Insert header / footer

I am using scrivener since several days now and I really like it.
Most of my questions could be answered by reading the forum and learning by doing but today I have a problem I cannot solve alone. Maybe I am blind, please help me out here:
I want to have a header including my name and address above every page but I cannot find any icon oder way to insert it (and - at the same point: I did not find enything relating to a footer either). I read that I should wait until I compile my text but then I only find the name of my file in the header. Shall I rename my complete file with my name and my address? That cannot really be the way, right?
Please help me, I am totally stunned. (And sorry if this question has been answered before, I didn‘t find anything close to it at the forum.)
Kind regards,

Hi Verena,

I’m glad you’re enjoying Scrivener! As you read, setting a header and footer is something to do at the time you compile, rather than while you’re working in Scrivener. Until you compile, there’s really no notion of distinct pages, since Scrivener lets you break your text into any sized sections you want, and these don’t all equal a page of printed text.

When you go to compile, click the button next to the “format as” dropdown menu to ensure that you’re seeing all your compile options–there should be a large pane with options such as Content, Formatting, Processing Options, etc. (these will vary slightly depending on what file type you’re compiling as). Toward the bottom on that list you will see “Page Settings”; here is where, if your file type supports it (.rtf will, which is the most common), you will see the options for setting header and footer, and you can insert whatever text you like.

Check out §25.3.9 of the Scrivener manual (Help>Scrivener Manual) for a little more detail on this. Compile has a lot of amazing options which makes it incredibly powerful, but it can seem a bit overwhelming at first, especially when you’re just trying to tweak one thing. Hopefully that section of the manual will get you going.

Hope that helps,

Hi MimeticMouten,

thanks a lot for your answer! It really helps.
You are quite right, I haven’t understood all the things the compile is capable of right now.
Thanks to you I immediatly tried it and it worked but I still find it less useable than programs like word (shame on me) or - if i recall correctly - even pages because it seems to be impossible to format the hearder’s text while watching - I can only watch the result when it’s all done. (And maybe I am blind again but is there any possibility to center the text? No it is right justified what looks kind of strange.)

I totally get that scrivener isn’t supposed to be a formatting program but it would be nice if its handling regarding small things like that would be easier. Otherwise I have to do those adjustments with programs like word which I would prefer not to…

Kind regards,

There are three boxes for the header/footer - left, centre and right - so yes, you can centre it. Scrivener isn’t a page layout program or word processor, as you note, so it’s not about WYSIWYG layout; nor is Scrivener trying to replace Word or Nisus or any other page layout program - it’s not trying to do everything or be all things to all people. If you find Word easier to use than Scrivener, then of course you should stick to Word. Of course, I’d love it if Scrivener “clicked” for you, but it would be remiss of me to pretend that it suits everyone, because everyone is different, and I’d hate to try to persuade somebody to use Scrivener only to have them struggle with it because it doesn’t fit their particular workflow.

All the best,

Hi Keith,

no no, don’t worry, I really like scrivener and am very happy to explore it. It really is something to me and I wished I had known about it while I was writing my thesis, believe me.
It’s just that I miss a few easy going things I’ve been used to working with word. (And I have to admit: I really hoped scrivener would replace word.)

Thanks very much for your help. I had overseen those boxes. Time for glasses, I guess.

Kind regards,

You really do need something like Word, or Nisus Writer Pro, to do the final finishing touches on a manuscript. Scrivener was designed for everything up until you prepare your text for printing, though there are a lot of features that let you minimize what you have to tweak before the text is ready for publication/distribution.

And really that’s as it should be. Word processors aren’t designed for the process of writing, they are essentially designed for very short compositions and for page layout.

While you don’t get the WYSIWYG adjustments when creating your header/footer in Scrivener, you do actually have a lot of formatting options.


As Keith explained, the three columns of boxes represent the left, center, and right of your header/footer, so include your text in whichever of these boxes you prefer (or your agent requests). You can use all of them or leave some blank, as you like.

You can change the font by clicking in the Font box (where the blue oval is). To create bold, italic, or underlining, as it explains toward the bottom, you can use **, *, and _ as in the examples above, e.g. My Great Novel will result in My Great Novel. (You can also use BBCode if you’re more comfortable with that.)

Clicking the “Options” button will let you choose to have a different header on the first page; select the checkbox and then fill out the boxes there to create your alternate header. If you want no header on the first page, check the box but leave the boxes blank. (Note that when they’re “blank” they do show grayed-out sample text. In the image above, the only box that contains text that will be printed is the top right with “<$surname>” etc.)

Also as in the example, and as is already set in some of the default compile options, you can use the tag <$p> to include a page count. Help>Placeholder Tags List… will give you a huge selection of other variables to choose from, if you need other options, but that’s most likely the one you’d care about; there are variables (like <$surname>) to include your last name, etc., but you can always just type it in for the given project.

