New to the forum and Scrivener


I have recently moved all my novels over to Scrivener and have found it an excellent tool. The main thing I like is the ability to import research so that I don’t have to switch between applications to refresh my memory about certain facts I need to get into my work. I know there are many more functions within the software, but to me that one thing is what makes Scrivener the tool for me. I also like the fact that I can drag and drop scenes if I need to adjust a timeline etc.

I have recently signed a publishing contract for my debut novel and when I changed the ending, before sending to my editor, I did that change in Scrivener. My publisher has a second novel and I also have 2 works in progress. All are in Scrivener.

The only thing I would want to add to make this software even better is the ability to import word docs from my editor and use track changes to carry out the edits requested, then export back to word to send on to my editor.

The way I use Scrivener at the moment is to pull all my research in, write character and place descriptions and then write the drafts needed to send a clean copy to my editor. From there I have to use word to do the edits required.

A great tool which does make writing easier as everything is at your fingertips :slight_smile:

Hi Carl. Not many on here to communicate with.

I, too, am a recent ‘convertee’ (bit of poetic license there), still fumbling with some of the menus etc.


Hi Paige,

It does seem quiet, I thought there would be more writers around to chat with. :wink:

The current version of Scrivener doesn’t support track changes. The developer has an update in the works, but is being understandably cagy about what it will or won’t offer. You can contrive elaborate workarounds for dealing with edited copy in Scrivener, but it’s lightyears easier just to move to Word for the final stages with the publisher. I did that on my last book (though I used Apple Pages instead of Word, and kept a copy of the manuscript open in Scrivener in a different window), and it worked as it always does. Then I imported the final edited version back to Scrivener for future reference or second editions.

Quite a few users of Scrivener export their novel to MS Word or Apple Pages, as Ahab suggests, to handle “Track Changes” in their dialogue with an editor or a publisher; others use Nisus Writer Pro or Mellel, which both have “Track Changes” functionality and as far as I know can import and export the suggested changes from and to MS Word. I have absolutely no inside knowledge, though I do feel confident that Scrivener will also have this functionality one day, but by all accounts it is a complex feature to programme.

I use Scrivener as a drafting tool and when I get the MS back from my editor I use Word. It works for me :wink:

You shouldn’t. As far as I can recall, L&L staff have never even hinted that they would resolve track changes from outside formats, and in fact I believe they have stated they won’t try.

Scrivener is not intended to be the sole tool during the entire lifecycle of the document. This is a fundamental concept for using Scrivener, so let me say it again:

Scrivener is not intended to be the sole tool during the entire lifecycle of the document.

There are many strategies, workarounds, and alternative workflows that people on the forums have shared throughout the years to deal with revisions. The most common is “use Scrivener for the draft; use Word for revisions.” There are others – and a simple forum search will help you find them.

This being said, for many users Scrivener can do the whole thing, and do it well. It’s simply a matter of adjusting expectations. For years I edited magazine articles submitted in Word or its various compatibles, did the back-and-forth with the author (sans Track Changes; I used a workaround involving highlights and marginal notes), and transmitted to production seamlessly. I wrote magazine articles for various venues and three books, all without Word. On the last book, the publisher’s editor needed to work with Word’s track changes for the first round, and an export to Apple Pages handled it nicely. (The final rounds were all done via PDF.) Word would have worked as well. But with the single exception of track changes (I don’t do self-publishing/layout, so I can’t comment on that), Scrivener worked, for me, for the whole process.

Oh, granted. But it is the user’s responsibility to figure out the workflow to fill the gaps (e.g. your workaround above) when Scrivener’s functionality doesn’t 100% overlap Word/Kindle/whatever other editing tool you may be using does something that Scrivener doesn’t. The lack of such functionality doesn’t mean there’s a problem with Scrivener, as Scrivener was never intended to be the sole tool for all the different use cases it is used for.

You could well be right. All I’d say is that in the almost-ten years since I started using Scrivener, it has of course evolved spectacularly. Features have been launched that were - with good reason - at one time ruled out (one small change in particular I remember that I suggested some years ago), although it’s certainly my understanding that developing “Track Changes” would be a huge undertaking, on a different scale from developing almost any other feature. (Hence my use of the words “one day”.)

And I also agree that for long-form writers Scrivener can have a very effective place in a workflow including other tools. Fundamentally, its most useful role is in getting the words right, not in their prettification or in dealing with edits from your editor or publisher.

So, Carl. No track changes!!

Yes, it is perhaps quieter here than the Dominican Republic!! You might be aware of OUR British one, Writers Online - the offshoot of Writing Magazine. (Probably wouldn’t be etiquette to post a link). Quite a few regulars on there, though like many forums, it has its share of stalwarts who seem to exercise a higher degree of importance over us newer members. Par for the course in all walks of life.