Activiating or De-Activating sections

I am new to Scrivener so I apologies if this question is answered already (i did query the forum and manual).
I usually need alot of tweaking and refining until I am satisfied with the writings. So I need to compare activate or deactivate different wordings easily.
For this I this use a a fine grain binder structure such as :
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
and so on.
I would like to easily view alternative versions of sections in the context of an entire document by activating or deactivating a section without.
Ideally they should be easily turned on or off by a checkmark box.

Chapter 1
c1-section1-Variant A
c1-section1-Variant B
Chapter 2

So If I checkmark “c1-section1-Variant B” as active the entire Draft document should be composed from:
Chapter 1
c1-section1-Variant B
Chapter 2
I tried to use labels and revisions but this seems not work as if I expect.

Any Idea how this could be done?


Just to be clear, where do you want to view them? Do you want to view them in Scrivener’s editor, or do you want to compile them for export or print and view them there?

If you want to view them in Scrivener’s editor, then you could indeed set up labels for this. Once you have set up a label for each variant, you would then perform a search for one of the labels in the toolbar search field, and choose to search only by label:

You could then select all the documents in the returned search results and view them in scrivenings mode. You can also save the search as a collection by choosing “Save Search” at the bottom of the search menu, so that you can easily run the search again from the collections area.

If you want to compile these documents for printing or export, you could instead just tick or un-tick “Include in Compile” in the inspector.

Hope that helps.

All the best,

I would like to view them in the editor…the checkbox for the compile mode I found… the same would be nice to have in the editior mode

I am not sure if labeling does work because if I am happy with variant A in section 1 but variant B in section 2 I would exclude these if I label it variant A or B…
of course I could relabel variants so if I activate label “variant A” I could get the right sections…
I probably need to investigate labels further.
But I wonder… could I say: show me all sections which are of label draft and of custom_metadata_kind=Variant A. I also do not see a way to exclude, in examples all section of Variant B…, from the editor view…

Couldn’t you use the same idea then and instead of labeling what the varient is, just use a label (or status) to indicate “best version” or the like? Then you can slap it on whichever is your version of choice and use the search or a saved collection in the same way, to view all the “best” together. It’s exactly the same as a checkbox would be, as far as I can understand what you’re after.

I think I have the same question. In Scrivener 1.X, one had the option when switching to Scrivener mode of including all selected documents, or including just those for which Include in Compile was checked. Now, in Scrivener 2, I can’t find a way to do that. I hope this option hasn’t disappeared; it was a major part of my work flow on the 400 page book I just finished, and now as I’m starting a new 250 pager I would like to use it again.

It’s still there! But make sure you have the compile interface in expanded mode—it won’t show up in basic mode. To expand the compile interface, click the little down-arrow above the purple help button. Now click on Contents, if it isn’t already selected from the list. Below the list of items (which should be familiar from 1.x), you’ll find a “Compile” drop-down with “Included documents”, “Excluded documents”, and “All”. These all function in the same way as 1.x.

Thanks, Amber, that’s good to hear! But now I’m searching for a little purple help button, and none can I find!

Amber, do you mean the purple help button in the Compile window? I have selected, under Contents, the option to Compile only Included Documents. But in Scrivenings I am still seeing both Included and Excluded documents.

Oh, I’m sorry, I misread you (and indeed missed the point of the whole thread!). That hint is only for compiling and makes no impact on Scrivenings mode. That feature has been removed. Hardly anyone used it—in fact I think you might be the first person that has even mentioned its removal. :slight_smile: Even that aside, we never could think of a good way to include filtering Scrivenings into the new model. It was a small price to pay for the overall increase in usability that the new model uses, where Scrivenings is much like Corkboard or Outliner in how it works and integrates with the Binder.

That’s unfortunate, for me at least. Since Scrivenings mode is, as I understand it, a way to view text as it will appear once it has been compiled, this seems a rather counter-intuitive change. I like to keep items of research in the Draft, and also extra text that I may or may not wish to include when the text is complied. Might it at least be possible to turn on a background color that indicates, in Scrivenings mode, which segments of text will not be included?

