I thought I was clever, but... now I'm stuck!


While I do the heavy lifting—writing real scenes—in individual documents and scrivenings, I do much other work in the Outline. I’ve grew fond of Custom Meta-Data, creating new columns in the outliner. As an example I have one column where I write two sentences about the scene. What’s happening, and the function of the scene in the script, respectively. I have another column, called treatment, which summarises the scene in more of a story-telling way.

My idea was to be able to choose which column to print, copy, save, compile or whatever, thereby being able to share either a two-sentences-per-scene outline, alternatively a full treatment of the script.
I know I can print or compile the scrivenings (to get the full or part of the script). I can also print or compile the synopses, with or without titles.

Problem is, that my synopses, are either some thoughts about the scene that I’ve jotted down on an index card, or written down as I create a new document in the outliner, or imported from a Scapple document, or in other cases auto-generated (i.e. a short part of the scene or in the case of very short scenes, the scene itself). They are not always up to date and seldom up to snuff.

So, my question is whether there is a way to re-use what I’ve got in my different Meta-Data columns, outside of the Scrivener Outline?


You can use the tag <$custom:nameOfMetaDataColum> to have the contents of custom-meta data fields included in Compile. How you do that is up to you. You could, for instance, add it as a title suffix, since you can format those separately to the title, essentially giving you a whole other area you can place text directly after the title. Or, you could add it into the text, or you could use Compile Replacements to insert the tag optionally depending on the preset you use…

All the best,

Sorry, but I’m definitely not clever. What is a “title suffix” that I can format “separately to the title”. I understand that I can add <$custom:ColumnName> immediately after the title (it apparently adds the column text to the titles (but if I don’t want the titles?) without any colon or line between).

And then what? Do I have to do this for 100+ scene titles individually. And then if I want to print another column, change it for another tag (suppose I could do project replace or something… that’s an idea). And then if I want to print my Scrivenings I’ll have to get rid of all the tags…

“… add it into the text…” Which text. The main text? What effect would that have? And Compile Replacements? Replace what with what?

I know you are trying to tell me something much smarter then I can figure out. Sorry for being so daft.


Working backward: “The text” is the main body of your text. The story part, the part that goes into the document. Put the tag at the top, or the bottom, or in the middle of one of your paragraphs; it’s up to you.

The title prefix & suffix are in the Compile window’s Formatting section. Click on one of the rows (likely the ones with the text documents, but maybe the folders), and then click on the “section layout” button. You’ll be presented with two boxes: prefix and suffix. Depending on which row of document types you picked, they’ll both be empty, or they may have something in there like “Chapter <$t>” or similar. The suffix is usually blank, so that’s a good place to put something like the metadata tag that Keith mentioned.

There are section in the manual, the Interactive tutorial, and videos on the compile process (under the Help menu) that you may want to investigate before delving too deep here.

Thanks Robert,

Had tried to read in on Compile, but still hadn’t grasped the finer points like Section Layout. Even after your clear explanation, it took me a while to get to grips with fact that I had to change the settings for the different document types and levels. Now, to my relief, it works.


There’s a great eBook available on how to tame Compile called “How to Format Your Novel for Kindle, Nook, the iBookstore, Smashwords, and CreateSpace…in One Afternoon” by Ed Ditto. Although it’s specifically for compiling eBooks the stuff he goes over about Compile in general is universal to any format you want.

Let’s hope Mr. Ditto gets the Windows version of this book e-pub’d as soon as possible. The reviews sound very encouraging and it would be great to have a single reference for accomplishing something so important. :smiley:

He is working on a Windows version, I believe.

Yes, that’s what a couple Amazon reviewers noted (I’m just impatient!) :wink: