Been using Scrivener for about six months now. Try to use the Manual, but I regret to say it’s not the best. I have been online for decades and using software and software manuals for a long time.
I suggest that Scrivener would benefit greatly from having a revamped Manual created for beginners/ and basic users, with the current manual being the reference and power user version.
I suggest that one could go through the existing manual and edit out, and rearrange, rather than start from scratch. A much faster and easier process.
I do realise the FAQs are good and the tutorials wonderful. But a simplified, streamlined, clear and easy to read manual is a fantastic asset to any software. And I believe it would help keep a lot of people who flirt with the program and move off because it seems complex.
The feedback we get for the manual is overwhelmingly positive. It is intended as a comprehensive guide to Scrivener, not something you would ever read all the way through, but something you dip into to find out what you need.
What you are looking for is the interactive tutorial project, available from Help > Interactive Tutorial in the project. I get the impression that you have never been through this, which is probably why a few of the concepts have been awkward for you. This interactive tutorial is intended to do exactly what you want - get beginners up and running by covering all of the core concepts, with the benefit that they are using the program as they learn since the tutorial is a Scrivener project.
Being that my platform is Windows, I find the combination Mac-Windows user manual very confusing. As to the tutoring, since it is strictly for Mac, it doesnt help me at all. Also, it would be nice to have a succinct manual and tutoring exclusively for Windows; with less descriptions and more detailed examples of how to execute the commands, and what exactly they accomplish. I tried to understand the function of “Keywords” and how to use the feature in a long project. Unfortunately I still don’t understand it, and help on this would be greatly appreciated.
Well the Scrivener project itself is not meant to be used as a primary reference. Please use the PDF that is provided to you with your installation on Windows (press F1). I use one project to produce both manuals because a large majority of the text is identical, and it would greatly amplify how much work I have to do when extensively editing it, if I had to make all of those edits twice to two different projects—and all for something that, like I say, isn’t meant to be used as a primary reference. The only reason I make the project available is as a demonstration of MultiMarkdown and large-scale technical projects, for those that are curious about what features we use and how we use them to make our own documentation.
As for keywords, as said above, I think the tutorial is what you are looking for if you want a brief summary. Keywords are explained with a few practical examples that should cover 99% of what you’ll need to make good use of them. If you need to figure out how to do a OR style project search for a selected keyword list—that’s what the manual is for.
Writing as someone who has dl’ed Scrivener 3 days ago and am making mistakes around this thing every step I make, I long for a simple manual as well. Actually, I would vote for three products. 1) a simple project to show how to set up a minimal document such as a high school student might be assigned to research and write. 2) a bit more explanatory project as you have in your interactive tutorial so one has by now enough time under their belt to absorb the material. and 3) the PDF document that in the full blown manual for Scrivener.
This approach I used when I taught audio at a technical college to students whose most advanced understanding of the tech side of audio was figuring out how to load music onto their iPods.
It also has the benefit of helping someone who remembers that you can do something like what they want but can’t come up with the search criteria to find it in the PDF. The answer might not be in the simplest version but often that triggers a clue where to find what they need.
We have been considering various approaches, such as you describe, but in the meanwhile do note that our current iteration of this can be found on the videos page.
Additionally, although it does not result in a practical example that could be useful (such as a high-school essay), the Quick Tour chapter in the user manual PDF itself is indeed meant to be the quick-and-dirty introduction for those that learn better off of a text than a narrated video. It should be enough to get anyone to the point where they can start writing, and using basic organisation to sort out their writings—then they can go through the interactive tutorial at leisure.
Please don’t mess with the manual, it’s invaluable.
Anybody looking for a quickie intro (to Scrivener ) hasn’t looked very hard at the manual at all, or noticed the YouTube video section in the new project template page. An application as complex as this does require the user to invest a little time learning the basics!