Exporting a book

I’m definitely missing something in spite of having gone through the tutorial, the faq and several searches of the forum. Maybe I’m just using the wrong search keys.

I have opened a project with the Novel Standard Manuscript Format, and I got a Binder with the following:

Title Page

The rest is irrelevant.

I’ve edited my Title Page. I originally placed two documents in CHAPTER, one called Chapter 01 and one called Chapter 02. I selected File/Compile Manuscript and, under Content, include Title Page, Chapter 01 and Chapter 02 with a page break before Chapter 01 and Chapter 02, Keep format for all three and, under Document elements, Text for all three. Under Text Options I think I have all defaults, and have edited the header line with my name and a title. Under formatting I have courier 12 for all four fonts, and otherwise default values.

I have tried with odt, and got a document with my title page, at the bottom of which I have:

                                The one line of text in this chapter (centred under the by James Wilde line)

The one line of text in the other chapter

                                <<<<<>>>>> (centred)

With rtf, both lines of text were left aligned followed by the <<<<<>>>>> centred.

After reading about text documents being considered running text, however many might be in a folder, I decided that the folder labelled CHAPTER should perhaps be changed to CHAPTER 1, and include the document Chapter 01, and that I needed a CHAPTER 2 folder, to include the text of Chapter 02.

This time I have, starting on the same page as the title page:

CHAPTER ONE (centred)

Chapter subtitle (centred)

The one line of text in this chapter (left aligned)

There is then a page break followed by

The one line of text in chapter two (left aligned)

                                       <<<<<<>>>>>> (centred)

Neither odt nor rtf has a header on the page after the title page.

I don’t use Chapter subtitles, and I’d prefer “CHAPTER 1” or better “Chapter 1” to “CHAPTER ONE” but I can live with that if I have to. I’d also like “Chapter 2” before the text of Chapter 02, and I’d certainly like a page break and a header.

How should I configure my documents and the Compile Manuscript options to get the desired effect? A reference to the appropriate chapter in the help file or the faq or anywhere else will do, but detailed info on which options to check and which to leave unchecked would be appreciated. Do I have to write Chapter 1, centre it and line-space down twenty or so lines to format my Chapter 01 document? It seems not since I get the chapter info for Chapter 1 in the second format.

It’s late here in Sweden now, and I’m going to post this and check for answers in the morning, so excuse me if you don’t get any answers to queries quickly.



Okay, there are a number of things to answer here, so if I miss something I apologise. The [b]<<<<<>>>>>>[/b] you are seeing is very likely being generated in the second tab of the Compile sheet, where you can set up scene separators (upper-left). Just delete the contents of that field if you do not want scene separations.

While on that topic, a note about how most people use Scrivener. You’ve already noted that Compile takes everything in the manuscript (commonly called the Draft) and streams it together into a single document. This is done in a “flat file” fashion. Consequently, most people break down their book into manageable chunks and use outline hierarchy to benefit their approach to writing. How far they do so is a matter of taste. Some keep chapter = document like you’ve described, others working in fields of analysis have gone all the way down to the sentence level, though that would be overkill for most authors. Scrivener really doesn’t care either way—except you might see some weirdness like the scene separator getting thrown in at the end of every chapter.

Facilitating this, you can choose out of the three document types, which export titles. For novels, you probably don’t want text files to emit headings at all, and you might just leave titles on for folders, organising the contents of a chapter into these folders. Folders are a good strategy for approaching this, as their default state is to emit titles and a page break. Consequently, a typical novel might look like:

Chapter 1 (F) Scene 1 (t) Scene 2 (t) Chapter 2 (F) Scene 3 (t) ...

Where (F) denotes a folder, and (t) a text document. If you need further organisation, you can utilise Scrivener’s ability to place documents within documents, as you would folders. These then become considered “File Groups” in Compile, and can be given their own compilation directives.

Numbering can be approached either manually or automatically. Check out the Edit/Insert/Auto-Number sub-menu for the available options. This will insert a code into your document, like [b]<$w>[/b] which will print out One, Two, Three. When you compile these will be counted and converted, allowing you to ignore number while writing. You can either place text like [b]Chapter <$W>[/b] into the text of the folder itself, the first page beneath it, or in the title itself. Just note that if you put it in the folder name, you probably wouldn’t want to have anything in the text area otherwise you’ll get duplication. If you re-organise things, the numbers will change accordingly. The next version of Scrivener will make titling even better, letting number and title things automatically and keep all of tokens out of your binder or text.

