Scrivener Manual Project

I had the idea to print a copy of the manual for reference in a handy size, maybe 5x8. Doing so, however, means spending a lot of time resizing all the graphics–they are helpful and can’t simply be discarded. Resizing meant going over Lulu’s page limit, so this wouldn’t work anyway. So I simply had them print the manual as is–but it was still over their single volume page limitation. This meant dividing the manual into two volumes, somewhat arbitrarily. I decided on hardbound to give the book a better chance of surviving. Premium paper bumps the cost over $100 per volume, so this wasn’t practical. Standard cream paper came out around $40 or so, if I remember correctly.

Not sure where you could have this done in the UK. The UK does have some bible printers which would be an ideal format for the manual given its size; but again there would the problem of resizing the graphics; 72 v. 300 dpi, etc.

1 Like

Wow! I’d have guessed the final product would have been much thicker. Did you print multiple pages on each physical page? How many physical pages are the resulting books?

That looks beautiful!

As for the graphics, most of them are indeed a bit tricky to work with at print resolution. For the Mac screenshots I can at least use a Retina screen and get 144 DPI from that, which honestly isn’t shabby against most printers that would be printing tech manuals and such. I would very often push the scale down to about 182 DPI as this felt better to me in the context of the page, and would keep them crisper for those that prefer to view PDF files fullscreen-ish.

The Windows shots are more difficult though, as I have no high-res screen, so even getting them to match the scale of the originals often requires scaling the pixels.

It can sometimes work better, for digital screenshot stuff, to turn fuzzy interpolation off when doing so, sticking with a linear model. Yes, that means the pixels become more obvious because its essentially just enlarging them until the graphic is big enough, but that to me looks better than a blurry mess.

Maybe at some point generative image tech will make upscaling screenshots better. I should maybe check that out against a model that has been tuned against line drawings and software GUIs, come to think of it. While I doubt it will work well always, it might work well enough, often enough, to only require a little touch-up here or there, where the algorithm felt that the dialogue box would look better with shrubbery instead of buttons.

Anyway, I’m a bit honoured to see my work all printed up nice like that. Thanks for posting your results.

1 Like

There is one page on each side of a sheet of paper. I think there’s around 900 pages or so for both volumes. Lulu has an 800 page limit. i could have done 2-up or even 4-up printing, but 2-up means landscape reading and 4-up is too hard for me to read. The days of being able to read the 2-volume OED without the included magnifying glass are long over.

1 Like

Looks beautiful.

When I last did that sort of paper production for a 400-pager, I printed to PDF A4 size, then used PDF software (Adobe) to print to 2 pages per page. that shrunk all the graphics very well. Then, the printer used their cutting tool to slice the A4 to A5 and bound. Worked for the graphics I had. Have not tried same with Scrivener Manual. Perhaps worth a try for those interested.

Binding correction would be an issue if you just cut a4 to a5 with 450 sheets. Still, it’s an interesting idea and a5 would be a handy size.

These are mockups, yes? The two photos do not show books of anything like the same thickness.

1 Like

That is why a professional printed, sliced, and bound.

I was wondering the same. Why do they look so much thicker from the side? :thinking:

Not a mock-up.

The problem is that if you typeset as 2-Up, neither recto nor verso has a binding correction. If you print the text so that page 1 is followed by page two on the same sheet, you have to collate the sheets so that the odd numbers are recto pages. At 450 sheets, binding correction is needed. And that’s assuming there are no imposition issues given the manufacturing process. (See, InDesign Basics: Imposition and Booklets Types | Snowball). Of course, if you give the printer a Markdown, LaTeX or even Word file then the printer can generate the sheets and take care of the imposition issues and binding correction.

Note that the recto pages have a binding correction on the left, the verso pages on the right. The recto pages are odd numbered.

Because one is thicker than the other. I split the second volume at a logical place and did not merely divide the number of pages by two.

FYI. In case you also want to distribute in the USA. The cost to print in the USA might be a little less. I just printed an author proof copy of my 400 page 6 inch x 9 inch (standard trade paperback size) historical novel using Amazon ( Kindle Direct Publishing division) . The proofs cost about $5 plus shipping from Texas to California. I expect the final publishable volumes to cost about $10 printing cost. Amazon is limited to 440 pages. You could use 8.5" x 11" size which has about 2x the space, but that would require some manual reformatting to look good, as you noted. My book has a hand-drawn (MS-Paint) map which reproduced well in B&W. I’m using a photograph for background on the cover and am pleased with the quality of reproduction.
For best durability, you might consider plastic comb or spiral wire binding. Both allow the manual to lie flat on a table which is handy when you need to be switching your gaze from book to screen and back. Anyone buying a hardcopy manual is buying a luxury these days, so you might as well make it top rank.
Patrick Kelly

Yes, got it. That’s not what I meant. Probably an optical illusion, but if you compare the volume on the left side (the thicker one) in both pictures, from the side angle you’d think it’s not even remotely the same book:

A single volume edition with flexible covers and bible-weight paper. Snowfall Press ( can print up to 1600 pages at 6x9. They claim no minimum order or setup fee. But I don’t know if they limit their production to bibles. Bible-weight paper is 40 gsm.

Given the graphics in the Scrivener manual, it would be difficult, though not impossible, to use two columns per page. And a specialized bible font would help.

This would be a good project for a graphics design student.

Good lighting where I am at is indeed an issue. But I assure you that

a) these are not mock-ups; and
b) volume II is thinner than volume I simply for convenience and the fact that the project planner was caught mid-project by unanticipated restrictions, had already gone through all the menus and had to start over because of the high price of premium paper and made a division that was “good enough for now.”

If I wasn’t busy with North Korean nuclear scientists, Syrian chemical weapons experts and American hostages in the Middle East while trying to understand past events based on cryptic financial documents, I would have done a better job. But these are only excuses; I apologize nonetheless.


No need to apologize, it’s a cool idea. Sometimes I miss those tomes that came bundled with a truckload of floppy disks.


I printed a single copy for my personal use. L&L makes the pdf of the manual freely available. As my posts on this forum prove, I should spend more time with the manual.



Physicality makes learning better. And, of course, you’ll make notes somehow and it’ll become cooler still.

1 Like

I’ve had good results using the new AI features in Pixelmator Pro to up the resolution for print.

There are a number of apps now featuring AI to achieve that sort of outcome, some of them ridiculously expensive.