users/<your user name>/Library/Application Support/Writer's Cafe 2.
- What is the PortableApps.com version of Writer's Café?
PortableApps.com provides a way to install Windows applications on a USB drive to allow them to
be run on any Windows machine, saving settings and data to the USB drive. Writer's Café is available in a .paf.exe installer
that is compatible with PortableApps.com and allows easy integration with your existing PortableApps.com applications.
To use it, download the .paf.exe installer to a temporary location on your desktop hard drive and then from the PoprtableApps.com Options menu,
choose 'Install a New App' and select the .paf.exe file. Follow the instructions, and the Writer's Café icon will appear
on the PortableApps.com menu.
Note that this method is in addition to the portability built into Writer's Café. Normally you install
Writer's Café to a USB drive by invoking the Mobile Preferences dialog from the View menu, and
then clicking on 'Install Writer's Café on External Drive' (see the appropriate FAQ. This installs the application
using locations and conventions that differ from those employed by PortableApps.com, and allows
you to use multiple platforms (Windows, Linux and Mac OS X). But if you only use Windows,
the PortableApps.com method may be preferable since it comes with a set of free applications
and can be used to launch Writer's Café as well.
The regular and PortableApps.com installers both contain the same version of Writer's Café, but
with a different directory layout. The PortableApps.com version includes a startup.cnf file that
tells Writer's Café where to look for its data, and that an external drive is being used.
- The OpenOffice.org Writer desktop icon isn't working. How do I fix it?
Writer's Café may add a desktop item for OpenOffice.org Writer that doesn't initially work, if the
application isn't installed or it guesses the location wrongly. First, check your system to see if OpenOffice.org is installed.
It's not distributed with Writer's Café since it's very large.
You can download it from www.openoffice.org.
Once you have OpenOffice.org installed, you can fix the desktop command. Right-click on the OpenOffice.org Writer icon on
the Writer's Café desktop, choose Properties, click on the Location text box, and clear it. Now click on Browse
and find the OpenOffice.org or swriter program. On a Windows system the command might be:
"C:\Program Files\OpenOffice.org 3\program\soffice.exe" -writer
On Mac, it might be:
(The .app extension must be present on Mac.) Now click on OK, and OpenOffice.org should launch when you double-click the shortcut.
- Can I store my Writer's Café data files on a USB drive?
Yes, you can store your own data files, and Writer's Café settings, on an external drive.
You can do this without any change to Writer's Café's preferences but it's easier
if you configure the application to look on an external drive and if appropriate, store settings
on this drive.
To do this, go to the View menu and select Mobile Preferences. On this dialog,
check Store your data on the external drive and (recommended), Store all settings
on an external drive. Click OK and restart the application. Writer's Café will now prompt you
to enter the name of the external drive, for data and settings. It's useful to store the settings
on the drive so that it can remember what files to load automatically, regardless of what machine you're
currently using, but if you sometimes wish to use
Writer's Café without the external drive connected, then don't check this option.
Note that until you explicitly open files on the external drive and restart the application,
Writer's Café will probably have loaded the last files from the computer's hard drive.
So you need to be careful that you are really editing the files you think you are editing.
It's handy to type Alt+Enter to see the location of the current file.
This FAQ has dealt with storing only data and/or settings on the external drive.
See the next FAQ for how to run the program itself from the external drive,
in addition to settings and data files.
- How do I run Writer's Café from a USB drive?
You can install Writer's Café to a USB drive by first installing it on your computer as normal.
Then, go to the View menu and select Mobile Preferences. On this dialog,
click on Install Writer's Café on External Drive. This installs the application
to the USB drive so that you can switch machines and Writer's Café will use settings and data
stored on the USB drive.
If you're using different operating systems (for example two or more of Windows, Linux and Mac OS X),
do this installation on each operating system that you are using. Your shared settings and documents
will be used regardless of operating system.
If you will only be using Windows, consider using the PortableApps.com installer as mentioned in the
On Linux, you may find that you don't have execute permission on the external drive, particularly if the drive is
formatted with a Windows file system such as FAT32. In this case, you need to mount the drive with different options,
and you can do that by editing the file /etc/fstab as root. You should add a line that tells the system to use special options. Here's an example:
/dev/sdb1 /media/usbdisk vfat rw,shortname=mixed,uid=1000,gid=1000,user,auto,exec 0 0
To find out the device name and mount point (the first two entries in this file), insert your drive and when automounted,
type mount in a terminal window. You should see an entry for the external drive.
