"notes to self": How to do in Scrivener

One thing that seems to me (first day trial user) to be missing is a “note to self” feature. I’m scatterbrained enough that this is something I often need. Jer’s Novel Writer seems to have a good implementation of this. Does Scrivener? If so, I’m not immediately seeing it. How do you suggest users make reminder notes to self in Scrivener? What about you, users, how do you do it?

If you mean a note tied to a specific piece of writing, that’s what the Document Notes window (bottom of the Inspector pane) is for. If you mean general notes that might end up anywhere, there is a Scratch Pad window you can activate.

[EDIT TO ADD: and of course you can insert Annotations directly into the text itself.]

Jer’s Margin Notes feature is probably his software’s biggest pull (although he does have full-screen mode a’la WriteRoom just as Scrivener does). I bought Jer’s before I discovered Scrivener, and while I do miss the particular convenience of his margin notes, the organisational wonder that is Scrivener more than makes up for it.

Although it interrupts the flow of the writing somewhat, Scrivener’s closest analogue to Jer’s margin notes would be the annotations feature (with Ghost Notes turned on to minimise the interruption). They’re really the same thing conceptually, only Jer’s are in the margin like you might do in a traditional textbook, and Keith’s are in the flow of text itself.

Notes in the inspector are also very useful, but in a different way. Annotations/jer’s margin notes are exactly that - specific annotations for one sentence or portion of text. The notes inspector is for supporting scrivening for the whole section, right down at the sentence level. I also enjoy dropping images in there for stimulus when I’m writing in full screen.

There is also a Project Notes feature (drop-down to access it is at the top of the Document Notes pane), which will let you type little reminders which will be universally available in the application, like ScratchPad, but integrated instead of floating. So if you want to jot down things and don’t want to remember where you put them down Project Notes is good.

Annotations can be very useful, and many people who find them distracting at first end up liking them in the long run. Others do not, I’d give them a try and see how it goes. The Annotation finder lets you jump through the whole project locating them, and can even isolate by search string. So if you label them somehow, you can even look for types of annotations.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but in my version of Scrivener, which I downloaded just a few days ago, the pane in Inspector says References, not Notes. It’s possible to toggle between Project References and Document References. I’ve seen “Notes” referred to elsewhere. I found it confusing but I think I’ve finally figured it out.

You are in the right spot, and just need to toggle the mode of that lower part of the Inspector. At the bottom are three buttons. Click the left-most icon that looks like a pad of paper. This is the notes feature everyone is talking about. Again, you can switch between project and document level. Document notes are attached to the binder item you are viewing, project notes are available anywhere. This is a full rich text editor, just like the main editor. So you can drop pictures, links to other Scrivener documents, and so on.

You’ll probably also want to note the right-most button. There you can assign keywords to your document. How you use that feature (or not) is up to you.