Question regarding multiple chapter drafts

I just discovered Scrivener thanks to it being mentioned in a recent article on the MacWorld web site. I’ve downloaded it and am in the trial period to decide if it’s a good tool for me. I’ve imported chapters of a book-in-progress from OpenOffice and I’ve been able to get Scrivener to do just about everything I’d want. The one issue I’m trying to figure out is a good method for handling multiple drafts of chapters.

The project I’ve imported is a partial first draft of a book. Most chapters have only a single draft so far, but a few were already on a second draft. I want to keep the older drafts accessible, while only getting the latest draft when I “Edit Scrivinings”, print, etc. I seem to recall the video demo talking a bit about drafts and the ability to access the older versions, but searching through the online help and the FAQ I can’t seem to find the relevant info. Assuming information on handling multiple drafts exists in the documentation, could someone provide me a pointer? Other general info on good practices for handling multiple drafts would be appreciated.

I’m just an “hobbyist” writer, writing down just bits and pieces, always beginning and never ending things.
So, maybe I’m not the right one to address this, but that’s my two cents.
First I number the chapters, not giving them titles, so it’s chapter 1, chapter 2… then , if I go for a second draft of the same chapter I name this just like it’s done for sowftware… I use “point version”: so it is 1.1, 1.2 and so on, using also labels to mark the status.
That’s the way I manage multiple drafts of the same chapter.
Hope this helps

Ciao, Andrea

I think the Snapshot feature would be best for what you are trying to accomplish. Snapshots allow you to store versions of any particular document, and upon later editing you can go back and review these versions and even roll them back if you prefer an older edit.

To make a snapshot, press Cmd-5. You’ll notice the document icon will get a little ‘dog-ear’ on the upper right. Snapshots can be titled descriptively, if you please. Cmd-Opt-5 well ask you for a title just after taking it. To review snapshots consult the “Snapshots” sub-menu in the Documents menu. You’ll note some other options there for versioning your entire draft at once.

The nice thing about this feature is that the visible version of the document (available to Compile and Edit Scrivenings) will always be the latest, but you can access older version if you wish.


That’s why I couldn’t find it when I was searching – it’s “snapshots”, not “drafts”. I think this will get me what I need. Thanks much.

hawksmoor: I currently do have the chapters named with the version number in the same chapter folder, but this way all versions of a chapter show up when I do “Edit Scrivenings” or go to print. “Compile Manuscript” allows you to be selective about what gets included, but all other operations that work on the entire manuscript include everything that’s in the folders under the manuscript.

I’m still very much in the learning stages myself with this software, but so far I really like what I see. I’ve had trouble finding a way to keep my research and notes organized and easily accessible when working on the manuscript – Scrivenings will hopefully keep me moving, as I’ve had a tendency to get bogged down up until now.

Some hints: I would highly recommend unchecking “Include in Draft” for the older versions. This can be found in the Inspector panel, or if you want to change a lot at once you can use Outliner. Click on “Draft” in the Binder, and then press Cmd-1 if necessary. Once in Outliner, you’ll need to click on the ellipses button at the top right. This will let you select optional columns for display. Select the Include in Draft column and now you can rapidly locate and toggle this selection. You can use Opt-LeftArrow on selected elements in the Outliner to reveal all of their children. Using this method you can scan your entire book in Outliner.

Chances are, you already have things set up though, as it sounds like you have been deselecting these older version in Compile. Those two checkboxes are linked. Changing it in Inspector (or Outliner) will carry that change over to Compile and vice versa.

Now that you have your book set up to include or exclude what is actually part of the book, you can take advantage of Scrivener’s ability to allow you to work this way. For instance, Edit Scrivenings has a mode whereby excluded documents will not be shown. Go to the View menu, and under Edit Scrivenings you’ll see two relevant modes. One allows you to collect only included documents, which is what you want. The other allows you to collect only excluded documents.

Additionally, the Project Statistics sheet has options available for handling these sorts of documents as well. In short, Scrivener allows you to keep notes and versions directly in your draft area. This is a powerful feature, as it allows notes and revisions to remain contextual to the book.

As for printing, I would recommend using the print feature from the Compile sheet. This in effect renders a compile and then prints that rendering.

When working with research and notes, remembering that you can put your notes in a second split. Splits work for the entire binder, not just the Draft area. Experiment, and get proficient in the use of the History buttons for each split. This will reduce a lot of hunt and click Binder work once you are used to it. There are even keyboard shortcuts for operating history on the opposing split. This allows you to rapidly flip through research and notes while typing in the other split.


Thank you very much for the detailed suggestions. I seem to have things mostly set up the way I want them now, due to your help. Hopefully I can get writing again instead of playing with software settings. Oh, and I guess I ought to actually pay for the software before I get too attached to it – KB deserves to make a buck (or 0.648797 quid at the current exchange rate) off of this. :smiley:

It’ll be the best £25.91944015 you’ve ever spent!