For High School?

Hey, would this be useful for writing essays and such on a high school level? I already have for Pages for my 2009 iMac, and I thought this would be a good application for schoolwork since I really enjoy writing, not just for school but occasionally in my spare time. I’m petty much a casual writer, I haven’t started a full length novel or anything like that;).


I’m probably not the best person to answer seeing as I’m the developer, but people certainly use it to write essays for university so I don’t see why not for high school too. I would recommend downloading the 30-day trial, if you haven’t already, and trying out writing an essay in it to see if it works for you. It might be that you find Pages more straightforward for high school essays, or it might be that you find Scrivener’s extra features useful; I guess it depends on how you go about writing your essays and how much electronic research you have to look at that you can bring into the project.

Thanks and all the best,

This is a great question. I’m well past school age myself (having teenage daughters) but I think you might find Scrivener very useful for school essays and assignments.

One of the challenges I see in my daughters’ work (just as I face when writing books) is taking a whole lot of information and trying to sort it into some sort of logical order for an essay. Scrivener is great for this. You can create text documents for each of your main points (perhaps using the synopsis feature as a summary) then use the freeform cork board to play around with the order of those points.

Another advantage is that Scrivener effectively forces you to break up your work into smaller, more manageable pieces. Suddenly a really big essay can become much easier to digest when you break it into, say, 10 pieces (10 mini-documents) and work on just one at a time.

So I would strongly encourage you to at least trial the software – and I’d be interested to hear how you go.

Like davidbrewster, I think that Scrivener might be a great tool to help you see your papers and their structures a little differently when you’re crafting them, since unlike traditional word processors, the program encourages you to break up your writing into smaller, manageable pieces. Even if you’re dealing with a relatively short paper and the pieces are nothing but single paragraphs, being able to concentrate on each one exclusively and reorganize the segments on the corkboard or in the outliner (and read everything through in different arrangements in a Scrivenings session) will let you take a different perspective when molding the argument’s development within the piece from what you get when your “written outline” is a completely separate entity.

Also the ease with which you can rearrange the pieces of your writing will make it easier to convince yourself to go ahead and do so when it’ll make for a better paper–I know by the time you’ve written the thing in Word and then realize with a pang at the end that argument C would really have gone better where A is and introduced B and so on, all the work of cutting and pasting and weeding through the writing can make it seem like it’s not worth the trouble. With Scrivener, even if you write your whole paper in one single document first, it’s simple to then break it into smaller pieces and try out various organizations or even just chunk it down so you can jot down on the synopsis card what the main point is of each section to double-check that you really hit your goal and stayed on focus with each paragraph or page.

Overall, while you might not use all the features Scrivener offers–I doubt anyone uses all the features!–it’s a pleasant writing environment and does offer a lot of unique options that will probably help you as you go on; you’re likely to uncover more as you get writing and then think, “Oh, wouldn’t it be cool if I could do this” and then find out that Keith thought of that too and it’s in the program. (And if not, you can go hassle him in the Wishlist section! :wink:) And as you’re working on different types of projects, beyond schoolwork, you’ll find different aspects of the program useful.

Plus, if you try it out now for highschool and like it, you’ll have the program mastered by the time you have to write your dissertation. :slight_smile: Anyway, you may as well give the trial a whirl and see how it works for you; I’d also be interested to hear how it goes if you do.

thanks for the replies everyone, I did start using the trial program to work on a Creative Writing project form last year that I decided to work on some more here an there, and so far I LOVE IT! I draw and flesh out many of my characters, environments, and designs in Sketchbook Pro and the Adobe programs, as well as on regular paper. Scrivener has been great in getting me to finally organize all this stuff and my notes here and there for my zombie/other junk story. I have one concern and one only: if I do use this for schoolwork, which now that I have tried it out the program I would probably use it for long research papers or something that would require a lot of drafts/ organization and such that I just can’t get in Pages (which probably won’t be very often), would I be able to get the files to work on a windows machine using Microsoft word? All the computers at my school use Microsoft word 2007.

Thats my only concern, and its not a big one at all. I have Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac in case I absolutely have to get something to work on windows, but I would just prefer to use Pages or even Scrivener. I am seriously considering purchasing this program with some recent birthday cash, even if I don’t end up using the program that often.

Thanks again!

One more thing- I’ll mention this program to my librarian,who owns a mac and uses it for her own writing. She gets involved in a lot of the research that classes have to do for essays and papers in almost every subject.

Great to hear about your experiences stoogeofstooges.

In relation to the Pages/Word thing, your question seems more of a ‘Pages working with Word’ thing than a ‘Scrivener working with Pages’ thing. A workflow I’ve used is this:

  • Research and draft in Scrivener, then compile as an .rtf file.
  • Open the .rtf file in Pages and make any other changes I need, add images, etc.
  • Export from Pages to MS Word format (or save copy as MS Word format)
  • Send/move MS Word file to the PC.

In my case I mostly skip the Pages step as my work is writing only – I do very little formatting. So I just compile to .rtf then open in Word and save as a Word file before sending to a client. You can do this if you do most of your work in Scrivener, including incorporation of images, right up to the point where you want to send the document off.

(BTW, I quite regularly import and export MS Word files from Pages, usually without any problem)

As for your librarian, that is a good idea. I would recommend she also look at Papers ( as an excellent tool for finding and managing references. It also works nicely with Scrivener.

Hope that helps. Let me know if I have misunderstood your concern.

Tacking onto the above post, if you don’t need to do any polish formatting from your computer after you export from Scrivener, you can also compile straight to .doc using RTF under the hood. This is the default setting for .doc compile, and essentially it just compiles an RTF (so you get all the abilities of Scrivener’s richest exporter) and then saves it as .doc so it will open in Word by default. A .rtf file opens just fine in Word, of course, but Word isn’t usually the default program for that filetype, so having the .doc extension just makes it simpler. I’m not clear whether you need to submit the paper electronically or whether you just need to get on your school computer to print it, but either way that should work.

If you’re talking though about whether you can work on your Scrivener project directly from Word, the answer is not exactly, but you can use the Sync with External File feature to export selected documents from the project so that you can work on them in another program–like Word–and then save the changes and sync it back into your project painlessly. So to that extent you could certainly still have access to your writing while at school, then sync your edits with your project when you get home and so on. The chapter in the user manual on Cloud Integration & Sharing gets into this, and there are some quick video tutorials that cover the basics as well.

Okay, everything should work out then. Thanks for the help!