I have finished a first draft of a nonfiction project. Thank you Scrivener. I now need to get the project into Word so I can go about the process of further editing and sending drafts out to readers. So I’ve spent the past two days learning the compile feature. I’ve learned two important things: Scrivener for Windows compile options are less robust than the Mac version; and no matter how much I play around with the available options I do have, I’m going to have to spend a considerable amount of time getting tweaking in Word.
After rearranging my project several times into folders and text files and breaking apart scenes/new sections so that they appear somewhat correct in Word, I’ve come across a problem that is not so easily fixed.
First, you should know that anytime you make any change to the compile options, you have to immediately save the preset over the current version. If you don’t, you will see that the change you just made goes from your saved preset to a “custom” preset. The problem I have is with the way Scrivener handles endnotes.
Here is what I need to have happen in Word. Each chapter should have its own endnotes starting at number 1. All of the endnotes should appear in the endnotes section. I’ve tried a number of different options and I can’t get anything even remotely close to this out of Scrivener. No problem, I thought, I’ll just fix it in Word. But what I get in Word is my endnotes at the end of the document all in roman numerals. Word can’t fix it. Word recognizes the endnotes in the text, but double clicking on the actual endnote does not take you back to the text. It works going the other way.
I have several hundred endnotes to deal with. Right now I’m having to find each endnote, double click to get to the endnote and copy it, then scroll back through the text looking for where the original endnote is located, delete it, then reinsert the copied endnote. Then I can have Word change it to a number rather than a roman numeral and everything is great. But that process can end up taking me days. There has to be a better way.
For future reference, you can most often work the other way around, where the compile settings are adjusted to suit your organisational style, rather than forcing your organisation into whatever the current compile settings are. This is how the software is designed to be used anyway. There are a few edge-case exceptions where one would need to split/merge to prepare for compile, but in most cases you shouldn’t need to drastically alter your outline in order to compile. The Formatting compile pane is where most of this stuff is set up, Separators is for what gets inserted in between sections.
Saving and loading presets has nothing to do with your current project settings (well, save for the fact that they are used to create/update the preset). There is no need to do all of that. Presets are only a way to store these settings for future application, either in this project (say, if you use something special purpose for a bit, like Enumerated Outline) or others. There is no “custom preset”, that just means you have changed stuff—so it is no longer a being driven by any preset at all, it is custom. In short: compile settings are just as much a part of your project as the text you write. They are saved implicitly as you use the software and without any ado.
Are you using RTF to compile to Word? That’s usually the best and most compatible format. You should, if everything is working correctly, have no trouble at all changing the numbering style in one shot, or double-clicking between reference markers. It sounds to me like you have “flattened” endnotes, which can happen if the file format converter doesn’t support real notes (they just end up as formatted text).
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a Scrivener expert. Perhaps a few more tutorials would have helped me with this process. With Scrivener I was able to accomplish in two years what had taken me three-and-a-half years on my last project. It is by far the best writing tool out there.
However, having said that, there comes a time when you have to leave Scrivener and move it into Word. Now I am sure that if you spent enough time learning the intricacies of Scrivener, you can have it compile and everything works perfectly. My experience has been that it works good enough to get you started.
It took me two days to get my Word document ready for review. This included creating custom styles in Word, creating section breaks between each chapter (this was necessary for Word to separate the endnotes into chapters), and then going through each endnote and changing it from Roman numerals to numbers. I discovered that while I could not click on the endnote and go back to the text, I could do a search on the roman numeral. This worked almost as well.
My purpose for posting is not to register a complaint. I just wanted to relay what my experience has been in doing a complex conversion.
We would actually agree with that (we say as much on the web site and in the documentation), for this has always been the purpose of the compiler (and Scrivener in general). It isn’t meant to replace InDesign, LaTeX or even Word for that matter, this would be “impossible”. It is just meant to get you out of Scrivener so that you can continue your work in the best environment for doing so. That will very often mean that there is more to do after you’ve compiled. Our job, as we see it, is to make your job of getting the document ready for submission/review/whatever as easy as possible. I would say, all things considered, two days of that isn’t out of line.
I’ve always said: Scrivener is for the years it takes to write, not the days it takes to format. There are already great tools for that job out there for that, but there isn’t much for the writing.
That said, you should not have had to have gone through each and every note, converting it to a real endnote. I wish we could have had more time to figure that out because I could have maybe saved you a lot of work, so for future reference, know that at least that aspect should not be on your post-compile checklist. The splitting them up by chapter breaks though, you would still need to handle yourself, but that should have been a few settings to switch instead of hundreds of notes to fix.