The next key thing to grasp, which I think you have, but just to reiterate the documentation: Scrivener exports the text area of each document if so designated in the compile settings, and that is separate from the “title” option. Title takes the information from the actual name of the thing in the Binder itself. So you could keep physical titles out of the text entirely, opting to use the Compile’s generative feature and the formatting tab to keep things looking the way you want. This is generally the recommended way of doing things as it is far easier to keep your formatting consistent. If the editor says they need titles to be different, you can just switch the compile settings and re-export without hours of going through the whole book and changing things by hand. But plenty of people choose to do without these features, and in cases where the output needs to be very close to what will be printed, it might be the only option as Compile’s formatting features are relatively simple.

What you see in the text document area itself is nothing special. It’s just a text document. The template provides some starter formats that you can use to duplicate and make new documents with, but the text you see in these are not “fields” in the sense of some word processors. It’s just formatted text, and it will be exported along with everything else. If you don’t use sub-titles, just delete that line.

So to summarise, there are two different approaches. One is to let Scrivener handle all of the titling automatically. When using that approach there is no need to have formatting titles in the draft itself. Chapter title pages should all be removed. The second approach is to handle everything by hand. Then yes, you would have to form each chapter page according to your specifications (if that includes twenty line spaces then so be it). Of course once you make one you can use Duplicate (or Duplicate Simple to just copy the selected item and not all of its children as well) to skip manually doing this over and over.

The Scrivener approach is to make the drafting process as painless as possible, and to put an emphasis on author comfort. This is the purpose of its compile format transformation tools. You needn’t work in Courier unless that is what you prefer. You can work in Copperplate (!!) and still produce an industry standard Courier 12 at the end of the day. Likewise the Binder organisation is largely untranslated. Feel free to break things down as far as you like, and use the organisational depth to deal with tricky sections. In the end it will all look like a single flat file from a word processor. Cmd-K to split documents, and Cmd-Shift-M to merge them are vital tools when converting an existing book to Scrivener.

The philosophy is very different from a word processor, where you have to work in an environment that will produce what you get. This can be very constrictive to work in, and once you get how everything fits together in Scrivener, you’ll likely never want to go back to crafting anything in such a way.

Thanks, AmberV

Nope, the <<<<<>>>>> seems to be an alternative to ‘The End’. Haven’t found it yet, so I can’t take it away or change it.

Found this! I also turned off corkboard on the folder Chapter 1, and found the text I didn’t know was there. I changed CHAPTER <$W> to Chapter <$n> and removed the line about subtitle, and bingo, I have what I want.


When I export I now have:
Title page (d)
CHAPTER 01 (f)
Chapter 01 (d)
CHAPTER 02 (f)
Chapter 02 (d)

f = folder, d = document

All are checked for inclusion, the two folders are marked for page break before, and all are marked for keep format.

Header align right not on page 1 is/are selected

When I export as rtf I get a normal Title page, though the title and ‘by James Wilde’ are rather far down - no big deal - then a page break. I then have ‘Chapter 1’ centred a little way down, some blank lines and the text of chapter 1 double-spaced. I then have a page break and ‘Chapter 2’ centered a little way down, some blank lines and the text of chapter 2 double-spaced. Perfect.

Almost. I don’t have any page headers.

When I export as odt I get a normal Title page with the title and ‘by James Wilde’ higher up than on the rtf version, then a few spaces and ‘Chapter 1’ centred and a few lines of chapter 1, double spaced, i.e. no page break before the folder. When the text of chapter 1 is over I get some blank lines and ‘Chapter 2’ on the same page, and the text of chapter 2 continues. In other words, no page break again. I have no headers, but at least I got a warning about getting no headers.

Summa summarum: export to rtf gives me all I need, except headers, which I can add after transfer to OOo. Export to odt gives me an abortion it would take much time to adjust afterwards, moving every chapter to a new page.

So I guess I’ll give it a try, using rtf against my better judgement - I’ve always thought of rtf as something MS dreamed up for those who were too poor to buy Word, but had Wordpad. And I do have a batch processor for OpenOffice, which I can use to convert all rtf files to odt after export if I want to.

Now I’ll go away and test it, and come back when I find other problems. If you have a way to help me make the odt export recognize the page breaks, I’ll be as happy as a pig in muck.

Great program. Thanks.


Sorry, for ‘export’ read ‘Compile manuscript’.


Oh! Yes, sorry about that, the end of text thing is in the same tab as the scene separator compile setting, but in the upper-right. Just uncheck “Mark end of text with:” and you should be golden.

