Front and Back Matter

Hey all. Downloaded and activated the free trial of Scrivener.

I did mostly the quick start tutorial and I think I have most of the stuff down. I also was a bit cagey and compiled a PDF of the tutorial so I can go back and look at it if I have to in case the tutorial stops being available after awhile. I like the general setup, more or less so far. Granted, I’ve only just started to play around with it though, so maybe that will change.

On thing I am curious about, is the reference to Front and Back Matter. I think I understand what Front Matter is— and I stress think, as I’m not 100 percent sure— but have no idea what Back matter is. How do these two things relate to a project? Can anyone give me a basic rundown of this and why I only see Front Matter in the Novel Template?

Back Matter is: the parts of a book that appear after the main text, as bibliography, index, and appendixes. Expand. Also called end matter. (quoted from Google)

Front matter is of course: the first section of a book and is generally the shortest; it is also sometimes called the prelims, or preliminary matter. It can be as simple as a single title page, or it can include multiple title pages, foreword, a preface, and much more. (again quoted from Google)

In the windows version of Scrivener, you can input/maintain back matter in the format tab

If back matter is simple, like a call to action page requesting that the reader leave a review, or a list of more of your books, or an about the author page, it can be a text document like any other, but at the end of the main manuscript. Just click the box in Compile to add a ‘Pg Break Before’ to separate it from the main text, or to separate each text page of the back matter.

Huh. Ok, that explains that, cause the video on compiling when I was looking up how this works kept throwing me. Might be because it was the mac version and it kept showing options for front and back matter in the menu for compiling, but I never saw it when I tried to test the idea out on Windows 1.9.7. Is the Back matter thing a separate thing like front matter in version 3, or is that just not really a thing that ever came up? My curiosity is aroused. :slight_smile:


If you’re writing a novel and submitting to agents, they will expect a title page on your manuscript. This includes the title of your novel, a subheading, e.g. ‘A thriller’ and your name ‘By Marc TheMaster’. It will also have number of words and your name, address and contact details. If you get/have an agent, this title page will have the contact details of your agency. This is front matter and Scrivener provides a sample in the novel template.

At the end of your book, you may want to add an author’s note (as mentioned by other posters, please check out my other books), dedications to all the people that helped along the way. This is back matter.

You probably won’t want your front and back matter formatted in the same way as the rest of you MS e.g. TNR 12pt Double Spaced. So, Scrivener provides the option to add these separately and format them in a completely different style.

If you’re getting to grips with the compile on Scrivener 3, go and watch Literature and Latte’s own videos on YouTube. They’ll move you along a lot faster than any text document will. They’re amazing.

Good luck!

That’s actually what I tried to do, but it doesn’t seem to work right when I do it, unless I’m looking at an entirely wrong video. I don’t even know why the front matter doesn’t appear in a project in scriv 3. Heck, we don’t even seem to have the option for a preview. The first available means to compile to is pdf. What am I doing wrong? The regular version 1 build which I am also running, shows front matter when I compile in either pdf or preview mode. And in fact has a preview mode.

Hi Marc,

Sorry for the delay, been offline for a while. I expect you’ve found your own way by now.

Scrivener does have a steep learning curve. I remember when I first switched from Word, it took quite a while to find my way around, but stick with it, you’ll be glad you did. I’d never go back. Word is a dirty word now!

Just in case you’re still struggling:

I don’t even know why the front matter doesn’t appear in a project in scriv 3.

Whether front matter is in a Scrivener project or not will depend on the type of template you chose from the outset. A blank template, for example, is just that, blank, and won’t have it. The same if you started with the Tutorial template and added your own stuff to that. But if you pick the Novel Format template, that will.

Heck, we don’t even seem to have the option for a preview.

You can preview your documents in different ways. Whilst editing, you can select the view, text editing, show page view option and then zoom out to see what it looks like on the page. Or you can print current document and see a preview in the print options. I write in Page View mode because I like seeing the whole page in preview all the time.

(I’m a MAC user, so Windows people, feel free to drop in here if the options are slightly different).

The first available means to compile to is pdf.

It won’t matter which file type you’re compiling to if you started with a template that doesn’t have front matter included. You could start again, using the Novel template. Or, you can just create the front matter. It’s really just a folder outside of the main draft folder, that holds your front matter document/s. Once you create it and go into the compile options, you’ll see you can select the option to add front matter and pick that newly created folder.

It might help to take some screen grabs with descriptions so everyone can see exactly what you’re trying to do.

Hope you’re finding your way around. As I say, you’ll be glad you did once it all makes sense to you.