How about Checklists?

After struggling yet again with Front Matter./Table of Contents/Compile, how about creating checklists for those various tasks in Scrivener that people struggle with?

For example, you can’t put your Front Matter folder at the beginning of your draft. You have to (a) take it out of Drafts and (b) promote it to the same hierarchical level as Drafts. When you choose "Include Front Matter (Place #2), doing so puts the Front Matter documents where they should be: at the beginning of the document list. But you’re not done: you have to go to Place #3, “Book Begins After Front Matter” which doesn’t always work (my Front Matter is showing up as chapters.)

Because all of these settings aren’t in one place, a checklist would help.

While you do have to put front matter in a folder that you then choose in compile as “the” frontmatter folder, you don’t have to place it at any specific hierarchical level. Unlike your draft, which (usually) consists of many files and folders, you front matter is unlikely to be more than a handful of them, so the automatic assignment of document types seems to be intended for the draft, not the front or back matter documents. Manually assign a “front matter” document type to those documents (create such a doc type if it doesn’t exist), and then in the compile dialogue, assign a document layout that doesn’t include chapter headers.

You might want to tag your post with “Scrivener” and/or “Wishlist” if that’s possible, since that’s what your post seems to be.

This was but one example.
The idea is that checklists are a proven way to insure efficient operations.
This has been proven across many fields.
Software use really is no different.

Sure. Regardless, this seems like a wishlist. But you’re going to probably have to justify how a checklist can be generalized for all sorts of writing, from blog posting, to scientific journals, to poetry collections, cookbooks, etc… Otherwise, I can guarantee you that the answer is going to be “there are too many variables for Scrivener to have a built-in checklist of actions to take for compiling all possible kinds of documents.”

1 Like

What about any of this cannot be solved with:

  1. Create a new project using the template of your choosing to start from.
  2. Set up stuff the way you want with regards to front matter.
  3. Use File ▸ Save as Template...
  4. Never bother with any of this ever again, unless you change your protocol.

I suppose. But different projects require different templates.
The fact that the Front Matter folder can’t be in Drafts is a little detail that derails the Compile effort. Like any other occasional activity, if you haven’t done it for a while, these details can be lost.
A checklist would be useful.

i guess nothing stopping you making some checklists that fit your discoveries and evolving needs. For me, templates a better way to go to “remember, re-use, and probably forget” settings and get on with writing.

Sorry, I don’t understand the objection. I have maybe a dozen different custom templates that I use to create new projects with.

But yeah, sure, why not build a checklist if you want to do it by hand every time. It just seems a very specific thing to me, and not something most people even have to look into since most of our built-in project templates have all of this stuff wired up already anyway.


If that’s true for you personally, consider how much more true it is across Scrivener’s entire user base.

Of course. That’s why checklists are used in medicine, in aviation and many other complex fields.

It’s not an objection, it’s a suggestion.

Right, but my point is that the creator of the document – you – is in the best position to design a helpful checklist, and to replicate it via templates. From our side, it’s very difficult to know what writers who are not us will need.

A Boeing 737 is a very complex machine, but it ultimately does only one task: it flies. So there’s no need for Boeing to create a “how to rebuild the engine in flight” checklist.

1 Like

You–that is L & L- have on several occasions addressed the complexity of Scrivener and the public perception that it is difficult. My understanding is that the Compile function was rewritten to address this perception. The manual is 915 pages long. I see that as a plus, but many would see it as a negative. Today I had to review the manual and found that the issue was treated in two separate chapters. Checklists address this problem. And while there is no checklist on how to rebuild an engine, there is a checklist detailing the steps to restart an engine. I am trying to get people to use Scrivener more–I’ve had many occasions where I would have been happy to share a Scrivener project file rather than a Word document. Checklists might make the program more approachable.

I can see we cannot sway your thinking. but best to use the tool as intended and provided rather than to bend it to your will. Create and use templates rather than rely on checklists. use the power of the tool and the computer.

The problem is trying to figure out the tool “as intended.”


: view and review the tutorial
: skim the manual
: experiment and try
: avoid preconceptions best as possible as exposed to it
: read a book about Scrivener
: get a coach
: outsource the compilation/production

Those are all good ideas. Add “Checklists”.

With respect to “Save as Template”, do the “Assign Section Layout” choices carry over to new documents?

A project template is, with a few reasonable exceptions (lock files, snapshots, editor history) a perfect reproduction of the project used to create that template. Every single binder item, every word in them, every metadata field, every menu toggle, every compile setting.