Master save & print for all user-generated text?

Hey guys. Thanks for this wonderful Mac-to-PC idea, one that will gain a legion of new writing software fans, and maybe even a few Mac fans considering the will to share great programming/tech. So, I’ve already used Scrivener beta for Windows for a dozen or so writing sessions – mostly light storylining and chapter organization. Now I am ready to begin the real work. Here’s my question: let’s say I write a few chapters, and want a record – NOT in compile format – of all the text i’ve entered into Scrivener, including notecards, document notes, chapter titles, etc. Is there a way to save and/or print all use-generated text entered into all fields, just as a back up of my organizational work? For instance, in the worst case scenario, I might somehow lose all the work I’ve done in the beta version prior to purchasing the regular version. Either the back up file gets corrupted, or the transfer process from beta to full version corrupts all text, or I end up purchasing a Mac and Scrivener’s Mac 2.1 version and want to put all my beta-created text efforts into that (even if I have to re-type everything) but the transfer back to Mac file formatting doesn’t work. In other words, is there a safety save/print that would allow me to keep/see all the text I’ve created so far to avoid mega disasters? I hope this question makes sense. I know I can just compile and print what I’ve done, but that wouldn’t include document notes, chapter organization (explicitly written down, not evident in the compile order), would it? Thanks for any guidance.

Compile really is the best bet for this. If you click the little arrow button to the right of the Format As drop-down, you’ll get a bunch of additional options. Click “Formatting” in the sidebar on the left and you’ll get a table displaying the various elements you can choose to compile–this includes document notes and synopses as well as meta-data (though I will have to double-check, I think there’s still a bug where only the first keyword will be included, regardless of how many you have–but the rest of the meta-data, like label, status, etc. should all work fine). Just tick all the boxes and you will get all the information spewed out in compile for each document in your binder.

The organization here will be in the same order as your binder, top to bottom, but it will only be the Draft folder by default. You can however create a collection and then compile that collection in order to also pull out your text documents in the Research folder or elsewhere in the binder. (File>Export also works for these and for non-text elements, and you can select to include annotations, etc. with those.) If you want to add some extra layers to the compiled document to clarify the hierarchy, you could try a few things:

  1. Add title prefixes with an auto-numbering variable (<$n> will give you Arabic numerals, <$t> will give you a titlecase word, <$w> will give you a lowercase word, etc.–you can check Edit>Insert>Auto-Numbering for the options; anything that you can add to the editor there can also be added as a prefix in compile). In the compile settings, click in that formatting table on the row you want to add the prefix to, then click “Modify” and, in the window that pops up, “Title Settings” to get to the prefix. Make sure to add a space or a return at the end so that it doesn’t run straight into your title.

  2. Use different indentation per level. The basic table in the formatting pane will give you a folder level 1+, a document stack level 1+, and a single document level 1+. These represent the different types of documents and their levels in the binder hierarchy. Level 1+ means anything directly below the Draft folder (or whatever folder you select to compile), which is level one, and then everything else. If you select a row and then click the button in the upper right of the table that has two horizontal lines and a + sign, a new row will be added to the table below the selected one. This will use the same document type but will create a new level, so for instance if you selected single document level 1+ and added a row below it, that originally selected row would become just level 1 and the new row would be single document level 2+. This lets you format the different levels separately, so you could choose not only to include different elements but also to format the text differently with, for instance, a larger indentation for the higher levels, or italicized text, or what have you. Indenting gives a semi-outline appearance (it’s great when you’re just compiling titles and synopses; it might be a little less clear if you have a lot of lengthy documents). Do note that if you’re compiling a collection, this won’t have any affect because collections have no hierarchy; they’re just flat lists.

That said, even with compile, I’d still make regular full backups of your project, since bringing everything back into Scrivener from a compiled document (or any kind of printed or externally saved document) is going to take some time since you’ll have to import and split and copy and paste a good deal to get everything back into the appropriate spots. The Windows and Scrivener 2.0 file formats are compatible, so if you wanted to work on your project in the Mac version you should be able to just open up the file and go without having to create a fresh project and re-enter all the data. And of course even if something did happen to your current project and you had your safe compiled version, it’d still be easier to fall back on a recent backup and only have to do a little updating than to start from scratch!