Formatting for Poetry Chapbook

Hi. I’m very new to Scrivener (just downloaded last week) so I appreciate any help. One of the first projects I’m using it for is a poetry chapbook, which will be approximately 5.5 x 8.5 (standard piece of paper folded in half lengthwise). Is there a way to format this is Scrivener so that when I export the file/s to MSWord for printing, I do not have to spend time formatting everything from inside that software? Thanks.


Scrivener & poetry – I have some experience with this. Here is my two cents:

I think there is always going to be a significant formatting task when it comes to poems. The main reason being: determining where to place poetry on a page is pretty tricky, because poems have a significant visual presentation.

Here is one such issue: where to set the left margin for (left-aligned) poetry? A typical strategy is to determine the left margin of each poem by centering the longest line of the poem on the page. I once designed a website which could do this on-the-fly, but I know of no way (in a writing, word proc, or page layout program) that you could get that kind of per-poem formatting except by doing it by hand – and that would be a job best done in the app where you are doing your final formatting – MS Word in your case.

Even determining page breaks requires significant judgement in doing poetry layout. Also, if more than one poem appears on a page, things get even trickier.

Scrivener will be great for your writing and working with poetry and for arranging and rearranging the order of your poems for the chapbook. I heartily recommend it for all you creative writing needs (and more!), but to make your chapbook look just like you want it to, you will want to spend some time in an app where you will work over the final layout to make everything look just like you like.

Of course, maybe you will be working with a fixed left margin and so this particular issue won’t arise for you. In that case, just put your poems in separate documents, check the Page Break Before button on them, arrange them in the Binder in the desired order and you should be sort of set --at least until you look at your layout and one of your poems overruns a page by just a line or two. Gotcha!


lol, thanks! Yup, your gotchya’ is one of the issues I’m worried about. All the poems in the chapbook are left aligned, so that’s not too much of a worry for me. My two main concerns are overrunning a page by a line or two, like you mentioned, and formatting the layout so that it prints two poems (or chapbook pages more accurately) per side of a piece of paper. I know it can be done in MSWord, but I was hoping there was an option to have it formatted already in Scrivener when I export it to Word.

Appreciated the response :slight_smile: