Problems with compling

Hello! I’m fairly new to Scrivener (I did do the tutorial) and I really like it! It’s a great program to give a structure to writing. Today I wanted to compile a something that I am working on, bit I encountered a problem.

If I come into the compile menu, I can choose between “drafts” and “search results”, but my map with the story and the sub documents of the story, are not to be found anywhere, that while they are marked to be included into the compile. In search results I see a few pieces of my story, but not everything? Can someone help me? I’ll include a screenshot to clarify what I mean.

Hi Aprella,

Welcome to the forum!

You have two options when compiling.

The first one, “draft”, is designed to let you export the manuscript itself. It will only give you the option to export any documents that are included within the “Draft” folder within your binder. So from the look of your project, none of the documents in the folder marked “The Story” will be accessable… unless you move them into the “Draft” folder.

The second one is “Search options”, which allows you to export from anywhere based on search criteria you have previously set up. So you could put a single text string in the Document Notes (in the Inspector Pane) for all of the documents within your ‘map’ and then search for that string before going to the compile menu.

Hopefully that makes sense - apologies for the short answer. Let me know if you need a more detailed step-by-step of what I mean.


Ooh! Thanks. That makes sense! :smiley:

I like many of the features of Scrivener, but the compile thing is killing me. I can’t get page breaks where there should be page breaks, can’t figure out how to put in “Part 1,” etc., in a multi-part novel, among other things.

Also, the thing with changing italics to underlines is archaic, and a throwback from the use of typewriters. When I tell it not to do that, it takes me out of the novel format to custom, which seems to be a never-never land.

The video tutorials relate only to Mac, which has many more features than the Windows version.

I know it’s only 40 clams, but if I can’t get it to compile, it’s useless. Is there a good step-by-step instructions on compiling with the Windows version? (I don’t find the manual all that helpful)

Step 16 of the interactive tutorial covers compilation.

On your specific issues, don’t be afraid of the “Custom” compile. You’ll get that whenever you deviate from a pre-defined format, but everything except what you change will stay the same. Just changing the italics option won’t also change the font, the spacing, or anything else.

To get page breaks, click the “Page Break Before” option for the appropriate files in Compile -> Contents.

For italics, go to Compile -> Transformations and unclick “convert italics to underlines.” Believe it or not, many publishers still define their “standard manuscript format” to use underlines.

The simplest way to put in “Part 1” separator pages would probably be to just create a file that says “Part 1,” formatted however you like. The “Page Break Before” command can put this title on its own page.

Hope this helps,


I must have something corrupted. I end up with no page breaks, chapter heading on the title page, totally unable to create a separate page for Part 1, and such. Is there a way to reset it all and get any garbage out of its system?

Yeah, if you just switch to one of the preset compile formats (such as the "Times 12pt… " one) that will take you to a stable set of settings which you can then start retweaking to your heart’s content!

Have fun!

No dice. I tried that, tried reinstalling it, but It still won’t fly. Here’s how it should work: I write something, dividing it into parts and chapters using the novel format with cover page and sections; I point and click to novel compile format; bing, bang, boom, a proper manuscript format (with italics) comes out. No muss, no fuss. As it is, I’ve spent more time trying to figure it out than it would take me to just do it in my word processor. So, I can’t use it to write with.

Now the question becomes, does the organizational features, such as the note cards (which I really like, but I’m old, and that’s how we used to do things. Same reason I use a word processor with built-in typewriter sounds) make it worth the cash? Don’t know. I have 18 days to figure it out.

mhender6688, sorry to hear that didn’t help. Let’s see if we can try a few more things. The Scrivener compile options are pretty powerful and flexible once you get comfortable using them so a little effort invested now should pay dividends down the line.

Can I ask how the different documents are set up in your binder?

For example, I have the following structure for my own “Novel with parts”


Document: Title Page
Folder: Part 1
…> Folder: Chapter 1
…>…> Document: Scene 1
…> Folder: Chapter 2
…>…> Document: Scene 1
…>…> Document: Scene 2
…>…> Document: Scene 3
…> Folder: Chapter 3
…>…> Document: Scene 1
…>…> Document: Scene 2
Folder: Part 2
…> Folder: Chapter 4
…>…> Document: Scene 1
…> Folder: Chapter 5
…>…> Document: Scene 1
…>…> Document: Scene 2
…>…> Document: Scene 3
…> Folder: Chapter 6
…>…> Document: Scene 1
…>…> Document: Scene 2

mhender6688, can I ask you to try something for me? Run through the steps below and see if this gives you what you are after.

  1. Please download the following blank template file. It’s a basic novel structure in line with the one I descrived above. You will need to unzip it once you have downloaded the file. (22.1 KB)

  2. Then download the following file to your desktop (or somewhere else you can find it easily) and unzip it: (1 KB)

  3. Open the new template by going into the folder (“Novel_Template.scriv”) and open the “project” file.

  4. Then I want you to go to the compile settings. ++E

  5. Use the blue arrow to toggle between the simple and full options windows for compile. You need the full window.

  6. On the bottom left of the window you’ll see a button called “Load…”. Press it!

  7. At the top right of the new window you will see a button called “Import…” Press it!

  8. In the window that opens, navigate to where you unzipped the Simple_Courier.ini file. This loads a new set of compile preferences into your options.

  9. Now try compiling to the format of your choice.

This should give you a file that looks something like this:
testformat.pdf (25.6 KB)

If it did, then try the new Simple_Courier settings on your old project. If they give you what you need, great (it should, if you have followed the same Folder-for-parts-and-chapters-but-documents-for-scenes approach as I did above). If not, try copying your manuscript into the new project template and going from there.

I should point out that this is a basic template. There are lots of other ways that may indeed be more flexible in the long run to achieve the same kind of output, but in order to get you up and running something clean and straightforward might be all you need to get you going.

test with parts.pdf (12.9 KB)Thanks for your help. Here’s what I’ve discovered:

Compiling a novel without parts works exactly the way I expect it to.

Compiling a novel with parts does not. I would expect to get:

Cover page

A second page that says “Part whatever”

A third page that says CHAPTER ONE
Chapter one scenes

A page break to Chapter two, etc.

Instead, I get this:test with parts.pdf (12.9 KB)

I think it’s a bug.

Also, am I to understand that the windows version does not compile to a paperback book?

Thanks again

Mike H


Ignoring the in built templates for a moment, are you saying that following the above steps DIDN’T get you something you can work with? If so let me know. (in fact either way, let me know!)

As for the in built templates, I do think you are right - The “Novel Standard Manuscript Format” doesn’t work (It put’s "CHAPTER <$W> in front of every folder irrespective of whether it is a Chapter (great) or a Part separator (not great).) Basically it’s trying to be a bit too clever for Novel with Parts type documents. There is a way round it… you have to turn off the automatic titles on folders… but I suspect the steps I talked through above will be a cleaner solution for you to work from in your case.

You are also right, that Scrivener doesn’t compile to produce a paperback book! :wink: Although if someone was to invent a printer that people could use at home that was capable of it, I’m sure the L&L guys would work to get a export format set up that would get it done! :smiley:

Note to L&L…

If you change the Novel With Parts template to have a document instead of a folder for the Parts pages (so they are like the “Title page” in many respects) this will solve the incompatibility of the template with the Novel Std Format compile option.

I’ve figured it out. By ignoring the “Part” folder, and unchecking the “title” box for chapters, it worked. It was taking the “Part” folder title and making it the title of Chapter One, then starting the text of the first chapter with the Chapter Two heading. Not the expected result.

I converted the Part folder to a document and compiled it. Gives me the result I was expecting from the template.

Thanks for your help.