Interactive tutorial

Last week I bought a MacBook Pro AND Scrivener 2. The combined learning curves now feel really quite like a K12 ascent–on the windy side–as I’ve never worked on any Apple products before.

I’m working my way through the Interactive tutorial, which suggests that that process shouldn’t take much more than 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

4 hours into the tutorial and I’m only half way through, primarily because I just can’t seem to find some of the icons referenced, and that’s because in the Tutorial, the Scrivener tool bar doesn’t appear, so I wander around trying to figure out what to do.

I started a parallel project to try to bypass this issue, which does let me see the Scrivener toolbar, but I must be doing something wrong. A couple of stumblers I’ve had:

  1. In Draft, in a file (doc?) I created, I see the “View Mode” but I can’t get it to switch to “Group Mode”. Is this because I haven’t made a “Group”, or only have that 1 doc?

  2. Impossible to follow all of the tutorial instructions, for example, in Part 2: Organisation where it says to click “Part 2: Organisation” in the binder, then go to “Documents>Convert>To File” in main menu, but there is no Scrivener tool bar from which to choose Documents.

I know it’s me, premature onset senile dementia, because my 18 y/o son got the same Mac and a $450+ hideously complicated musicians’ app and he was working/playing/composing within 30 minutes after he installed it even though it was his first Mac experience.

This is freaking me out because I haven’t had time to write for several days and I’m on a deadline, but I KNOW if I can just grock it, my writer’s life will immensely improve and I can work much more quickly with my mountains of research.

Thanks for any help, but, please be kind…

(I haven’t felt this incompetent since I sat down 22 years ago in front of my first PC.)

All right, it sounds like most of what you are running up against is unfamiliar terminology, which is only to be expected on a brand new operating system. On a Mac, every application has its main menu at the top of the screen. When the tutorial or the manual asks you to use a menu command, it is talking about this menu bar. This is of course different from a Windows program, which has the menu bar in the application window itself. So in the case of “Documents/Convert/to Folder” you need to find the “Documents” menu at the very top of your display, it’s not going to be in the toolbar.

If you can’t see the toolbar itself, which is going to be the strip along the top of each project window with a set of icons and a search tool on the right-hand side, then click the little pill-shaped clear button in the top-right corner of the window. This is the small button on the same row as the window title and the green/yellow/red buttons on the far left.

This toolbar control will switch to “Group” mode when you have a group selected in the binder, not a single item like a text file. Try clicking on “Draft” itself, which is a group, to see what I mean. Those buttons change whether or not you see a corkboard, outliner, or combined Scrivenings text view when you click on groups. You can also see a group by selecting more than one item at any time. Selecting more than one item is just like Windows, only with a different key. Instead of holding down Ctrl and clicking on things to expand the collection, you hold down Command. Shift works the same way, by selecting ranges of items.

One thing I would also suggest, is to take a look at the video tutorials:

As a new user new to a Mac (ouch - that is a learning curve!), I recommend watching the first two, “An Introduction to Scrivener”, in which I go over and show how to use all the main features (covering some of the same ground as the tutorial, but not in quite so much detail), and the “ScreenCastsOnline” one, which was created by a professional screencaster who has the benefit of distance, being a user rather than the developer of the software.

As someone new to a Mac, the benefit of watching these videos is that you will be able to see the application in action and exactly what we are doing. After that, you should be able to go through the rest of the tutorial with a lot more confidence, or just forge ahead with what you’ve learned from the video tutorials.

Let us know if you have any more questions, though. Please don’t feel incompetent - Scrivener does have a slight learning curve but that is going to seem a lot worse if you are trying to learn a whole new operating system too.

All the best,

Also, we don’t bite. And some of us are busy procrastinating on scripts, so we’re looking for any excuse to have something important to do like helping other users. 8)

Thanks so much for the support, which at this point almost feels like a person gets in therapy.

I now understand the View modes.

Also, I think I just figured out that I’d complicated this perhaps because of that parallel doc I started in Draft. That did bring up the topmost toolbar with the Scrivener options, but I didn’t realize this was also popping up with the Tutorial. I was using old Windows “muscle memory” and just looked at the Tutorial’s toolbar, not that which runs to the right of the Apple logo at the top of the screen.

So, OK, I [i]think[i] I’ve got it.

Again, thanks, and, count on it, I’ll probably be back here later today/tonight, again bleeding all over the place.

PS Why is it that once a problem is solved, it makes sense? Same thing as always finding something in the last place we look?

I know you’re probably being a bit tongue in cheek, but in software design this is a good thing. It means that even though the solution might not be immediately intuitive, the underlying mechanism is sound. It’s not feasible to make everything in a program intuitive, especially one as heavy as Scrivener—and in some cases the best answer for a problem is not the most intuitive answer, because it provides greater benefit once you learn it, whereas the most intuitive option would reduce usability for those who’ve learned it—usually this manifests as needing to click around too much to do one thing, or needing to press a lot of buttons to get past easy to figure out, but workflow-clunky features. Having to interface with Wizards is a classic example of sacrificing power for up-front easy to use design.

Scrivener has a few areas that fit this category. The relationship between index cards and folders and documents is not at all common and probably not immediately intuitive as a result—but the benefits of that system to someone who gets the lightbulb flicked can easily be ground breaking and cause you to rethink how you write from a purely mechanical standpoint.

But yeah, please do feel free to post any questions you may have, that’s what we’re here for.

Just came back for a minute to re-read this thread and saw I hadn’t said thanks, Amber, for your clear answer.

I took a break from the Interactive Video after making it halfway through, and see I’m going to have to start over, which is a good thing at this point.

Thanks so much, one and all.