Levels and titles


I think I must be missing something simple in the way that Scrivener handles numbering of titles. Basically I am not sure how the hierarchical ordering of levels relate to the actual documents in the binder. I love the new feature where documents get highlighted as I mark them in the compile (formatting) section, however I am not really following. This is what I want:

A simple, three level structure:

  1. Heading
    1.1 Heading
    1.1.1 Heading

In the binder I have: folders, documents containers (or whatever we call them), plain documents.

As there is a corresponding level for each of those items in the formatting section of compile, I assumed that they equalled the hierarchy I specified above, however this does not seem to be the case. In particular it seems as if I use container documents then, given that I also use folders, the containers will be used for the second tier of numbering. This also seems to exclude the normal documents, which creates problems in the numbering. Example:

  1. Introduction (folder level document)
    1.1 Specifying a research problem (container document, placed in the folder)
    1.1.1 Aim and purpose (document in the container and thus placed in the same folder)
    1.2 A note on retroduction (document, placed in the folder).
    1.3 Governmentality (container document placed in the folder)
    1.3.1 Combining with CDA (document in the container thus placed in the same folder)

The problem here is that the documents that are not containers (i.e 1.2 in the example above) will be treated at the same tier of numbering as the ones that are placed within containers rather than at the same tier as the containers themselves.

Is there a way to manually define tiers as corresponding to certain types of documents? I know how to add a new level, however I do not seem to get to choose what this level actually “is” in terms of the binder. Rather, scrivener does this for me and it generally is not clear to me how this works.

I may add that I usually get a functioning output after tweaking around with the levels and the numbering (excluding, including levels and documents etc.) however what I look for now is the underlaying rationale for the numbering. Can I read up on this?



Whether a binder document is a folder or a file is completely arbitrary to how the binder itself functions. Folders can contain folders or files, files can contain folders or files, and you can switch between something being a folder or file by right-clicking it in the binder and selecting ‘convert to folder/file’.

The compile settings have to be fairly carefully set up. It would be easier to see what you’re doing if you take a couple of screenshots of your binder and of the ‘formatting’ pane of your compile settings.

Also, in the compile settings, you have to define the format of the titles of both files that contain other files and files which are terminal nodes, as it were. The difference between them is the icon is a pile of papers if it contains subdocuments, and changes to a single page if it doesn’t. The idea of this is you can have different title formatting for binder documents that don’t have other documents within them.

My binder has folders for each chapter, and everything else being subdocuments. In the compile settings, I have folder level 1 defined, and then I have 5 levels of documents (files) defined, both types as I mentioned just above. Since in my project, I don’t care whether documents contain other documents, the formatting for the titles of both types of documents is identical. The only differences in my settings are that the folder is quite different, and says ‘Chapter N’, whereas the rest get progressively smaller for each level of the binder. I’ve attached a screenshot of my formatting pane to illustrate.

Hi there and thank you for the reply.

I understand that it is arbitrary what we call the different “forms” of documents - they can be represented as folder, containers or plain documents (or something else), however what I am getting at is how to define any such document as any given level in the numbering. That is, if you create a new document according to your settings, at the tier below your folder, I gather that this would be numbered X.x. The problem that I have is that scrivener does treat some of the documents right, but not the others.

Maybe the screen shots can clear something up (sorry for not posting them yesterday - I was at a different computer). In ss 1 the folders are correctly identified by scrivener as my “first tier” (i.e 1). In ss 2 the container documents are also correctly identified at the “second tier” level (i.e 1.1), however as you can see in ss 4 all documents are treated as “third tier” (i.e 1.1.1), while some of them are “graphically represented” in the binder as second tier - and I want them to be numbered accordingly (i.e 1.2).

The formatting settings for the item that is now labeled “level 1” does not correspond to any document in the binder. Further if I remove the “level 2+” item, the “level 1” item instead becomes “level 1+” and then picks up all the documents previously recognised as “level 2” - however the problem persists since everything that previously was “level 2” now instead is represented as “level 1+”.

Hi -I’ll chip in here. Ironically I also just posted an identical question–but without my actual doc :slight_smile:–and happy to know I’m not the only one to find this unintuitive:

After some tinkering I think I may have found the solution. You need to think of each heading/title level as controlled by level PAIRS. For instance, if you want your Heading 1 style/position uniform in the compiled output you must set identical level styles for BOTH Level 1 in the folder (upper) part AND Level 1 in the document only (lower) part. In other words, if I want five heading styles (1-5) in my output to match my 5 tier document/title hierarchy in Scrivener then I need to set the same style for the “upper” level 1 AND the “lower” level 1 positions and tick the “title” check box for the level pair.

It seems like the there might be a more user-friendly approach. I cast my vote for a redesign of this feature (even though the new yellow highlights really help). Why not a check box for uniform heading levels or a default setting in the “original” format template. Anyhooo. Cheers.

Remember, your folders are level 1, the outermost documents contained within them are level 2. So maybe you’re thinking of your binder documents like “Construcing a research problem” and “Researching a problem” as level 1; they’re actually level 2. If they were level 1 they’d be equal in the hierarchy with your folders (folders and documents can also go at any level of the hierarchy).

Since you only have the first level of multi-documents, and only two levels of single documents defined, yet your binder structure has simple documents at level 3, and multi-documents at level 2, these are being picked up by the wrong title styles. So the section “Researching What? etc” is actually a level 3 simple document and “Thesis Outline” is a level 2 simple document, and they’re both being formatted by the document level 2+ style.

So you would want your formatting pane to have:

Folder level 1+
Multi-document level 1
Multi-document level 2+
Document level 1
Document level 2
Document level 3+

Try that and report back. I presume the numbering is all coming out correctly? Just the styles being wrong?

Fully explained here:
literatureandlatte.com/video … eLarge.mov

Hi guys

Yes, peter100, I noticed your post too last friday and I was going to try to bring you into this discussion. You beat me to it though since I was away during the weekend. :slight_smile:

Anyway, I actually looked at that instructions video, as well as tried to use the manual, however I must have not been paying attention. What is need then (as Jangari also stresses) is actually levels for each document type. So I now made three levels for “folders”, “containers” as well as “documents” (again Im sorry if Im being unclear using my own sort of terminology for the items here - but I hope you get what I mean). And it works like a charm.

I think it could be more clear in the manual that the levels need to be applied for each document type. In particular because I went along the line that the document type was actually more of just a graphical representation and an organising tool. That is, if the type of document is arbitrary, scrivener should be able to just interpret any type of document on any given level as sitting in that particular hierarchical position for numbering.

Anyway. Thanks for all your help and - as always - thanks for an awesome program.


I agree that there should be a way of saying ‘take anything of level 1 and format it like this’. It would simplify the settings considerably. However the reason they are as they are, is that you can use folders and documents at different levels.

For example, you could have a document after all your chapters (which are themselves folders) for appendixes or references or something. Since it makes no difference you could you could still put documents within these, but if they’re appendices you wouldn’t want them numbered or even titled the same as regular chapter.

In that case you would set a level 1+ folder to produce something like:

Chapter <$hn>: [Title]

And then you’d set level 1 documents to have formatting like::


Level 2 and level 3 documents would then also have formatting like:

<$hn>. [Title]

This would produce a structure where chapters are called as such, sections within them get hierarchical numbering, and documents outside the chapters, like appendices, just get a title and not a number.

I suppose having to do things multiple times is a slight pain, but it does provide more power.

Also note that although you do have to set thing up across types, you can use Copy and Paste to transfer all formatting settings from one row to another. So get your folders set up the way you want, and then use Cmd-C and V to bring them down to file groups.