Manuscript for submission - template

I’m not sure if I need to do this in Scrivener or, more likely, in something like Word for Mac - is there a good way to pour your half-complete novel or your collection of stories into a template that will have wide left-hand margins, double spacing and Courier 12pt font, and have the pages numbered so it doesn’t get scrambled if you drop it? The kind of thing where you can have it simply bound for ease of reading and submit it to publishers?

Does this compile do what you want?

Oh gosh, a couple of years since I used Compile. I could give it a try, thanks for the thought.

I tried this (Compile, Courier 12pt, for Word docx), but the margins are normal. What I need is something with wider margins on the left on the left-hand pages and on the right on right-hand pages so I can get it photocopied two-sided and spiral bound, so it’s available for easy marking up and commenting…

You need to edit the Manuscript (Courier) compile format you are using. Right-click on the format in the compiler then select “Duplicate and Edit Format…” then go to the Page Settings section, set a bigger right margin then enable “Facing Pages”:

If you compile to PDF you don’t need to go through Word…

You can do this, but you’re going to have to edit the default format – not difficult, but if all you’re looking for is a one-off quick and dirty solution, you may be better off compiling it to Word or Pages, and making the changes there.

If you do want to set it up on Scrivener, then the process is basically:

  1. Compile and choose your Compile For: Word format. Right click on the Manuscript Courier 12 pt and ‘Duplicate and Edit format’. Give the edited format a meaningful name and save it as ‘My Formats’ (so you can use it with any project in future, not just this one.)

  2. In the dialogue which appears, choose Page Settings (near the bottom of the left hand side) and untick ‘Use Project Page Settings’. Click on Margins and then set them up as you want. Do it as though is was just a left hand page – ie wider margin on the left.

  3. In the Headers and Footers box below, in the Options panel, make sure ‘Use facing pages’ is ticked.

  1. Click Save to go back to the first Compile dialogue. Click on assign layouts to make sure you’ve chosen the right Section Layouts to go with your Section Types in the normal way.

  2. Check it in Word - if the margins are on the wrong side, then repeat the process, just making sure that you’ve put the wider margin on the right in step 2.

That’s just a quick run through, but it worked for me when I just tested it.


Thanks, I’ll try this. Would 3cm be wide enough for ring binding?

Brookter is right about which margin should be bigger (I assumed you wanted a wide margin for margin notes, but you want it for binding). I would think 2cm would be the minimum for comb binding, and perhaps 2.5cm more comfortable?

The standard A4 manuscript margin is 1" (2.54cm) all round, so I’d go for something wider than that. 5cm perhaps?


This worked great, except for one thing. While the margins are wider on the left on odd pages and the right on even pages - have I got that right, if the pages are to be printed two-sided? I have an absolutely hopeless spatial sense - on the even pages (which will end up on the back of the odd ones for binding), the side with the wide margin has a ragged edge.

Shouldn’t the edge with the margin be straight?

And for some reason the Compile format I set up didn’t save the Courier part of it. In fact it didn’t save the margins either. I’ve tried setting up a test project, and compiling with the two Compile formats I tried is just producing a standard document with 1" margins and the same font, etc as in my Scrivener setup.

How can i get rid of these trial “My Formats” settings, so I can start again? I don’t want to have my Scrivener cluttered up with non-working settings.

Edit: there’s an error message, but I don’t understand it. I have tried to do what it says and I’m baffled.
Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 13.45.14.png


Manuscript format is modeled on the format you’d submit to your publisher (which is always single-sided BTW) and it’s always ragged edged on the right margin.

If you don’t want that, then choose another format. The other steps are the same.

As for your other question – what you’re seeing now is a fundamental part of how the new compile system works, so if you’ve not come across this yet, then the very best thing you can do now is to take half an hour to create the Interactive Tutorial and look through the What’s new in Scrivener 3 section, particularly on compile.

BTW the answer to your question is simple (V3 compilation is simpler than V2) but there are a couple of fundamental changes and it’s best you read them in order than try to pick it up from half-answers on here.

As for the to delete your formats — just right click on them and chose the Delete Format option.


