How do I save ALL compile settings for multiple books in a single project? Surely I don't have to re-do them each time??


I’ve set up my book series as a single Scrivener project with each book in separate folder:

I set up my first book in the compiler, saved the compile settings.

I then assumed that I could duplicate the Compile Format, change the content settings, book meta, cover image etc and compile the second book.

But when I went back to my saved compile settings for the first book I found that all the settings on the right hand side of the compile window (Content, book meta, cover image etc.) hadn’t been saved.

Is there any way to save these settings?

Surely I don’t have to re-enter all the book details every time I want to compile a different book from the same project?

Currently I have 4 books in this project, each with 7 different compile formats required!

Please tell me there’s a way around this - if not it’s going to add hours of work and risk books ending up with the wrong meta data / covers!! :frowning:

Thanks in advance for any help!


Investigating this further, it appears that the Front and Back matter are saved in the format settings but none of the compile content, meta data, settings, ebook cover or Table of Contents are:

Why are the Front and Back matter selections saved and nothing else?

Does this mean that Scrivener doesn’t support multiple books in a single project? I’ve seen so many tutorials suggesting I set it up like this.

Am I supposed to split each book into a separate project? This would be a real pain, as I have a lot of research and notes that pertain to the whole series and not individual books. :confused:

Many thanks,

I’m starting think I’m going to have to split my single project of a book series into ten or so individual projects, one for each book. :frowning:

I really wanted to avoid this, so if anyone knows a solution to compiling multiple books from a single project then please let me know before I make a start… :frowning:

I can’t guide you because I haven’t done this in S3-- but L&L just released a new Upgrade Guide for Scrivener 2 users here: … date-guide

It’s a new tutorial project supposed to help users such as you and I who are heavily invested in the old Scrivener 2 way of doing things to make the transition. It might be worth a shot before you start hacking at your project. I’ll be very interested in hearing how you get on, as I have a massive project with several books in myself and I’ve been avoiding diving in as I really don’t have anything ready for release right now.

Good luck!

Thanks for the reply, I’ll have a look when I get time.

I still haven’t found anything that would suggest that all the compile settings can be saved though.

I don’t think it’s an issue with transitioning to S3 though, as looking back I’m not sure Scrivener 2 would have done it either. It’s something I guess I just expected to happen, as I’d seen so many tutorials with multiple books in one project. I just thought there must surely be a way to save all the book details for different compiles.

Now that I’ve come to compile it’s a shock that it doesn’t work as expected. I’m at the end of a 9-day, 12-hour stint of trying to output my Kindle files, and it’s just another whole set of stuff to start again. Not quite sure if it’s ‘Two steps forward and one step back’ or the other way around! :wink:
Surely it should be easier than this… :slight_smile:

Tomorrow I’ll split the project up and hopefully that should be the last of the compile issues that I’ve had (fingers crossed).

But if you do find any answers for your own project then do let me know! :slight_smile:


Re-reading your original post, I think I have a better insight into what you’re trying to achieve.

The right-hand stuff is project compile settings, yes, It’s the same for every compile target in your project. I’m assuming it’s fine with you that the author is always the same for each book, and it’s unlikely that, say, you’re going to want to remove struck-through text in one volume and leave it in for the next. :smiley:

For Scrivener 2 I had a separate front matter folder for each book and each target (compiled as-is, as was standard for front matter in the old S 2 days.) That’s where I kept my covers. I note you can use the “First image in the front matter folder” in S 3 so now switching covers is as easy as picking a different front matter folder, or just rearranging the cover images in a single front matter folder.

What I do that perhaps isn’t obvious to a new user is that I make extensive use of placeholders, editing my title pages and compile formats to use, for example, <$compilegroup> instead of <$projecttitle> . With that change, I no longer had to change the title manually for each book. Just select the new compile group (as I note you’ve already learned to do) and hey presto! the title page is updated, as are the blurbs at the back…

So at the end, what I had to do in S 2 to compile a different book was
a) Select the book’s folder as the compile group
b) select the proper front matter folder
c) choose my target format (Manuscript, Amazon ebook, CreateSpace, or Smashwords)
d) compile.

Of course, I had to build all those front matter folders and do all that placeholder editing, but that was a small price to pay to have ALL my research, notes, etc. not to mention a super way to refer to what happened earlier in the series, in one place. And by having a single compile format for each target I’m sure my typography is consistent.

No, it’s not a one-step thing, although there should be fewer steps with S 3 (among other things it has a lot more cool placeholders. Check the help menu!). And yes, I have to do a certain amount of gear switching for each book. And with S 3 the gear-switching should be much less (yes, I think I can have ONE front matter folder for each target! Hurrah!) But–it does take some up-front effort to get as much as possible automated. It’s not completely automated, even with the new super duper placeholders. Yes, you will likely need to adjust, say, abbreviated project title for each book in order to get the page headers right.

Only you can decide what’s worth more to you. the good news is that you can use the same compile formats with each project, so if you do separate projects you can still keep consistent typography.

What are you including in ‘All’ settings?

