Scriv - Compiler - Section Layout Previews - Sample text

First, let me say (at least once a year) that the more I use Scrivener, the more admiration I have for the incredible amount of creative, insightful work that’s gone into the app and the documentation. Superb functionality!

Second, a minor feature request:

When I set a Section Layout for a heading, usually (but strangely not always) the sample text that appears is a series of greeked paragraphs. Since a heading is often set in large type, the resulting Layout preview becomes unreasonably deep, cluttering up the list of Layouts, and visually confusing the idea of it being just a heading.

For example, I have a Layout called “Book Title” and it takes up the entire Section Layouts List pane because the sample “title” is three paragraphs long of gigantic “greek”.

Where does this sample text come from? Can it be changed so that a heading Layout is just a few words?

Third, a Feature wish: Either default each layout to a choice of “Heading Text” or the greeked text, or better yet, let the user supply some descriptive text that reinforces the layout assignments. I would find this latter approach tremendously more useful.

Beyond that, I really wish the Compiler setup scheme could be made more WYSIWYG. The settings are in so many places (brilliantly successful, but very steep to learn) that I imagine the configuration process could be re-imagined to be a lot easier to understand and to use.

For example, that slender line “Determined by Section Layout” is soooo easy to overlook until a lot of hair has been pulled out. As is editing a custom format. Or remembering to leave the Compile environment to re-open Project > Settings, select Section Types, and then select the right-hand tab so you can see the hierarchy-based selections highlighted in the Binder. Quite a lot of terminology involved, too. I realize much of this complexity is inevitable, but the UX can be more fun. (Although that would likely be a monumental task…)

Mainly, I feel terrible that so many of my writer friends are afraid to try Scriv because they can’t begin to fathom the Compiler, even when I show them Ctrl-P! They’re missing such a spectacular organizing and structuring toolset! I pine for them . . . .


Since there is no way anything in the layout’s formatting can affect the layout’s name in the layouts list (layout panel, compile format), I’ll assume you mean the demo in the middle of the compile panel.
If “metadata / synopsis / notes / text” are unchecked from the said layout (in the compile format) the only way to have extra content other than “Section Title” is through Title options, prefix and suffix.
Clean those if need be.

If I understand right, you want/need this:

Without anything in those:

Likely you are also inserting the title in the editor and therefor have to (or not, but still anyways) use the override formatting for it. This causes the demo text to use that formatting:

If that’s the case, note that it’s best to title your binder document with the desired title, and just check it (“Title” and only it, if there is no other content) in the corresponding layout. – As per my second screenshot.

In other words, by using the text for your title, you are currently getting the intended result. Scrivener actually does exactly what you are telling it to do.

Thanks for your detailed response.

I had “Text” checked because I often have multi-line titles, and thought I should use the Title-folder’s contents to accomplish that.

If I un-check Text and check Title, then (since the folder has no text) the compiled headings come out blank. So I would use the approach you recommend – Use the binder element’s “name” for the title, instead of using text “inside” the binder element.

This does limit titles to one line (not counting text wrap), if I understand correctly. That is, I can’t use titles with embedded soft returns.

In this case, use a style for the title in the editor, and uncheck the layout’s override formatting option at the bottom.

You won’t get a preview though. It’ll be text as before (this time a message saying text will look as in the editor) but not huge.
Your title will compile as it looks in the editor : the style will allow you to reformat them all at once (your titles), later, if needed.

Understood. Two approaches that work, with subtle pros & cons, all of which I can live with. It would be rather nice if the Section Layouts column in the Compile Overview window were more explicitly WYSIWYG, but I’m getting used to the unique layout setup conventions here. It takes a lot of experimentation to really understand how it all works. The manual is a minor masterpiece, but there’s so much to explain that a visual demo, setting by setting, is almost mandatory.

Thanks again for the swift and precise response!

1 Like

It is wysiwyg.
It just can’t guess your text is actually a title.
And… which of your titles (or text) should it be?

I guess I’d call it partially WYSIWYG, of necessity.

I think it could be more useful or understandable if it could, for example, use the assigned Outline element name (e.g., Story Title) as the sample text, and/or allow the user to enter something relevant to the current project.

There are many ways to design this or any UX, but I’m not yet familiar enough with the entire system to offer any informed suggestions. The existing system is amazing, and I’d rather learn it well than tamper with it.