Newbie Lost - Support Non Existent

I have purchased Scrivener but currently thinking I want a refund. I haven’t had any response from Scrivener so far. My first question was in there a video that takes you through the basics of creating a book. Nothing I’ve found is very helpful. I don’t want to learn everything when I’m only going to need less than 50%. The documentation I have found sends me to sleep. I created a board but can’t find a way to increase font size so I can read it. I changed it to outliner but the text is so small.

I want to create a chapter list. Then a chalkboard with my information. I can’t find how to do this. Afterwards I can try different functionality but it isn’t straight forward. Can anybody help or is it best for me to request a refund?

My personal suggestion to you:

First thing, forget your Windows 1.x.x version. Scrivener 3 Beta for Windows is available free for trial and will officially be released sometime this year. If you just recently bought the old Scrivener you will receive the Scrivener 3 upgrade for free when available.

Download Scrivener 3 Beta for free and do test runs. From what I can see the bulk of features are already running smoothly.

Excellent instructional videos can be viewed on Literature and Latte’s support page. Only thing, view the videos for the Mac (there are many whereas for Windows are currently only 2). They are easy to follow and can be translated effortlessly into the Windows environment as the layout of the two systems is identical.

That’s a great reply. I’ll do that but where do I download the beta version from?


First, Scrivener is NOT a tool for ‘creating books’, but a writing and organizing tool. Although you can create books with it, that’s not its the main purpose.

Second, the documentation sends you to sleep? - How is that a Scrivener’s problem?

Third, did you try Help->Interactive Tutorial ? If you are a newbie and haven’t read this, then IMHO, you have no right to complain. With every software there is a learning curve, and if you don’t have two hours to learn how it works, why even bother?

"Third, did you try Help->Interactive Tutorial ? "

This last item is the single most important thing anyone new to Scrivener can do. I have been using Scrivener for a couple years now and I still occasionally refer back to the Interactive Tutorial. It is the single best way I have found to learn the program AND remember how to use specific options you do not use on a regular basis.

Scrivener is an incredibly flexible and powerful tool, but you have to be willing to learn how to use it.

Yes I did but didn’t find it easy to follow and I have an IT past. It also covers everything whereas I only want the basic process but this software is not like most today. I suspect it is old style and I’m hoping version 3 will be better. I have removed version 1 and installed ver 3. I now see it only works until September 30. What happens then?

A big issue for me is the lack of response from support who threaten to respond in a reasonable time but don’t. This is why I am considering getting a refund.

A new beta version with a new expiry date will be out shortly before 30 September.

If you have not received a response to a support query in a reasonable time, please check to make sure our email didn’t end up in your junk mail folder by mistake.

Scrivener’s basic approach has not changed in Scrivener 3. Our users seem to prefer to do things the way we do.


Thank you. I did get one today eventually but it referred me to a video that I’d already watched 3 times and wasn’t really a step by step process. I have been given some ideas on this forum which I am trying out. I’ll see how that goes. Nothing can get into my Junk mail without me seeing it. Disappointed in how long it took.

Maybe you should buy a book about Scrivener instead of watching videos? There are a number of good books, covering the basics. The one that helped me the most was “Take control of Scrivener”.

Personally, I disagree completely with the recommendation to go to the v3 beta. The core functionality and primary building blocks between v1 and v3 are the same, so I don’t see anything to gain and there is a definite downside. It’s a beta, so things aren’t going to work perfectly, and as far as I know there isn’t any specific documentation. As you are a novice, if something in the beta isn’t working in the way you think it should, you won’t know whether it’s a bug or a misunderstanding on your part or what. For guidance, you’ll have to consult the Mac v3 documentation and things will look different, which will confuse and frustrate you even more. I recommend you go back to Win v1, particularly because your posts don’t make it sound like you’re up for a challenge.

My advice for a newbie: Scrivener looks complex, but that is due to its flexibility and feature set. Scrivener’s primary building blocks are text documents and folders to store them in, which are things everyone has worked with before. Its core functionality is 1) an editor, 2) a way to organize your documents and folders (the binder) and, 3) a way to pull disparate text documents out of the binder into a single cohesive manuscript (the compiler).

The compiler is really the only aspect of Scrivener that is complex. So don’t try to learn it yet. ETA; If you’re using the beta, you won’t have to worry about this, because the beta compiler is working yet. 8)

There are many other features, but you don’t need to know them yet either.

