Possible to change templates?

I began my novel in the Fiction/Novel Template, thinking that’s what I wanted since there would be no major Parts (Part 1, Part 2) divisions. Now it seems like what I need is the Novel (with Parts) template so I can use Chapters and Scenes.

The book is complete and includes about 50 scenes that I want to group into Chapters (I write in scenes, not chapters).

My question is: Is there a way to convert the Novel template to a Novel (with Parts) template so that the Chapter folders show as Composite folders? I see there is a workaround by dragging each scene into a new Project, but just wondering if my Chapter binder docs can be converted.

I hope I’m wording this correctly.


I wouldn’t advise doing anything this drastic. You would not benefit one bit from switching to a different project template shell at this point if you’ve already written the manuscript. Scrivener is a flexible program based on the concept of taking an outline you’ve written and turning that into structure when you compile. There is no such thing as a “chapter folder” or a “part folder” until you compile. Do you want to put a dozen chapters (folders) into a part (another folder)? No problem, select them in the Binder and use the Documents/Group menu command; now you have a “part”. :slight_smile: That’s all the other template is going to have: an example of putting folders into folders—and that’s only one way of doing things.

When you compile, use the “Format As” menu to select a more appropriate starting point rather than the original template’s example settings. “Standard Manuscript Format (with Parts)” may be a good place to start. There are optional presets that are not shown in the “Format As” menu by default, use the management option at the bottom to reveal them if you wish.

This is all why a lot of veteran users just start with “Blank”: project templates in Scrivener are optional starting points, from which you can take your project in any direction. There is nothing that any of them do that other projects cannot adopt, and you may find you prefer working another way entirely (for example, folders are parts and files are chapters with no subdocuments for sections or scenes).

Okay. That’s what I suspected the structure was, but wasn’t sure.
Still wondering why when I select a Chapter folder in a friend’s project, the Editor Header Bar says “Chapter (Composite) - Chapter” when mine does not say that even after grouping the Chapter folder and a couple of scenes? I know I’m missing something basic, but I haven’t found this in any of the tutorials.


Is your friend in Scrivenings mode? (View -> Scrivenings)

That’s Scrivener’s multidocument view, and it doesn’t care whether the documents being used are folders, ordinary documents, or a combination.


Yes, they are using Scrivenings mode to view many multiple files at once in a single text editor. This is of course one of the main reasons it is easy to break chapters up into chunks that are useful to you as an author, there is no penalty for having 15 “files” that you would ordinarily read and work with as one single file in something like Word. It means moving a scene from one chapter to another is no longer a matter of scrolling around and cutting and pasting between large files—it’s just a drag and a drop of a card from one corkboard to another. There are plethora advantages to using small chunks, but above them all Scrivenings mode is what makes working this way feasible rather than feeling like you’re typing into a bunch of little text fields in a database or something.

It sounds like in this case specifically they haven’t bothered to change the name of their folder from “Chapter”. The header bar will print the name of the container you’ve selected for Scrivenings view, followed by a dash and then the name of the subsection you are typing in within that container. If you create a folder called “Test” with three files, A, B and C, click on that folder and switch to Scrivenings mode, and finally click within the middle separator, you should see “Test (Composite) - B”.

Yep, that was it. Scrivenings mode.

Man, I’ve been using Macs professionally since 1984 when that gal threw the hammer through the big brother screen in the Super Bowl commercial. But I have to say, this program is kicking my butt–even after significant doses of caffeine.

Every book I’ve read on it so far pretty much skips the Compile part. I think they all got it to work somehow, but still don’t understand quite why it works. Therefore, they can’t really write about it.

But I think I’m getting closer.

Thanks for the help.


If you’ve ever used a dedicated outliner in the past, like MORE, or more recently OmniOutliner or NeO, think of Scrivener as being more in that camp than something like Word—it just has a much more expansive and heavy-duty text editor than your average multi-column outliner might. And similarly, you can think of Compile as being akin to the stylesheet functions in a modern outliner. When you create a style in OmniOutliner, you can assign that style to an outline level, making the document look a certain way based upon its structure.

That’s all that is happening here: we’re taking a stylesheet (compile settings) that take a list of folders and make them look like chapters, to a stylesheet that takes two levels of folders, making the top level look and act like parts, and the second level to now function as chapters. That’s what I mean about the program being flexible. The compile settings are expecting nested folders for parts-chapters, but if you preferred outlining a different way in the Binder, the compile settings could be adjusted to suit. The idea behind all of this flexibility being: if you don’t like the method described in the starter template, or find it produces too much of a mess for what the book needs (not every book has chapters so long and complicated that multiple files grouped into folders is the best approach for working with them—some books have such long and complicated chapters that they may have hundreds of files organised into elaborate trees). You don’t have to fit the way you think and the way you write into how the program works, in other words.

And to be fair that concept does map over to a degree in more traditional word processors. If you’ve ever used the outline and stylesheet features in Word, these concepts may make more sense. The main difference between all of these and Scrivener is that it makes no attempt to style the user interface with your stylesheet—i.e. Binder folders go on using the normal list font and not 24pt Baskerville or whatever. :slight_smile: We tend to think of that as a good thing. It means your outline is more of an abstract construct: a thing that can have structure and formatting applied to it, without becoming it.

There are two resources for learning compile that may help you out where the books you’ve read have let you down. Our video page has two or three video tutorials on compile. Additionally the interactive tutorial has a whole section on compile that walks you through making some “stylesheet” sort of changes and examining how that impacts the output (for example, making all level two text files print their content in blue instead of black).