Layouts not appearing in latest PC ver (as of 070922)

I’ve loaded the latest ver of software and nothing appears under layouts.

If I make a layout and save it, it will appear under layout.

I’ve installed and uninstalled. I first loaded it onto the d drive when it didn’t work I let it load where it wanted to. Still nothing.

It looks like the uninstall doesn’t clear out its old junk because its still registered and seems to remember old folders… (which is pretty naff IMHO)

Any ideas where I can get the layouts - are they shipped in the installer if so where are they deployed.


Chris Long

This confused me at first. If you go to Window > Layouts > Layout Manager, and click on the three dots menu, you should see an option to hide the default layouts in the menu. For some reason, this is ticked by default.

Untick it and the menu will have the layouts restored.


Oh , man, that’s brilliant… Thank you.

Next question what imbecile defaulted that to off??

While I’m here is anyone else surprised that it doesn’t ship with a british english dictionary?

Anyway, thank you so much - great response.

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How kind of you to ask so politely. The imbecile would be Literature & Latte’s development team.

Apparently, pre-built layouts are “in a rough state”, which is why they’re hidden and undocumented. Use at your own risk.


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I think Scrivener doesn’t ship with any dictionaries at all. They’re provided by the system.

Thank you, my politeness was mostly inspired by spending most of the morning installing and uninstalling the software and searching the web for a solution.

That it has taken the dev team over two years to ‘un rough’ the layouts - which let’s remember sit on the main tool bar - is, well, disappointing.

That it is not mentioned (from my reading) in the latest manual (Oct 21) is, well, frustrating.

So I felt it best to be polite, if only to smooth the way of getting layouts un roughed and to help support new users.



Although, every time I have loaded the software (ver 1 and 3) I’m pretty sure it has automatically loaded the US dictionary and nothing else. Yet all the machines (win 7 to 11) I’ve loaded it on are British English.


You didn’t mention whether you were able to download the British English dictionary.

If you weren’t, do so via File > Options > Corrections > Spelling > Download:

But a few of us are unsatisfied with the lack of words in the dictionaries that Scrivener provides. If you find yourself in that camp, you can download a more robust one.

See this thread for a detailed discussion of the topic, where this post contains a link for downloading a few “levels” of English dictionaries, British included.

And see this post in a different thread for instructions on where the Scrivener dictionary folders/files are located and how to replace them.



Thanks for this Jim, yes I generally download the UK dictionary. I think I was surprised that the US dictionary seems shipped as standard but not the UK one, yet its from a British company (AFAIK).

As for the lack of words - oh always, but, really, my main desire is to spell the ones I know correctly… :slight_smile:


The simplest answer is that the Layouts feature was not originally intended to supply any examples, and indeed for many years the software shipped with an empty list for you to fill up with your own. So it is a bit of a misdirection to say we’ve just “let it sit” unfinished. It does what it did in v1 for Win and v2 for Mac.

The second answer is that the examples shouldn’t even really be thought of as such, technically speaking. They aren’t actually Layouts. They act a lot like them, and from a front-end point of view, they might as well be thought of as them, but internally they are 100% different by design. They are hard-coded macros that not only change the layout of the window, but perform a number of tasks that ordinarily layouts cannot do.

In their current state, lacking all of that but the window layout part, they often produce confusing results, and we don’t want that to be people’s first impressions of the feature. They also don’t explain how to get out of them at all, and for some that configure rather elaborate navigation settings that completely change how the binder and splits interact with one another, it would only increase support—far more than the one or two questions we get now and then asking why they are hidden.

Totally understood and all fair points, but I have to say it looks like you have created a rod for your own back by not addressing it.

They are there, you can make them appear, they appear in lots of the training videos, they are referenced in external training and yet you kinda pretend they don’t exist. Which is of course exactly why I’m here.

I totally get that these things have become a pain in the backside - and technically are way more complicated than they look, but by not addressing it you end up effectively saying that you don’t care that users get confused because it would only increase support if you did explain them (your last sentence).

So, my pitch for what its worth is that you put it in the manual - there are two places I found that talked about layouts both would benefit from a box out explaining that there are some predefined layouts but really you ought to develop/use your own. These are to ‘get you going if you want’, training wheels if you like.

It’s probably better doing that rather than simply deleting them because so many outside voices reference them.

And finally you might make your life a bit easier for yourself if you didn’t label the first of the layouts ‘Default’ - in my opinion that is a seal of approval that complicates things.

Thanks for your reasoned reply and I hope I don’t sound too negative - but (a bit like not being able to fully delete Scrivener’s footprint on uninstall) I think you guys might end up suffering a bit of user irritation when its simple to sort out.

All my own opinions – ignore at will…


That’s the thing. Due to the lack of words in the supplied Scriv dictionary, you may know words–or variations of words–that it doesn’t.

When Scrivener’s spellcheck identifies words as misspelled that you know for a fact are correctly spelled, that’s a sign your vocabulary has exceeded the dictionary’s.

If this occurs regularly enough to become annoying, consider investigating the threads I linked to in my post above.


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That is some crazy hidden manager feature for a plain-old windows menu item? Was this a beta UI during v3’s writing? Add a hidden check box on the main menu there (next to new layout), so the manager isn’t needed for doing that.

Thanks Jim, you are totally right, I did check the links and am going to attempt making a dictionary for me.

Being dyslexic means that when spell check throws up a word I think ‘hold on that doesn’t look right…’ but I don’t know if it’s right - and sometimes it throws up US spellings. And that does rather spoil the flow.

I always presumed that I haven’t got the dictionary correctly installed so I put up with it. Which prompted my question - afaik Scrivener is a British piece of software - how is it the UK dictionary isn’t 1/ shipped automatically and 2/ better.

Anyway - thanks for all your advice.

One final thing while I’m here and I’m not sure if its a fair question/moan - and I’m certainly not looking for a fight.


Does anyone miss having a ‘functional description’ of how scrivener works, like: binder can have text boxes or folders or both. Folders can have text boxes but not other folders… etc

I don’t know if that is correct, but I have been chasing that concept down for my latest project - given the innate complexity of scrivener (or even its fantastical simplicity) I wish the latte people would give me a diagram or something of how it works.

My suspicion is they cater for ‘creatives’ which is exactly who they should cater to, and don’t want to confuse them, but people like me could do with a hand understanding the nature of the beast so as to use it better.

Sorry, am I being fantastically dim?

Answers on a post card… :slight_smile:

Cheers and thanks for the help all

I suspect it’s just a ‘largest market’ thing. Even on the Mac, there are terrible spelling mistakes in the menu – look at the Use color in items, for example :grinning:.

I suspect that one may have something to do with some controls having to use the US English default mispellings (e.g. The Color picker is a MacOS-wide thing, and that’s how it’s spelled everywhere), so it would be a bit jarring to have the menus spelling the word properly. (NB: I have no idea whether this is true or not…)

As for your request for a functional description of how Scrivener works, then the Interactive Tutorial (on the Help menu) is still the best guide to that. You will find in it the basics of not just the ‘how’ features work, but the ‘why’. It gives you the ‘language’ to understand how to get the best of the program.

For your specific question, here’s a general overview of how the Binder works. (Of course there is a lot more complexity behind the scenes, which is totally beyond me, but I think this is a reasonable approximation….)

The Binder contains two types of element: folders and files.

Each item in the Binder represents a ‘package’ (not a scrivener term) of various elements:

  • the content (text, image etc)
  • a synopsis
  • notes
  • metadata
  • snapshots

Behind the scenes, each of these has a physical representation on your disk: look inside a Scrivener project directory and you will find a .scrivx file (which is effectively the representation of the Binder) and a series of directories. Inside Files you’ll find a long-numbered directory for every item in the binder, and inside them, you’ll find:

  • content.rtf
  • content.styles
  • notes.rtf
  • synopsis.txt

(The last two only appear if the item itself has a synopsis, notes etc.)

The [your project name].scrivx file is an xml file which ties these disk folders/directories to what you see in the binder. It also holds the metadata for each item. This is why it is essential to copy the entire project directory on Windows: if you only copy the .scrivx file, you’ll lose the links to the actual data and your items will be empty.

When you’re in the Binder and you choose an item and a view (Scrivenings, Cork board, Outline), Scrivener pulls the various elements together and shows you them in the most appropriate form.

E.g. If you’re in the Cork board, it takes synopsis.txt and shows it as the text of the front of the index card and/or shows the same text in the Synopsis Inspector panel if that’s visible. If you’re in the Editor, you’ll see the contents of contents.rtf. If the Inspector panel is visible, you’ll see the metadata, the notes and synopsis, snapshots etc, depending on which panel you’ve chosen.

You’ll notice that so far I’ve been talking about items in the binder, not documents/files or folders. That’s because folders [*] and files are fundamentally the same: they all can have content.rtf, notes.rtf, synopsis.txt etc.

One corollary of this is that it’s not true that:

…binder can have text boxes or folders or both. Folders can have text boxes but not other folders… etc

Every item in the Binder can have files or folders, to as much depth as you want. Folders can have folders and files as children just as easily as files can. (When a file has children in the binder, it’s technically known as a ‘File Group’, but it’s still just a file with children as far as its other features go.)

So why have different names for folders and files?

It’s because there are a few (not many) differences in the way they’re treated. For example:

  • if you click on a Folder in the Binder, the default action is to show it in ‘multi-file’ view: e.g. If you’re viewing the editor (ctl-1) you’ll see the contents of all the children in Scrivening mode. If you’re in Outline mode you’ll see the outline of the children etc. In contrast, if you click on a file, you’ll just see the contents of that file. This default behaviour can be changed in Options.

  • Scrivener can allocated default Section Types to different layers in the hierarchy, depending on whether it’s a folder, a document or a file group. Have a look at Project > Project Settings > Section Types > Default types by structure to see what I mean.

Note how a second level folder has a section type of ‘Chapter’, but a second level file is a ‘Scene’. So, by choosing which items in the Binder are folders, file groups or files you can have a lot of flexibility about how your project will eventually be compiled, without having to manually assign a section type to each item.

There are probably other differences, but I think those are the main ones.


[*] There are three ‘special’ folders in the binder: Manuscript/Draft, Research, and Trash. You can rename them, but you can never delete them. They also don’t have text, synopsis or metadata etc.


Goodness Gracious…

Well, for a start thank you.

And for a second I will have to sit down and follow that. But thanks, I’ve been pottering around scrivener and have done some projects in it for a while, but I wanted to do one ‘properly’ and try to understand what I was using. Looks like I have no excuse to not now…

I did try the interactive tutorial years ago, and got further than I expected but I still didn’t get out of it a picture in my head, I will try again.

But your description really helped (as did the folder lay out, I didn’t have the courage to ask about the folders – so thanks)

But, really, thanks for putting the time into this.

I tend to agree with the ‘largest market’ thing and I’m well aware that the dev team aren’t likely to a lot of bandwidth or be very big and will almost certainly have other priorities. But I feel that with a little effort channelled in a different direction they can get bigger wins and give a more rounded feel to the software.

Note I’m not a developer but I’ve been around this stuff for 40 odd years.

I wonder why they don’t tap into system language - it’s been a little while since I’ve set up a Mac but I’m pretty sure there is a UK English option. There certainly is in Windows and yet I see your “Color” in the menu. I would argue it’s getting those ‘little things’ right that can help make it a smoother sell to the people who think that is important.

Well aware, though, that the dev effort may be tricky…

Aaaanny way, thanks to all the people here who have answered my questions and for putting all the effort into helping me understand.


You’re welcome!

Definitely do the tutorial. You won’t use everything you read about in there – nobody does – but it will help to decide which features will help your way of working, and how best to use them.

Good luck…