Further - I’ve forced this test to use Courier, by clicking a button that says something like “Assign Section Layouts” (what??) but the margins are still odd - is there any way to get a straight margin on what will be the left in each case when it’s bound? Or do I need to? Here’s what it looks like now:

You screenshot looks ok to me – when it’s double sided, page 1 has the binder margin on the left – the other side of the paper (page 2) has the margin on the right.

The actual margins are ok, it just makes my teeth go on edge that the wide margin on the right will be ragged right.

And it’s not double spaced. I can change this each time when I’ve made it into Word, I suppose, but it would be nice if it compiled as I prefer a novel manuscript to be - double-spaced for marking up and commenting.

Edit - Oh, I’m wrong, it is double-spaced. How do I get rid of those hash marks, d’you know?

Edit again - Tried compiling the document I’m actually trying to compile, and it’s fine - I can set it to justified each side in Word to save my teeth; it still has hash marks instead of starting each chapter on a new page, though.

The hash marks are the standard symbol to separate scenes in manuscript submissions.

To change them, righthclick on the format and choose to edit it, then in the dialogue which appears choose Separators to change the hash mark to something else — choose from the drop down box for the Default separators: Text Files line.


Thanks, br, have done that and will see what it does.

Meanwhile, there’s a setting at the top left of the edit screen, “Section Layouts”. This offers me a way to change the text from ragged right to centred to justified, and so on. Except it doesn’t. Clicking on the icon for justification does nothing - it stays set the way it is.

Edit: no, changing the separators setting to “Page Break” didn’t work, the hashes are still there. (This is not a manuscript for submission, if’s so I can read it myself and see how it’s going, how it reads as a book so far.)

It doesn’t because you haven’t selected the relevant section type to amend.

TBH, the problem is that you’re now in the advanced section of compile, where there is a huge amount of flexibility available, but which does require a basic understanding of how the building blocks of compile are supposed to work together. We’re trying to help you by walking you through the default set up, but as you’re (perfectly legitimately) starting to want making adjustments to the default, then there is more and more to explain.

As I said before, the best thing you can do is spend half an hour looking through the What’s New > Compilation section of the Interactive Tutorial. Things will start to fall into placed nicely after you’ve done that and you won’t regret it — and the answers we give you on here will make more sense.

Perhaps, but I honestly don’t think so. I mean, look at this:

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 15.22.21.png

I’m a simple soul. I want each chapter to start on a new page. I haven’t a bull’s notion of which of the items on that list would do that.

I have the settings set to use a page break before a chapter. They’re not doing that. They’re putting in hash marks # before and after its name (which is just a number on the folder in my current case).

And in the Section Layouts part, I went back and tried to choose justified text with “Chapter” selected, (see below) but no, I still can’t change the icon selected.

Edit: I could read the guide to the new compile settings, but I suspect strongly that the terminology used in it is that of programmers, rather than that of the writers who will be trying to change the settings.

Further edit: I’ve gone down through the settings for Section Layouts, Styles, and Text Layout (the last named being where I’d actually expect to be able to change things like leading and justification and font), and in none of them can you change any of these things!

Ah, a small advance. I’ve gone down through the list to Chapter Text… no, it was Section Text, and selected that, and then clicked on the picture greeked text below, which looks to be merely an example. Having clicked there, the justification icon becomes clickable!

Now all that’s left is getting rid of those damanta hashanna. If I can have each chapter (“Section”?) start on a new page instead of being surrounded by hashes, I’ll be happy.

Edit - Aha! I set “Chapter with Title” to have a page break before it. For some reason, setting any of the other options didn’t do it - I set all to have page breaks and the settings were ignored. But that worked. It’s still got the damn hashes, but I’ll bear that.

Thanks for the help, br.

If I might suggest a couple of changes to the next iteration of Scrivener…

Instead of greeking the type in the Section Text, etc dialogues, what about making the text say “Click here to change text and layout style”?

And perhaps it would be useful (if it’s not too difficult) to have descriptions available of what each of the folders represents in these dialogue boxes - the kind of little descriptors that appear when you float your mouse cursor over an icon?

And it would be great to have a searchable Compile Help option, so that if you wanted to change page margins you could search in Help for Compile Margins and it would tell you which section to go to?

Edit: Compile is a big advantage Scrivener has over other programs that people use to write. Being able to compile your own ebook is a fantastic plus. So having it really easy and intuitive and user-friendly is important.