Chapter numbers

Couple requests around chapter numbering:

First, my setup. I’m using folders in the Manuscript folder for chapters. The folders themselves contain no text – all the text is inside the scene documents inside the folder. Assuming I’m doing this as designed, some requests:

  1. Would be great if the binder autonumbered the folders, so I can easily refer to chapter 1, etc. As is I’m having to do this manually which gets to be a pain if I ever want to rearrange.

  2. If I export one or two chapters out of the Manuscript folder, the exported chapter number always starts with One. That’s a bit annoying – it should keep its chapter number.


  1. The binder itself doesn’t autonumber chapters; this is done on compile. You need to set up your compile to add in chapter numbers, please see Chapter 24.11 of the user manual. The special numbering labels are listed in Help > Placeholder Tags List… — note: you can reference chapters using Scrivener links, and these links can be updated to include the chapter numbers during compile. So if you have a Folder called “Dreams” and it is the third folder, and use use <$n>: as a prefix, then during compile it becomes “3: Dreams”, and if you link to “Dreams” in the text, during compile Scrivener can update the link text to include the number. This means you never have to worry about reordering your draft. See Chapter 24.12 for details…

  2. See 24.7, specifically don’t use selections or collections and “Treat compile group as entire draft” should be disabled

Hi nontroppo.

Thanks for your response. My understanding is this section of the forum is called the Wish List. I understand that the functionality I’m asking for is not currently supported – that’s why this is a wish. :slight_smile:

However, I can perhaps use your #1 suggestion to work around #2 – that is, is I use <$n> as you suggest, would it always remain the same number, no matter whether I’m compiling a selection or the entire thing?

Again to be clear, I’d love to see the binder autonumber chapters, and I’d love it for a chapter number to remain the same in compile whether I’m exporting a section of the manuscript or the entire thing. Seems like that would only make sense…


Sorry I didn’t mean to sound condescending! I understood from what you wrote that you thought Scrivener could not do auto-numbering:

My point #1 was that you do not need to do this manually (autonumbering, and cross-referencing using the numbers IS supported), this is all taken care for you by Scrivener, and like many parts of Scrivener, it uses the Compile to resolve the links to your chapters, choose the numbering prefix / suffix and much more. If this was somehow hard-coded in the Binder it would make Scrivener much less flexible. I can have 3 different compile formats, one using upper case words (ONE, TWO), one using numbers, another using custom suffixes and § marks etc. Perhaps I misread what you wrote. If you really want the Binder to do this, then perhaps Keith will reply but I suspect he will tell you that Compile is a better place for this, which is why Scrivener does this already.

Regarding your #2, you can do it already, I’ve selected the 4th chapter and it is numbered correctly in the compiled markdown:

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You need to select a section of the draft (REsults in my example) and make sure “Treat compile…” is disabled…

This request has come up before in the past. Here is the most recent example, with an index to prior threads discussing the topic.

Thanks Amber. You’re right, I should’ve searched more carefully. I still don’t buy the argument that “some people don’t want this” – that’s a simple feature to put behind a switch, just as so many other features are.

I understand the disconnect now – I had the compile set to Selection, and was selecting what I wanted to compile from the Binder. In such a compile the Compile Group Options dropdown is not available (why?), and chapter numbering always starts with 1. Perhaps that can be changed, but for now I can select the specific chapter I want to compile. (Of course, if I want to compile several chapters I’m still back to manual editing.)

thanks all for the help!

Well, I’m not sure how much weight was put into the “some people don’t want this” aspect of the argument—the main problem is and always has been technical and conceptual—it is most certainly not a simple feature that could be added with a switch. :slight_smile: It would be very difficult to get compiled numbering into the creative interface in a meaningful fashion. The software simply isn’t designed to work that way, it generates your output in one big process at the end, and that process has far too much variation in its configuration and flexibility to be moved into the creative area of the program without completely rewriting it to be something more like a word processor.

Case in point: with your setup right there even if we did somehow overcome the technical problem of replacing placeholder text with evaluated numbers without destroying their dynamic placeholder qualities (keeping in mind these tokens need to be plain-text since they can appear in everything from the title field to a custom meta-data field), with your compile job you’d end up with a draft folder that had one or two chapters numbered and nothing else. It’s a very human thing to say that the two folders you selected are just part of a larger draft, and so the rest should be numbered as well. The software cannot know the difference between that and a situation where the selection is genuinely the entire work and the rest of the draft folder is meant to be ignored.

But as for the question you are asking, I’m not entirely sure why it works that way, but it probably has to do with how the compile group container selection option can run a preprocessing on all numbering tokens to get the starting values for that section—whereas a selection, collection or filtered result may present a non-linear, even shuffled, output so it’s no longer a simple matter of evaluating what “<$n:figure>” starts at.

Thanks Amber. So to be very clear, I’m talking about edit-time numbering in the binder. Essentially every cell in the CollectionView simply gets a prefix that’s the number of that cell in the overall array of documents – that should be a very simple add. Repositioning a folder just causes a recalculation of the numbers. This has nothing to do with compiled output – it’s simply a visual convenience shown in the binder, nothing more. Does that make sense?

For the second point, I think tying a selection back to its position in the Manuscript folder ought to be a fairly clear ask… but again, it’s just a wish. I love Scrivener; it’s making my book possible. :slight_smile:

Okay, thanks, that wasn’t clear from the first query. In that case the corkboard already does this kind of numbering, in brief: View/Corkboard Options/Show Card Numbers. I’m pretty sure one of those threads mentions it as well, but in case if not, this will also be coming to the outliner view in the next upgrade in the form of hierarchical numbering. No plans to put this in the binder sidebar—but for collections you can always click the sidebar header to load it into the editor and get numbering there.

Again that’s not really going to illuminate for you where “chapter 1” is though, I suppose unless it happens to be the first object in the view at the time.

Add me to the persons who would love some sort of automatic numbering tool in the binder. It would be very helpful in the revision steps of large documents.

I’m not sure what else to add to what I’ve already said above, except perhaps to more explicitly state that there are no plans to add numbering to the binder. If you need numbering it can be done in the editor, and in most cases that would be more desirable anyway, as surely the first item in the Draft folder should be “1”, not the Draft folder itself. But that aside, for the many reasons explained above, that cannot be trusted to produce “accurate” post-compile numbering. It is purely a convenience that suits some ways of working.