Scrivenings questions

So far, towards the end of a project, I have always found myself copying and pasting chapters into Word and doing the final edits there. I realize now that this is probably what Scrivenings mode is for, but somehow I just can’t get it to do what I want. Any help would be appreciated.

  • Ideally, I would like to revise all my chapters in one go. (I am assuming that it is fairly standard that all my pages are within the same document hierarchy.) Can this be done automatically, or do I always have to hand-pick the documents/pages I want to see?

  • If I select two pages, in Scrivenings mode I will not only see those two pages, but also all sub-documents (comments, research etc.). How can I make sure that Scrivener will only include the documents I have actually selected?

  • Is it possible to choose different layouts (like fonts or font sizes) for Scrivenings and/or composition mode? For the first draft, I like to use a plain font that will not add any distractions beyond the words themselves, but for the final revision I would prefer a prettier font that resembles what you would see in a book.

For full disclosure, I am using the latest beta (Windows).


For getting things into word, you should start learning how to compile your project into a single word document. The tutorial (under Help) is a project that walks you through Scrivener at your own pace, and will cover compile (including notes on the state of the compile features in the beta).

The natural scrivenings behavior is to display all sub-documents when you select a container document/folder. The only way I know to make that not the case is to add a container document to a collection, and then view the contents of the collection by selecting it along with other documents in that collection.

If you want to change the font settings while you’re working within Scrivener, then I’d recommend going to Scrivener->Preferences->Editing->Formatting. Select the example text, and use the settings above it to change the formatting to what you prefer. This will change how all new documents in all copies of Scrivener come out from that point forward. To change existing documents, select them in the binder, then go to Documents->Convert->Text to default formatting.

If you don’t want to change formatting for all new documents in all of your other projects, you can do the same thing for just this one project by going to Project->Project Settings instead of Scrivener->Preferences.

I appreciate the reply, but it appears you have missed my point. Neither do I need help with compiling my project into a single word document, nor do I want to change the editors font settings.

I want to change the font settings for Scrivenings, respectively Composition mode ONLY. If that isn’t possible (and that’s what I make of your reply), I will post it as a suggested feature.

I am also concluding that it is not possible to have the Scrivenings page string together all chapters automatically (e.g. by selecting all documents from a certain tree level).

“The natural scrivenings behavior is to display all sub-documents when you select a container document/folder.”

Seems rather unnatural to me (as in: “Why would I want this?”) so I’d be very curious to learn if that’s what everyone else finds useful?

Okay, sorry. I assumed the copy/paste from Scrivener to Word was because you were avoiding the compile functionality of Scrivener, which can be quite flexible in what gets compiled.

If my understanding is correct, this isn’t possible because Scrivener is a rich text environment, so the font isn’t an application setting for all of your text, but is part of the text itself. Compiling is the only way I know of to change the font settings en masse without altering the text within the Scrivener project.

Yet again, I think I misinterpreted your earlier question. It is indeed possible, and the default behavior to string together everything contained by whatever you select. What you asked before…

… that’s the opposite behavior of scrivener stringing together all chapters automatically.

So I’m confused here: Either you don’t want it to show you the sub-documents of your chapter (folder?) in scrivenings mode, or you do, and can’t make it do that for some reason (even though that’s what Scrivenings mode is all about). Maybe a concrete example (maybe try to do what you’re after using the Interactive Tutorial, so we all have the same filenames and binder structure to refer to) would illuminate your issue?

Thanks for revisiting. :wink:

Not sure what the recommended structure is for Scrivener, but here’s what I do:


  • PART A
    – Chapter 1
    — Purpose of this scene
    — Other thoughts
    — Research
    — Trash
    — etc.
    – Chapter 2
    – Chapter 3
    – Chapter 4
  • PART B
    – Chapter 5
    – Chapter 6
    – Chapter 7

To read the draft in one go, I want to string together the chapters (manually if I have to - automatically, if I can). For obvious reasons, I don’t want my research or trash to show up between chapters.

Then you need to store them outside the folder hierarchy you are trying to do Scrivenings on.

OR, you need to mark them in some way so that you can perform a search in your Drafts/Manuscript folder to find all of the actual book bits, but that leaves out the Research/Trash bits, and save that search as a Collection. However, IIRC, by doing that you lose the hierarchy in the Collection window.

To elaborate on Devinganger’s post, the best approach is to have Research and Trash reside outside your Drafts folder. The basic Scrivener project structure, if I recall correctly, is to have three main, top level folders: Draft, Research and Trash. The latter two are self explanatory. The Draft is used for all your writing, and you can mark individual documents for inclusion in Compile or not.