First thing, IMHO, is for you to figure out how to create & edit documents, store them in folders, and structure the documents/folders in a way that makes sense for your manuscript.

The link below is a post I wrote last year to assist someone who had a similar question to yours. It applies to Win v1, so I’m not sure if any of the terminology or templates have changed in the beta. It applies to writing a novel, but it’s really about how to structure any long form work in Scrivener. Read it and let me know whether this is the sort of help you are looking for.

Post specific questions here and you’ll find there are lots of people willing to help you.

And force yourself to go through the tutorial, if for no other reason than you’ll know what things are called.

[url]First Time Scrivener User - #9 by JimRac]


For your information I spent 20 years in IT from a basic beginner through all levels from operator to GM IT for a major company and so IMHO :smiley: I am pretty knowledgeable. In working my way through software. The documentation for this is old school and not as good as it could be. Someone said buy a book but as I purchased the software this seemed unnecessary for a program so well established. I have always been a slow starter but usually develop quickly once I get going.

I purchased because after reviewing lots of software this one had plenty to offer plus it isn’t expensive. One problem I had was the support but now that is happening which is good. The responses so far have been many and I feel helpful. I’m afraid to say yours wasn’t because it put the cat amongst the pigeons. V3 is working so far and if I have problems at any time I know the risks and cannot complain.

V3 seems to go okay and as I haven’t created anything yet, it makes good sense to start on v3 rather than have potential problems converting later.

The information so far has been excellent and helpful. I am actually moving forward and some of it makes more sense now. In my view it didn’t have to be that complicated in the beginning although the software itself maybe because you can do a lot with it.

What about the part of my response that told you step by step how to create a chapter list, which was the only specific ‘how to’ goal you raised. You didn’t find that helpful?

I salute you Jim, you are a man of steel. :slight_smile:

Well, maybe you forgot to start your computer? Scrivener can’t do anything if you don’t turn on the computer. :slight_smile:

PS. This is primarily a user forum. If you want help or answers to questions, remember to be very polite and friendly or all those nice and friendly users out there, who take time to help newbies, will turn less polite and friendly and will stop helping you. Referring to a past career (“I was GM in a major company”) is a really stupid argument. Why not then ask that company to help you? And criticizing the answers and suggestions you get from other users is actually quite rude. :imp:

And yet so many do.

First, the content of any communication is directed by the first sentence and the rest taken in the same vein. Just like the title of a book.

If you read the comments I responded to you will see my issue when someone says it’s blue and the other says it’s red. Very confusing for me. It in no way was my response personal. I had an issue because were also several assumptions about me and my ability, which are incorrect. I had already worked out some basics myself and I pointed out I had a technical background because of the assumption that I knew nothing. It was Scrivener that was my problem. The most spot on point was this, “Post specific questions here and you’ll find there are lots of people willing to help you.” Which is showing because I had several paths to follow before this post.

I think you should read your comments again because you clearly have an issue although I suspect you won’t see this yourself. If any post is rude then yours is. Plus, it has nothing to do with my question. If you want to attack people personally perhaps this forum isn’t the place.

There are thousands of apps these days and some have excellent user guides, and some don’t. This app is old style and they are in the process of making it more modern. Having a technical background, I understand how big a task this is. I purchased knowing v3 was almost upon us and I also recognised the developer was doing as much as he could to bring it up to current standards.

Me, all I wanted was just the basic steps that pulled everything together. I didn’t everything in that same bucket all at once which is not so easy to take aboard. The posts so far have been great and helped me move forward with more understanding. I had no problem with the post in question apart from the assumptions. Yours, I do because it adds no value.

I thank everybody again for all their responses which have been related to my question.

All those words, yet you never answered my very specific question.

You said a lot Jim and which specific question are you referring to?

I have been given some information through this post which is helpful and moving me forward. I also now have some responses from Scrivener which specifically address my questions.

I did do most of the things and still have to find time to try more of them. I tried a shortcut and produced a cork-board but found out from Scrivener an assumption I made wouldn’t work. Now I know why. I got it to work for me but I needed to understand two things which when I did helped me a lot. I still have to learn and this will happen once I start putting my book into the system. I have also found out how many other areas it will help with too. So, at the moment I’m exhausted with suggestions and ideas, enough to keep me busy for a while. Thank you