Best method for viewing changes when removing paragraphs

I have a document where I am trying to decide which I believe is better with one of the paragraphs removed. I have been trying to figure out the best way to leave it out that will give a reminder of what I used to have there.

Here are the methods that seem to be available.

  1. Create a comment or footnote on the last word of the preceding paragraph.
  2. In the Document Notes put in the last sentence or couple of words from the preceding paragraph and then the deleted paragraph.
  3. Do something with document snapshots

My instinct is to go with footnote method. I find the box it creates somewhat distracting and I think I would prefer a traditional footnote with a small superscript number but I like that the missing text is now tied to the correct location. (Changing the box color to white seems to help me.).
I figure there is going to be a lot of subjectivity and personal preference around this topic. That’s fine, I’d just like to hear what works for different people.

How about splitting the document just above and below the paragraph concerned, so that that paragraph appears as a separate document that you can then turn off or on in the compile process. If you decide to keep it, you can merge the three documents again; if you decide it’s better without, you can just delete the paragraph document, or better still, move it into some non-compiling storage area in case you may want to use it or a version of it in some other part or project.


For me it also depends a bit on the specifics of the editing–what stage of revision I’m at, what sort of revision it is. My two general methods would be annotations and snapshots.

Annotations I’ve used mostly in pre-2.0, and they’ve changed a bit now that ghosting isn’t available to fade them out when not in focus; I’m fairly sure my method won’t change, based on my experience with them so far, but I haven’t had much opportunity to test them out with my normal process yet. Basically I just select text I’m deleting/reworking and turn it into an annotation as I play around with how I want to write it. This works best for me when I’m actively working on a document, trying out different ways of writing a paragraph, cutting pieces, etc. I want to keep everything there on the table while I work to see what I’m dealing with, but I want a clear segregation between what’s the current “in use” text and what’s all the “other possibilities” text. For this, inline annotations work better for me than inspector comments because it keeps all the text easily manipulable and readable right in the editor.

For broader revisions, where I’m dealing with working on multiple documents at a time or comparing different drafts (where drafts here mean some serious changes, not just a couple edits per page), I like the snapshots. Usually I’ll take a snapshot before jumping into any revisions, then use the annotations while working on it, and then clean up the annotations so I have my new pristine draft (with possible further snapshots during the process). That way I can read the revised draft without the distractions of annotations or comment links; for me, really, I’d rather not have the reminder of where I deleted text, because I want to read it fresh and see how well it works without that deleted paragraph. The flags to remind me at that point are more detrimental than helpful. If I read the draft and feel it’s lacking or I need to compare it to the original, the snapshot is there. Also with the new “compare” feature in 2.0, it’s especially easy to see where I made changes from the original, and all the altered text shows up in context.

Another option is just to change the text color to something nearly invisible. Easy to skip it when reading, but it sits there in context in case you want it back.

Thank you both for your input.

I think this is a very good point:

Not sure this is what you mean, but in a similar situation, what I do is this:

duplicate the document in question
make the change – here, drop a paragraph – in one copy
leave both copies in the binder for further consideration
drop one when the other seems better

I usually work with small documents (<3000 words); this idea might prove cumbersome with bigger ones.


One thought on Mark’s suggestion of splitting the paragraph out into it’s own document, is that you can also just use the Edit Scrivenings mode to view any combination of the three documents without having to compile. There will be more vertical separation between each document than in the original text (unless you change your edit scrivenings settings), but you’ll still be able to include/exclude the paragraph in question.