Hope that helps a little. And as the others said, Scrivener is fantastic for writing but isn’t trying to be about the final layout and polishing touches like that, so for most manuscripts you will want to export to dedicated word processor just to tweak the last layout bits. If you’re more comfortable just adding the header at that stage, there’s really no reason you shouldn’t just wait and do it in Word or Pages.

Wow, thank you very much for the explanation.
Dumb as I’ve been I tried to figure out how to get rid of those bold italic-fragments inserted in the left box. :blush: I didn’t get that they are only examples for style options. Shame on me - again.
So thanks again. I really appreciate your help and I’m sure you can imagine how lost I’ve been without it.

Thanks MimeticMouton for providing such sterling help!

venera - great to hear that you like Scrivener in general. Regarding the “example” text in those text boxes, that is one thing to look out for in general on OS X, actually. It’s a feature of the Mac’s text fields that if they are empty they can show grey example or “placeholder” text. So, in general, if the text in such a field is grey, and if when you click into the text field the text disappears, that means it’s just example text there either to tell you something (as in the case of these boxes and the search field in Scrivener’s toolbar) or to show the default value.

Thanks and all the best,

Thank you, Keith.
I’ve been working with macs for about ten years but I obviously never understood what the grey inserted texts were about. Here comes the shame again.

Since I learned that scrivener isn’t the optimal app for doing my formatting I’d like to know which app you would recommend. I worked with word, open office and pages so far but all of them had at any time problems to manage rich texts (like 200 pages).
I browsed through the links (thanks for that collection!) and there are many apps which sound nice but I would prefer to get a few personal opinions. (I hope it is okay to post this question here.)
I hope I didn’t get it all mixed up but these seem to be the most appealing ones for formatting longer texts and writing short ones like letters (correct me if I’m wrong):





What do you think? Which app goes well with scrivener? Which is easy to handle for someone used to word et al.?
I would be pleased to get rid of word complete because it breaks down so easily while I’m working with it…

Kind regards and thanks again,

The best word processor to use in conjunction with Scrivener (other than Word, strictly in terms of features) is Nisus Writer Pro. It handles nearly everything Scrivener can throw at it, and the things it does not handle are fairly uncommon, like some of the more advanced footnote numbering options and foreign language list enumeration.

Most of the software packages you list aren’t actually word processors at all. DEVONthink is an information database, designed to store tens of thousands of documents. It has some minimal processing features, but nothing advanced and actually has some bad limitations in some areas of advanced formatting.

I’m not familiar with WriteItNow, but it and Ulysses are both similar to Scrivener in that they are writing-project tools. They are focussed on the mechanics of drafting a manuscript from a content bias standpoint, not formatting it. In fact, with Ulysses you’ll probably be way off the deep end as it doesn’t even support regular formatting at all. You use text codes that get turned into formatting when you export.

OpenOffice works in a pinch, but isn’t very elegant and is, like Word, way more complicated than most people need. Pages has its own set of problems. For simple documents it can work well with Scrivener, but it actually has pretty shoddy RTF support. You have to use OpenOffice or Word to really get the most out of it.

All of this is detailed exhaustively in the documentation, including work-arounds and tables of feature support, and the best formats to use for each word processor. See §25.4 (pg. 267) and onward.

Now, all of that said: Scrivener isn’t actually that bad when it comes to formatting. I would suspect, especially with the new compiler, that most people actually won’t even need a word processor at all. It might take some tweaking and trial and error, but if you are submitting documents to an editor or publisher and then they take that and do the final layout design—Scrivener should be just fine. If you are doing your own desktop publishing then you probably will need a layout or word processor application to put on the finishing touches. Scrivener is very “procedural” with many of its format options. That means it can do quite a lot, but it doesn’t have a lot of support for spot layout. You can reformat your entire book to a look and feel, but if you need to right-float your images or adjust a page for precision avoidance of awkward white gaps between words—all of that nitty gritty camera-ready stuff, it’s best to use a finishing program.

Hi AmberV,
thank you very much for your response. I assume I will need a layout program for finishing my works (academical, and I doubt I will be able to afford a layouter) but maybe even scrivener will save me so far (since I now know how to use headers and footers).
I hadn’t seen the listing in the manual, as usual, this is very helpful. Until now I always exported to .doc-formats and I’m curious if it will make a difference exporting to .rtf as suggested. Maybe that’s the point whre I went wrong and overstrained word…

Thanks again,

That could explain some problems, particularly with the older version of Scrivener. In 2.0, it actually just fakes a .doc file by default (this can be changed if you really need the Microsoft DOC format).

Do check out some of our academic templates. We have a several popular style guides and publication specifications. They come with instructions on how to use them, and have the compiler all set up to produce a result which should be very close to final product. You can even achieve the standard title/abstract lead into a two-column document, with custom positioning for endnotes and all manner of things.