Branched text within Manuscript

Hi, All. I’m hoping someone can enlighten me. As usual.

I have a manuscript. A rather long manuscript these days. I want to change a few particulars in the story, while keeping an intact original. The easiest way I thought of to do this was to copy, then re-write the chapters to be changed, and then “hide” them some way. Later, when I decide which version I prefer, I’d follow a more jagged path to printing. (I know I can choose during compile what sections within manuscript I want to print. Can I do the same thing in the manuscript, before compiling for print?)

I’m fiddling around with changing some of the main chartacters’ religion, which would change church building and religious leader’s descriptions and services, dog tag stampings, and a host of bad jokes.
Does anyone have a good idea how to do this parallel story telling in Scrivener?

Thanks for any help.


I may be wrong here, but I would copy the whole project (at system level: copy the main file and paste it to a new filename), then change anything in that new, copied project that you wanted to. You would end up with two projects, and could choose which one you liked best later.

The simplest way, I think, is just to duplicate the entire manuscript folder within the project.

In the binder, highlight the top level folder for the chapters of your manuscript (possibly called “Manuscript”, but it might be different depending on the template you used. If it’s different, change Manuscript accordingly in the instructions below…).

Press cmd-D and you’ll have a complete copy of your manuscript, called (helpfully enough) Manuscript copy. By default this won’t be compiled (because compilation defaults to working on the Manuscript folder.)

However, if you do want to compile the copy, cmd-opt-E to bring up the compilation box, choose the All Options tab and under the Contents section (first in the list on the left hand side) you’ll be given the choice of what to compile. It’s set by default to Manuscript (or the template default), but if you click on the drop down list, you’ll be able to choose Manuscript copy, or any subset of folders.

If you want to keep the various versions of the chapters / scenes etc next to each other, then you can mark individual documents for inclusion in compilation in the Inspector / General tab – there’s a tick box for ‘Include in compile’. You can search for all ‘included’ or ‘excluded’ documents using Project Search (ctl-opt-F and clicking on the little arrow and choosing accordingly.)

You might want to check out collections. You could have a collection for each version. This would save you from duplicating sections that would not change between the versions.

  • asotir

And for yet another option… You could employ titled snapshots. Expand all of the documents in your project, select them all, and then take a snapshot with the title “pre-experiment” or whatever will remind you that it’s the text you started with. Then change the locations, jokes, and whatever you want.

Assuming you don’t add, delete, or move any of your documents, then getting back to the original text ( or comparing the old and the new) will be pretty easy.