I have been really enthusiastic the first time I discovered Scrivener as an authoring software for my researches. However, after spending many hours reading the documentation, the forums, watching demo videos (the ones on litteratureandlatte and others from Youtube) and trying to make it work for me, I came to the conclusion that it is simply not evolved enough for me. Writing on Scrivener would be more of a hassle and a loss of time. First let me introduce myself and explain what I was hoping from this terrific software (it is, really! just doesn’t seem to fit my needs).
I am PhD Student in computer science. Apart from coding, I spend most of my time writing about my researches. For this last task, I value a software letting me write in an uncluttered interface and not handling the formatting issues upfront. Once I’m done, what I look forward is a way to publish my writings easily in the fastest way possible. Usually I have to publish different versions of my work (mainly for reviews) while still authoring and modifying my papers. The last step would involve sending the final draft to a journal and, in my field, most journal require the paper to be in Latex.
So I tried to write exclusively on Scrivener, organizing my thoughts on documents and Folders within Scrivener. This worked beautifully for me. Then I tried to publish my work for reviews. The options I had were to publish it in RTF or MMD-Latex format. The RTF option was unusable for me since I had to work on the formatting as many times as I publish a new version. The Latex seemed to be a bit of a beta version were I had, for example, the titles numbered both by Scrivener and by the Latex compiler. So I also had to manually change the Latex output. I also experienced difficulties with the included graphics, having Scrivener generate Latex unfriendly file names.
One may say that, if my objective is to have my writings in a Latex ready format, I could simply forget about Scrivener and write directly in Latex. But, IMHO, writing in Latex is a challenge and one can’t focus on it’s writings if he’s focusing on latex codes and having to strive to get a simple table (that would look as code on the page until you compile the document…).
I also had many struggles getting my figures and tables numbered and captioned. Scrivener simply do not offer this feature (while Latex does). I had to play with the <$n… trick and all I managed to get is numbers and captions not associated with the image or table and numbered in a weird way (this happens if, say, you reference an image while there are other images between the reference point and the image itself).
I am in an early research stage right now, I really hope a new version of Scrivener will make it’s way and let me use it as intended before I start writing my final thesis. For now, I am regretfully falling back to MS Word… All I hope for now is that my review will serve as an insight for future versions. I would gladly be part of a working group if needed!
Thanks and keep the good work guys!