Is reading the User Manual necessary ?


I’ve just finished the tutorial, and I was wondering if reading the User Manual would bring me more knowledge and productivity, or if this is just a waste of time because I can basically learn everything that’s important just by using Scrivener ( tutorial included ) and exploring the options / settings ?
I’m just afraid to miss something useful and I hate not to know all the little functions of a software, but those 546 pages are damn scary.
Someone tried ?

( And is he still alive ? )

Thanks in advance.

o/or :point_up: (depending on how emoticons or emojis render on your system) that me putting my arm up or a digit up to say I’ve never read the user manual. I’ve commented here before —sorry Amber I know you will disagree — that I think it is organised incorrectly as it is narrative based where as for a manual one wants reference material not story. What I use instead (as both narrative, task-oriented, and reference) is the Scrivener for Dummies book by Gwen Hernandez; it succeeds as narrative much better than the official user manual does. The best reference is to play with Scrivener and see what various features do.

Occasionally (and those occasions are very far apart) I have resorted to searching the user manual for something specific and found it but it is in those moments that the narrativisation of the material fails.

No, it isn’t necessary to read it.

It wouldn’t hurt to skim through the Table of Contents so that you know what’s there and can find things quickly if needed, or to make note of sections that seem directly relevant to something you’re trying to do. (Contra reepicheep, I often use it as a reference.)

But read the whole thing? No, not necessary.


I would recommend reading Chapters 5 and 6 now, then just dip into the rest of the manual as and when you need more detailed reference material, depending on how you use the application. Chapter 5 contains a useful overview of the interface, and Chapter 6 contains a quick tour that presents some key ideas/workflows in an easily accessible manner (which is slightly different to that used in the interactive tutorial).

All the best,

Having an iPad, I bought and read the Take-control book on Scrivener 2, and use the manual as a kind of reference for details. This has kept me going, but I’m still discovering new things I can use. Alas, learning as you go, is a nice way to live, in general. :slight_smile:

You should definitely start using Scrivener now whether you read the manual outright or not. Beyond the basic familiarity that you have already acquired, you cannot really know what more you want to know about it until you do.

I would suggest also looking through the table of contents and then some targeted skimming of sections that seem to you of obvious interest – not because they cover the basics, but because they cover functionality that piques your interest.

I think most of the time my own knowledge of additional functions of Scrivener that really enhanced my workflow came from regularly reading this forum! So, also definitely recommended (and fun).


Thank you for all your answers. I’m just gonna take a look to the table of contents.

Wish you all an happy new year.

Hi Roland,

Many of the “Help! Scrivener ate a day/week/month/year of my work!” posts on this forum are partially due to people not understanding Scrivener’s backup system. So if you read nothing else in the manual, I strongly recommend you read section 7.11 “Backing Up Your Work” and Appendix B9 “Backup” and B12 “Saving”.

When I first began using Scrivener, I skimmed the entire manual. My goal was to get an idea of what Scrivener is capable of, what configurations are possible, what the options are. I was able to get through it pretty quickly, because I skipped the details of how to do things, unless it was functionality that appeared to be immediately useful to me. When I was done, I had a very good idea of what Scrivener could do.

Just my $.02. Best of luck!