New Version

To my mind a disaster. The easy to use straight forward Scrivener has been replaced by a geek’s dream. I can’t set an index and the varies panels that appear are far from explanatory. Is there a way of using the previous version and getting rid of the new one ?

You can keep using version 2 for as long as you like, although it will see no new updates so is not guaranteed to work on future operating systems.

I’d recommend giving the new version a chance - it sounds as though you are just having an adverse reaction to change.

I’m not sure what the “set an index” means in this context. Could someone please explain?


‘Set an index’ isn’t a standard term in Scrivener, so perhaps the OP is translating from another language. It’s not clear which feature he/she is referring to — but of course you can do everything you could do in V2 in V3 (and a lot more), it’s just that the mechanisms are sometimes different.

Is there something you’re trying to do we could help with?

Hi Br,
Nope, nothing specific I’m trying to do. This program is so powerful, that I keep an ear to the ground for features and/or applications I hadn’t known about/considered. I’m a fan of indexes in general, so the comment piqued my interest. But this is nothing that I need…translation, I don’t want it bad enough to build it by hand.

In the old version of Scrivener one could set page breaks etc and this resulted when you compiled your work in a table of contents, or as it is known outside the world of androids, an index. I can’t use the old version because each time I try it switches to the new version. For androids change might be a virtue, but for us warm blooded carbon based entities it if often for the bad.

  1. How can I compiled a table of contents ?

  2. How can I use the older version?

Why on earth did you buy the new version if you didn’t want change? (As a warm-blooded, carbon-based life form writing this on a computer in a heated house, I’m fairly confident change and adaptation have been pretty good on us, too!)

Our old version is still available for download - see the “Legacy Versions” link on our downloads page.

And of course you can still put page breaks between things, it’s just that there’s no longer any need for the old fudged way of having a “Page Break Before” checkbox, which was always a hack to get around the lack of flexibility in Compile. All of that is done with Section Types and Section Layouts now. It’s a new concept, but once you have the hang of it, it’s much simpler and much more flexible and powerful. There’s just a little initial friction for those used to approaching things using the older, more clunky methods.

But as I say, if you don’t want to adapt, you can just stick to using the older version for as long as you want.


A Table of Contents is NOT an Index, even for the most warm-blooded of carbon creatures!

You can do Tables of Contents easily in Version 3, but you’d need to give us more details about what you’re trying to do, which formats and so on.

Instead of that, I think it would really help you to look at the various support materials that are provided explaining the differences between the old system and the new. Especially for someone in your circumstances, the developer has provided a dummy project which walks you through the compile process. You can find it here:

It won’t take you more than an hour to go through, I think, and it will really help you to see how the new compile process works — and to ask detailed questions if you need to later.

As for the final question: when you open a V2 project in V3, it’s converted to the new format, but it takes a copy in the old format — so just open that with Scrivener 2.



Unless you threw out your Scrivener 2, it is still in your Applications folder. If you did throw it out, you can redownload it, as Keith says.

When you double-click on a project, it will by default, open in the latest version of a program that you have. That would be Vers 3. To keep this from happening, what I would do is go to your Apps folder, find the Scriv 3 app and control-click on it. Choose Compress from the pop-up menu. This will make a zip file from the Scriv3 app. Then throw the Scriv3 app file in the Trash. Now, double-clicking on scriv projects will open them in your original Scriv 2. (When you are ready to wade back into Scriv 3, you can just unzip the zipped copy of that and off you go.)

One more thing: as you will already know, when Scriv 3 opened your old projects initially, it updated the project format. You cannot open projects in this new format in Scriv 2. For any projects you have not done any or any significant work in, this is fine, you just need to revert back to the copy Scriv3 made of your original (marked Backup). For projects you may have already done work in while in Scriv3 that you need to take with you when you downgrade, you will have to open each of these in Scriv 3 and use the export to Scriv2 function to make a copy of the current project that Scriv 2 can open.

For what it is worth, I also hope you give Scriv 3 more of a chance. I am sorry that some of the changes in it came as an unpleasant surprise. When it comes to certain things this was not just a matter of adding features, but rethinking them. The result, as in the new Compile, makes compile easier for people just coming to Scrivener, but requires learning a new way for people like you and me. Depending on what you are involved in this may not be the moment for you to do that relearning, but when you do get the chance, it will be worth it, because the new compile really is a more powerful idea.


Here’s how you can keep both versions, using Scrivener 2 by default, yet have Scrivener 3 available.

  1. I recommend renaming the applications (in your Applications folder) “Scrivener 2” and “Scrivener 3” so that it’s easy to keep track of what you are launching.
  2. In finder, select a Scrivener project and do a right-click “Get Info” or type ⌘i
  3. Under “Open with:” change the application from Scrivener to Scrivener
  4. Click the box “Change All…” and accept the change.

Now all Scrivener projects will open with Scrivener 2 by default, but if you want to open one with Scrivener 3 you still can.

I 've been using Scriv since one of the late V1 series and over time had adopted an idiosyncratic, but effective, nethod of using it, especially as regards footnotes. There is a learning curve but the trick is to start simple and then add whatever complexity suits your needs.

However on coming to V3, I took a more or less instant dislike to the ‘flatter’ look, but some helpful people on here pushed me into recalibrating my display and that and a couple of tweaks has improved matters to the point where it’s not a problem. In fact I’m even getting to quite like it :smiley:

But Keith is right there is a need for adaptation and his suggestion that I might be a stick in the mud, pushed me into totally re-evaluating my use. Needless to say after a few glitches I realised I wasn’t really exploiting its power and so I really made the effort to get into using it and it paid off.

Long story short, I fell in love with Scrivener all over again the same as I did when I first used it, even though in the early versions inserting footnotes was clunky, to put it mildly. It’s a superb programme for writers of all stripes and Keith and the team thoroughly deserve all the praise that comes their way.

Display calibration makes a big difference all across the macOS for me. When I first installed 10.10 I couldn’t stand it; everything was so flat and featureless. Then I ran through the advanced display calibration (which for some weird reason Apple has hidden so you have to Option click on the calibrate button to even get the choice), did all of the highlight and shadow adjustments, went with standard 2.2 gamma—and wow, did that make a difference. I actually really like the new macOS look (well I suppose it isn’t too new any more), once I get rid of Apple’s awful, washed out and ultrabright stock calibration. To me it feels a lot more like Mac OS classic, before it went all jellybeans and pinstripes. At least, that is with the grey theme. I still don’t at all get along with the blue theme.

Anyway—thanks for the kind words and the update on how you’re taking to the new version. :slight_smile: It sure has come a ways since v1, even just v2, I have a hard time going back.

I have my quibbles, yes. Thank Heaven I’m not one for memorising keyboard shortcuts! But on the whole I like it so much that I’m recreating all my compile formats starting from scratch with the built-in compile formats—a much easier task than porting the old Scriv 2 formats.

Section types and section layouts. Styles.


His comment about page breaks, etc. sounds like he needs to spend more time with the Compile settings. When I took an old Scriv2 project and compiled OOTB (out-of-the-box), it was rather disheartening. But, I then perused the upgrade guide and the new concise (only 850 pages) user manual. Once I saw where KB was going with things, I spent my spare time over the week building new PDF and ePUB/MOBI formats.

But, I’m not a carbon life-form. I started tinkering/programming in '82, was a professional developer for about a decade then morphed into a project manager “because I’ve got people skills!” I think the last carbon in my system was officially purged in 2007. I’m all silicone and gold leaf.