Manuscript format suggestions?


One of the new features of the next (free) update of Scrivener is an improved Compile Draft. It is designed to be more contextual, providing more features but also appearing simpler to newer users.

Part of this is that when you first go to compile Draft, you will see a rather small sheet with nothing more than two pop-up buttons in it, one saying “Format As” and the other saying “Compile To”. The former allows you to choose a manuscript style (novel, short story, script etc), the other allows you to choose the format (printing/PDF, RTF, DOC, FCF etc). A bit like the regular OS X Save dialogue, there’s a disclosure button you click on to reveal the full extent of the options available.

Anyway, I’m trying to make sure there is a decent-but-not-overwhelming selection of manuscript styles to choose from out-of-the-box in the upper, “Format As” pop-up button. Selecting an option here acts much like the “Load” button now - it changes the Compile options to some preset ones.

So far, the formats/styles I am planning to add are:

General Text (does only the bare minimum - doesn’t override fonts or anything)
Short Story
Outline (titles + synopses)
Script (Final Draft) (designed for use with FCF export)
Script (CeltX) (plain text export that works well with CeltX - possibly should be named Script (Plain Text)
Screenplay (a rich text script export)
Comic Script
Stageplay (UK)
Stageplay (US)

So, my question is: are there any others I should add? For instance, any academic standards or essay standards? Compile settings that would be useful to journalists or anybody else?

Obviously, you’ll be able to create your own, so those with esoteric needs will, as now, be able to set up the Compile options as required. I’m just looking for some generic ones that will get new users or those without massive formatting needs up and running.

If you can think of any, please either provide a link to a description of the format (font, font size, header, footer etc) or do your best to describe it yourself.

All the best,

I can’t think of any extras offhand, but two comments:

[1] If General Text literally makes no changes to the Scriv format, it might be better named Original or Original documents. “General Text” implies an actual format, if you see what I mean.

[2] In addition to creating new templates, will we be able to alter the existing ones? Not everyone submits mss in the same way, and it would be nice to be able to change the “Novel” template rather than having to create a duplicate.

Hmm, yes, I see what you mean. I’ll try to think of a better name for “General Text”.

Yes, of course you’ll be able to modify existing ones… Well, sort of. Having experimented with this, this is how it is going to work (I think - this has been tricky):

There will be a limited number of options from the pop-up button - Original, Novel, Script (Final Draft) and so on. These will be built into Scrivener and will be useful for new users or those who have fairly simple formatting needs. There will also be “Custom Project Settings”, which will be the same as “Original” by default. Whichever is selected, though you will be able to modify them using the Compile Draft interface as you do now. You can then just use the “Save” and “Load” buttons - exactly as you do now - to save, export, share and load custom Compile settings. This is kind of how the QuickTime video export works - you have some basic set ups available from a pop-up menu (“Broadband” etc) but you can customise them. That’s about the closest thing I could find to what I’m trying to do…

A picture being worth a thousand words, and all that:

(The “Manage…” button will be renamed “Load…” again, though.)


Ooh, lovely. Very slick! :slight_smile:

I really like it!
And yes, I second Antony’s suggestion for an Orginal format – it is the one I use most when compiling articles.


Have to agree, that looks excellent. And a lot simpler and clearer.

Hide the complexity and everyone is happy!

I echo the above sentiments: Love the new look!
I would suggest also having an article and essay format, as it would save time with first page set-up, slugs, etc.

It’s a little bit beside from what you asked, Keith, but anyway:

I’d love to see a template that contains just everything: its own (default) compile draft format, its own save path, customized Draft/Research/Trash folder names, target settings, and even its own layout settings. Plus the usual template stuff.

So if you had to switch from one manuscript to another one that is totally different in many aspects you would still just have to do one click.

PS: The screenshot looks awesome!
PPS: And don’t you dare giving the new version just a 1.2 version number!

suavito - you can already do most of that using project templates (File > Save As Template…), which has also been improved for the next update. (You can’t apply a project template to an existing project for many good reasons.) But as you say, that is quite a different thing to what I’m asking here (if you want to continue the idea in a separate thread, feel free), as this thread is really just for suggestions for formats to include in that “Format As” pop-up button. Not just suggestions, but links to/descriptions of actual formats…

Yes, I agree, but that is why I created this thread, to get links to or descriptions of the actual formats:

:slight_smile: I don’t know what the best set-up (font size, header/footer etc) would be for such formats, which is what I would like ideas/information on.


Yes, I can see where it might be helpful to include an example. I’ve emailed it to you.

Magazine article?

And, perhaps more usefully, academic article, and academic paper (conference sort, I mean).

Is it going to be a little easier to save changes to a custom formatting? Right now, unless I’m doing it wrong, I have to retype the name of the format in the save box.

Hey All,

I would very much like to see some templates for essays, and possibly thesis’ (just incase I go down that roar later in Uni). I think this may be more of a MultiMarkdown issue, but I’d like to see a template for an engineering essay, they’re very particular about how their documents are structured (so the LaTeX output would need tweaking, if that’s possible).

Anyway, I love the app, which was recommended to me by a good friend in the states (who the Keith may remember, he was the one who suggested the block cursor), and after going through the excellent tutorial, I was hooked. I can’t wait to get back to Uni next week to find out what I can use it for.