The Compile Format is intentionally independent of the actual project, precisely so that you can use the same format for multiple books and multiple projects. It has never been possible to save contents and metadata as part of a preset.

Now, you can use Collections and Filters to automate the selection of documents for a particular output. And you could use that functionality to associate specific Front Matter, Back Matter, and Covers with specific text. But it doesn’t sound like that’s what you’re looking for.


Thank you all for your help Silverdragon – I think I might be getting closer! :slight_smile:

Brilliant! Thanks for that – took me a while to find it (I searched the manual but couldn’t locate it). That sorts out the problem of changing covers.

Do you mean the titles within the text files? I was concerned with the Title and Abbreviated Title in the right-hand tab of the compile settings. Do you have to fill this out each time when compiling your different books? I assume I can’t add code into these boxes?

Thanks Katherine, I do now realise that it has never been possible to save metadata as part of a project; I had assumed there would be some facility to save and automate more settings for each book, since many people lay out their projects this way.

Perhaps I should explain how I have structured my project and then you might be able to tell me where I am going wrong, and what I may be able to do to correct things:

  1. I have each book in a separate folder, with a text file for each chapter:

    I did have each chapter labelled ‘Chapter One’, ‘Chapter Two’ etc. without the numbers, but found that the table of contents wouldn’t work when I output to Kindle (I would just get blanks where the links should be).

  2. I have created separate front matter folders for each book in the series, with unique covers, title pages, and contents, etc.

    I arrived at this solution because I noticed that the ‘Add front matter’ dropdowns in the compiler are saved with different compile formats. My plan was to duplicate a compile format for each book, and upon switching between them the front matter (and / or back matter – but it is the same content for these books) would change also.

  3. I have created collections for each format, though I don’t think they are really necessary, and will probably get rid of them. I did have the unique front and back matter in each collection, but the ‘Add to front/back matter’ dropdowns do the job for me.

  4. I thought I could create a separate compile format for each book, so that all the necessary settings would be saved here:

As I mentioned, with help from Silverdragon and scouring the manual and forums, I have almost found a solution to saving everything. I have now reduced the list of things I would like to save for each book I compile to:

a. Title Saving this with a preset is important to me, because it is not visible in the main view, so there is, from my experience, ample opportunity for error when switching between books.
b. Abbreviated Title as above
c. Table of contents title - There is far too much chance for error here, especially since the settings aren’t immediately visible. Each ToC requires a unique name to work and there is no warning dialogue if the ebook is compiled but fails to find my custom page (or it has errors in it), or adds the wrong ToC.
I don’t understand why the ‘Table of contents title’ box isn’t handled in the same way as the front/back matter boxes, where I select the page from a dropdown and it is saved with the compile format.

Can you help me with a way to get around these?

Now that there are only 3 things left I am almost tempted to keep my books together in the project and just hope it doesn’t cause any issues when I compile. But, even when I’ve been testing things out for this post, I still found that I got things mixed up several times.

Many thanks for all your help, and apologies for such a long and rambling post! :wink:


And just to reiterate: I’m not concerned about any extra workload needed to manually add these items for each new book compile. It is purely the fact that they are an opportunity to make errors - particularly when the options aren’t immediately visible in the compile settings.

I moved over to Scrivener because I was unable to keep track of all the different book formats in a word processor, and ended up sending a wrong version off for publication that contained some horrible errors.

I just really want to avoid going through that again! :slight_smile:

I’m not sure I understand why you see the title as such a problem. Since I mostly write articles, rather than books, I need to use a new title every few weeks, but it’s simply part of my mental check list for my output document.

The Table of Contents problem seems like it might be addressed by including the name of the book as part of the document name: Witches’ Heart TOC, say, rather than something generic like "Table of Contents 01.’


That’s always the way with software environments though - we all see different things as different problems. :wink:

As I mentioned, I think I’ve discovered enough that I will live with these few issues and keep my project together as multiple books in a single project.

But, I still see it as a potential for problems. My main issue is that the titles and the ToC are not initially visible in the compile settings. It’s not a case of them being easily identifiable, it’s just that, unlike you, I will seldom need to come back to these settings, so my mental checklist will be a bit rusty! I’d much rather everything was saved as a preset. :slight_smile:

I still can’t see why the ToC can’t be handled (and saved) in the same way as the Front/Back Matter.

Many thanks,

OK, I see that you neatly have your book folders lined up, each with a name of the form “- n - Title of Book n”.

If you can bring yourself to name those folders with the actual title of the book, you don’t need to bother with abbreviated title or title on the right-hand side. Example:

Now go ahead and put some dummy titles (I use “Replace This Title” and “ReplaceThis” for Project Title and Abbreviated Title) under the right hand side metatdata. Run a test compile to print/pdf.

Every time you see either “Replace This Title” or “ReplaceThis” in your output, then there’s somewhere in your text files, (probably front/back matter) or in your compile format (left-hand side) that the placeholder <$projecttitle> or <$abbr_title> (or one of their clones) is used. Replace each instance of <$projecttitle> or <$abbr_title> with <$compilegroup> throughout your text files and your compile format. Now your compile group name will show up as the title everywhere you want a title. Yes you can change this in the compile format. And your project metatdata–well, you likely won’t need to change it at all, and Compile will just pop up with the compile group showing and THAT’s the visual cue that you’re compiling the right thing.

