Compiling/exporting outline


I want to export the titles of my section as an outline, to be used as a simple indented list, or in a mind-map program.

I’ve seen this question several times in the forum, but I’m not sure I’ve found an answer. So, I’ll try asking it again.

What I do is to simply create in a custom compile format a “Section” style, with just the title selected.

When compiling, I get the full manuscript in the resulting RTF file. What else should I do, to avoid having the text in the compiled document? I’m sure the text option is not selected, and that all my documents have the default Section style applied.


Try compiling with the “Enumerated Outline” compile format.
It is in the bottom section of the list on the left side of the compile panel.

This one you can be 100% sure doesn’t include the body text (nor synopsis) of documents.

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Do you have a Section style or a Section layout?

Are you sure that this is the layout actually assigned to your documents? I ask because many of our Compile Formats have “Section” layouts built-in, and using one of those instead of your own would obviously not give the results you want. (Maybe give your own layout a more unique name?)

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That’s actually a section layout:

The section layout I modified, and to which I added my custom “Section” section layout didn’t contain another layout with the same name:

The problem with using different layout names, like the ones contained into some other compile formats, is that I should apply my documents a different section layout than the default one.

But I only want this format when exporting my outline. I wouldn’t want, therefore, to have to reapply section layouts each time I want to alternatively compile an outline or the full manuscript.


You confuse section types and section layouts…

It is not. It is a section type. Named “Section”.

And here you have a bunch of layouts for which the text is marked as to be included.

As per your initial post, you want all titles and nothing else.

The easiest workaround I’ve found, at the moment, is to export an OPML file. When opened in MS Excel, this gave me a table with the different levels on adjacent columns.

There is some editing to do, by choosing a way to show the hierarchy. But the available material is already usable.


What section layout have you applied to the “Section” type? The center pane of the main Compile screen is where these assignments are made. See Section 23.3 of the (Mac) manual.

Section types are an aspect of the project and the individual documents within it. You shouldn’t need to change them when you change Compile Formats.

Section layouts are an aspect of the Compile Format, and the layout <-> type assignments are specific to that Format. Compile Format B won’t remember or use the assignments you made for Format A.

You can also export the Outliner view as a CSV file. That might be the easiest of all if your ultimate destination is Excel.

If you only want titles, titles and only that, see that clever solution @AmberV just posted:

Just a note for those who are having a hard time making sense of the section types vs section layouts, and why is what,
picture the old telephone system, where an operator would have to connect you to the person you want to call.
You’d tell the operator who you want to call, and he/she would then plug in the board a patch chord from your phone line to that other person’s phone line.

The document is you.
The section type is the patch cord.
The section layout is that person you want to call.

It allows you to patch any document to any pre-built layout (by you, or factory), with the ability to adapt according to the compile format and/or the situation, while at the same time allowing you to use those very same layouts across different projects.
Where without that virtual patchbay, you’d have to redo the whole compile setup every time you’d have to compile to a different format, or wish for the formatting to be somewhat different.
You’d constantly be destroying whatever other setup you would have previously fine tuned, and might still later need.
And couldn’t use one project’s setup in another.

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FWIW, the potential for confusion is exactly why “Section” might not be the best name for a Section Layout. It’s your Format, you can call the layouts whatever you want, so maybe use something that isn’t one of the most overloaded terms in all of Scrivener.


That’s it. I had never ever noticed the Assign Section Layouts button in the Compile window!

Using the existing Outline formats works perfectly fine for what I want to do.


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