Looking for a list of differences between Mac and Windows versions

Thank you, that makes perfect sense.

Perhaps. Yes, I have spent enough time with designers that I get the gist. But I’ve never spent time with book formatting designers. So, what I did was pull a few books off the shelf, pick a favorite, and shamelessly copy ever margin, leading, chapter opening, etc.
Plus my editor gave me some advice on how many carriage returns at the start of the chapter, and some other things.

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Personally, I have no trouble producing final products (fiction) in Scrivener.



Same. @AmberV clarified by saying Scrivener suits most novelists, but when it comes to technical writing, where you may need tables, captions, or images shown in any other way that centered on the page, Scrivener is lacking in those areas.

A designer acquaintance wrote a book and she had illustrations above the start of each chapter. I don’t know if that’s possible in scrivener.

Nice resource… thanks!

You could do it, but I switch to Affinity Publisher for anything with images, for the much greater control that gives.

But, that said, (a) I’m not a designer, but (b) on the other hand, everything I compile goes through Nisus Writer Pro, if it’s for quick print, PDF or to send on to a non-Scrivener-using collaborator, or through Markdown to HTML for the website. Apart from being able to refine the layout in NWP (or Affinity), I find that reading the text and checking spelling in the different environment makes errors easier to spot.



It’s very possible, dare I say easy:

chapters, headings, and all that

<$img:<$label>> compiles to the image whose name is equal to the Label of the current document (chapter folder in this case). A simpler syntax is also easy, using replacement rules:

managing images in Scrivener


Here’s another, illustrating Scrivener’s ability to create completely different exports from the same content:

Synopsis/Epigraph report


Sweet, thanks! @drmajorbob

I just tried to make a PDF using Scrivener for Windows. This screenshot shows the difference between Mac and Windows. I now understand your comment about Windows subsystem for PDFs being unacceptable for print. Is there any Windows solution? For instance, if they have Acrobat Pro installed, does that fix this issue? If not, I can’t recommend Scrivener for Windows for any NHWP members.

The Windows solution would be to find a word processor (Word, maybe?) that produces acceptable PDF output, and Compile to that word processor’s format.

Or, if no such tool exists, Compile to a format that can be imported to a proper page layout tool.

If you decide that Scrivener for Windows is unusable solely because of the PDF output, it seems to me you are missing most of the reasons for using Scrivener in the first place.


I see the differences in your example, using what appears to be a Times Roman font.
I did a comparison between my WIP using output to Word and also to PDF, using a Calibri 11 pt. font. I don’t see smudged, crunched-up text in my PDF document.
There are differences per line by a word or two, which may be attributed to Words’ margins, even though Scrivener’s margins are set to the same measurements and relative A4 paper page, if that’s relevant.

In my sample below, the image on the left was produced by Scrivener for Windows to Word and converted to PDF. The one on the right was Scrivener for Windows directly to PDF. I prefer the clean look on the right, bearing in mind that the two examples take up half a screen each.

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Thank you, @Kevitec57, this is promising. I’m curious if you go Scrivener > Word > PDF because Word has a better PDF creation engine? This would be valuable for me to know so I can pass the information along to my students.

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With again the caveat that I would never recommend anyone self-publish using writing programs or word processors (that just isn’t how books are professionally made), if one insists though, there is also the free LibreOffice which will produce better results out of the box, for those that do not have Word. LibreOffice’s PDF generator uses a separate engine from the writing interface, so if one is concerned about text quality in the editor itself, they should still try PDF export as it will be a lot better. LibreOffice’s editor itself displays many of the same issues that Scrivener does, under similar conditions. At least, with a word processor, one has a semblance of page review and direct adjustment though, unlike Scrivener.

But for those wanting to go the extra mile, Affinity Publisher is a one-time purchase and thus much more affordable than InDesign. There are other tools as well, some free, that produce fantastic books, but pretty much everything will require an investment in learning and time. That is in part why there are people that do this as a career, after all, and again I must reiterate I feel we should be supporting these people rather than trying to bypass them—as a rule of thumb. There will always be those that dig doing their own thing themselves, that’s not what I’m talking about. But saying everyone should do that is similar to saying everyone should just use AI generators to create book covers. Down that path we’re all doomed, many writers included.


Thanks for the explanation @AmberV. Understand that my questions come from my desire to be an effective teacher of Scrivener for Windows and I want to give accurate instruction. FWIW, I made my book PDF in Scrivener (Mac) and my book looks fantastic, so I know that in certain circumstances one need not have a separate page layout program at all.

Thanks for the recommendation of LibreOffice. I’m curious, why is it that LibreOffice and Word can both produce superior PDFs to Scrivener’s?

I suppose most simply put, both of those development efforts have put enormous resources (one corporate the other thousands of volunteers around the world) into making a page layout based writing tool, and part of that is going to involve focusing on typesetting and typography matters.

Scrivener on the other hand is either:

  • Using the operating system’s basic free text engine, which has not been significantly updated (particularly in these areas) for decades.
  • Using the programming toolkit’s text engine found in Qt, which was not designed for serious printing, but providing an interactive editing environment.

While we have put effort into improving some aspects of how these work, it is nowhere near the amount of time and effort put into these other packages, because it is not our focus. But again, comparing these three for book production is odd to me, like getting into a debate over whether iMovie or Adobe Rush is better for making a film.

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Just keep in mind that Scrivener is intended for content development.
Teach that. It is quite an important notion.

We often see users come after the developer(s) with details that are outside of this realm.
It kind of bugs me every time.
All one needs is to be aware of that fact I just stated above, and such complaints lose all of their foundation.
If one is taught this, not only such details are no longer a problem (plenty of third party “solutions” out there) , but, more even, the whole thing simply makes sense.


@AmberV understood. The reason for my asking these questions is strictly so that I can give the right answers to students of my Scrivener classes. For me, being on a Mac, I have found Scrivener’s PDF output to be acceptable for print. Teaching to Windows users I need to let them know to (almost) never use the PDF compile option. I’m teaching to people who may not have the $$ to hire someone to do page layout, so they are looking to self-publish cradle to grave themselves. For a Windows user, my answer will be to export to doc/docx. Services like IngramSpark accept doc/docx (I believe) so that may be all they need. If they need a PDF, they can export to PDF from either Word or LibreOffice.

@Vincent_Vincent Understood. That said, I am offering 2 classes on formatting for print, and I need to accurately tell the students what their best output options are.
I don’t mean to come down on Scrivener, it’s a great program.

I now feel I understand the landscape well enough to not teach the wrong thing.

I by no mean intended to imply you were. :wink:
You are actually doing the right/smart thing by asking.

Your attitude is professional, and your questions totally relevant.

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