The exec option causes all files on the drive to be seen as executable, and auto causes
the drive to be mounted automatically when the device is inserted.
It's worth remembering that USB drives can easily be lost, and data corrupted more easily, so remember to back up frequently
to a hard drive or other external drive. Also, use the 'Safely Remove Hardware' icon or equivalent operating system
functionality before removing any external drive.
For more details, please see the topic Using Writer's Café with an external drive, under Topics/Miscellaneous topics in
the manual. It explains how you can configure Writer's Café to run from your computer's regular hard drive
but take settings from the USB drive, as an alternative to complete installation on the USB drive.
- How can I synchronize files between multiple computers?
Writer's Café doesn't directly support synchronization of files, but you can use a USB drive as above,
or you could use an internet backup service with synchronization, for example:
Here's how you can synchronize settings using a service such as Dropbox. In order to have the application
write its preferences and data files to a location we can synchronize, we have to persuade Writer's Café that
we're using an external drive. Here are the steps if running on Windows, which you need to do on each computer
- Install Dropbox and create the "Dropbox" folder on all PCs, making sure that the path is identical on each PC.
If you already have Dropbox installed and need to change its location on one of the PCs to ensure path consistency,
do so in the General tab of the Dropbox preferences, and click Move... in the Dropbox Folder Location section.
- Install Writers Café as usual (non-mobile) and register.
- In View/Mobile Preferences/Portable Settings, check Store all settings on an external drive. Press OK.
- Close Writers Café.
- In a text editor, edit the startup.cnf that Writer's Café just created in c:\Program Files\Writer's Cafe 2, using an editor such as notepad:
ConfigLocation=[Path of your Dropbox folder minus drive]/Application Data/Writers's Cafe/settings.cnf
ExternalDrive=[Drive containing your Dropbox folder]
ConfigLocation=/Documents and Settings/Julian Smart/My Documents/Dropbox/Application Data/Writers's Cafe/settings.cnf
- Run Writers Café - it will create the [Path of your Dropbox folder]\Application Data\Writer's Cafe folder.
- In Preferences/General/Folders, set the path to Writer's Cafe Documents under your Dropbox folder, and
then move any document files you wish to live in this folder. You can perfectly well create documents outside this folder
and keep the setting as it is, but this is where Writer's Café will create documents by default so it's convenient to
change it to where your files will be synchronized.
- Move any existing files (Storyline, Scrap, Notebook, etc.) to [Path of your Dropbox folder]\Writer's Cafe Documents.
- If you had important settings already, such as Template files, copy them from your original settings location,
for example c:\Documents and Settings\[your name]\Application Data\Writer's Cafe, to the new location.
Now every time you open Writer's Café on a computer, you will get the same configuration and files as saved
last on any of the PCs. Of course, you have to wait 2-3 seconds for Dropbox to synchronize after
closing or before opening Writer's Café.
Note that we're not running the application from the Dropbox folder, we're just storing settings and data there.
The key is the startup.cnf file in Writer's Café's installation folder, that tells it where to find
the actual preferences (when this file is absent, it will use the standard locations for the current operating system).
On non-Windows systems, you need to find the installation folder - on Mac, open the icon's package folder
using the Finder context menu. On Linux, you can usually find it in /usr/share/writerscafe2.
To restore operation to normal so the application stores settings in the standard places, in View/Mobile Preferences/Portable Settings,
clear Store all settings on an external drive and press OK, or quit the application and delete startup.cnf.
Thanks to Yannick Bietenholz for help with this.
- Does Writer's Café support password protection?
No, not at present. This is partly because it's not clear how we should respond
to pleas for help when users lose their passwords. If we had a way to restore encrypted
files without the original password, this would be insecure. Equally it would be
hard to tell people their work was lost for good. Also there can be export restrictions on
software that contains encryption code. A workaround is to use 3rd-party encryption, or your operating system's built-in encryption if supported.
- Does Writer's Café run on 64-bit Windows Vista and Windows 7?
Yes; although Writer's Café is provided as a 32-bit Windows executable, it runs fine on 64-bit Vista and Windows 7.
- Does Writer's Café run on both Intel and PowerPC Macs?
Writer's Café for Mac OS X is a universal binary and runs on both Intel and PPC machines.
