Exporting inserts extra folder layer

I have my scenes embedded in chapters in Scrivener. So:


When I export the file, I wanted to include the folder, which is where they’re numbered. But the export seems to be putting an extra folder between the folder and the file:


Is there a way to get around this? I can’t imagine why it’s doing this. I can export the file itself alone, or the folder and file and get two folders. Help?


Just guessing, but you may have given the file and folder the same section type (or left them the same if it happened automatically). If they have the same section type, they’ll compile with the same Prefix/Suffix, Separators, formatting, etc.

Are you using the Export command, or the Compile command?

If you’re using the Export command, remember that folders in Scrivener are not like folders in your file system. A folder in Scrivener is also a document, and therefore can contain text. The export needs to put this text somewhere, and it needs to be at a different outline level from any documents nested under it.

Thank you! I think that’s the problem. I’m using Export. So both the “folders” and “scene files” are labeled as Structure-based, but the folder is labeled as a Heading, while the file is a Section. So how should I change this so I get just one folder and the file?

The Export command doesn’t pay attention to the Section Types.

Scrivener allows you to have objects that are both “container” (folder) and “contents” (text). The file system does not. So to clean up the Export, make your project look more like your file system: don’t put text in folder objects, and don’t nest text documents under each other.

What is your ultimate goal, though? For most purposes, Export is not the most efficient way to get work out of Scrivener.

Okay, I think I see what you’re saying. I thought I did my exporting this way for my last book, but it looks like I created folders myself and just exported the files. I need the folders to group my scene files into chapters. Otherwise, it’s just a series of files.

I use Export both as an extra backup (because paranoia can be your friend) and so I can get that .rtf file to paste into say, Google Docs, or whatever I might use to share the file with beta readers. Or if I want to do some work while away from my laptop (like at work, shh), then I can access the file with Word, and import that back to Scrivener when I’m back there. Since there’s no other way for me to use the files on another device or on mobile, that’s the only way I figured out to work on my project on the go.

Is there another way?

I would use either the Compile command, if you want a single file, or the Sync with External Folder command, if you want to edit individual component documents in another tool. The Export command is best used if you want to take your work out of Scrivener entirely, or if you have an end product (like a web site) that requires individual files.

(Oh, and you can use one Scrivener license to install the application on multiple PCs. Scrivener is always the best tool for editing a Scrivener project.)

So you’re saying, if I want someone else (a beta reader) to read the doc, and so need to take it out of Scrivener, since they don’t have the program, then I do need to use Export in that case. That’s really what I mostly need. I’m not really editing outside of Scrivener much anymore (working remotely!).

What’s the difference in the output between when I Export and Compile? I guess it seemed easier to Export (ctrl+shift+x) than to go into the Compile feature, especially since I haven’t fully caught up with all the changes.

Using compile, you can output your novel as a single Word doc. If your beta readers have Word, this might be a good way for them to read and annotate it using track changes–if that’s what you’d like them to do. (Note that Scrivener can’t process Word’s track changes, so you need to incorporate their changes back into Scrivener–this process wouldn’t be automatic.)

Using compile, you can also output your novel as pdf, ebook, and other formats, these would be more suitable for distributing to beta readers.

Sync with External folder is actually really good for this ‘extra backup’ purpose.

I use the settings below, and Scrivener outputs a numbered/sequenced list of rtf files that represent all the folders and documents in my project. I suggest you try it with one of your projects to see what the output looks like and whether you think it’ll be useful to you.


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I finally got to try this method out, and it works very well! Not sure how I missed this before. It does create blank text files for Chapter files, but I can ignore those, and it helps keep the files in order. That’s really what I need, so if I need to find a file, I can do so easily and quickly. And it’s really for that mental assurance that there’s another version out there. Even though it’s also in Dropbox, so not really an extra backup. And this syncs every file, so if I make small edits with other scenes, I don’t have to remember each one I touched to export a new version (separately).

Thanks for this! :star_struck:

Glad that helped!

Hopefully you’ve also got Scrivener’s automated zipped backups running on a regular basis. There’s no simpler and easier way to recover a Scrivener project from calamity than from an automated zipped backup.

Consider keeping your zipped backups off Dropbox, so you don’t have all your projects and all your backups in the same place. Something bad happens–account gets compromised, folder accidently deleted, etc–you could lose everything. You don’t want something like that to propagate.


I have an external backup drive, I’m just not good at remembering to hook it up and run it. This reminded me to do that, and I think I’ll do that more regularly now.

And yes, I do have the automatic backups, but I liked having a copy in an .rtf file that could be easily read in Word. But that’s mainly to share with others for beta reading and editing. So that’s a whole other issue.

Where do you normally store your zipped backups? Or where do you recommend?

Compile stitches multiple documents into a single file, and only uses documents from the Draft folder. Export preserves the Binder structure, and can potentially export the entire project.

For beta readers, I’d use Compile. The Default Compile Format is pretty basic and quite suitable for creating reviewable drafts.

Here’s what I do:

Dropbox - contains active Scrivener project folders.

OneDrive - contains inactive Scrivener project folders, zipped backups, and backups of various customized Scrivener stuff (Options, Themes, compile formats, templates, etc.) OneDrive is relatively popular with posters here as storage for backups, but pretty much any syncing service will do for these types of files.

External backup drive - 3-4 times a week, back up everything

In case you’re interested, here’s a post I wrote that has specific advice for zipped backups - see the BACKUPS section.


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