Compiling in Scrivener or working with other software?

I’m working on a project where I will need to add images, but also format some blocks as a dictionary.

I know Scrivener is meant for focussing on writing, but its compiling should be able to help me?

I was thinking of setting the areas that need to be formatted like a dictionary (or glossary) in specific scrivenings so as to allow me to give them a different format, but will it allow me to do something like this:

at the end of the chapter, add a section with two columns where you have a bolded word followed by a list of several numbered meanings.

What other software would you recommend me to do the formatting, and how should I prepare the export so that the “dictionary” will be easily identified?

PS: I know the compiler is still being worked on, so I’m having in mind its goals.

As a Mac User who’s been using Scrivener for a long time, currently v.3, I would say that what you are talking about sounds as if the best way to do it, if it is fairly simple, is to use a two-column table for your “dictionary” documents, as that will go through at compile time. If you’re thinking of something more complex than what you can do with tables, then I think you might be able to achieve it in Word or similar. If you want real bells-and-whistles, you’ll need a page layout application like InDesign.

But I don’t think you’ll be able to take a straightforward text document in your editor and compile it radically differently from the rest. In Mac v.3 compile, I can find nothing in the layout editor that allows you to create a specific Section Layout with two columns; you can compile the whole draft/manuscript in columns, but not an individual Section Type.



On the Mac, column formatting is possible via the Text Layout options of the Compile Format. Available only for the word processor formats. See Section 24.6.2 of the Mac Scrivener 3 manual.


Yes, true … I was checking that when I answered, but it applies to the whole draft, not to individual section types, which is what the OP seems to want.

I think in my original reply I had misunderstood exactly what she meant, having thought about it, it would be easy enough to compile and then make her dictionary parts into new sections in Word et. al. and format those sections in 2 columns. Doing it in NWP would be like falling off a log, so I presume it would be easy in Word—not that I personally find anything easy in Word!



Thank you for your replies :slight_smile: - it seems I’ll just have to use word for the formatting then.

I’ll probably put these “sections” into boxes, as it seems word can format text into two colums inside boxes (using sections for these little tidbits would be a headache!)

Many users, particularly those who are new to Scrivener, seem to want Compile to do complex layouts, and hate the thought of opening the compiled document in other software in which the layout they want is much easier to achieve. Your needs are a case in point, so I’m glad you know how to do it in Word.

As a Mac user, I use a Mac-only word processor, and need to be almost dragged kicking and screaming to use Word. That aside, I always open my compiled documents in NWP, because with the different interface I spot typos and errors which I’ve missed in Scrivener. It’s also easy on the Mac as you can set Scrivener to open your compiled document automatically in your WP of choice; I don’t know whether the devs have implemented that yet in the current beta



Yes, I have read some posts about people getting really furious that Scrivener isn’t a whole package doing everything. It would be nice if it did, but the product is what the product is - and software that does too much tends to not be as good as specialised ones.

That’s why I asked about ideas for other software to be used in tandem with scrivener. I think word can be really great for some formatting (it has improved a lot lately - I use it intensely at work), but I still find it a bit lacking on the formatting side for some things that are a bit out of the box.

Thanks. :slight_smile: