Interface Questions

Hello, I was wondering if there is a way to see your entire project history as a launching page in Scrivener?

Also, is there a way to have the sidebar hide while you are writing?

How long did it take for you to become accustomed to Scrivener? It seems more cumbersome than other programs I’ve used.

Hi Andreah. Welcome to the forum. :slight_smile:

Not that I know of.

It does in composition mode. → (F11) or View/Composition mode.
Else: no.
(I assume you meant the editor’s scrollbar.)

Hard to tell. Longer than with other softwares, that’s for sure. But totally worth it.
Note that the learning speed is exponential. (The curve is very steep past some point. More like an elbow. :stuck_out_tongue: )

Hi Vincent,

There is a program called Dabble that I tried out, which is cloud based and more expensive than Scrivener. It doesn’t have the screenplay capability, but I like that as you typed on a page, the sidebar with the chapters, etc would disappear. I found it easier to focus on writing that way. It also had a bar of recent projects when you first log in or you click create. Much less cumbersome overall and perhaps more intuitive, but not as many features.

That is what F11 (composition mode) does.
Give it a try :wink: (To leave that mode is by F11 again.)

You can set the background etc in the general options.

Sorry, thought you meant writing history (word count per day).

. . . . . . . .

I would advise that you create yourself a test project (or use - and why not, read – Help/Interactive tutorial) and cycle through the menus. Try stuff out. See what is there.

As @Vincent_Vincent mentions, you might want to give Composition Mode a try.

Another choice is to hide whatever you don’t want to see in the main interface by toggling things on and off from the View Menu:

Binder & Inspector:

Header & Footer:

The primary concepts Scrivener is based on–break your long work into multiple smaller documents, then combine and format those documents when you need to export your work to some other output target (compile feature)–made perfect sense to me, so I took to Scrivener nearly immediately. Then again, I carefully went through the entire Tutorial (Help > Interactive Tutorial) and skimmed the entire manual (Help > Scrivener Manual) to get a solid idea of what Scrivener’s capabilities were.

There are two main things that seem to cause people difficulty (learning curve).

First, Scrivener’s compile feature is unlike anything you’re likely to encounter in a writing program. By necessity, it’s a bit deep, as there are a lot of output targets (PDF, ebook, .doc, etc.) and lots of options for each target. Also, unfortunately, compile currently has a few bugs, so even if you’ve got compile configured correctly, the compiled output might not be correct.

The other point folks seem to have issues with is that there’s typically many ways to accomplish something in Scrivener. It’s super flexible. To me that’s a plus, but it does mean the software ends up with a ton of menu options and configuration options, and that can be confusing and make finding the right option difficult.



Yes, I have been watching videos and reading about the program, thus the cumbersome comment. I was hoping for something that is more user-friendly from the get-go.

I was able to get the F11 to work and thankfully found information on how to not have the screen in greyscale.

As for the project launch space, I was hoping for something a bit more visual. I tried posting a jpg but it won’t let me.

Thanks for your input.

I was just hoping for a program that I could jump into where it would be a bit less cumbersome in terms of learning curve. I was using Final Draft for a long time. I did a trial of Scrivener and Dabble to try to compare features and there were benefits to Dabble, but the price and screenplay option are what made me go with Scrivener.

I was able to get the composition mode to work thankfully.

I think I just prefer the visual setup of Dabble a bit more where you have a bar with your most recent projects right upon opening. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to load the image of the screen for comparison.

Does that truly make any difference?
Imo it doesn’t. At all.
If what you are looking for is a software that is flexible and gets the job done, no doubt Scrivener matches the description. (But who says flexible, also says complex. Thus the learning curve. Which is, again, in my opinion absolutely worth it.)

IMO it does when you are dealing with neurological issues that make complex instructions more difficult to understand and implement. Thus, the desire to have something not overly difficult to set up and use, as well as wanting more of a visual interface and not a 700+ page of instructions.

Perhaps then a WYSIWYG software would be more appropriate. (?)

For those of us who use SCrivener for all our writing projects that could make for a very complex and over-full “history”. At times I might have a dozen Projects open (and opened on startup) which would result in a mass of confusing information.

If by sidebar you mean the Binder then yes. View > Hide Binder or use the shortcut ⌥⌘B (I’m a Mac user but undoubtedly there is a an equivalent shortcut for Windows.) Personally I never hide the Binder. I use it all the time in whichever of my many Projects I am working on at the time.

You could also use Typrewriter mode. No idea how you turn that on as i never ever use it.

There is also Scrivenings mode. which I exploit all the time.

I’m a pragmatic user. “What does this do? Oooo that’s interesting.” Just have a poke around and see what various things do. There are many features I have not used nor feel the need to do so either; such as the Corkboard it just isn’t the way I write. (Tantermount to heresy to say so here but that’s the way I roll.)

If by cumbersome you mean fantastically functioned then yeah compared to other less well providing tools.

If by cumbersome you mean it does not work like Microsoft Word then thank god it doesn’t! Since first using Scrivener some years ago I’ve had no need to use any word processor.

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That’s my other heresy here. I do not use the manual at all. It’s only virtue is as an example of how to create different versions (Mac v Windows) of the same Project.


I don’t know what a “project history” is or could look like.

The first icon in the 1st screenshot shows or hides the Binder. In the 2nd screenshot, the last icon shows or hides the Inspector. Both are very useful. If you don’t see them on the toolbar, customize it so that they do.


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Thanks, not quite what I need though.

Baby steps. The virtue of Scrivener is that you do not need to use all the features at the start. Create your Project. Add a document to the binder. Type your text. When it gets too long, break it up into smaller documents letting you focus on the idea of the moment. If it gets out of order then drag the documents around the Binder for a better narrative order. That’s pretty much what I did for a long while when I started.

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I have all of the files imported so that isn’t an issue. As mentioned above, I was hoping for a more user-friendly system/interface that I can remember how to use without referring to videos for everything. There are features that I think are better than other programs. By cumbersome, I was referring to Scrivener. I haven’t used Word in years.

Thank you! I think this feature is more along the lines of what I was looking for. It looks a bit different on Windows (missing my Mac atm).

I agee on the manual. It’s barely usable for anything.


As for something like a launch-screen visual representation of all your projects (or maybe an active subset of them) … All this can be doing is give you tiles to click on to open a project (Scrivener for iOS has this kind of start screen), and it is easy to set something like this up for yourself (though the place you would do it is outside Scrivener itself):

On you desktop/laptop, keep all your (active) Scriv projects in a single folder, and set that folder to icon view and set the zoom on the icons to as big as you like. Viola! (At least all that is readily doable on the Mac; I assume Win has similar facilities.)

Like the user manual never used any of the videos.

The one external resource I have used, and that years after first starting with Scrivener, is Gwen Hernandez. It might be for versions 1 & 2 of Scrivener but I still refer to it for version 3.

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