About Compiling

I’ve looked, and can’t seem to find the answer anywhere, so, here goes:

As an experiment, I decided to compile a project in the binder marked “Draft”. So far, so good.
The chopped up document compiles, and I have a compiled document now located IN the DRAFT folder at the very top.

My questions are:

If I delete this compiled document, does it affect all the uncompiled chapter documents below it (from which it was made)?

If I create a NEW compiled document does the first one delete and go away, or does it simply add on to the compiled document that’s already there?

I’m honestly a little terrified to mess around with the compile function because I don’t want to lose everything I’ve written by mistake - and there’s an auto save function with dropbox, so I could conceivably truly lose months of work if I do the wrong thing.

So, help? How exactly does it work, what does it do and not do, and what can I do with it?

No there is nothing complicated and mysterious here to be worried about. If you duplicate File A to File B, you would not expect changes made to B to have any impact on A. You seem to be thinking that Scrivener will somehow recognise that the content of the file you compiled is special, but it doesn’t care—we could be talking about a grocery list you imported for all it cares, which is why I was speaking in abstractions above. Just think in general and logical principles of cause and effect and most of the time you’ll be okay in this program (and most others for that matter).

Same answer as above, there is nothing going on here that is trying to be smart. You import a file once, then a second time and now you have two files completely unrelated to one another. Compiling has nothing to do with replacing or importing data in your binder in the first place, so your fear is even further removed from multiple imports.

You should absolutely establish a routine for backing up your work no matter what, but I do think the software is a fair bit more resilient than you’re thinking. Compile is an elaborate take on what we might refer to as “Export” in most programs. It quite deliberately does nothing to the content of your project other than to save the settings you change for future use. As noted, it doesn’t even import what you’ve compiled back into the project as separate document.

If you haven’t already done so I’d recommend the built-in tutorial. There are some unique concepts in this program like this, and we do try to cover them in detail.

Also do note you can duplicate whole projects from the project list screen. Want to try something out? Dupe it, test your theory, and if it works fine then perform those steps on your main project and trash the duplicate.