- On Mac OS X, I can't save to certain filenames. What's the problem?
You may have accented characters in your filename; try choosing a name with no accents.
- On Mac OS X, how can I improve small text display?
If you see badly spaced text for small fonts, you can switch on antialiasing (smoothing) for these
fonts. Go to the Mac OS X System Preferences, click on Appearance, and in the item
Turn off text smoothing for font sizes ... and smaller, select 8. Now
fonts at 9 point and above will use antialiasing which vastly improves spacing,
and gives dialogs a more consistent look too.
- How do I install Writer's Café on Linux?
Writer's Café supports three distribution methods for Linux:
- Debian package (.deb);
- RPM package (.rpm);
- Tarball (.tar.gz).
Each of these methods will install suitable desktop entries and MIME types,
adding a menu entry to the KDE or GNOME menu in the Office or Word Processor group.
Writer's Café will also be available by typing writerscafe in a terminal window.
The application is normally installed to /usr/share/writerscafe, and the 'writerscafe' startup script
To install a .deb, you may be able to simply double-click it in the file manager.
If this doesn't work, you can use the dpkg command-line tool. Type something like the following in a terminal window:
sudo dpkg -i writerscafe2_2.10-1_i386.deb
If you get a message saying that the package architecture doesn't match the target architecture,
but you know that the architectures are compatible (for example AMD64 versus x86_64) you can use the --force-architecture
flag to force an install.
To remove the package, use:
sudo dpkg -r writerscafe2
To install an RPM package, you may be able to simply double-click it in the file manager.
If this doesn't work, you can use the rpm command-line tool. Type something like the following in a terminal window:
sudo rpm -i writerscafe2-2.10-1.i386.rpm
To upgrade the package (if an existing one is already installed), use -U instead of -i.
To remove the package, use:
sudo rpm -e writerscafe2
With this method, you run a script in a terminal
and you will be prompted to install either system-wide or locally. If installing system-wide,
you may wish to login as super user (type su) or run the script with sudo, for example
First, unarchive WritersCafe-x.yz.tar.gz to a suitable location
in your filesystem. This will create two files, WritersCafeData.tar.gz
and installwc. Run installwc and follow the instructions: it will
install Writer's Café in one directory, and a script 'writerscafe2' in
another, so you can invoke Writer's Café without having to
set the WRITERSCAFEDIR environment variable. The script will install the appropriate
MIME types and desktop entries, and if installed locally,
will also add a Writer's Café icon to your desktop.
With the tarball method, you can uninstall by running the uninstallwriterscafe-x.yz script
generated by the installation process.
- How do I install Writer's Café on Mageia Linux 2?
You can install Writer's Café on Mageia Linux 2 using the RPM.
On 32-bit Mageia Linux 2, if you get a message about libpng1.2 not being found, install libpng12_0 via your package manager and try again.
You may find that some icons are missing when browsing files; currently there isn't a fix for this except to
contact us and request a special build for Mageia.
On 64-bit Mageia Linux 2, you can use the 64-bit version of Writer's Café and install lib64png12_0. This will unfortunately result
in some broken PNG icons, but Writer's Café will otherwise run fine.
Another method is to run the 32-bit version of Writer's Café in 64-bit Mageia Linux;
this method, at least in my experience, will not result in broken PNG icons.
Install the following packages using the Software Management tool:
- libpng12_0 (architecture i586)
- libgtk+-x11-2.0_0 (architecture i586)
- libgnomeprintui (architecture i586)
- liboxygen-gtk (architecture i586)
- libcanberra-gtk0 (architecture i586)
When offered a choice of packages to install, choose the default option.
It will take a few minutes to install all dependencies.
- How do I install Writer's Café on Fedora?
You can install Writer's Café on Fedora using the RPM.
If you get a message about libpng1.2 not being found go to "Add/Remove Software"
and add "Temporary backwards-compatibility copy of old libpng" (libpng-compat-2:1.5.10-1fc17).
Or, on more recent versions of Fedora, do this in a terminal window:
sudo dnf install libpng12
- How do I install Writer's Café on Ubuntu 16.10+?
Ubuntu 16.10 and above come with a newer version of the libpng library; Writer's Café requires 1.2.
The 64-bit 1.2 library can be downloaded from one of the mirrors listed at
for example here.
