guide books to Scrivener

Does anyone have any experience with any of the third party guide books to Scrivener? I’m an academic writer working on a big and messy book project. Thanks!

The ones that spring to mind - Hernandez and Hewson - are both aimed primarily at fiction writing, but of course a lot of the Scrivener info is the same. I don’t have either, and the best resource seems to me to be this forum: there are a fair number of academics here, so maybe some specific questions might get you started in the right direction(s)?

Before you’re inundated with helpful suggestions, could you list the resources you’ve taken advantage or at least are aware of?

so far I’ve only done the tutorial… I’ve used Scrivener in the past, but not for a few years, and when I used it last I was definitely not doing fraction of what I could with it… I just saw the list of books on the literature and latte website… and was wondering if one of them might be helpful.

I’ve been researching a book project for years; have tons of notes, quotes, pdfs etc…and also different chunks of prose (lectures I’ve given, various fellowship proposal, several articles, and about a million different versions of my intro. and first chapter… ) all of this is collected in Devon Think, but now I’m wanting to turn to actually writing the thing and am overwhelmed by all of the different files etc. that I have.

For the chapter I’m writing now, I’d like to be able to move my various notes and earlier drafts into Scrivener so that I can edit and manipulate them…

Hope this makes my situation clearer. Thanks in advance for your advice.

I’m not going to give advice – a dangerous business – but I will tell you how I’m handling a similar situation (a non-fiction book based on a wide range of sources being gathered as I write).

Sources, notes and the like all stay in DevonThink: I know where they are, and as they may get used in other projects they can stay there for later use. It also means that I can still use tags to search in DevonThink if I’ve mislaid something. And, I don’t lose things between the two programs.

Text develops in Scrivener, making full use of the structuring possibilities of the binder, synopses, the notes-to-self in document notes and (a favourite for me) colour coding my binder icons to show writing status at a glance. I usually write in chunks around a chapter in a non-linear way: the Binder supports that way of working very well. If I had early drafts I would bring them into Scrivener and split and sort them into my structure. Also, the all important annotation setting (CMD+Shift+A to turn on and off) to put in those annoying, but necessary queries to myself.

Brainstorming and even drafting of tightly-argued sections happens in Scapple. It’s taken me a while to work out how to use Scapple, but I recently found it is really helpful for building connected chains of argument or explanation, or just getting down the things I need to cover and finding out how I can connect them.

Mr Gruff’s advice regarding the use of Devonthink and Scrivener is very pertinent. Although Scrivener has the ability to store your research (notes, pictures of documents, etc), I found it too cluttered when I attempted to use Scrivener for both writing and storing research. I quickly moved to Devonthink as my research manager, and now use the two programmes in tandem.

One thing worth noting is that you can create links to Devonthink folders/documents in Scrivener, as a handy shortcut.

Gwen Hernandez runs online Scrivener tutorials, which are very good. I believe they cost $45 and are run quite regularly. The handy thing is that lessons are posted as PDFs, so by the end of the course you have a very handy manual that’s a little easier to use than Scrivener’s. I also bought the Take Control of Scrivener manual ( It is probably a little out of date by now, but still useful for getting to grips with Scrivener.

The Scrivener manual is also excellent. Extremely detailed, but worth the slog when you’re stuck.

Lastly, as suggested above, regularly browsing the forums here is a good way to pick up tips, and the inhabitants are a very helpful bunch. Scrivener’s support team are brilliant, if you come across a particularly thorny problem.

Looks like I’m going to have to eventually bite the bullet and print out the manual. Just wish there were print shops other than Kinko’s - they want your first-born child. And if there are any Scrivener books that will be published and thus easily available - I’d like to know, too!

Addendum: Well, I found a couple of services nearby that have printing services. Waiting on quotes from them.

Whoa! That’s an awfully big investment for not much gain. The manual is more for reference than learning the program.

Take a look at Scrivener for Dummies, or just search for the term “Scrivener” on (in the books section) to find a selection of books on Scrivener.

I set down this procedure several years ago in the DevonThink forum for using DevonThink for storage of research and Scrivener for writing:

'Here’s a simple workflow I’ve developed for long articles, based on something [the historian] Steven Berlin Johnson wrote. Obviously its usefulness depends on what you’re writing and how much research you’ve gathered:

  • gather your research in DT
  • develop your outline in Scrivener’s Draft folder, with each section a sub-folder
  • copy that outline into Scrivener’s Research folder, so each section is a sub-folder
  • drag-and-drop the relevant key pieces of research from DT into the appropriate section sub-folders in the Research folder, in order
  • review and move around as required to ensure the outline flows
  • get writing!’

I hope it might prove useful for MommyP, and for anybody else.

I like Hugh’s workflow, except that I usually don’t bother moving the research from DevonThink to Scrivener. I just have both programs open at once. DevonThink is so good at managing research databases, and Scrivener is so good for writing, that it just doesn’t make sense to me to not exploit the capabilities of both.


I too use Devonthink alongside Scrivener. There’s a part of the process that I’d like to refine, that is how to take maximum benefit from Devonthink’s See Also functionality. What I currently do is paste bits of text that I am developing in Scrivener into a blank document in Devonthink, save it, and then invoke the See Also option to see if Devonthink has any suggestions. It’d be nice to find a smoother way of doing this, even if – in reality – this one is reasonably good, and sometimes turns up useful resources for me.


You might have a look at a little utility called DevonSphere Express. Give it text and it searches for related items. It can look on the web, inside DTP databases, and in a number of other places. I haven’t used it much, but it seems potentially relevant here. … press.html

In theory, you could also use Scrivener’s Sync with External Folder function, combined with DTP’s Index function to simply make the text of your project visible within DTP. In practice, though, the sync might not update the external folder often enough to be useful.

DTP installs a contextual menu item by which you can save selected text in Scrivener directly to a DTP note. That saves a copy/paste step, but otherwise is the same workflow you already have.

If none of these work, you could also ask in the DTP forum, which is full of helpful people.