printing an outline

I’ve just bought SCR after using it for a week to import and restructure the final draft of a 47 chapter under 15s novel I’ve just completed. I enjoyed using it enormously and am looking forward to using it again with the next book, which is a lot more complex.
I like Keith’s philosophy of not having an over-bloated application which gets in the way of actually writing. However, there’s one thing I like to do when I work and wonder if anyone has any suggestions as to how I can do it in Scrivener.
I like to print out a current outline now and again and stick it up on the wall.
I hate Word’s Outliner. It’s always trying to take over and do things I don’t want it to do and then sulks and refuses to undo them, when I ever-so-politely ask it to.
So up to now, I’ve just created a table in Word, showing 4 or 5 columns reading across in Landscape format, showing Chapter, Synopsis, Characters, Word count, etc… It also has (and this is the key element) a wide ‘Reader’s Experience’ column containing individual columns of coloured icons from the Apple Character’s Palette (happy to see it’s still available from within SCR). These show the presence (or absence) of elements like Hook, Comedy, Character Development, Suspense, Romance, Information, Narrator Intervention etc. The point is that the moment I print it out and stick it up on the wall, I can read across and down the columns and start to see patterns beginning to emerge in the narrative sequence, which are impossible to see clearly (for me at least) any other way. So I can quickly pick up whether things are unfolding in a reasonably balanced way, and use the flexible power of Scrivener to make the adjustments as I go, even if only in note form.
OK. So I did my homework and learned that I can’t print out Outliner in SCR. I also learned from the Forum that (at least for the moment) neither does it have a customisable field that I could stick my little icons in. (the perfect answer along with a print facility). Then I read Keith’s and other users’ comments and experimented with the Notes field. Bingo! I could enter all my icons! Not quite as simple as in a Word table, but at least I didn’t have to leave SCR to do it. However when I went to ‘Compile Draft’ and ‘Print’ everything seemed totally inflexible. This was strange because it seemed I could ‘kern’ and do all sorts of other esoteric stuff, but I couldn’t simply adjust the font size or colour in the Notes field without affecting the text in the synopsis field. I tried for hours and then gave up and went back to my Word table. Am I being totally blind and stupid, or is it a bug, or is it simply not possible at the moment?
Any ideas, comments or solutions?
Thanks again for a wonderful programme and support forum.


You can print the outline by just choosing to include the title and synopsis (and notes in your case) in Compile Draft. You can choose not to have the text format overridden in the formatting pane if you so wish, so that the notes font doesn’t get affected, if that is what you mean. Currently you can’t choose a separate override font or size for the notes to everything else, though. I am in the process of rewriting Compile Draft - in the next (free) update you can choose the font for the synopsis and for the notes separately for printing and export.

Hope that helps!
All the best,

Ike, that outline chart sounds really interesting. Any chance you could show us an example, perhaps of something already published so you don’t give any secrets away? :slight_smile:

I don’t know if this would work for you, but could you use the Labels for your scene attributes (Hook, Comedy, etc.)? You could then see them in the outline view (though not print in outline form, of course), and it could be included in the Compile Draft, though not in outline form.

The other option would be to put the attributes in the Document Notes section and then include the Notes in the Compile Draft. Again, not in outline form but the information would be there.

I realize that it’s the outline form itself that lets you see the distribution of the elements of your story, but perhaps you can at least track it another way within Scrivener.

(I’m assuming here that you don’t want to go with a separate app such as OmniOutliner Pro.)

Hi everyone,
Frst of all may I say, you guys are amazing!. I live and work in Colombia, South America, so it was great to post a question at 2.00 in the afternoon, come back at 6.00pm and find four replies already from different time zones. (and it was way past your bedtime, Keith).
Just to let you know, I’m juggling a baby on my knee at the moment and typing with one finger.
labels doesn’t work because no matter how many categories you create, you only have a choice of one for each field. what my icon system does is show up the patterns created by multiple elements.
OK , I’ll try keith’s suggestion and see if it will print out some big juicy items and let you know how i get on.
as far as the icon syatem itself, i’m very happy to share it if you can tell me a way of doing it which will preserve its original form. it’s a Word table using colour apple character icons.

thanks again for all you support


There have been a few requests for the ability to add more fields for exactly that reason, but that is a Version 2.0 thing (if implemented at all - I think it is on Keith’s long list of eventual ideas) rather than a 1.2 thing.

One user somewhere else suggested a way to get more out of the colour fields: one thing by the colour itself, another by the intensity. So for instance, you could use red/yellow/blue to represent Romance/Comedy/Character Development etc. and then change the intensity from pale to strong depending on suspense level (so if it is bright, it is a big, important, suspenseful scene). That I thought was a brilliant idea, and one I intend to use.

In terms of wanting to represent two teenagers bumping heads whilst trying to kiss (Romance + Comedy), depending on how easily you would recognise it, you could always “merge” the two colours into one: eg. Romance = Red, Comedy = Yellow, Romantic Comedy = Red+Yellow = Orange. As long as you have just a few colours it may work, but I suspect when you put it up on the wall it would be a little difficult to visualise.

In truth, what you are trying to get out of Scrivener here is better in a dedicated outlining app, or something that you can build your tables with (you could always maintain it in a separate file in Scrivener that sits outside the Draft folder, and just create a table like you do in Word - although Apple’s text system tables are fairly buggy, I believe).

But trying some of these approaches might help you get more out of Scrivener, if you choose to go that way.

I would suggest creating a PDF from the print menu would be best.

Ike, that’s exactly what I would recommend. OmniOutliner lets you set multiple columns and paint them all sorts of colors. After reading your description of the outline you want, it really seems something quite apart from Scriv and its functions. Buena suerte!

I, too, would like to know more about your system - which icons represent what and so on. Sounds as if it could inspire a lot of people!

Like Matt says, a PDF - or even just a screengrab - would be fine. I wasn’t asking for a working copy or template, just something so we can better see what you’re describing :slight_smile:

I hate to sound pathetic, but I’m brand new to using any kind of forum, so Matt or Anthony, you’re going to have to talk me through this!
I’ve saved the icon Word table as a PDF file and just blanked out the Synopsis fields, so you can still see how it works without the actual story info. How do I add it to a reply? Hit the [Img] button, or what?



You should see an “Upload attachment” tab just below where you type your post. Click on that, choose the file, add a comment and click “Add the file” before posting.

All the best,

Got it! Thanks, Keith.

It’s going to have to wait until tomorrow before i can post it.