Introduction or Preface?

I’m fairly new to Scrivener, and new to these boards (hi!). I hope this is the right place to post my question.

So, Scrivener comes with templates that helpfully automatically put in your chapter numbers and write “chapter one” or “chapter two” or whatever at the top. This is good. Well, it is good until it isn’t. What do you (I) do if you want to include a forward, introduction, or preface? For that matter, the same question applies for an acknowledgement or a dedication. You know, something that comes before chapter one, and does not get a chapter number, or the word chapter added.


Yes, this is a bit of a limitation at the moment. There are ways you can get around this right now by taking advantage of how prefixing works. Briefly, you can supply a prefix to a level of document as well as a type. So a file icon can have one prefix, where a folder can have another, and meanwhile a file on level two of the outline can have another prefix entirely. In this way we can create templates such as the Novel with Parts template, that handles top level folders as Parts in the book, but all folders two and greater as Chapters.

So you’d take that idea and apply it to files. Right now the template settings you’ve been provided with consider a top-level file to be a chapter. This because many people like to just use files for chapters, especially if the chapters are quite short and do not need sub-file treatment (or that is just what they are used to). So the template catches that common way of working and goes with it intuitively. Unfortunately that decision also means a top-level file called “Preface” also gets treated as a chapter. The solution is to remove the prefix from level 1 files in the compile Formatting option pane, but leaving the Title checkbox ticked (so that “Preface” is still visible).

But, if you are one of those using files for chapters instead of a Folder/Scene|Section construct, then you’ll run into another problem because you do want level one files to get a chapter prefix—just not for the one or two special cases. There are some alternate ways to handle that problem. One is to create a “dummy” folder and put all of your chapters in it. The folder can be set to not be included in compile, it’s just there for your organisation. You would then set up level 2 files to be handled as chapters, and level 1 files as not. Some people like to do this anyway; separate the front, main and back matter into “dummy” folders so that the stuff that is seldom worked on can be tucked away.

Another alternative is to use the Compile As-Is flag in the Inspector to disable all title generation for the preface and introduction files, and typeset the titles directly in the document. That works, but it has a negative side-effect of also turning off the override formatting feature (which is how Scrivener can make an Helvetica typed editor document TNR or Courier 12 in the end). In other words, you’ll need to typeset these documents correctly as they should appear in the final output.

Just so you know we have plans for better addressing this specific problem in the future. We’ll be adding about three different ways you can selectively exclude prefix/suffix generation to elected documents, or you can specify an entire block of the manuscript as being “front matter” and handled differently in a number of ways (such as using Roman numeral page numbering). But these are all on the longer-term roadmap. The above ideas are what you should work with for now.

I realise you do say you’re fairly new, so much of the above might be gibberish at this point. :slight_smile: Do let me know if you require clarification on anything, but much of what I was referring to above can be clarified in the user manual PDF in the chapter on compiling. There is a section on the Formatting pane that explains how formatting rules can be applied to different outline depths (and icon types). Reading that and comparing it with what you see in the template should illuminate what is going on here and enable you to build your own comfortable way of working.

Amber has written a far longer comment on your question; I have a brief observation. Publishers call such material “front matter” and I just create a folder with that name, at the top of the project file. Same with “back matter” like Afterword, Index, etc. placed at the end. This has not created a problem with compiling, and remember in your final revisions of the MS you will work in a standard word processor, anyway, like Pages, Word, or Nisus Writer Pro.