I hope this is all making sense. Literally, Project Title and Abbreviated Title are immaterial to my compiles. I don’t bother to even set them.unless for some reason (like a really excessive and boringly long title) I need to use an abbreviated title somewhere like my page headers. But really, I’d rather change the title. :smiley:

Thanks Silverdragon, that’s all really useful advice which I will use in the future! :slight_smile:

Because I have been creating unique Front Matter folders, I have changed all the titles in my files by hand. But, because the location of the Front Matter is saved with the compile format preset I can simply change the preset and all my correct Front Matter will be used automatically - which is great.

The only thing I need to change now when compiling different books is the ‘Title’ and ‘Abbreviated title’ in the right-hand pane of the compile settings. It’s not a chore to do, I just worry (from experience) that if it’s not immediately visible in the compiler, then chances are I could miss it and compile a book out with the wrong title. Same goes for the ToC location.

It may seem like a very minor niggle, but as I said earlier, after experiencing sending off a book for publication with daft errors in it - I really don;t want to repeat it again! :wink:

How does that work then? Do I actually need to set them?
I thought this is what populated the page headers in my Kindle books.

OK, wordy response here;

Last time I uploaded to Kindle (and it was a year ago) all that information was asked for by Amazon anyway—and I used an upload format that couldn’t have saved the info in the file. So Amazon populated that info themselves from the questionnaire I had to fill out.

That said, I’ve been playing with ebook compile in epub3 format , and yeah you probably need to insert the title, and perhaps the other fields that might be relevant. Not for the content inside your book (headers, title page, etc.)— for those my remarks above still stand. But for the book data that shows up inside ibooks or kindle when your book is closed and you’re looking at it on the virtual shelf.

As for the inside content, the way that works is that the title and the abbreviated title from the project compile metadata pane are assigned to the placeholders $projecttitle and $abbr_title, respectively. Those placeholders show up in the default front matter that Scriv provides in its project templates, and inside the default compile formats in places like the page headers and the section formats. During compile, Scriv substitutes what’s in that project metadata pane for the placeholders.

What I do before using a standard compile format is make a copy of it, and in the copy change every instance of either of those to $compilegroup. I need to look at each section format and at the page format and change that if needed. If I borrow front matter from the default templates, I need to check there, too. Now, instead of using the metatdata pane info, Scriv will substitute the name of the compile group in for $compilegroup, where the $projecttitle or $abbr_title used to go before my edit. Because I run four compile targets, three of which do NOT access any data from the project metadata pane directly, I can do a lot of consolidation.

That said, I’m looking at epub3 because, well, Amazon. I’m really rather pleased. Now that I’m getting over the fact that “Compile-as-is” is a non-starter in epub3, I think I’m going to get a better-looking product.

One thing that IS rather cool that’s new in Scriv 3 is the ability to automatically open your compiled output in an app of your choice at the end of compile. I have this now turned on and will immediately see a proof copy of my real output every time I compile! It’s a great way to check and make sure I didn’t leave anything out of that pesky right-hand pane. :wink: Since it’s forced in my face, as it were, I can’t send it out without seeing it. Like you, I sent stuff with errors last year (not horrible errors, but errors) and I’m happy to have yet another tool to catch them.

Regarding the TOC file name: I just name them all “Contents” and keep them in different front matter folders. Since the front matter folder I’m using is right there on the first tab in the Project Compile settings area, I’m not likely to forget it. Problem solved.

BTW, if you’re new to Scrivener, there is absolutely no need to give different titles to each doc or folder other than for your own reference. Each document is identified internally with a UUID that you don’t ever want to have to see. I’ve got tons of Dedication, Contents, Title, and Copyright files, in my different little front matter folders I’m trying to consolidate. There’s no need to number files to keep them straight because Scrivener just leaves them where you put them in the binder.

Thanks for all the info! :slight_smile:

I think I’ve turned a corner with S3, and it’s all looking much less overwhelming, and I’m beginning to get back to writing and creating in it (for which Scrivener is unsurpassed!).

Where it all starts to come together is, after I’d finally got my compile settings sorted, I quickly compiled 7 different books, and I’m so pleased with how they are laid out! On to print formats next I guess… :wink:

I like the sound of Scrivener automatically opening the output in the app of my choice - I haven’t managed to find the setting for that yet, but I’ll keep looking and use that one when I do.

Many thanks,

It’s just a tick box (Open compiled document in:) in the Save As: dialogue which opens when you press Compile – it remembers the program you pick from the drop down list.

It may only appear with certain Compile For: formats.

Ah, I was searching in the preferences. Thanks. :slight_smile:


Thank you thank you thank you. That is what I was looking for. Totally makes sense.
I have created a multiple book project that uses <$include> to share common pages among volumes, has separate Front and Back Matter for each, and host of custom layout presets. Thinking of sharing.

Anyways this helps a lot. Thanks!