In what universe is Scrivener 3 compile simpler than in Scrivener 2?

Dear All,

After several hours of utter frustration trying to get a basic grasp of the compile function in Scrivener 3 I’m about to throw my MacBook out of the window.

Can anybody explain how I can compile a straight forward Scrivener project, written in courier font, into a word doc in a times font with a few page breaks where I want them?

This is soooo simple in Scrivener 2 yet seems impossible in Scrivener 3


I don’t have Scriv 3, so can’t give you specific advice on how to set up your compile, but I can suggest that you have a look at the Updating from Scriv 2 -> Scriv 3 Guide that Keith prepared back in Nov, when v3 was released.


I believe it contains specific guidance on how v3 compile differs from v2.


Thanks for the link, Jim. :slight_smile:

I’m guessing the part I’m having problems with is that I can only get it to show me Group and Text for the sections–no Header or Chapter Heading or anything like that–and there doesn’t seem to be any way to change the names, so I’m guessing this is something that isn’t functional yet in the compiler for Windows. It doesn’t seem to matter what I choose in the layouts, I don’t get any kind of separation in the chapters, so the first few files I exported were just walls of text with no indication of change of narrator or change of setting. (This series just has numbered chapters, not named ones.)

I’ve worked around it all for now and my beta has the book. I wonder if the going back and forth between Mac and Windows is working yet, or if I’m going to gork the file if I try to do that to take advantage of Mac’s more polished compile?

Backup, backup, backup… :laughing:

It would be cool if you could upload a couple pics and describe “exactly” what you are looking for? I, for one, am finding the Scriv 3 compile far better than Scriv 2 (but don’t let that fool you – i was ready to tear my hair out in frustration, until I read, in detail, the compilation process for v3).

Let us know here in detail please?


Thanks for your reply.

Where did you find the detailed information about the Scrivener 3 compile process?

I only found the upgrade guide for experienced Scrivener 2 users. As far as compiling goes that guide is completely useless because it only shows how to work with preset compile features. But not how to change basic elements such as fonts and headings. What I need is instructions – preferably simple – to format my output and insert some headings, subheadings and the odd page brake.


I learnt it from the 4 part video tutorial about compilation on YouTube in a list created for Scrivener 3 by LiteratureandLatte.

There are 4 videos, exclusively about compilation (given that it’s so changed and so much more capable now)

Here’s the FULL list. Scroll down on the right to get the 4 tutorials (in super depth) about compilation.

Let us know if it helped.


If you haven’t go through the “Get It Out There” section of the interactive tutorial yet then you really should. What you are referring to are “Types”, and that is something the project sets up for itself—it doesn’t really have anything to do with compile formatting, save where you tell the compiler that this type of document should look like that, and so forth.

The tutorial will explain how to create new Types, and how you can set up your Draft folder so that it uses those types automatically (say, all folders get marked as “Chapters” automatically, as one simple example), or how to assign Types manually if you prefer.

If you want to go past the basic usage of the compiler and start designing your own headings and such (which is yes, outside of the scope of a basic introduction/migration guide), then you might try the video tutorial series we’ve put together—in particular Part 4 if you’ve already got the basics of Section Types, and assigning Layouts to them, understood. That’ll get you into the right areas of the format design interface, so even if it doesn’t cover precisely what you want, you should know where to go to do X vs Y.

And of course the documentation goes over every aspect of designing your own formats, in Chapter 24. Naturally with it being more of a reference than a guide I’m not sure if it qualifies under your stipulation of “preferably simple”, since these two concepts somewhat compete with one another—but I did attempt to explain the design of the system rather than simply list out what this or that checkbox does. See also §23.3, Section Layouts, where assigning types to layouts is covered, and §7.6, Section Types, which documents the basic concepts at a basic level.

Headings of all types are handled by Section Layouts of course—those are the things that you see a list of previews for when clicking the Assign Section Layouts… button in the main overview area. So that’s §24.2 in the manual.

Also refer to §23.3.1, Choosing the Global Font, since it sounds like one thing you’re trying to do is change the document font. You really don’t need to go into great detail with designing formats just to change the font. Doing that is so easy to do it has been staring at you this entire time.

I don’t know what “the odd page break” means, to be honest. Is there no pattern to how you use page breaks? In most cases there would be some procedural reason to be doing so, like chapters should start on a new page, but sections should not. For standard cases such as that, the Separators compile format pane is where decisions such as breaks, spacing and custom separators like “***” are established. Refer to §24.4 for detailed instructions on how that works—and don’t forget you can examine our built-in examples, which demonstrate a wide variety of page flow and separation techniques, by right-clicking on a built-in Format and selecting the duplicate & edit option (you can cancel to discard the duplicate once you’ve have a look).

If you do need a less procedural page break capability, then you might need to set up an additional Section Type for that purpose. For example one might create a Table document type, used to store longer tables of data that should be presented on their own page—one could use a layout similar to the “New Page” layout that some of the built-in Formats provide—it basically just prints the section as-is, and ensures there is a page break in its Separators settings. That is an example of a semantic but non-structural need for page breaks.

But if you’re talking truly chaotic, “here there wherever”, then it might just be simplest to take a more typical word processing approach and put the breaks in the editor, via Insert ▸ Break ▸ Page Break. I’d stay away from the latter though unless there truly is no pattern or binder outline based reason to how page breaks are used.