If you want to read all the draft in one go, then just select the Draft folder and ensure that Scrivenings mode is turned on. As I said, the key is to make sure your Trash and Research are not in the Draft Folder. It might be worth creating a Test project using the Blank Template (I always use that one, no matter what I’m writing). Create some dummy documents in Draft, add some material to Research, and put a couple of items in Trash. Then invoke a Scrivenings session with the Draft folder, and see what happens. You shouldn’t have anything visible from the Research and Trash folders.

I am surprised that everybody seems to store meta information outside the draft tree. I do that for general stuff (like character sheets), but for anything scene-specific (research, brainstorming and other ramblings), my workflow would collapse if I couldn’t attach it to the page or chapter it refers to. Same goes for trash - discarded material goes to a file directly under the scene (how could I ever recycle anything if the context is lost?).

While I can’t speak for anyone else, I store ‘meta-information’ outside the draft folder because I find it easier to have work in progress text discrete from research material. I suspect that most users of Scrivener would be similar. Brainstorming/random thoughts will often start out in the Draft Folder, but then get moved to Research. I also use the Scratchpad for this purpose.

One distinctly lo-fi way to keep the context of discarded material is to replicate your draft tree in the Research Folder, and then move material here to the relevant chapter/scene as it is discarded from the draft.

Or (as I think you’re using the beta and I think it has them incorporated now), investigate the use of Bookmarks or Document links as a way of associating your documents with each other. Info on both in the manual. More info in the following blog posts: … crivener-3 … -one-click … ject-notes

This is where I make heavy use of custom metadata, the two editors, etc. I’ll have one editor open to the corresponding spot in my research/notes, and the other to the document in draft. I will also use custom styles for things like in-line rambling, etc., that gets compiled out (or at least is easy to remove once compiled).


This could work for me…

…if there was a way to replicate the draft tree structure in the research folder AUTOMATICALLY.
…if the actual items in the binder could be symbolic links (so I could store the actual files in the research tree, but still maintain the current convenience of having everything related to a particular scene at my fingertips).

I understand that the inspector is probably very useful for folks who work at their home desks, but since I do a lot of work on my ultra-portable nine inch screen, I had to abandond the inspector altogether. Instead, I rely on anything I can access via the binder. It seems like bookmarks cannot be used as items in the binder either, so I am afraid they are not for me.

Sounds great if you have the necessary screen real estate. For me it would be fantastic if I could configure the binder mouseovers to show custom metadata - that would give me access to additional information without utilizing my scarce screen space.

…create just too much dead weight for my taste. My need to preserve old material always pops up locally - when I have to cut a larger portion of text, or a particular scene needs to be completely rewritten. Somehow, snapshots of the entire project are just not useful for my purposes.

Snapshots are on a per-document basis.

Hmm. The first suggestion is probably very difficult to implement, given that you want to exclude some things from the draft structure. It is very easy to do manually, so this might be one of those instances where an hour devoted to setting up your ideal work space might be enormously beneficial.

I don’t know anything about symlinks or how they work, though I have seen them discussed here.

I work on a 13" laptop. All of my other suggestions would involve the Inspector or a split editor window. But your options are hugely limited by the size of your screen, which is a pity, because the Inspector is very powerful. Does your screen size allow you to use the split editor? Functions such as copyholders and layouts (already in WinBeta 3?) really enhance the ability to reference other material while writing.

I’ll also reiterate Devinganger’s point about snapshots - they are on a per document basis, though you can also set it up so that each manual save produces a snapshot of all documents modified in that writing session.

I hope you find a solution that works.

Interesting - I had read up on the feature and was under the impression that it’s on a per-project basis. But you’re right, of course. Unfortunately, since it’s not possible to incorporate the snapshots into my binder structure, it seems like my best bet is still to copy and paste “snapshots” manually.

Not so much, I’m afraid. The project I am currently working on has almost 1000 pages and is still growing. Manually mirroring the structure would be a mess (and thinking about it, mirroring it automatically would probably be as well).

Agreed. But then again my real-life options of having a tiny writing computer at my disposal are vast. Can’t have everything, I guess.

Now that I have a better understanding of how the software is supposed to be used, I will see if I can come up with one or two suggestions to improve Scrivener that would be helpful for me and hopefully still in line with what everybody else needs - we shall see. :wink:

I haven’t explored this feature in the Windows beta, but can you use the “Full Screen” mode (not to be confused with the Composition mode) and have the Inspector slide into view when you move your mouse to the right edge of the screen? This opens up the inspector’s usefulness on smaller screens, a feature I make use of frequently on my Mac when I’m trying to make space for an editor split + one or two copyholders.

Will check that out - thank you!

A lot of good thinking in here, I will look through myself – thanks for posting the question…