Yes, whenever you see a folder in Scrivener with a little “paper” icon in the corner that means it has text attached to it, and now you know how to get to it as well. Whenever you start from a template, it’s a good idea to check all of those and make sure everything in them is what you want to actually appear—or just keep “text” unchecked in the compile setting for the folder type. For instance, I use folders to hold notes about the section, notes not intended to be compiled into the final copy. It’s a handy place because they show up in Edit Scrivenings.

You can probably fix that by deleting some of the empty space at the top of the title page document. With preserve formatting turned on, Scrivener is pretty WYSIWYG.

That’s interesting. When I export with the header option turned on, as RTF, and then open that RTF in NeoOffice I get headers precisely as defined.

I’m not surprised you are losing control information with the ODT export, though. That exporter is pretty basic, provided by Apple in what seems to be an afterthought. It’s very simplistic from what I’ve seen. Basically Scrivener is an RTF application. On import that is the format that will retain the most information, and it will produce the most information in export (more than many Mac-based tools can even recognise). The other engines are there, but frankly they should only be used in rare cases in my opinion. In nearly all cases it is better to use RTF and if you need another format, use a word processor to do the conversion. This isn’t really a lacking in Scrivener, just that these engines are there for “free” to Apple applications, and you kind of get what you pay for with them. :slight_smile: Developing better alternatives would take a lot of effort, years worth.

But definitely play around with the header thing—that should be working. Some word processors don’t read RTF headers/footers correctly, but OOo is not one of those in my experience. It has a pretty good RTF parser.

You wouldn’t be too far from the truth. That’s kind of changed in the past years, largely thanks to Apple actually. They decided to adopt RTF as their primary rich text medium with Mac OS X, and in doing so have made the format much more “visible” than even Microsoft probably ever intended. That said, you are right it isn’t the most well-featured format out there, though it suffices for simple documents. It’s too bad that ODF was still in its infancy with Mac OS X was in original development (actually I’m not even sure if it existed yet during the OS X alpha phase), because that would have been a far superior move to make.

But, they didn’t, and RTF is what we have to use, and as a result Scrivener development has revolved around making that import/export workflow as powerful as possible. Second only to Nissus (which also uses RTF as its base format), it’s the best Cocoa based RTF handler for the Mac, that I’m aware of, especially in conjunction with Word.

I can’t think of anything off-hand. The best you could probably do is add some kind of character string that you can search for in OOo macros and replace with a page break character. It kind of surprises me that it isn’t supported, as that seems to be a pretty basic thing, but then on the other hand I’m not too surprised. But really, you’d probably be better off gritting your teeth and working with RTF. Page breaks are not the only thing that might suddenly disappear, depending on how complex your formatting gets.

Do you plan on doing a lot of back-and-forth between Scrivener and OOo, or are you just planning ahead for when the book is done? The reason I ask is that Scrivener really works best as a write-first platform that produces something that can then be taken from there into more meticulous formatting environments like word processors and layout design applications. Trying to go back and forth between Scrivener and a word processor will be counter-productive for most people (though for a few, it is the only alternative).

Found it, thanks.

Duh! I just double-clicked on the rtf file and it opened in the Text Editor. Now I’ve opened it in Open Office and I see the headers AND I have page breaks before each chapter.

As I said in another post, I’m testing Scrivener. I like it, and I hope it will work for me. At the moment I’ve just finished one book and am planning another, and I’m doing the planning in Scrivener, but I envisage creating each chapter in Open Office and importing. Once it’s imported, I’ll work with it in Scrivener. And at the moment, it looks like I’ll leave it there, and just transfer the finished product back to Open Office for final touching up. So no, I’m not planning on a lot of back-and-forth. I think that would be counter-productive. I’m just planning ahead. And worst case I know I can get the documents out of Scrivener.


Yes, TextEdit is definitely one of those applications you want to avoid with Scrivener produced RTF files, it will bungle and in some cases destroy the extra stuff Scrivener puts in there, such as headers, footnotes, and so on.

Excellent, glad everything seems to be working better now. And in an absolute worst-case scenario, Scrivener’s project format is pretty open. You’ll always be able to get the information out of a project if you no longer have access to Scrivener or what have you. But even if you expire the trial period Scrivener will give you the ability to do a final export of your work without a licence. Actually, I’m not positive of the details on that, I only vaguely remember it being mentioned. Most people don’t get to that point. :slight_smile: I think if the trial period has ended it gives you one more application launch to sort out exporting/compiling.

Whatever you end up using, good luck on your next book.