That’s an interesting idea, one that would probably work, but unless I am incorrectly remembering things, it wouldn’t be feasible. One of the reasons why the new Scrivenings interface uses dividers instead of alternating background colours is that the latter method could cause severe typing lag in larger sessions. Again I might be wrong on that point, I’m sure Keith will correct me if there is another reason.

And to be clear, removing the filtering stuff wasn’t a decision made lightly.

I suppose in some cases it could be used that way, yes. You’d have to pretty much treat Scrivener like a word processor though, typing titles directly into the manuscript, using the output font to write in, and optionally switch on Page Layout view mode to get close—though even then it wouldn’t be a true compile preview with regards to footnotes, columnar layout, other more advanced features. But if you just mean to view the text as it will compile (roughly), then sure. The feature itself can be used to view any sequence of text items in bulk, though—I use it to scan through folders of short notes, for instance. There are a lot of things you can do with the view.

This is directly from the user manual:

“Scrivenings sessions are one of the few areas in Scrivener that consider your text from a “flat” perspective, or how it will appear once it has been compiled. There is no indication of depth while editing documents. This is intentional, so you can concentrate solely on the same flow of text that your readers will use.”

But obviously if portions of text that are not to be compiled are nonetheless displayed in Scrivenings, this will not be the same flow of text that the reader sees.

Good point, thanks for catching that; I’ll patch that section up as it is worded too specifically, and was really only meant to contrast the “everything is flat” output of the Compiler to the “everything is flat” output of Scrivenings—rather than to suggest that Scrivenings will give you an accurate preview of the formatting and layout (or even content) of a final product.

Besides, the “everything is flat” image isn’t totally relevant to the compiler any longer. That phrase was, I think, lifted from the 1.x documentation, and there wasn’t much about depth in the version 1.54 compiler. But now you can set up formatting by depth, so it isn’t strictly flat, any more.

So I’ll leave the description of this feature to just Scrivenings, leaving mention of the compiler out and just describe what flat means in regards to the feature.

Yes, I understand that Scrivenings won’t display formatting and layout as the reader will see them. But I found - when using version 1 - that being able to see the same content as the reader was very important. I am very sad to see that feature go.

There is also this in the manual: “Additionally, the word and character counter in the footer will count the entire session, making Scrivenings a great way to quickly view the word count of a particular section of your book.”

But now this is no longer true. Scrivenings will include in its word count the portions of the text that are not to be compiled. This too seems to me to be something that has been broken in the new version. The display of the count of words and characters against the targets is now virtually meaningless, unless one happens to be looking at a Composite that contains only text to be included in the compile.

I don’t mean to sound grumpy! But as I mentioned earlier, this has been a key element of my work flow, and I can’t at the moment see a workable alternative. Are there truly insuperable technical reasons why this change was made?

Could you not use a status or a label, which you could set, on the fly if necessary, to indicate those documents you wish to include in your view, do a search for documents with that label/status to establish a collection and then view that collection in the scrivenings view?

I have had no need to do anything like this, but if my understanding of collections is right, you should be able to achieve what you want by some such means.


I should clarify that removing it wasn’t a decision taken lightly, and it would be nice to have something available like this in the future. It’s just that ideas for that were tabled a long while back, and since there hasn’t been a single peep about its removal up until yours, it just dropped off the radar in my mind anyway. It’s not a technical problem (that was already solved with 1.x), so much as an interface problem. Because the Corkboard, Outliner, and Scrivenings views are all integrated together to work consistently, dropping items from one view based on a filter would reduce the quality of that consistency. Perhaps a better route would be a special selection tool that removed items from the current selection if they are or are not compiled—then you could from that selection go to a Scrivenings session—and since it would be a multiple selection, that same collection of items would be available in Corkboard and Outliner views—this giving you a way to view a filtered “Binder” in the Outliner. It’s an interesting idea, but kind of a really special purpose feature. Hmm. Could have a broader appeal perhaps.

