A preview function.

I am struggling to create a compile for a manuscript. In order to test my settings, I have to create a document. A preview mode, that showed changes live would be very helpful. Especially if the preview could be on a second monitor.

This has been asked before and it doesn’t work.
The output is created when you compile your project. How could Scrivener show you what it will look like after compiling before you compile? In compile you decide e.g output file format, and an epub and .docx file have few similarities.

As lunk says, although this is a nice idea, its’ not really possible, because the only way of previewing how the manuscript is going to look is to compile it. So the preview would have to compile everything every time you made a change and then load the results into another view, which would be no faster than compiling (and horribly slow if it re-compiled for the preview every time you changed an option). (Compiling takes time because it has to piece together your manuscript and apply the various options from the Compile format.)

Not only that, but the only format that Scrivener could preview accurately is PDF. It couldn’t show you exactly how a document is going to look in Microsoft Word (because it’s not Microsoft Word) or how an ebook would look in an e-reader without having a whole e-reader programmed just for the preview. So the only way of seeing exactly how your compiled manuscript is going to look is to compile it and have it open in the app for which it is compiled.

All the best,

On the other hand, compiling an entire 90k word novel every time I adjust a compile format is overkill.

Here’s my compile format editing workflow. If there’s something new to you in it, please give it a try. If all these features are familiar, I apologise for the long -winded response.

First, I do a selection in the Binder: my front and back matter, and a representative chapter or two, I set up my compile to use current selection.

While I’m tweaking the compile format, there’s a button in the bottom left corner of the compile format editor called “Test…” which lets me run a trial compilation without leaving the compile editor—very useful.

Finally, when I’m saving the trial document, there’s a checkbox and pop-up menu at the bottom of the save dialog that lets me automatically open the document in a target app. Once I set it up for a particular output type (PDF, Word, whatever) the newly compiled test doc will open automatically in (PDFPen, LibreOffice, whatever) every time I compile that project to that target format. It saves a lot of steps.

It’s not quite a preview, but it’s a lot faster than compiling the entire novel every time I need to test a page size, heading, or paragraph format, then going to the Finder to open the result in whatever application.

Hope this helps!

Following what @SILVERDRAGON says, apart from the fact that I don’t see a “Test” button, here are screenshots.

[attachment=0]Screen Shot 2020-10-23 at 12.39.51.png[/attachment]
[attachment=1]Screen Shot 2020-10-23 at 12.02.55.png[/attachment]
Note, I don’t see a “Test” button, but actually isn’t important for me as I use a standard compile format developed over years, which compiles to RTF (I don’t have Word and use Nisus Writer Pro, hence RTF and the choice in the screenshots) and haven’t yet had the need to try compiling to ePub.

The only thing I could wish for in this context is that the “Use Current Selection” choice was at the top, rather than way down below all the Draft/Manuscript documents, especially as, in some cases (e.g. a deeply nested hierarchy), the list of documents to be compiled can be very long.

So, as a contribution to the wish list, Keith, would it be possible to Move the “Use Current Selection” to the top, where it will be easier for new users to find?



PS The screenshots use @pigfender’s NaiD 2017 project as the open project Thank you Rog!.

1 Edit

The Test button in question is not on the main Compile sheet, it is, as Silverdragon says, in the compile format editing sheet. So, it is when you are in tweaking a compile format that you see (and want) that button.


Shows how long it is since I’ve needed to do that! :unamused: