Automatic compile on save

I frequently wish to hand out copies of the current state of my novel to friends who, naturally, don’t have Scrivener. The amazing ability to compile to many formats and with varying options is made even better by the ability to save a custom settings set with its own name.

I would love to see the option to choose one or more of those saved compile settings sets to automatically compile to whenever I save or on closing the program (auto-save). This probably would mean specifying a file name and destination folder.

For me, a wonderful application would be to automatically save to my local Google Drive cache folder. I can share an easy-to-read or -download RTF there with anyone with the URL. The URL and sharing settings don’t change as new versions of the file are uploaded. In this use case, my friends could always see a preview of the current text.

Another use case would be to allow me to review my own work from my Android phone while away from my Macs. Reviewing via Kindle reader or such would be a nice way to do so.

Thanks for an awesome product!

I came here to suggest a similar feature. I end up compiling a lot when I’m preparing short stories for submission.

[]The simplest option: one keystroke compile. Uses the settings you used last time, including the file path. This would save me a lot of clicking.[/]

[]More advanced: auto-compile on save, as Jim suggests. This would mean I always know that the draft have on Google Drive is the latest, and I can browse to it from my phone etc to read through it.[/]

(While I’m here: thanks, Scrivener devs, for a great piece of software.)

While we don’t have automatic compile, we do come close to single-keystroke compile. The Compile command automatically remembers your previous settings, so just clicking “Compile” in the File -> Compile window will do “the same thing as last time.” Or you could create a custom Compile preset, which isn’t a bad idea anyway if you often use the same settings.

You can also use the File -> Print Current Document command to print whatever is in the Editor window --including a large Scrivenings session – to a PDF file, which can then be saved to Google Drive or wherever. PDFs aren’t editable, and Print Current Document doesn’t offer as many options as Compile, but this is probably the fastest and easiest way to create an electronic copy of your manuscript. This is what I usually do.

One technical issue with auto-compile on save would be performance. Short stories compile almost instantly, but a book-length manuscript with lots of images can take quite a lot of time. It would be very annoying to get dumped into the Compile routine just because I hit Cmd-S at the bottom of a page.


I’m assuming this is Mac only? I always get sent to the dialog box, regardless of if I use the keyboard shortcut, the File menu, or the menu bar button.

Mac and Windows are the same in this regard. You always get sent to the compile dialog and will need to click “Compile” and choose your save location to complete the process. Katherine’s point was that all the settings are preserved, so you don’t need to fuss with those every time.

  1. Exit distraction-free mode*
  2. Compile menu-item
  3. Hit ‘Compile’
  4. Click in filename text field.
  5. Type file extension**
  6. Click export
  7. Click replace

That is a lot of clicking, and it’s a lot of clicking I have to do often. I too dream of ‘compile as per last action’ either on save or as a separate command.

  • I often work with an external monitor plugged in, notes on laptop screen and scrivener in distraction-free mode on the main monitor. This step is particularly annoying as i. I can access the Scrivener menu but the menu item is disabled and ii. Scrivener incorrectly fades both displays to black, which is an extra delay and distracting.

** Scrivener doesn’t remember the filename extension from last time, nor does it apply the filename extension if you select a file from the dialog. Filename extension can’t be set in the compile settings, as far as I can see.

Go to Finder, choose Preferences from the “Finder” menu, choose Advanced pane, click on "Show all Filename Extensions”*. The (invisible) extension that is there on all files will become visible and you don’t have to do 4 and 5. And if you’re not changing the name, or the location as Jen says, it’s just:



and its done.
No great burden.

Mr X

  • That’s the first thing I do when setting up a new Mac … set the Finder up the way I want from the Preferences and the “View —> Show View Options”.

An autocompile idea has already been suggested and there is some talk about this.

For me, the idea is to have a specific manuscript always exist as an ebook version so I can go through it on that context if I feel like it (or ignore it for a time). But simply autocompiling is not enough.

Here is the ideal workflow for me.

Work on a manuscript with Scrivener.
Later, open a tablet and find an autocompiled version in an ebook reader.
Go through the manuscript and highlight spots and add notes, maybe even some minor editing???
Later, back at Scrivener, the highlights and minor editing is reflected in the original.

Personally, I have no need for a program as complicated and feature rich as Scrivener on a tablet. But I would love to be able to use the above workflow. I do it now, but less automatically .

Moderator note: merged with existing thread for auto-compile.

I’m not sure about Linux, but on Windows there is handy utility called AutoHotKey that can make stuff like this a lot easier. I in fact use a similar utility for the Mac, Keyboard Maestro, that just automates the sequence of keystrokes required to compile, save and overwrite the existing file.

While I just use it to speed up the file overwrite phase, it would trivial to couple all of that with the commands to close the project, turning it into a single action to compile and close.