My first impressions

I have been using various versions of MS Word since the 90’s. I currently have a document which I created which is 160k words and full of graphics. It is about a 16mb file.
I wanted to try Scrivener to see how it would handle the document and see if it would provide suggestions on grammar and style.

When I tired it import it Scrivener crashed hard. When I copied some text into it, I could not determine how to run the grammar checker.

Can I do what I am trying to do?

Mike

Scrivener does not have a grammar checker.

Interesting, I was introduced t Scrivener because it was supposed to be a better tool for large documents than Word. I see the opposite however.
Thanks for the info.

Mike,
Scriv does have a grammar checker, however, I’m not sure how sophisticated/comprehensive it is.
Open Scriv project, Go to Finder’s menu bar>EDIT>SCROLL DOWN TO Find/SpellingGrammar/Speech/writing tools. Voila!

Hope this is what you’re looking for,
Take care
Vic
PS welcome aboard Scrivener :wink:

The difference between Scrivener and Word is that in Word you have all the images in the text file, resulting in the 16 Mb file, whereas in Scrivener you would have the images in the Research part of the project and the text in the Draft part, and it would all be separate files. A Scrivener project is a folder, not a single file. That way there is no size limit for what you write. It is not for doing layout, but it is fantastic att structuring the text, providing a good writing environment, and keeping any extra info you need (any kind of files!) easily accessible within the project itself!

You should enter the text by itself and all the images by themselves as separate images, not as part of the text. Then when you write you only have place-holders in the text, not the images themselves. And when you are done, you compile to whatever format you like and Scrivener puts the images where they are supposed to be, and finally you fine-tune the layout using InDesign or something like that.

Vic, is that on the Mac? I don’t find it in the Windows version (which is what we’re discussing here, I think).

Mike, I don’t know about Scrivener being “a better tool for large documents than Word.” As lunk has said, it’s a better tool for large projects, precisely because while Word kind of encourages you to put everything into one big honkin’ 16MB document, Scrivener encourages you to break it up into manageable pieces. It’s greatest gifts are organizational. For a final run-through to proof spelling and grammar, Word might be better; the process would be to organize and draft in Scrivener, then “compile” to a Word document, which can then be given final editing.

Welcome to Scivener, and to the forums. I hope you’ll find ways in which it can make your work go better.

OOPS!! :blush: Sorry, it is. :frowning: Wasn’t thinking about differences twixt Mac and Windows.
My Windows version is on a dead Windows laptop. So I can’t check it.
Sorry,
Vic

Windows doesn’t offer a system-level spelling and grammar check, so it’s not there in Scrivener as there is no reasonable OSS grammar checking system comparable to Aspell (the spell check system Scrivener for Windows uses).

However, since Scrivener wasn’t intended to be the sole tool in the toolchain, you write your drafts, compile as others above have said to some unified format, and then run a spell/grammar checking pass in whatever tool that is (be it Word, etc.)

Thanks for the response, but this seems backwards to me as 30 years ago, without any other choices, I used to use WordPerfect for DOS to write, then close it and open Ventura Publisher and import the text and graphics. InDesign is just PageMaker in a new dress, which was never suitable for long documents. In Word at least I can use paragraph tags, generate a toc, and operate in a WYSIWYG environment. I guess that I am more accustomed to writing in a desktop publishing environment. The whole idea of having to compile whenever you want to print a draft copy would be annoying to me.

shrug Then maybe Scrivener isn’t for you.

The fundamental idea of Scrivener is that writing is a different task from formatting, and therefore requires a different tool set. This is why some tasks that are “easy” in Word are difficult in Scrivener, but also vice versa.

Suppose you’ve got 10,000 words and a dozen images. But you get feedback from your editor telling you that half the middle section should be at the beginning, you need another 3,000 words of explanation at about 5 different locations, and the conclusion needs a ground-up rewrite. In my experience, that kind of mangling is trivially easy in Scrivener, but a recipe for hours of frustration in Word.

Katherine

I guess it depends on the background you are coming from. I come from a desktop publishing background and writing and formatting are the same thing. Adding footnotes, pictures, picture captions, etc. are all part of the writing process to me. I have uninstalled it and will continue to march with Word, until I find something better. I am working with 160k words, a hundred images, over 380 pages, and can manage it just fine. Thanks.

I used Word for DOS, and Word Perfect before that, and there was some other writing software before that with limited capabilities for formatting, which I really hated. So I don’t think it’s a question of background. It’s more likely a question of what you want to do.

Word is a combined writing and desktop publishing software.
Scrivener is an authoring software.

If typesetting, layout, adding images, etc is as important as writing, then Scrivener is not for you. Word is much better at that.

If the text is the most important thing, the plot, the structure, the outline, the story, and you need to check reference material while authoring, then Scrivener is for you. It’s primarily built for writing novels, screenplays, etc. I use it for that, but also for scientific articles because the structure is extremely important but not the layout.

With a 160 000 words and a hundred images in a Word document, how do you handle a sudden need to move 40 000 words with 25 embedded images when you realize that the outline is wrong? Cut and Paste?

