Setting up a new Project. Pls tell me what I'm doing wrong

I want to import a document created in Nisus into a new fiction project. I selected “Novel” and then “Import.” Although the directions at the top of the new Project & Manual tell me that Chapter One has been created for me, the new, blank Project does not have “Chapter One.” All I see in the “Manuscript” and “Chapter” editing panel is a blank page with a horizontal line grey>black>grey at the top which I cannot delete. “Scene” is blank/empty, not even the horizontal grey>black>grey line

Do I need to select something in particular in the binder? Or is the problem somewhere else? I don’t understand what’s wrong.

Thank you for advice/input/help.

The words you have chosen are a bit confusing. This is the normal method for starting a new project and then importing a .RTF file:

Start Scrivener. Close any projects that it automatically opens. There should be a window that opens which shows you a set of templates to choose from (and the manual & Interactive Tutorial as well).

You would then click on the “Fiction” icon in the left pane, and then select “Novel” from the list of templates there. Click on the ‘Choose’ button, then give the new project a name and make sure it is saved to a folder that you can easily locate (such as the Documents folder).

That will open your new project, in which there should be a Manuscript, Research, Trash, and possibly Characters and Locations top-level folders (can’t recall right now the exact names).

Select the Manuscript folder in the binder. Go to File->Import->Files… or to File->Import->Import and Split… Then navigate to your RTF file to import. You may have to do some manual splitting, depending on what options you chose or if the import and split only got some of the chapters. That’s available while you have the text loaded in the editor window; go to Documents->Split and choose the appropriate option (and memorize the keyboard shortcut, since you’re likely to need it a lot in very short order).

Hi Robert,

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I followed your direx, closed the open windows, opened a new Project with, as you said, Manuscript, Research, Trash, and Characters and Locations top-level folders.

I selected manuscript in the binder (the corkboard appeared so I changed to the blank editing window. Could this be my mistake?) Then I hit Import and Split. My imported document did appear both in Manuscript and in a series of Chapter-level text files.

Same problem, though: Scriv did not create a Chapter 1. This time, I see 2 grey>black>grey horizontal lines in “Manuscript” and one in “Chapter.” “Scene” is blank.

Do you—or anyone else—have any idea of why Scriv doesn’t provide the Chapter 1 and what I should try next?

I’ve used, loved & recommended Scriv for years but have no idea why it’s acting the way it is!

EDITED TO ADD: Just noticed that when I select “Manuscript,” the bar at the top of the editor reads:
Manuscript (Composite) - Chapter
When I select “Chapter,” the bar at the top of the editor reads:
Chapter (Composite) - Chapter
When I select “Scene,” the bar at the top of the editor reads:

Is this a clue?

I think what you are experiencing is called Scrivenings mode. The interface you’re describing reminds me of that feature as it was in version 1. Are you running version 1? (Go to Scrivener->About to find out).

When you select a “container”, which in this case is a folder, the default is to show its contents in cork board view. You then selected the scrivenings mode (show all document texts contained in the folder clicked on).

But before I go any further, and since I’m not entirely sure what you’re seeing; Can you make a screen shot with your Manuscript folder visible?

Thanks again, Robert. I’m running version 2.4.1 and you’re right. Scrivenings is selected under View. I don’t recall making that selection but when I deselected, the horizontal lines + text disappeared & “manuscript folder” appears as in the attached screenshot.

When I click “Chapter,” I’m presented with a blank editing panel—horizontal lines gone but still no chapter 1 created.


Thank you for the screenshot. It helps clarify what’s going on.

What seems to have happened is that your existing file was imported, but not into the Chapter folder created by the template. It’s in the files lower down in the Binder, starting with Overall View. Drag those files into the Chapter folder, and you should be ready to go.

Note also that the template will not automatically number the Chapter folders. Chapter numbering happens at compile time, when you assemble the final manuscript. At this point, simply create a folder for each chapter and give it a name so that you can identify it. You can decide later whether the final manuscript will use that name or just “Chapter One.”

If you haven’t already, you might want to look at the file called “Novel Format,” up at the top of the Binder. It has some information about what’s in the template and how it sets things up for you.


Hi Katherine, thank you.

Scriv won’t let me drag those files into the Chapter folder. The Chapter folder remains empty (so does the text file called “scene”) and the files I tried to move line up underneath “Scene.”

HTH clarify the issue.

In your second screen shot, the files you dragged have in fact moved under the Chapter folder. You’ll be able to see this more easily if you click the triangle to the left of the Chapter folder, as all of its contents will collapse. You’ll also be able to see this If you put the Chapter folder back into Scrivenings mode.

The way this template works, briefly, is that each Chapter is set up as a folder, and contains a text file for each scene. The Chapter folder itself contains no text: it’s just a container. So it looks to me like everything is set up exactly as designed. You just might want to delete the empty Scene file, since you’ve put your own scenes in already, and it looks like your imported scenes might be out of order and need to be dragged around a bit.

If you haven’t already, I’d suggest having a look at Scrivener’s interactive tutorial, available from the Help menu. It’s a good introduction to the Scrivener interface and how the Binder and Editor work together, and it might save you a lot of time going back and forth here in the forum.


Robert & Katherine, Thank you both! :slight_smile: