Auto-numbering chapters without mucking up the binder

I’m getting close to export time, so I’d like to give my chapters some numbers, but I know they’re going to move around some more. Luckily, I know about Scriv’s auto-numbering feature.

Using it now, however, I see a problem. If I add "Chapter <$n>: " to the beginning of each chapter title, I’ll have to make the binder painfully wide to see what the chapter is actually called. (It’s the word “Chapter” as much as the autonumber code, obviously.)

There’s no option in Compile Draft to stick some text on the front of each document title, is there? How do other people handle this? On my iBook, I can literally see just the first two words of each chapter in the binder if I put "Chapter <$n>: " in.

I realize I could put the title of the chapter in the document and not export document titles, but that’s messy and duplicates effort if I rename a chapter.


Can’t you put the chapter title and number inside the folder text, as in the Novel Standard Manuscript Format example?


I’ve the same request. I’m missing automatic numbering for the titles in order to get a better view of my outline (specially in academic documents). Change it by hand every time I move them is not comfortable :neutral_face: . I can imagine that numbers appearing before every title, without being able to edit them when I double-click.

I’m also missing appropiate chapters hierarchy after compiling the draft. Now if I’ve a chapter with sub-chapters (text-container), it will get bigger than other chapter inside the same level without sub-chapters (text only), even if they are at the same level.

I tried to figure out how folder numbering works in Novel Standard Manuscript Format, but i coudn’t… :question:

My 1st post in the forum… Thanks for scrivener :smiley:
José Luis


Welcome to the forums.

For auto-numbering, as the original poster mentioned, just enter <$n>. That tag will get replaced by real numbers in Compile Draft. E.g. “Chapter <$n>: Birth, Chapter <$n>: Death” would get compiled as “Chapter 1: Birth, Chapter 2: Death”.

I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean about one chapter getting bigger than the other. Could you elaborate, please?

All the best,

Hi Ketih,

Thanks for your instant reply. I know about that variables :unamused: , and I’d like to see more on this scripting in the future in Scrivener (in a Textmate way). But I think the binder should be always be clean, so I keep my numbering suggestion live :wink: . Anyway i can’t see any <$n> in the Novel Standard Manuscript Format template, and despite that, titles get numbering in the exported rtf :question: .

About the ‘bigger’ chapter titles. I meant in exporting. When compiling the draft, we’re able to set the fonts for texts, container texts and folder titles. We could use some configuration like this one:

Text: Arial, 10.
Text Titles font: Arial, 12.
Text Container Font: Arial, 14, bold.
Folder Titles Font: Arial, 14, bold.

But this won’t ensure a correct chapter formatting. Text containers and texts can be at the same level inside a folder, still, they will get different format. Titles and subtitles formatting shoud be done according to its level, not according its kind :bulb: . So I think there could be a way for exporting all the chapters, numbered and formatted, in an equivalent way as we organized them in the binder.

Multimarkdown syntax can manage this I think, but at this time, xlst configuration is a bit tedious to me. Because of this and the poor list formatting support in the native OSX, I’d like to see some basic markdown syntax as a native feature in next versions.

José Luis.

You might consider putting chapter titles in the text area of the document, leaving the Binder titles as descriptive and for your own use. Just turn off title export at Compile stage. Since the title auto-formatting is just formatting and not actually setting a header style, the resulting document would be no different.

Unless you use kind to establish structure! Rather than relying on depth purely, you can use folders for parts, document stacks for chapters, just to provide one example. Then you are free to use hierarchy in whatever manner you prefer internally.

I wonder if text prefixing might be an interesting way to approach this problem? You aren’t the first to want numbering without Binder clutter. If each header style also allowed a text field where you could type things like numbering codes which would be inserted prior to processing, that might be cool.

Not only this, but actual headers independent of formatting, yes. I wouldn’t hope for any native MMD support in the future though. Keith has been very specific on the topic that Scrivener is to remain a rich text interface, and all MMD usage is to be handled externally via the export scripts. It would be nice though. :slight_smile:

I have recently overhauled Compile Draft, but I’m afraid it still won’t format titles according to level, and I have no plans for it to do so. Likewise, there’ll be no live numbering in the binder, which would be incredibly difficult to implement under the current system.

All the best,

Hope you were lucky on it! Otherwise i hope you’ll keep this feature request: Folder structure = heading depth.

For AmberV:

I tried that, but I have more than three depths in my document (writing my DEA, a kind of pre-thesis requirement in Spain).

i don’t want full support, I understand Keith, i suppose he doesn’t want to transform scrivener in a coding software, me neither. But, since native OSX text formatting is so basic, even buggy with lists, maybe he could think in provide some alternatives, basic markdown syntax could be one of them but I’m not sure. I think I’ll have to learn xsl…

Just to counter the point, I expressly would not want title formatting according to folder depth.

It would be a disaster for someone like me who uses things like text containers to hold alternate working drafts of a text piece, and often have several levels of heirarchy in my Draft folder before I even get to the folder that contains the working draft.

