Compile features

Hi Keith,

First off, I’ve been using Scrivener for a few years now, and I love it. Really, there is not many software applications I find to be so brilliantly designed for their intended purpose. I’ve said it before, but Thank You.

Recently I’ve been playing around with Compile a lot. There are a few suggestions I had for ways it might work even better than it does.

  1. It would be great to be able to tick “Include Title” on a per document basis, before getting to the Compile interface. Where I see this going is in the info panel that also has “Include in Compile,” “Page Break Before,” and “Compile As-is”. What I envision is that under this would be “Include Title” (or something to that effect. Perhaps “Include title in compile”.

Because of the very flexible ways in which I can organise documents and subdocuments, etc., in Scrivener I find there are some documents I want the document title to be included in the Compile, and some where I don’t. I can select these in the Compile interface, but by then it is often inconvenient to make that call, as I can’t see the documents in question. I think it would be very handy to just set this whilst I am in the documents, because as soon as I create a document I know whether it is one in which I have incorporated a Heading (Title) already, or one in which I want the document title to be incorporated during Compile.

  1. I am currently working on a project with perhaps 50 documents in it. I have to Compile various combinations of documents, a few times a day. Sometimes just the most recently created document or two, and sometimes a range of documents.

I thought it would be great to have a way to:
1- Select All
2- Unselect All
3- Select highlighted

I will explain each.

1- Right now, if the last compile included all the documents, and the current compile needs to include just a few documents, I have to click on each document in the Compile interface to NOT include the each of the other 50 or so documents. It’s rather tedious. A “Select None” option would eliminate that.

2- The same applies if going the other way. The last compile had just a few documents, and now I want to compile the whole lot (or most of them). Selecting INCLUDE on every document one by one is time consuming. A “Select All” option would be great.

3- The last situation would allow for highlighting one or more documents, including groups of them with shift-select and control-shift-select, AND then clicking “select highlighted”.

So that’s those three aspects of the selection process.

The other feature I thought would be useful is to be able to save batches of documents to Include. In large projects (and some of mine have a few hundred documents) it would be great to be able to select INCLUDE on a batch of documents, and then save that configuration. I would then reload that range of Included documents, and update that range with Update Include Selection.

I realise this last suggestion can be achieved in a round about way by generating saved collections, and then filter based on Collection. So I can appreciate if you feel this suggestion is redundant or not necessary.

Well, thank you for taking the time to read over this.

With my regards,

Jonathan

Firstly, I think there is a much more direct and intuitive way to select a few documents to compile, than going through all of these checkboxes one by one. The checkboxes are better for things that will always or always not be included—such as chapter notes or old revisions of binder sections. Using them as some kind of dynamic filter is a lot of extra work, and ends up making the more static usage of them not very useful since you have to remember which elements should be always unchecked. So, to avoid all of that, why not just select the five or so documents you wish to compile in the Binder, use [b]File/Compile...[/b] and turn on the filtering option, setting it to “Current Selection”?

You can also just select “Current Selection” from the compile group selector at the top of the Contents list, but that produces a flat list—that may be useful though, so you have a choice. Filtering just adds/removes items from the hierarchy based on the filter, while selecting a collection/selection as a group forms a flat list from the items in that group.

But, if you must use checkboxes, at least know you can Opt-click on them to bulk set them, and selecting rows in the table will constrain your opt-click scope to the selection. Thus you can opt-click a checkbox to turn them all off, select your five items, opt-click any checkbox within that selection to switch those five back on. Still, I think all of that is quite a bit of poking about when you could just use your Binder selection in the first place. :slight_smile:

Yes, well a saved search collection might be a little less directly useful, depending on what you are compiling your batches for (by that I mean, I wouldn’t suggest contriving some kind of search query just for the purpose of creating a collection). You can also use hand-curated collections, which is much easier if you just want to say, “make these five documents easy to select for compilation”. For example, using the above trick of using the Binder selection to compile, if after you have done so you think to yourself you might wish to use that selection again in the future, just hit the [b]+[/b] button in the Collections header bar (or [b]Documents/Add to Collection/New Collection[/b]) to create a new collection out of your selection. Now next time you can either filter by that or select it as a flat list as your compile group.

Hi Amber,
Thank you for thy thoughtful answer to the selection issue I was facing.

I am going to play more with the Collections and see how that works out. I get the sense it will do the trick. Also, knowing about the Opt-click feature in the tick boxes in Compile is very handy. I tried bringing up a context menu, but didn’t think to try Opt-click. I just tested it out, and that works well. Although with collections, I may not even need it much.

The Title related suggestion would still be great to see.

I’ll dive into playing around with Collections now…

Cheers,

Jonathan

I forgot to address the title suggestion, that is something I’ve always wondered about in how most people use the software. For myself, I’m a bit outside of the normal curve since I use MultiMarkdown. For me the “Compile As-Is” flag does exactly what you describe—it disables the title and that’s it. Since editor formatting is ignored with MMD, I don’t have to worry about the “As-Is” side-effect of making it so that the editor font and formatting ends up printing verbatim as well. And speaking for myself, I extensively do opt documents out of titling. I like being able to extend the outliner far “deeper” into the book’s structure than its strict reader-centric topology (chapter/section/subsection), and being able to just switch off headlining for a section like that makes it possible to do so. So I totally get where you’re going with this, here.

Back to the typical usage though, for those that use the Formatting pane to clean up their formatting, As-Is isn’t as useful for controlling the appearance of a title because then you have to be very careful to keep those sections formatted congruently with the Formatting pane settings. If however you essentially craft the look of your document in the editor and never use the format override—just use Compile As-Is, because that isn’t doing anything anyway, and it opts that document out of having a title printed for it. At that point you’re in the same boat I am and can use it liberally.

It seems to me that As-Is, as it currently is implemented, is really more useful for obviously outlier sections, like the copyright or title page, where you neither want a title nor universal formatting applied.

Thanks for the feedback!

Thanks Amber, I’ll try using that approach. In my current project I don’t rely on the Compile level formatting, so As-is will do the trick. I didn’t realise that was a round-about way to stop the title from being pulled from the document name. 8)

Well, it is only round-about in the sense that this checkbox opts the document out of all Formatting pane stuff—perhaps that checkbox makes more sense in light of that. So for instance if you were printing a report and only had Title, Synopsis and Meta-Data selected for output, no Text, an As-Is document would still print its full text.