Project Size


I’ve got to say that I am so excited about Scrivener for Windows, I’ve been wanting to use it for ages.

Anyway, I have one question: how big can a project get? I’ve looked around but I can’t really find the answer.

For years I have had many folders within folders, all containing various different files. For instance, I would use Movie Magic Screenwriter for Scripts and Microsoft Word for Novels; but now that Scrivener can handle everything, my first impulse is to import everything, and sort of imitate the folder structure within Scrivener.

This is great for two main reasons. One is that I can now organise everything that I have written really well, which is brilliant. The other reason is that I can now run a search of everything that I have written to see if I have either duplicated something, or find where I have put something.

I have read a small paragraph in the Scrivener manual that talks about Project Size Limitation, but it doesn’t really answer my question.

So, is it okay to pile everything into one project, or should I restrict each screenplay and novel into its own project - which I don’t really want to do?


I think you’ll find that once you start using the program to produce a few projects, you might like the idea of storing every writing project you’ve ever done in a single project, a lot less. Ideally on the surface it sounds nice, but there are just so many reasons why that gets clumsy. Think about compile settings, for instance. Maybe you don’t need wildly different compile settings for each book/script, but chances are there are going to be small differences. You can only have one set of compile settings per project though. If you change them, you lose the old ones. Sure you can save everything as presets, but that would get clumsy to work with. With the premise of a project=project, one compile setting per project is fine.

Then there are keywords, labels, all of that stuff—even if you don’t use it now, you might change your mind. Labels, status, and keywords can be very specific to a project. The generic examples provided don’t really demonstrate that, but what a lot of people find these tools useful for are tracking small details of a project, and that means specifically named labels like “Plot: Mine collapse” and “POV: Yuri”. As a scriptwriter, another problem you’ll probably face is that each project can only have one script setting. That means you either need to write everything in one format, or forget putting any stageplays or other formats in this hypothetical collected project.

So, I think you’ll find yourself running into much more friction than you think, in the long run. While the program itself is very robust and can handle massive projects (I’ve seen some truly huge projects that are all by themselves larger than hard disks were a few years ago) it would be false to say that it wasn’t very much designed with the idea of a project being built in a project file, and not many projects trying to clamour for room in one file—and for good reason: it was designed to work that way. :slight_smile:

Just to tack on to that, what some people do is have a project that is sort of the Manager project–a place to collect ideas, summaries of all your different works and other information about them, with links to the separate projects. That way you have one project that does provide an overview of all your work, but you don’t have all of the works themselves bloating the project, though they’re easily accessible through it.

Thanks for your generous replys.

You’ve definately given me some food for thought.

I must say that I do like the idea of having everything in one place, especially for structuring and for searching multiple files; but I take your points, and will certainly proceed with caution.

I just need to figure out where it would be best to separate the project.

Anyway, I’ll keep learning.

Thanks again.

I use DevonThink Pro to organize research and past work. That way I keep Scrivener projects from getting unwieldy, but still have all my notes and final drafts accessible in one place.

Alas, to the best of my knowledge there is no equivalent to DTP for Windows.


You might be happy to use one project to keep idea “kernels”, which you can develop a little at a time until they’re ready to be copied to their own projects. You can also place the final compiled versions of your projects into a that project for searching through your past works. Personally, I have lots of ideas for blog entries in one project, and they actually stay in that project as if they were one longer piece of work. I also have ideas for future books or short-stories in a different project. Once one grows beyond a certain point, I create a new novel/short story project and drag that material into it’s own space to really bear down on the idea.