Numbering chapters automatically

Is there any way to use the automagic of Scrivener to number chapters - their titles in the Binder icons, that is - automatically?

I’ve been numbering chapters in my current oeuvre but the numbers have got slightly skew-waw - 1, 2, 3, 4, 4a, Joan, 5, 5a and so on. Meanwhile, I’ve got a separate Synopsis document on the go, which I’ve formatted as a numbered list.

This numbered list automatically changes the number of an item and those after it if I move it up or down in the list. It would be handy to be able to do the same with icon binder names, if they were just numbers.

Probably not possible, but I just thought I’d ask…

In the Binder? No.

Scrivener’s solution to the problem is to do the numbering separately, via the Compile function, when you create your output document. See Section 24.11 in the Mac Scrivener manual for more information.


If I really wanted to see chap numbers in my draft folder, I would simply make folders with number names and then place in them folders with my actual chapter contents in them. That way, you can simply shuffle the content folders from numbered folder to numbered folder as needed.

But then, in my own use, I don’t generally need to see such numbers in the binder.


Thanks, gr, that’s a handy solution. Thought it still means that if I insert a chapter between 18 and 19 I have to renumber the folders 19 to 66…

No, the idea is never to have to renumber the numbered folders. Inside each NUMBERED FOLDER is a single thing, namely a CHAPTER FOLDER which itself contains the material of your chapter. You can freely move Chapter Folders from one Numbered Folder to another as needed. In the kind of case you are imagining, you would add a new (higher-)numbered folder at the bottom and then shuffle chapter folders down one until you had freed up the numbered folder where you wanted to place a whole new chapter.

Admittedly if you have a regular ton of chapters (like 66 of them) and you wanted to add a new chapter after chapter 2, you’d be doing a lot of folder shuffling. So, the technique does have definite practical limits!


Alternately, you could abandon the practice of numbering your chapters inside Scrivener altogether, in favor of more descriptive chapter names. You don’t have to include those names when you compile, so they’d be just for you (if you want it that way), much like synopses and document notes are.

Instead of “Chapter 16” and “Chapter 17”, you can use document names like “Twooo Wuv” and “Drop Your Sword” to identify your chapters, which might be enough to remind you what the contents of the chapters are. For me, that beats the alternative, where I would have to go through these mental gymnastics part way through a major edit: “Okay, so chapter 12 is now Chapter 14, except that I deleted chapter 4, so it’s really Chapter 13, which is where they storm the castle. Or is was that in chapter 11?”

Same with me Dale - chapter names tell me everything I need to know. They can always be numbered at Compile time.

Mind you, I do have some OCD - whenever I move a chapter in the Binder, I keep a ‘ghost’ chapter where it used to be containing nothing but an Inline Annotation saying it’s been moved.

Ha! For me, that would be the thing that I can’t handle… a vestigial remnant of a file lingering where it used to be. But then the rest of my solutions do tend to be messy, and change as the nature of my edits change. Sometimes, it’s a static collection preserving the original order. Sometimes, I compile the outline and re-import that. I’ve tried creating a ToC of all my files before adding or removing some, which gives me scrivener links even if the document it’s linked to is in the trash. I’ve never come to a place where a long form project needed to have a major re-write (rarely have any of my attempts been worth that effort), such as removing a PoV character, but if I were to do anything that major, I’d compile to PDF, with all titles, synopses, document notes, and metadata included, and re-import that, just so I could relax about completely re-arranging, deleting, adding, and re-writing swathes of the previous draft.

But back to the subject at hand, I do get that some people’s writing doesn’t lend itself to pithy, 3-word summaries. Or their skills are in composing the actual content of the story, rather than coming up with titles and synopses that fit. If I had to trade skills, I’d definitely go for those that lend themselves to compelling stories. It’s just important to know that binder titles never have to see the light of day, and so you can use any text you like, including just “A”, “B”, “C”, etc…

I was using chapter names, but found it confusing; I’ve got a kind of tight timeline, which is why sometimes I’ll have to move a chapter back, because it’s important that a character know something earlier on or because an event will have a greater impact on the velocity of the story earlier or later.

I just prefer having chapter numbers in some projects, and agree it would be nice to have the option to keep my foibles instead of having to change them to fit the software. :wink:

Not a big issue for me though - I have different conventions for different projects.

When I’m working in a project that will eventually be output as audiobook episodes I would like to have some way to add numbers the binder files automatically (as in the corkboard), as they do relate to the episode numbers elsewhere. But I get by without… :wink:

Btw, If you are numbering your chapters: I did find that if I had more than one file named ‘Chapter One’ etc. (I have a project with multiple books in a series), then the Table of Contents would fail in Kindle and just give blank lines instead of links.

All the best,

I recently discovered that S3 can number items in the outline view of the editor. Not in the binder, but the outline view can be equally useful. It precedes the folder/document name, and it numbers hierarchically (1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.2.1, 2, etc…) as the indentation level increases. I think the setting is in the same place where you specify which columns to show in the outline view.

I looked at this part of the manual and it did not specify this (it is the metadata section).

What I found, that works, is using the “Enumerated Outline” compile profile. Every folder and subdocument is numbered correctly, so that if the docs are in folders, they are sequenced correctly, and can be put into layout programs (InDesign) in correct order.