Anyway, I wouldn’t say, ‘give up all hope’, that’s for Keith to say, but if some nice way of doing this that didn’t compromise the integrated model that Scrivener 2 uses came along, I think it would be nice to have it again.

Oh and don’t worry, you didn’t come across as grumpy to me. I think the solution above is going to be the best, even though it involves using another piece of meta-data as well as the checkbox, since you can’t search for the checkbox.

Or maybe, to work back from the feature idea above, use the Outliner as a filter. You can use an Outliner as a “soft filter” by sorting by column. If you turn on the Include in Compile column in Outliner, you can then sort by it, filtering all excluded documents to the top; included to the bottom (click the column header again to reverse). So from there just select the block that matches the session you want to see, press Cmd-Opt-O to remove everything from the Outliner that isn’t selected, and hit Cmd-1. Poof.

A few steps instead of two, but if the Outliner is already set up right with this column, not a big hassle. As a bonus you get a corkboard with only book elements, too. Once the structure of the book settles down, you could create a Collection out of these and use it as a manuscript-only working area.

Thanks for the work-around suggestions. Here’s an example of what I was doing with version 1, but cannot do now with version 2. Let’s say I discover a section of text in a specific chapter is too long, and I need to drop a couple of paragraphs. I split the document above and below these paragraphs, un-check the Include in Compile box for that section, select the chapter in the Binder and click Scrivenings, and lo and behold I have the whole chapter as the reader will see it.

I have now tried creating a Collection for the elements in a chapter, but it seems I have to add each new element by hand, which gets a bit tedious. I will try your suggestion, Amber, searching by Include/Exclude in Compile. But these both strike me as complicated alternatives to what was a very simple and smooth process in version 1.

It is surprising to me that I’m the only grumbly voice on this feature! Reading the sections of the user manual that discuss Scrivenings - even in version 2! - it seems to me I was using it just as it was intended. Are there other ways to see what the reader will see, short of compiling the document?

nitram, if I understand you correctly, I do work in a similar way, in terms of having research notes and extra bits of text in the Binder in addition to what I think is going to be the “real” draft. But, when I want to view the “real” draft alone, I just manually select those documents in the Binder to view them in Scrivenings mode. For whatever reason, I have never really found turning Compile on and off for individual documents very convenient (probably because I haven’t found a contextual menu command or keyboard shortcut for Include in Compile yet). So, in the example you gave, I might split the document as you describe, but then I would then just select the sections above and below the excised chunk for viewing. I’m sure it’s more clicks than you’re used to but that’s how I do it.

Another thing that I do is to use a label for “real” draft sections (actually three, representing different stages of completion), and turn on icon tinting in the Binder. Extra stuff in the Draft folder is unlabeled. So, I can quickly select everything that’s colored (still manually, though) if I want to view the complete “real” draft or any portion of it. And that’s also what I use when I Compile to filter out the “real” draft from any leftover extra bits.

I will say that I don’t typically use Scrivenings mode for viewing really long pieces of my text (right now, a thesis), probably not even an entire chapter. I’ll maybe look at anywhere from 2-10 documents together at a time, depending on how long they are. I mostly use it for checking transitions, not for judging the overall feel of a chapter. And rarely do I want to view things together that are very far apart from each other in the Binder. So in my case, it doesn’t add up to that much manual labor.

This way of working does benefit from the fact that Scrivener saves Scrivenings sessions (Multiple Selections) in the editor history, so I don’t have to redo my selection if I click away from it in the editor. I can just navigate back in the history.

I’m not suggesting those things as workarounds for you as such, but rather just wanted to respond to your curiosity about why other people weren’t being grumbly, because I think you are right about Scrivenings mode being very useful for the scenarios you describe, and I do use it that way. Probably in a slightly kludgier fashion :slight_smile: But it works for me thus far.

From the above, I’m getting the impression that you haven’t realized that a search can be saved AS a Collection, so that it automatically updates as individual documents start or stop matching that search criteria. So you shouldn’t have to manipulate the collection by hand, but merely click on the saved search/collection and start reading.