If typesetting, layout, adding images, etc is as important as writing, then Scrivener is not for you. Word is much better at that.

If the text is the most important thing, the plot, the structure, the outline, the story, and you need to check reference material while authoring, then Scrivener is for you. It’s primarily built for writing novels, screenplays, etc. I use it for that, but also for scientific articles because the structure is extremely important but not the layout.

With a 160 000 words and a hundred images in a Word document, how do you handle a sudden need to move 40 000 words with 25 embedded images when you realize that the outline is wrong? Cut and Paste?
[/quote]
In order to have global control over a document, it cannot be broken into pieces. What if your editor tells you to change the body text from Century Schoolbook to Cambria? Two clicks gets that done for me across 400 pages. How about changing the caption font from 8 to 9 point across 100 captions?

We probably disagree here on the meaning of the words structure and layout. I write exclusively in a descriptive structure to paint images in the heads of my readers. Although I used to write a lot of sequential structure in technical manuals and a problem solution structure for troubleshooting guides.

I can move whole pages of text, graphics etc.l from chapter to chapter while retaining the formatting. And the footnotes and captions will automatically follow this. I can rearrange chapters by simply moving the order of them in the navigation pane. Structure is not difficult.

It just seems like Scrivener is a throw back to the old days where I would print text and wax that down to a pasteboard, PMT the graphics and wax them down. Then PMT the whole thing to make a printing plate. Having a compile a document to see it just doesn’t work for me.

The basic word processor concept structure had not advanced nearly enough since the Bravo Project, which became MS Word, at Xerox PARC. Users remain locked into primitive editing organizational, manipulation, and rearranging tools like cut and paste based on the simulation of paper. Yet editing and re-editing remain as the most important tools for writing and document creation, and text structure is perhaps the most important element to writers and publishers. Adding a ribbon bar to Office programs was a somewhat dubious innovation that many people still don’t like, now almost a decade later.

I don’t think that Word is the be all and end all, that is why I am looking for something better. The once benevolent MS monopoly has now prevented us from getting something better.

One setting in the Compile command for each of these. And I don’t have to look at Cambria in the editor if I don’t want to. (Which I don’t. It’s a really ugly font.)

Same with Scrivener. I must say, though, that you’re the only person I know who actually likes the Word navigation pane.

Katherine

Of course it can. It’s all a question of how the software handles it. In Word one article/book/novel is always one file. In Scrivener one article/book/novel is a project. Backstage Scrivener handles each little piece of the project as an individual file, but that is all handled bt Scrivener. I don’t need to know or care about that.

A Word document is always sequential. It has a beginning and an end. There are new ways of quickly jumping in the text but you can’t make word show you the text in any other order than it has in the document. With Scrivener you can easily do that, either by manually selecting different parts of the text and have Scrivener show the selected parts as one continuous document, or by using keywords or labels and have Scrivener create Collections that you can view without having to manually do it every time.

You say that layout is essential for your ability to “paint images in the readers head” but that is done with words, not with layout. Ebooks is a good example. As a writer you don’t have control of the layout, only of the words.

In Scrivener I can choose whatever layout works best for me while I am writing. The writing environment is not the same as the “presentation”, the end product coming from the Compile command. And Compile is so much more than a simple export to another format. It’s where you adapt all your words to a specific end product - an ebook, a screenplay, a draft for proofing, a pdf for print-on-demand, a Word document for i,port to InDesign, etc.

Scrivener has a completely different basic philosophy than Word and the only way to understand it is to use it. It took some time for me, but when I understood it, it changed my way of writing, making me a better author.

If you like Word and its basic philosophy and are essentially only looking for a Word Pro with features that Word currently lacks, you will probably never like Scrivener, because Scrivener is something completely different. You have to challenge and question your own idea of what it really is to write, to author something, to really like Scrivener.

[b]I just don’t see it, at least for fiction writing. Maybe this is just an Apple versus PC argument in disguise.

In Scrivenings mode you can select non-sequential pieces of the text as show them as one sequential document. You can’t see why one would want to do that. Okay, one reason could be to simply test if having those pieces in sequence would give a better flow to the story. Or to make sure that a story which is split between different person’s POV’s have each such sub-story in logical order. Or what if paragraph 16 should come directly after no. 12? Let’s sett how that looks…

Each Word-file could be a single chapter. Of course, but at some point you would have to put it all together into one file. Word is built around the basic idea that each file is a single complete entity. Scrivener is built around the basic idea that each “story” is a project that contains more than just the written words, which is why it has the Research part where you keep all the reference material you need for your writing.

If you are a good writer you can write with paper and pencil, in the same way that Rembrandt could probably make decent pictures with pencil or coal. But the tools do matter! With oil colors and a number of different brushes Rembrandt could make really beautiful paintings, way beyond what was possible with paper and pencil. Tools matter! Today’s film makers can make better films than was possible in the 1920s.

Finally, no it’s not a question of PC versus Mac.

By the way, you never did say what it is you don’t like with Word. Why look for something else if Word has all you need?