The current system of format according to kind rather than position means there is never any confusion, or need to drag dozens of files around in the Binder, when setting the export formatting.

This could be just an option in the Compile Draft window. I’m sure many users will use it to export their final drafts.

I suppose you would be able to choose the startup folder as in the current version.

Many people, many ways of getting confused. I’m sure the developer will keep the availability of current compiling features if he adds this one.

Hi, just to reiterate, I have only just finished completely overhauling Compile Draft (nothing to worry about, Antony :slight_smile: ), and this feature is not there and thus will not be included any time soon, if ever. I don’t want to build up any false expectation. :wink:


Catched… learning MultiMarkdown…

Anyway i can't see any <$n> in the Novel Standard Manuscript Format template, and despite that, titles get numbering in the exported rtf.

AmberV and Keith, thanks for your excellent and quick support. Just I’d like to solve this last quoted question. Is auto-numbering activated just in this specific template, how?

If it is the template I think it is, you will find the numbering inside the “text” of the folder that forms the chapter.
i.e. the chapter is a folder, made up of a number of text files to represent scenes.

By default, when you click on that folder it probably shows as a Corkboard. If you make it display its text instead*, you will see the chapter headings in there.

Incidentally, that is how I do my autonumbering for all of my chapters. Keeps it out of the way of the actual text I am writing, has its own formatting just for that file that I don’t need to worry about accidentally overriding, etc.


  • This can be done in numerous ways, most of which I don’t remember off the top of my head. If it defaults to Corkboard, click the Corkboard toolbar item again to switch to text. If it goes to Edit Scrivenings by default, you might need to Alt-click or Cmd-click or something, or try one of the menus. Sorry I can’t be specific here.

Oh, i found it. I thought folders could not have texts. I clicked in the corkboard icon and the its text with CHAPTER <$W> appears there. Thanks matt.

Just to let Keith know, beacuse it’s not pointed in the correspoding help page. In my exported draft i see “Chapter UNO” so i suppose it use the language preference settings (International options at System preferences).

After trying to figure out a flexible solution to add auto-numbering in an academic way (playing with variables and auto-numbers) in titles and multilevel subtitles (1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.2.1, 2.2.2, 2.2.3, 2.3 …) I realised the easiest way (at the moment there is no flexible way even aplying variables) it would be to just add an <$n> in every title (in binder or in the text), as previously suggested, and activate an option in the Compile draft window to apply this kind of numbering format (no need of <$sn> in this case) in the exported file. Here Scrivener would be sensitive to our structure in the binder in order to add the appropiate numbers.

This feature should be easy to implement in the compiling process, or at least easier than directly in the binder.

Jose Luis.

Teehee, I love it when users tell me that something will be “easy” to implement. :slight_smile:

I’m sorry, but for this sort of more complicated numbering, Scrivener really isn’t suitable. You would need to adjust it in the final formatting stage, in a word processor. Scrivener isn’t designed to have all of the features of a word processor because it is more for the drafting stages. It is suitable for most stages of novel, for the first drafts of an academic work or script, but for more complicated layout - including more complicated auto-numbering - you will definitely need a different program after Scrivener.

All the best,

I understand auto-numbering can seem a task for the post-draft stage, and maybe it is. I’m just worried about getting an easy and automatic way to make the index of the document after the draft is exported.

Sorry about the ‘easy’ thing :blush:

José Luis.

If using LaTeX is an option (as it is for some in academics), you might consider learning MultiMarkdown. It takes only a few minutes to get the basics down, and you can forget all about numbering, table of contents, and all that while working in Scrivener. The default class that Scrivener+MMD uses will do the numbering you require, by default.

Actually, I’m now thinking about this. If I understand correctly, all you want is a way for the number to represent the structure in the binder, right? So, all you really want is, say, a structural number tag (e.g. “Edit > Insert > Auto-Number > Structural Number (1.2.3)”, with a tag like, say, <$stn>, for “structural number”, or <$bn> for “binder number”. Then, all this would do is represent the structural level of the document. E.g:

- <$bn> Title
    - <$bn> Sub-title
        - <$bn> Sub-sub-title
    - <$bn> Second Sub-title
- <$bn> Another title
    - <$bn> Another Sub-title
    - <$bn> And another
    - <$bn> And another
        - <$bn> Another sub-sub-title
                - <$bn> Sub-sub-sub-title

Would become:

- 1 Title
    - 1.1 Sub-title
        - 1.1.1 Sub-sub-title
    - 1.2 Second sub-title
- 2 Another title
    - 2.1 Another Sub-title
    - 2.2 And another
    - 2.3 And another
        - Another sub-sub-title
            - Sub-sub-sub-title

And so on.

(I have no idea why I hyphenated “subtitle”, incidentally.)

That, actually, doesn’t sound like an unreasonable request, and maybe wouldn’t be all that hellish to implement, though I cannot promise anything.

All the best,