Organizing chapters and scenes

I’ve been trying to find the answer to this in the archive, and I don’t see it.
I have a 75K-word manuscript. It’s divided into four parts, each of which is a folder, and many scenes. The scenes have descriptive names that I don’t want to include in the compile.
I’m going through to assemble the scenes into chapters. Some chapters will be made of multiple scenes, and some will be just one. The obvious way is to create a new folder for each chapter, give it a name, and then put whatever scenes I want into the chapter. But I can’t get that to compile correctly. In compiling, it treats the folder as Chapter 1 and then the first scene as Chapter 2.
I can use the compile screen to label individual folders or files as Chapter Heading or Section Heading or Scene or whatever. But I can’t find a combination where the name of the folder provides a title for all the files in the folder and also does not count as its own numbered chapter.
Any suggestions? Is there a better way to divide scenes into chapters than creating a titled folder for each chapter?
Thanks very much,

The way you’re going about it is fine — Folders for Parts containing Folders for Chapters containing Documents for Scenes is the normal structure.

So, you need three different Section Types to reflect the three different elements (Part, Chapter, Scene — doesn’t matter if they’re not called that, as long as they’re all different). If they haven’t, then allocate the correct Type to them before you go any further. (Ask if this isn’t clear.)

When you compile and have chosen your preferred compilation format (PDF, eBook etc), check that the Section Types are all correct in the right hand panel (ie all your Parts have the ‘Part’ Section Type, etc).

Then click on Assign Section Layouts and you’ll see all the Section Types down the left hand side. Click on Part (or whatever you called it), then scroll through the list of Section Layouts (in the middle) till you get one which has the combination of Title and Number you want, then click on it. Do this for all three Section Types.

NB: In the layout options you see, you’ll see dummy text:

  • Numbers are in the format they’ll be in (ONE, One, A, 1 etc). They may or may not have words in front of them ‘Part ONE’ etc.

  • Titles ALWAYS say ‘Section Title’ (in upper or lower case), no matter whether it’s a Part, a Chapter or whatever. Ie if the Section Layout includes ‘Section Title’, it will print out whatever the name of the folder/document is in the binder.

So if you want your Parts to have


Then you need to choose the layout which has


This includes the formatting (all CAPS, bold, italic, etc).

The same applies for Chapters — whichever combination of number and title you want.

Of course, for the scenes, you want to choose a layout which does NOT have either a number or ‘Section Title’.

Finally, you need to take into account whether the Section Layout always starts on a new page: you’ll see a dotted line above some of the Layouts, so you’ll want to make sure you choose one of these for Parts and Chapters.

However, you don’ t want you scenes to start on a new page, so you make sure the layout you choose does NOT have the dotted line at the top.

In the screenshot below I’m allocating the Chapter Title Section Layout to the Chapter Section Type. The dummy text tells me that Chapters will start on a new page and have the heading

Chapter One

All this look complicated at first, but it’s actually very simple:

  1. Identify what you want each element to do in the Binder (give it a Section Type)
  2. Tell Scrivener what you want each Section Type to look like in Compilation (give each Type a Section Layout).
  3. Compile.

The Section Layouts you see in this dialogue are the default ones provided with Scrivener, and they cover a lot of common requirements. If they don’t meet your needs (eg you want them in Italics etc), then you can amend or create your own.


I am new and am just trying to create chapter folders in my binder. When I drop down the green plus button arrow and select new folder and I place my prompt at the spot in my binder where I want a new folder, it doesn’t treat it as a folder, it treats it as a subsection of the previous folder, Even though it is labeled a chapter in the inspector.

Chapter One
Section One
Chapter Two

Manuscript is a special folder and it’s meant to be the overarching folder for all text you’ll publish, so you would expect your chapters to be created inside Manuscript. The idea is that all your text goes somewhere inside Manuscript while all your research / admin etc goes outside Manuscript.

For any other folder except for the Manuscript folder, if your new folder is being created as a child of the previous one, just select it in the binder and drag it out of that previous folder (or cmd-ctl-left arrow which unindents it). Then if necessary look at the Inspector again and change the Section Type to suit.