Document with continuous paragraph numbering in Scrivener

Hi all,

Complete newbie here, so please, please forgive me if this is an utterly stupid question, but I was hoping for some guidance to help me decide whether to buy this fantastic looking app.

I’ve just downloaded the trial and I absolutely love the look and feel of the app. However, I’m a little overwhelmed and I am struggling to discover whether Scrivener can do what I need it to. I’ve done loads of searching online, and I can’t find an answer to my query. I’m hoping someone might be able to help me, or point me in the right direction.

For work, I have to generate long report-style documents (I say long, between 100-200 pages of A4, some many not consider that long). I love the idea of using Scrivener to shuffle the structure and plan the outline. I’m currently using word processors, and I find it is difficult to keep track of what is where.

However, I need to employ a very specific structure in my documents:

  1. I need to use headings, but no more than two levels (heading and subheading).
  2. I need to ensure that every paragraph in the document is numbered, also with the ability to break those paragraphs down into subparagraphs.
  3. The headings are not numbered.

I will try and give you an impression below:

Heading level one

  1. This would be a paragraph in the document.

  2. This would be a further paragraph, which then has a subparagraph:
    a. Sub-para one.
    b. Sub-para two:
    i. Level three para.
    ii. Level three para.
    c. And so on…


Is it possible for me to achieve this using the compile feature? I would really like to avoid have to go through and edit the formatting of the document in a word processor when I have finished.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Yes. It is possible.

For that, you’ll have to use styles across pretty much your whole project.
A style for your paragraphs, and another one for the sub-paragraphs.
Then, in your compile format, in the Styles panel, you’ll be able to insert the proper placeholders.
<$n> for the style you used for the paragraphs.
<$sn> … <$r> etc, along with strategically positioned resets for your sub-paragraphs, depending on your structure.
There is a complete list of placeholders in the help menu.

Styles panel of a compile format :

The other option would be to manually insert all of the placeholders straight in your documents.

As for your headers, it is the same: use a style, but just don’t put a number (<$n>) to it in the Styles panel.

Yes, this can all be fairly easily done a couple of ways with styles and the compile features. This post has a sample project demonstrating a way to set up paragraph numbering as part of a compile format; the specific style of numbering there is a little different from what you want, including a scene number as well as paragraph number and restarting per scene, but the same idea would apply in your case. That also shows examples of heading level styles that are left without the paragraph numbering.

To handle the sub-numbering, you’ll need to do a little work outside of the compiler. Following the method of the above, which assumes multiple paragraphs to a binder document, you can apply a paragraph style in the editor to your sub-paragraphs, then add that in the compile format to apply the numbering to those paragraphs. So like the above, this works with styles, but in this case you’d need to do that extra step of identifying these sub-paragraphs ahead of time, in the editor. (I would not assign styles to every paragraph, since it’s unnecessary and it can get confusing at compile time if a style is overriding other formatting you’re trying to apply at that stage; you just need to mark the ones that are different from the norm, i.e. those getting sub-numbering.)

Another way of handling all of this would be through the binder structure, section types and section layouts; you needn’t use styles at all. Each binder document can have its own section type, and each section type can have its own layout in the compile format, with prefixes, suffixes, headings, and so on added at that stage. So you could work with documents of a paragraph length (you can easily view them together in the editor in Scrivenings mode, to give yourself context when writing) and give different section types to the main paragraphs, sub-paragraphs, and sub-sub-paragraphs; and that in turn is easy to automate by assigning section types by structure, so that documents at the top level in your Draft are the main paragraphs, their children are sub-paragraphs, their children are sub-sub-paragraphs and so on to whatever level you need. Then in compile, you can create a format with section layouts for each of these that include the numbering placeholder in a the section prefix, with the particular types (1, 2, 3; a, b, c; i, ii, iii) and indentation however you want it.

With that method, I’d use containers in the binder to provide the headings, compiling those as just the title; there are other ways you could do it, but that has the benefit of being part of the outline structure, so that the paragraphs pertaining to a heading could be grouped within the “heading” folder, making the outline comprehensible (e.g. if the paragraph documents are left untitled, the titled header folders would make good landmarks) and easily navigable in an overview.

And again, depending on your needs, preferred way of working, etc. you could use a combination of these; for instance, you could easily have documents with multiple main paragraphs and only split to separate the sub-paragraphs.

Depending on the nature of the report, the OP may need at some points to cross-reference other numbered points in the report. It is not obvious how they would do that (by number) with any of the strategies suggested above. Maybe there is a way, but …

This may or may not be an issue, depending on the OP’s use case.

There is a way.
If I recall properly, you have to use the binder structure as your numbering source + <$hn>
But then, unless I’m mistaken, you can’t mix in different numeral types.
To reference to a specific paragraph (that would now be a document of its own), you have to link <$hn> to that document. (Or something like that.)

(I write novels. So that is not something I need. And so that is all I know. :slight_smile: )
One thing for sure, if I had to make all my paragraphs be documents of their own, I’d look for some other way to achieve what I need done. – I’d probably wait until the end, take notes and put the references’ numbers in by hand.