Create "Act Separators" for Novel?

My novel is separated into three “Acts.” I have three master folders, into which all the other folders of each Act nest. However, the Scrivener Compiler has made these into Numbered Chapters, which is incorrect. So how can I either …

  • have 3 “Act” containers that are represented, on compile, as “Act I, 2, 3,” with numbered chapters beneath, or, alternatively …

  • have 3 act folders in the binder, but have the compiler ignore them and simply create numbered chapters with the other folders.

Either solution would be acceptable.

I would suggest having a look at the “Paperback Novel (with Parts)” compile Format As… preset and examining how it is set up in the Formatting pane (note that once you are done checking it out, you can hold down the Option key and click the “Reset” button at the bottom of the Compile panel to return to your settings). See how the preset uses two separate rules for folders, one that applies to top level “master” folders, and a second that applies generally to all folders at or greater than level 2, treating them as chapters?

Either solution you propose could be attained using this technique. To make act folders invisible, just make sure level 1 folders have no prefix/suffix or title checkmark.

I’ve read your response, but am confused on this point: can one only create rules for folder “levels” upon compile? I can’t believe that I’m the only one who wants to use Acts, and so there ought to be a more straightforward way of doing this. What am I missing?


The most straight-forward way to avoid changing the compile settings, and yet still have a visible act structure in the binder, is to use the Label settings to create Act1, Act2, and Act3 labels with distinct colors. Then set View->Use Label Colors in->Icons (or Binder, if colored icons don’t do it for you). Then select all of your chapter folders in act 1 (and optionally the files inside them), and right-click to choose the Act 1 label. Once you’ve done that for all your acts, move your chapters out of the Act folders and get rid of them.

But if folders are important to you, even though they don’t reflect the numbering of your output, then you’re going to have to set this up in the compile settings. The good news is that once you’ve done that, you can save those compile settings as a preset, which will be available in all of your projects (on that computer).

Have you tried what Ioa suggested? The “Paperback Novel (with Parts)” Compile preset does almost exactly what you want except it calls “Acts” “Parts”, so you just need to change that. I’m not sure what you mean by your question about whether you can only create rules for folder levels upon Compile. You’re certainly not the only one who wants to use Acts, and it’s really easy to do: it seems that you already have the binder structure as you want it and that the “Paperback Novel (with Parts)” (or “Standard Manuscript Format (with Parts)” Compile presets give you a good example of how to set it up to compile as you wish.

All the best,

Keith, Paperback format is very different from Manuscript; headers are centered, and the whole thing looks like a printed book. I think it may be easier to tweak the manuscript compile format.