Can synopses be used to generate an outline?

Hi Scrivener folks!

This is my first forum post, so please forgive any mistakes in etiquette.

As I work to write out many of the missing sections of my novel, and then go to workshop a given excerpt, I find it useful to provide an outline of the scene before and after that particular excerpt.

So what I’d like to do is be able to compile my selected documents, but specify which ones should just export the synopsis and which ones the content.

Or alternatively, be able to generate an outline or table of contents (like you can with the document titles).

Has anyone done this or know of a way to do it? I figured I could change the titles of the documents to support this with the generate TOC from docs feature, but in some cases, I’d like the outline to be more than one sentence, and sometimes even little summaries like the synopses.

Thanks in advance for any help or ideas!

Best Regards,

This can be accomplished via the File -> Compile -> Formatting pane. The Formatting pane is pretty complex – see Section 24.11 of the manual for full details – but it lets you specify by outline level whether to include the synopsis, body text, both, or neither. You may find that the Synopsis Outline compile preset is a good place to start.

If you need more granularity, for instance if you only want to include the synopsis for some of the files at a given outline level, one alternative would be the Documents -> Append Synopsis to Main Text command, which does what the name implies. Then, once you’re ready to write that section, you can just replace the main text copy of the synopsis with something else.


Awesome! Thanks Katherine, I’ll try this out.

Note that it might be hard to exclude the main body text for some documents but not others without reorganizing your folder & file hierarchy. Probably the easiest way to get both an outline and the text of just one or a few chapters is to compile twice; once with an outline compile preset (Format As:) and one where you use a more standard compile preset (or your own custom compile settings), but with the option to just compile the selected documents in the binder (see the Contents pane of the expanded compile window). You’ll end up with two documents, but you can easily copy & paste the contents of one into the other using a word processor.