Page break question

I’m loving Scrivener so far; it stays out of my way. I banged out a novella with it in 6 days. Now, I’m at full-stop over the arcana of the program’s internals. I simply need to have each chapter begin on a new page. That’s it. If you’re detecting some learned helplessness in my tone, you’re correct. I’ve been pawing through menus and submenus for the last four hours, trying to figure out how to accomplish this one task.

I didn’t use any of the pre-defined styles, just a blank/default project. Can anyone lend an assist so that I can get back to editing?


This is something that is most easily done at the Compile stage.

Each item in the Binder has an assigned Section Type (probably these are sitting at their automatically-assigned defaults).

Each Compile format has a set of defined Section Layouts that specify how a document (aka “section”) might look. Some of these Section Layouts may specify that the section should begin with a page break before.

When you Compile a draft you tell the compile which Section Types should use which Section Layout. In so doing you would be making it the case that all binder items of a certain section type would start with a page break.

To help you out Scriv assigns default section types to binder items automatically by binder structure. A common structure for the Draft is to have a folder for each chapter and within each chapter folder a series of text docs (scenes as they might be). This is a structure that is common enough that you may find Scrivs automatic section typing together with off the shelf Compile Formats will do what you ae looking for with little or no intervention.

Many thanks, that was helpful… while opening another can of worms. But after 11 test compiles, I was able to solve the problem by removing chapter numbers from my binder items. While I prefer to organize in this way, it’s not the way the program wants me to do it, so I’ll capitulate for now in the interest of getting it done.

I also created a new project as a novel with parts and copy-pasted a few chapters in. After a half dozen test compiles, it was still in my way, so I scrapped the project. I’ll pore through the 500 page user manual some more. I’m sure that Scrivener will do as I ask; I just need to pick a time when I’m not under pressure and frustrated. It’s a joy to work in, but tricky to control.

I fail to understand how having your chapters manually numbered in the binder could impeach page breaks in the compiler…
If this is what you meant, it has got to be something else causing this.

But otherwise yes, it is best to leave the numbering to Scrivener; which automatically adapts to the current situation. Should you decide to reorganize chapters (whatever the reason), Scrivener would adjust their numbering at compile, without you having to do anything.
But, it is your choice. Number them yourself if you want. Not a problem.

As a matter of fact, I personally number my chapters manually. I do it so that my printouts have a reference to the binder during longhand rewrites and revisions.
I remove that numbering comes the final compile, though.

I think that I applied some transitive reasoning. :slight_smile:

By applying chapter and section layouts at the compile stage, I solved the page break issue but ended up with duplicate chapter headings and other problems. I wanted some of the behavior: my notes are numbered and titled, the Draft folder is set up in the way I wanted things to be compiled, and the chapters have section titles. Ultimately, I found a page and section layout that dealt with my structure as long as I remove my own chapter numbers. I’m not quite sure (yet) where to control the compiler’s behavior WRT how it deals with note titles, but that’s quite fine for now.

As I think about it more, I believe that I applied MS Word logic by using headers and subheaders in the text, so I’ll tinker around with that to see if it fixes the glitch.

I mean none of this as criticism; it’s an issue of understanding how the program works. In fact, with the exception of the compile function, the strongest testament I can make to the program’s effectiveness is that it does such a great job of letting me work in the way I want to that I wrote ~160 pages instead of a short story. It elegantly solves so many problems that I have no trouble bearing a learning curve.

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There is in fact a Section Layout in most of our built-in formats (the different document designs in the left sidebar that provide the layouts in the middle that you can choose from) that just prints the binder title as you type it in. It is usually called “TitledSection”, and often comes with a built-in page break, which you can tell in the preview tile itself.

I would in general say though that letting software handle mundane manual labour like numbering chapters is preferable to spending our time on such matters—but if you do it anyway for editing reasons, maybe it makes sense to use it in the final output as well.

As for learning more about this, I don’t know if I’d recommend the manual as a learning tool, unless you have a specific question about a button or something. It’s more of a reference than a tutorial. Speaking of tutorials though, have you gone through the interactive tutorial in the Help menu? It briefly walks one through setting up on the tutorial itself for compile, and starts from a similarly “blank slate” as you did.

I would say overall that “Blank” is an excellent starting point because it doesn’t get in your way with a bunch of assumptions. You can kind of just structure things however you want and find your own way with the software. It does less spoon feeding though, because we don’t even assume you are writing a book with that starter, let alone a particular kind of book. Hence it does take a bit more fundamental knowledge to go from scratch to function.

Oh, also check out our video tutorial series on compiling, if you prefer the audio/visual form of learning to the interactive.

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Just to get you started. Because the compiler, by the way, is almost impossible to properly use without first reading the manual or watching the tutorials.

That’s true, but if all you want to do is drop the “Chapter 21” prefix from your “My Binder Name” titles, then the Assign Section Layouts button is a lot easier to learn and doesn’t require complicated tutorials.

Plus if one is largely happy with how they typed things up in the editor, has preformatted their headings maybe, or numbered everything in the binder, etc., then they probably do not need to learn much at all, or use much of the compiler’s more extensive conveniences. They would often be happy with the “Default” compile format at the top of the left sidebar, where one can pick for instance the “New Page Heading” layout for chapters, which prints the title simply and adds a page break. Or maybe just “New Page” that does nothing but add a page break and print the contents verbatim—good for those that type headings into the text. Pick a favourite font at the top of the preview column, and you’re done.

If that’s all you need, you can forget about most of this.

Thank you, all. I think I was caught on the back foot by the compiler. I’ll check out the tutorial, and thank you, Vincent, for the caps. I’m not accustomed to this level of automation, so I tend to format as I go, but my vertigo is being cured. :slight_smile: