Can't get Compile to include document notes, despite checking All The Things

This problem is frustrating and inconvenient, though solving it is not absolutely critical.

After using Scrivener for maybe eight years, Versions 1 and/or 2, I’m now using 3. I only discovered by accident that even though I thought I was including document notes (from the Inspector) in my compiles . . . not so. I’ve read the manual up, down, and sideways, and found more boxes I could check, but nothing has worked. From everything I’m seeing in my general settings and Compile settings, these notes should be “Included in Compile.” Any guesses on what I’m missing?


Hi kawyle,

As you haven’t mentioned any specific settings, I’ll risk stating the obvious first. :nerd_face:

To compile document notes, the Notes checkbox must be checked in the Section Layout.

As an example, see Section Layout New Page below. Because the Notes box is checked, document Notes will be included in the compile for New Page.

So, for the Section Layouts you’re compiling, have you checked that box?


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Thanks for responding! I have Notes checked not only for New Page, but for Part Title, Chapter Title, Heading, Chapter, Chapter with Title, Titled Section, and Section Text. (BTW, the only way I’ve found to check these settings is to copy an existing template. I don’t see how to get to them within an existing template.)

Yes, this is by design. The default formats are read-only templates, which you customize by creating a copy.

If this is the case, my suspicion is you have not assigned your project’s Section Types to any of the Section Layouts you mention above, so your Section Types are defaulting to Section Layout “As Is”. “As Is” only includes a document’s text, not its Notes.

Click Assign Section Layouts at the bottom of the Compile panel.

Confirm that each Section Type being used in your project has been assigned to a Section Layout. For the ones that haven’t been, assign them to an appropriate one. Although, you may want to try this for one Section Type first, run a compile, and see what changes. This may impact how your fonts and other settings output.


Hooray!!! That did it. Thanks so much!

But good Lord, how is one supposed to figure out (a) how to do that and (b) the importance of doing that, without helpful and well-informed strangers? If this remains a crucial step, the User Manual should say so.

If you have not already did the Tutorials, you’ll find them useful and informative.

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Great news! :grinning: Very glad that you got it sorted.

To be fair, Assigning Section Layouts, as well as the equally important Section Types, figures prominently throughout Scrivener’s documentation of the compile feature.

The User Manual discusses the purpose of Section Layouts and how to assign them in the third section (23.3) of the compile chapter. Section Layouts are referred to as a “major component” of compile.

The Interactive Tutorial’s discussion of Compile is much briefer and delves into very little detail, but specifically takes the time to walk through how to Assign Section Layouts. See the documents names Section Types, as well as Compiling the Draft, within the Getting It Out There folder.

Finally, the Compile section in L&L’s Scrivener 3 Upgrade Guide , which is specifically targeted toward folks who need to “unlearn” Scriv 1 compile, explicitly discusses the differences between the Scriv 1 vs. Scriv 3 compile. Section Layouts and Section Types are mentioned early and often. The upgrade guide includes a worked example where you walk through each step of using the new compiler, including Assigning Section Layouts.

This probably seems like I’m hitting you over the head with documentation and I apologize for that, but I’m trying point out that the info is there if you need it. Of all the features of Scrivener, Compile is the one that lends itself least to quick answers if you don’t understand how the fundamental plumbing works, which makes it the feature that would yield the highest return if you invested the time to, for example, read the Upgrade Guide and go through the worked example.

Here’s a summary of the fundamental plumbing, discussed in more detail in the documentation referenced above.

Binder Item > Section Type > Section Layout > Compile settings

This means:

Binder Items (documents & folders) have a Section Type, which defines what you consider that item to be in your project. For example, Text or Heading or Scene.

Section Types can be assigned to Section Layouts in the main compile panel.

Section Layouts are part of the Compile Format, and are where you tell Scrivener what pieces of info to include in compile and how to format them. For example, one of these pieces of info is Notes.

Just trying to save you potential future frustration and headbanging against the Great Wall of Compile. :exploding_head:

By the way, there are a few reasons you probably missed the importance of Assigning Section Layouts:

  • Compile still works without it, but you lose control of formatting in certain areas.
  • If you are working with a project converted from Scrivener 1, the conversion process may have done some assignments for you.
  • If you are working with a project created from a Scrivener 3 template, Scrivener automatically assigns Section Types and Section Layouts, and the defaults might have been sufficient for you.

I’ll conclude this lengthy post now and get on with my morning. Sorry for the lecture! :nerd_face: Again, I’m glad you were able to figure out getting Notes added.



Thanks for the citations! My beef has to do with clearly explaining to the new user, up front, that the Assigning Layouts step is crucial to including Notes in the compile. Given the searches I did of the User Manual, I still feel it’s too easy to miss this information. But it could well be that if I’d read it from start to finish and with sufficient attention, I’d have picked up the clues.

Assigning Layouts is crucial to including anything in Compile. I’ve helped people who couldn’t figure out why Scrivener wasn’t including their body text. As in your case, the reason was that the default layout (“Chapter” in this case) didn’t include it.

That certainly seems to be the case in Scrivener 3. The earlier versions(s) I used, in Scrivener for Windows, did this automatically, or the equivalent. I certainly never dealt with assigning layouts in my 6? 8? (I forget) previous years of using the program. This is the sort of issue I would like the User Manual to flag.

Section Layouts didn’t exist before Scrivener 3. Hence @JimRac’s pointer to the Upgrade Guide.

The fundamental idea behind Scrivener 3’s Compile command is that it draws a sharper distinction between what a document is (Section Type) and how it looks (Section Layout). Since neither is dependent on the Binder hierarchy, this approach gives much more flexibility for handling complex projects. While it can be frustrating for experienced users, it seems to be easier for new users to figure out.

Thanks for the additional explanation!

That fits with my general impression that Scrivener 3 offers many more options, which can have the unintended consequence of confusing those who are used to managing without them.

No, but layouts did.