Newbie Question - Exporting

Hi there. I’m very new to the software (on the trial - still decided if I want to keep it).

Two things are bothering me with it so far.

  1. I can’t seem to make it so that the documents have an automatic indent when I press ‘enter’ (new paragraph) even though I’ve changed this in settings.

But…main one…

  1. When exporting, it makes every chapter a separate word document. This would drive me crazy long term. Is there a way to export to Word so that it’s the whole book in one document?

Thanks for any help from those who are more familiar with this program.

What do you mean by “exporting”? Exactly what are you doing? Not using Compile?


Formatting can be impacted by different settings. This post might help.

That said, Scrivener is not a WYSIWYG word processor. Whatever settings (font, spacing, size, indents, etc) you use when writing in Scrivener can be non-destructively overwritten when you compile.

Scrivener can only do whatever a user tells it to do, so if a user gives it instructions to output multiple files, it will output multiple files. If a user wants everything as one document (as many people do), the user just needs to instruct Scrivener to compile (not export) the project into a single Word file, RTF file, ebook, PDF, etc.

This video might help: …

In essence, each Scrivener project is a database. Users can fill their databases with whatever text they want. They can tag, label, reorder, and manipulate that text while it is in the database in an infinite number of ways. When they want to, they can output all, part, or parts of their database in a variety of different formats, without impacting on the structure and content held in the database itself.

For me, I think of Scrivener as being a digital brain. And just like any brain, it can store a ton of data, reorder and refine that data in zillions of different ways, and then it can present that data in a variety of different formats. My organic brain collates ideas, works them into a cohesive whole, and then outputs them as novels, plays, emails, letters, oral stories, films, forum posts, etc. Scrivener can do much the same, collating data and then outputting the right data in the right single or multiple format that the user wants.

With a word processor, you are limited and hamstrung by the structure, content, and look of the document that you see on the screen.

With Scrivener, you are omnipotent. A project is a collection of cells and DNA. You get to construct and reconstruct those cells and that DNA in whatever way your imagination conceives.

Some additional videos here…

Don’t worry about it. I’ll work it out.

Thank you. I thoroughly appreciate you taking the time to try and assist me.

I’ll take a look at those links and see how I go. I prefer written instructions to videos so I was a bit slack with watching the tutorials. I’m not sure yet why all of the chapters came out the other end as individual word documents but I’m sure it’ll become clearer after I look through those. Thanks again.

Lunk’s question is important because there are two different ways to get work out of Scrivener.

The Export command is the one to use if you need to access your work with some tool other than Scrivener. It will export the entire Binder structure as a folder (or set of folders).

The Compile command is the one to use if you want to assemble a complete copy of your manuscript for your own review or for publication. It stitches the components in the Draft folder into a single document in the specified format.

The two commands have different goals, different options, and different results, so knowing which one you are using is key to getting useful information from either the forum or the documentation.



Completely understand.

When working with Scrivener, writers have two main options for outputting their work from the Binder.

  1. They can export each item in the Binder as an individual file. See chapter 24 of the manual.

  2. They can compile either some or all of the files in the the draft folder (where the main manuscript is held in the Binder) as a single file. This single file can be created in various different formats, such as ebook, PDF, Word file, RTF file, etc. See chapter 23 of the manual. … df#page236

Compiling is non-destructive in that it creates a new version of the compiled text. Users can compile repeatedly and to different formats without impacting on the data held in the Scrivener project, allowing them to refine the presentation of their work and to prepare it for different uses.

I assume you have exported files rather than compiled them. If you follow the compile procedure outlined in the manual, things should work as you need them to.

If you have compiled but aren’t getting the output you expect, please detail the steps you have taken and someone will hopefully be able to help sort any issues out for you. Scrivener comes with a multitude of settings, and a minor tweak can have a significant impact.

Happy writing.


My advice would be not to bother with video tutorials or anything on the internet just yet – those resources can be good (or very good), but they’re not always necessary, because the program itself comes with the best introduction to it. That’s the Interactive Tutorial on the Help Menu.

This is a project which walks you through all the main concepts and features of Scrivener, encouraging you to try them out as you go ‘for real’… It takes an hour or two but at the end of it you will have a much better idea of how the various parts are supposed to work together. It also introduces you to the names of the features, which will make understanding this forum and other discussions much easier to understand. To my mind it’s worth far more than any number of videos at the beginning.

This isn’t because Scrivener is difficult to understand. It isn’t: it has many features, but they fit together very well, once you’ve understood the basic concepts. But as Briar says, it’s not a word processor and the core processes are designed to work in a certain way. There’s an awful lot of flexibility within that, but if you try to use Scrivener as a word processor replacement, you’re missing the point of it.

So I really strongly suggest you at least skim through the Interactive Tutorial as soon as you can. You won’t need everything you read there (nobody does), but even knowing the features exist will help enormously. You will save yourself a lot of time and you’ll be much better placed to benefit from the program.