Open the file to install it, or save the .deb to your computer and then in a terminal window, change directory to where the file was downloaded,
and type this:
sudo dpkg -i libpng12-0_1.2.54-1ubuntu1_amd64.deb
After installing this library, Writer's Café will be able to run.
- What are the workarounds for Writer's Café not running correctly on Linux?
If you get a message about libpng1.2 not being found, install it via your package manager and try again.
On recent versions of Debian, you can try installing this version:
If Writer's Café crashes with a BadAlloc error on Ubuntu 17.10+, you need to ensure you are running the X.org windowing system and not Wayland. When logging in, click on the settings icon and choose X.org.
If there is a crash on startup or buttons and other graphical elements are not displaying correctly, there may be a conflict with a specific theme.
Please change the theme or just the icon set.
- How do I install Writer's Café on a Pinebook?
The Pinebook is an ultra-cheap, 64-bit ARM based Open Source notebook costing less than a hundred dollars.
You can run Writer's Café on a Pinebook, using the Writer's Café for Raspberry Pi download. However, this is a 32-bit build,
and the Pinebook runs 64-bit versions of Linux.
The following commands install the 32-bit libraries needed to support Writer's Café on a Pinebook
running Ubuntu 16.04 64-bit:
# Add the next line to /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb [arch=armel,armhf] http://ports.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-ports xenial main universe
# Issue these commands
sudo dpkg --add-architecture armhf # add 32-bit support to the packaging manager
sudo apt-get update # forces package system to become aware of 32-bit repository
sudo apt-get install libc6:armhf libncurses5:armhf libstdc++6:armhf # Libraries Writer's Café needs
sudo gdebi writerscafe2_2.42-1_armhf.deb # install Writer's Café
(Thanks to John Blommers for this information.)
- How do I work around a locale problem on Arch Linux?
On German Arch Linux installations, Writer's Café can crash when starting. This is caused by a locale bug where
systemd resets the user's locale so that only this is left:
while Writer's Café tries to read LC_ALL instead. Hence LC_ALL has to be passed in the command. The solution is to run Writer's Café with these commands:
% cd /usr/share/writerscafe2
% LC_ALL=de_DE.UTF8 ./writerscafe
Writer's Café still gives warning about not being able to initialise locale for en_GB before
working OK for German. (Thanks to Bernd Pol.)
- How can I improve printing under Ubuntu 9.10 and above?
Some Linux distributions don't install a library that Writer's Café needs, so please go to the Synaptic Package Manager
and install the libgnomeprintui2.2-0 package. Without this, only a fall-back PostScript printer will be used, and
it will not be possible to select alternate printers.
From Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu does not list the libgnomeprintui2.2-0 package and its dependencies. To work around this,
download the libraries as .deb archives and install them. You can download them all from
libgnomeprintui.zip. You need to install
them in order:
sudo dpkg -i libglade2-0_2.6.4-1_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i libgnomecups1.0-1_0.2.3-5_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i libgnomecanvas2-common_2.30.3-1.2_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i libgnomecanvas2-0_2.30.3-1.2_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i libgnomeprint2.2-data_2.18.8-3_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i libgnomeprint2.2-0_2.18.8-3_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i libgnomeprintui2.2-common_2.18.6-3_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i libgnomeprintui2.2-0_2.18.6-3_amd64.deb
Alternatively, use another Linux distribution such as Mint that supplies these libraries via its package manager.
- On Windows, why does Writer's Café not always find Adobe Acrobat Reader?
Sometimes there is a problem with the PDF file association, resulting in advice
from Writer's Café, despite the fact that Reader is installed on your
system and PDF files can be launched from Explorer. This is caused by the absence of
certain registry keys and can usually be fixed by re-installing Acrobat Reader.
If the problem persists, you can still read the PDF files by locating them on
your system either from within Explorer or from the Reader file dialog.
- Why do Writer's Café and Windows explorer sometimes use different shortcuts?
When you choose a document in a shortcut and launch it, sometimes the application
that opens the document is not the one you expected (or the one used by
Windows Explorer). This is because you have overridden the standard associations
with different associations in Explorer - but this is not reflected in
the basic association that Writer's Café uses.
You can fix this by making the association more pervasive.
In Explorer (while browsing a drive, for example),
go to the Tools menu and select Folder Options.
Click on the File Types tab and scroll down to the
extension you're interested in. Click on the extension.
