Creating and using Notes on the left hand side

Hi there,
I’m new to Scrivener and will be using Notes extensively to write down scene ideas for different characters and so forth. There was one example Note in the Novel format, but I was surprised to see you couldn’t just write text in it. It needed a sub-document. Then somehow I managed to get to write in the actual note but I can’t figure out how I did it. However, now it opens to a synopsis screen that I have to double click any time I want to enlarge. It all seems very counterintuitive for something as simple as a notepad. a few questions

  1. How do you just add a Note icon (I had to duplicate the existing note to get more but don’t know how to insert one)
  2. How do you get it so you can add text to the notebook field (I can’t see to figure out how I did it)?
  3. Is there a way to have the Note text open to a full page rather than a synopsis view that has to be double clicked every time I want to read it?

Thank you kindly in advance for your help!

If you haven’t already, I’d recommend taking a look at our Interactive Tutorial, available from the Help menu. It’s a good overview of the Scrivener interface.

Anything that appears on the lefthand side is just a document. You might choose to call it a note, but it might also be a scene, a character sheet, or whatever. All documents have titles, body text, and synopses. All documents can have sub-documents, and you can treat the ones that do as Folders if you like. But a “folder” is really just a document with some special properties.

A document can also have Document Notes associated with it. These appear in the Inspector, below the Synopsis.

While I fully endorse what @kewms says, I’m going to have a stab at where you’ve been getting confused. My guess is you have been looking to create a new document (note in your terminology) in the binder (on the left hand side) by going to the “File” menu as you would in an ordinary word processor. But in spite of its title, that menu is all about managing projects not for creating and managing documents within the project you’re working on. Commands for that are found under the Project, Documents and Format menus.

And yes, I can see how that might be confusing!

But welcome, and persevere, you’ll find it’s worth it.


Thanks for the quick replies. So I go to Project - New From Template and the only options are Character Sketch and Setting. I don’t see a place to insert new notes.

Also, it’s my understanding the iOS version doesn’t have Scrivenings. Is that to say that I can’t read my entire document all at once? If so, that seems insanely prohibitive. Is concatenating the scenes really that hard? I can do it with Google Docs no problem.

I don’t understand what some of the other missing features mean, but can I get by with the iOS version alone or does it lack the power to be a full fledged editor?

Lastly, how one would incorporate the use of Grammarly into this? Thanks for all the help!

Thanks for you help.

Yes and no.

Scrivener running on iPads has a feature called Draft Navigator, which is like a read-only Scrivenings. So yes, on iPads you can read through the entire contents of your Draft folder, but no, you cannot edit it. If you’re running the Draft Navigator and you click on the text, Scrivener will take you to the individual document, so you can edit from there.

Additionally, Draft Navigator does not work on iPhones.

I consider the iOS version to be a full fledged editor, but I guess it all depends on what you mean by full fledged. From a pure text editing perspective, it can do everything you’d expect a text editor to do.

See this answer I wrote to another poster with the same question.

Have you already purchased & installed the iOS version?

If so, do the iOS Scrivener interactive tutorial.

If not, I highly recommend you download the iOS tutorial to your PC, and go through it. From this page, under Scrivener use the pull down to select IOS/ZIP. That will download a zip file. Extract the contents. You’ll see a .scriv project folder containing the interactive tutorial, as well as a pdf of the interactive tutorial. Walkthrough either of these to get a nice overview of iOS Scriv features.

Sorry, I’ve never used Grammarly on Windows or iOS Scriv, so don’t know the answer.


To create a new text document with default formatting, select the binder item where you want the new text document to be placed.

Use Project > New Text to create the new text document, which will be placed in the binder under the selected binder item.

Give the new text document a title.



Wow this is a super helpful community. That certainly bodes well. Jim, what I didn’t see was the option to create a new note - the thing with the yellow binder. Or is that just a normal text document with a notebook icon added from some icon library? Thanks again.

Here are the standard binder icons, from page 88 in the user manual:

The yellow ones are for scriptwriting. Have you by any chance turned on scriptwriting mode for a particular document? (Format > Scriptwriting > Script Mode - Screenplay)

What you keep calling a ‘note’ is probably just a standard default text document. Besides the icon color, please describe for us the differences you find between your yellow icon ‘note’ and the default text document created by Project > New Text. That would be helpful.

Or you could try uploading a screenshot of what you’re seeing. (Although you may not have enough posts yet to have uploading privileges.)



It was actually one of the default items in the binder when I picked Novel format on the desktop demo. Now I see on the IPad version if you tap and hold on any binder element, you can choose a new icon, one of which is the yellow notepad. Thanks.

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Hi mgdpublic,
Your post makes me recall how I felt when I started using Scrivener - lots did not seem to make sense (“What do you mean you can’t press delete in order to delete something?!”), and I found the initial experience pretty frustrating.

However, I found watching some of the video tutorials here on the L&L website, watching Karen (‘Kazz’) Princes videos, and - in particular - getting and referring to Gwen Hernandez’s ‘Scrivener for Dummies’, to be very, very helpful (even though G.H.'s book is technically out of date in a few ways, it is still very helpful for understanding the concepts upon which Scrivener is based, and is still accurate for many of the commands).

In addition to the ‘delete’ example above, I found it puzzling, but helpful, to understand that the writing part of Scrivener is not intended as a WSYWIG editor - it is just there for you to write your work, temporarily formatting it as you want it to look, with the intention that you will export (‘Compile’, in Scrivener parlance) to the final form after you have finished writing (Compiling can either be done in Scrivener or in other, third-party programs).

What I am trying to say here is that Scrivener has its own (initially seemingly impenetrable) ‘logic’, and requires a little bit of focused studying in order to start to be able to use the program efficiently, and I have found it to be a highly rewarding experience.

All the best.


Thanks, I’ll check out those videos, but this issue happened when I compiled it. The first sentence, scene 1 wasn’t indented, but the second scene was. Plus when I tried it previously (I was going to take a screenshot), the first and second sentence compiled with like 8 carriage returns between them and no # sign for scene break. I’ve used manuscript times every time, so I can’t imagine why it was different. Still don’t know why second scene was indented. It is not in the editor. I have a screenshot but this forum doesn’t allow embedded. Is there another way? I the meantime I’d like to get this indentation fixed. Thanks!

Oh wait, I thought you were replying to my question in Scrivener ios forum. Whoops. Maybe you can take a look at that? It’s the question about wonky behavior in compiler. Thanks!

Fun fact: To create a new document in a project in desktop Scrivener click on any item in the Binder and hit the Return key. New document will appear in the first logical place below whatever item you selected in the Binder.


Sorry, just seeing this now.

Even though I have successfully compiled on several occasions, I have done it to make back ups, rather than to create a specific format, so I am not at all well-versed with Compile, and probably would not be any help.

That is a great tip.

Many thanks.

I think I knew that at one point, but had forgotten it.

Alt+Shift+N (Cmd+Option+N) creates a new folder from an already highlighted folder.