Revised Wish

I guess my question is actually about not how to use Scrivener as opposed to why to use it. I am endlessly facianted with it but am not sure of why one uses it as opposed to Word.

Any explainations gratefully accepted.


Well, Keith’s promo page on the website pretty much nails it but I’ll offer a simple view:

Utterly fluid manipulation of structure.
Write with your preferred drafting style (fonts, etc.); easily produce finished piece in a completely different one.
Easy view of research materials while writing.
Designed for fluid writing not labyrinthine formatting.


Word: you have a folder containing 62 project files. What’s in them? Only way to find out is double-click and view.

Scriv: All 62 files are present in a single project file. What’s in them? Select and view in the editor window. Re-name them as needed. Arrange them into various folders. Split-screen and view two files at the same time. On the index cards write summaries. Re-arrange the cards into new structures. In the inspector window, write notes about the files. And so on.

Scriv is for the thinking, shaping, arranging stage of drafting.

Word is for final formatting and tracking of changes, if an editor requires.


Because it gives you almost all the flexibility of paper tools–index cards, cutting pages into chunks, spreading them out on a big table, etc.–combined with the editing, searching, and archiving capabilities that only a computer can provide.

From Word to Scrivener is as big a jump as from typewriter to word processor.

And because, for what it does, it’s ridiculously cheap. There’s almost no risk to just trying it for a while.


Word: Crashes three times a day.

Scriv: Hasn’t crashed on me once (in over a year).

Try this in MS Word:

You’re not really sure about the flow of your piece. You think you need to juggle
some paragraphs, perhaps even whole sections of your text. You’d like to see what a
couple of different configurations look like. Scroll, select, copy, paste (into the original
document? Or might you want to start a new dummy document just to be sure you
don’t muck things up?). Then search or scroll, copy, and paste again. And again. And
again. If you’re not pleased with your new configuration, you don’t have much to
worry about in Word — just delete what you’ve done and return to your original.

But what if you are happy with all or part of your new flow? How do you get it back
into your document? Hmmm. Good question.

Now do the same thing in Scrivener. With the brilliant Scivenings feature, it’ll take
you a tenth the time, a hundredth the aggravation, and if you like what you see,
boom, you basically just accept it and move on.

(just one of dozens of examples)

All the best,