If there is button Restore, click it, and it will change
to Advanced. Now click on Advanced and you will be
able to select the application you want to associate with
the extension. Click on open in the list of actions,
and then click on Edit. Enter the program path in
the second text field. If you browse for it, don't forget to add %1 to
the end, to represent the data file to be opened. Press OK
to confirm the changes, and then OK again to confirm the
You may wish to make a note of the original settings
in case you want to restore them.
- How many storylines and cards can be created?
There is no limit to either the number of storylines or the number of cards
in registered copies of Writer's Café.
- When I click on a card, the editor is still greyed out. What's going on?
Make sure that the menu item StoryLines | Edit in place is off (not checked).
Also, single-click on a card, don't double-click.
- Text in reports prints out too large. How can I reduce the text size?
You can change the standard text size in StoryLines General Preferences.
You can also export to HTML and use your browser to print, or you can export to OpenOffice.org Writer to print.
How can I see an accurate print preview on Linux and Mac?
On Linux and Mac, the print preview displayed by Writer's Café may occasionally differ from the actual printout in terms of pagination.
For more accurate results, you can use the built-in Linux or Mac print preview instead, invoked from the Print dialog. On Mac, the preview shows in the Preview application.
On Windows, there is no built-in preview facility, but on this platform the Writer's Café preview facility closely matches the printout.
How can I open a document generated by Writer's Café in Microsoft Word?
Writer's Café can export to the OpenDocument file format (ODF), using the extension .odt. This is supported by an increasing number
of applications. You can use the free OpenOffice.org suite, available on Windows, Linux and Mac,
to open these files and save to Microsoft Word. You can open and save ODF files directly in Word by installing the
Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office, which works
in Office 2000, XP and 2003. Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 2 will offer native ODF support.
Note that Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) has added ODF support to its TextEdit editor.
How do I create and manipulate multiple levels, such as chapters and scenes?
This topic can be quite tricky for beginners so here is an alternative to the manual.
In StoryLines you can have any number of 'levels' to reflect the
hierarchy of the story. It's common to have two - Chapter and Scene. You
can call them whatever you want, so this is just an example.
You can only see one level at a time in the storyline window, but you
can switch between levels using the drop-down control above the outline,
or by clicking on a card in the outline.
The way levels relate to each other is that a column at one level leads
to one or more columns at the deeper level. There may or may not be
cards in any of these columns (at any level). Since you can have
multiple storylines, you might have several cards in one column (each in
a different storyline) but it's probably more typical to have a card in
just one storyline at a time.
You can specify multiple levels when you first create your StoryLines
project, or later. To add levels later, go to the StoryLines -> Sheet Properties menu command,
and click on Structure. You can create and name a new level (say, Chapter) and Writer's Café will
ask where you want to insert the new level - in this case, before the first level.
Say you're looking at the Chapter level and there are 4 columns - this
means there are 4 chapters. If you change to the Scene level, you may
see that the chapter division markers indicate that 8 Scene columns are
contained in that first chapter. Suppose you want to divide the first
chapter into two chapters, of four columns each. You can do this at the
Scene level, by right-clicking (or ctrl-clicking on a Mac) on column 3
and choosing Insert Chapter Break. This will insert a column at the
Chapter level, though all you'll see on this level is a new vertical
If you want to add a chapter, you can do it from either the Scene or the
Chapter level. To do it at the Scene level, right click and choose Add
Chapter - it will be placed after the current chapter. To do it at the
Chapter level, choose Chapter in the drop-down box above the outline and
then choose Insert Column or Append Column in the right-click menu.
Similarly you can use this menu for deleting columns and chapters.
You can also adjust chapter divisions graphically - at the Scene level,
you can drag the vertical division left or right.
Sometimes the distinction between a column and a card is a bit annoying,
because dragging cards from one place to another leaves empty columns
behind. To help with that, hold down shift when you drag a card. If
there are no other cards in that column, the now-empty column will be
By default, the title of a chapter is generated by StoryLines, e.g.
Chapter I, Chapter II. You might want to change the way this is
presented in the outline and report, and you might want to replace it
with your own title (which you can provide by clicking next to the
column number and typing). To change the presentation, go to the
StoryLines -> Sheet Properties menu command, and click on Structure.
Click on a Level and click Edit. Now you can check or clear options to
include: section name (Chapter), section title (your own title), and the
section number. Various other options are provided for e.g. restarting
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