how to manage guides or technical documents with frequent modifications

I write specialized guides and technical documents and manuals for in house use (not publication). There are frequent modifications. I was wondering if some forums members were in the same situation.

I usually edit the original text which is very tedious because it forces me to reprint the whole manual. I think that it would be easier and more effective to present the modifications to the reader in another manner.

I am thinking of simply adding a dated front page to each chapter if / when there are modifications.

I am also wondering if Scrivener users tend to highlight updates and modifications in some way.

thanks in advance for your time and help

You can pretty easily assemble a change log, or even compile the changed documents exclusively. I don’t take it to the point of output, but I do keep track of things that have changed between revisions, and here’s how I do it:

  1. When starting a major revision, I create a new search collection with the following settings:
  • Search in Draft only
  • Disable Search “Excluded” documents
  • Set the search term to: mdate:>2020-12-16, with the actual date of course being whenever the work starts.
  • [Optional]: set the search scope to Section Type, and also provide the notable section types you want to track. For example you may only want to list major sections that have changed.
  1. All right, that will start collecting stuff in the background as you work.
  2. When I’m done, I convert the search collection to a regular one, and prune out false positives. Scrivener is pretty pedantic about what constitutes a modification date change. So much as deleting or adding bookmarks to an item in the inspector can trigger it.

This technique can be used as a proofreading checklist, or just a simple record of everything that went down during a period of time.

For long-term archival, I don’t like to leave these in my Collections list because I have so many functional ones already. Collections are easy to “back up”. I drag the whole list into the inspectgor Bookmarks list for some significant item that represents that edit. For me, that’s the folder that collections all revision notes.

I now have a long-term list of notable sections changed for that edit, and thanks to how bookmarks work, Scrivener creates a back-link from each of those sections, pointing to the revision notes folder—which lets me know from that angle, while I’m working through that section in the future, that it was edited during this time period and for xyz reasons, and if I really want I can dive into that revision folder and examine in great detail all of the notes I made for it.

As for turning a list of bookmarks (or collected items) into a list, nothing could be easier. Just copy and paste to get a list of links, or use one of the ToC or indented list copy commands. This could generate a nice “change log” for readers to work through.

To compile from the list, you would need to convert it back to a collection from a bookmark list (if you took that step). That’s easy, just make a new collection and drag the bookmarks into the collection sidebar. Now you can use it as a compile filter, or as a checklist to assemble a larger pool of items to compile from.

thank you very much Ioa !!

I will go through the whole procedure you describe. I have never used Inspector Bookmarks and need to review it in the manual.