Overcoming acedmic limitations

To start, I’ll get it out the way that I’ve found Scrivener to late to help with my doctoral thesis really - I’m already pretty much written up in LaTeX and I’m not changing that now :laughing:

However, I’ve found Scrivener and whilst my initial glance at it was cursory, I keep opening it and umming and ahhing over it as it seems like a great idea - though I’ve already got an aspect on the research sorted as I use Evernote for that (amongst many other aspects of my life!)

As such, I’m thinking that Scrivener might help me in the future as I write freelance articles for computer magazines and hopefully continue my academic career but I’ve hit a few snags. For the articles, I seem fine and for the basic layout, I found the tutorial on how to set out numbering headings and titles in compiles (which was one of the issues I was having)

However, I seem stuck at adding a TOC (and thus table of figures etc) - I can’t seem how to do it and that’s a bit of a deal breaker, should I need to write long documents again. Also, referencing - that seems to have to rely on either export as RTF and use a separate program like Endnote or Zotero to add them in (bit of a pain as I use LaTeX and BibTeX) - the only option I can see for me is to export the output as LaTeX and that doesn’t always give the best results - in fact, I’ve had nothing but bad results exporting MMD to LaTeX, even outside Scrivener! Plain text export would work nicely though (and I’ve just tried it - though relies on adding LaTeX code instead of figures etc and kind of negates the reason for using a rich text editor! :unamused: ).

I’ve not yet tried to label and reference a figure but is this possible?

What sort of procedure are you using that is giving you bad results with MMD and LaTeX? I’m wondering if perhaps you are doing something different than the way I use it, since you comment toward the end, “…even outside of Scrivener!” doesn’t make much sense to me. That is the only way, in fact to view anything using this workflow, outside of Scrivener. You type in using the syntax rules of MMD, that’s what you look at while you write, and when you compile to one of the formats like LaTeX, this then gets converted into expanded syntax.

I’m wondering if you perhaps aren’t using the MMD part of the equation, especially with your closing statement that says “…and kind of negates the reason for using a rich text editor!”. This branch of using Scrivener is essentially not using it as a rich text editor. There are a few exceptions to that here and there—it handles titling for you based on depth; footnotes; annotations can be used in an advanced sense to do custom things; and embedded images can be converted to syntax and exported to the .tex output folder for you—but by and large it’s a plain-text output. You are responsible for using MMD appropriately. That means double-spaced paragraphs; proper syntax; and all that good stuff.

If you are just typing into Scrivener like a word processor and choosing MMD->LaTeX, then yes that certainly would explain sloppy output.

I’d recommend downloading the user manual in .scriv project format. That copy is a little out of date, but as a demonstration of an MMD->LaTeX->PDF project, it’s pretty thorough in that it shows some basics, and some pretty advanced technique as well, both in the Scrivener compiler and in the post-processing script used to convert the MMD output to LaTeX syntax.

If what you see in the editor looks fine to you as a way of working, if you aren’t objecting to the amount of syntax that you see, then it’s something worth considering since you are already use LaTeX. It’s a dirt-simple way of producing it in broad strokes.

As you might tell, I love the system myself. I like writing in a plaint-text environment because I like “seeing the codes” and knowing precisely what the output will be on account of them. I just like the whole workflow. So for me it is easy to advocate a system like this, especially to one that works in an output format that it is so adept at producing—but if you’ve grown to really prefer rich text and screen-like-paper presentation, yeah… it might not be the direction you want to head. You might find some of the advanced LaTeX stuff difficult to emulate in a composition focussed environment like Scrivener. LaTeX is a typesetting and final production focussed environment. There is actually only a little overlap between the philosophies of these two systems. A little, but not a lot. One is for building the cabinet. The other is for polishing and applying the final coats of lacquer to it. You wouldn’t use a brush to build the cabinet, or a power drill to apply the gold leaf trim. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the post.

By outside of Scrivener I mean I’ve used MMD (as in MMD Composer, the software editor made by the MMD guys) to try and get a LaTeX output and it didn’t work nicely at all. I had a quick play with MMD and Scrivener and whilst the results were much better using Scrivener, it still wasn’t the best. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. By using Scrivener, it insert the preamble and everything else I needed which was helpful.

I’ve downloaded the file and I’ll have a read over.

From having a quick play last night, should I wish to continue writing in LaTeX, what stuck me was that I could setup each folder and levels etc for compiling to use a prefix of \section{ (or chapter, or subsection depending on the level)and a suffix of } to automatically have Scrivener put in the headings and then by outputting the whole project (which has been written in LaTeX) to a plain text file and I have a working LaTeX file, with the added ease of Scriveners planning.

Ah, okay I think I understand what you mean now. MMD Composer uses MMD3 (which Scrivener will soon as well), which presents a more stripped down output that is more suitable for dropping into an existing boilerplate. Or, with the use of some boilerplate presets you can download for MMD, you can get a stock look much like Scrivener’s MMD2 output. We’re working on ways of making this slightly easier. Right now you have to know how to download the LaTeX support package, install it, and then set up your meta-data to call on it. Hopefully we can get that all condensed down into a single drop-down like “Article”, “Memoir”, etc. Naturally, with the ability to fully customise if you wish to as well. But yes, the raw output from MMD is fairly plain (by design, so as to be more easily malleable) even with MMD2. It does help to work in your own preamble and such.

Yup, that’s a pretty good trick. Also check out Replacements, you can make your own custom macros there for repetitive commands. Separators can be a handy place to insert a divider if used. A few little tweaks like that with the plain-text output makes for a decent LaTeX environment that reacts to outline structure and such.

I think exporting to plain text like that would suit me the best, though it does mean I’ll have to make some pretty drastic changes to my current workflow for LaTeX editing (hence why I stated I’m not changing it for my thesis!)

Currently I use Texpad and Sublime Text for writing with Textexpander to add some repetitive code in there for me. The snapshots that Scrivener offers is very similar to the fact I upload my work to Bitbucket (a Git DVCS) so I always have a snapshot of my work at any time. Oh, and Textasic on the iPad for some on the go editing. Coupled with Evernote that seems to meet Scrivener fairly well.

The other trick that looked good was the use of XeTeX with the output - that way I can get away with using unicode characters and not have to concern myself with LaTeX coding for items (through from sounds, I could easily replace some items with LaTeX code from what you’ve said)

What annoys me is that I can see Scrivener is a fantastic tool but at the minute it looks like I have to shoe horn my workflow into it, rather than complement it or replace it. Maybe if I found it 3 years ago, I’d have been set (though I only discovered the joys of a Mac this time last year :wink: )