Template, presets and iPad presentation

(I’m not sure if this is the correct forum, please tell me which forum is, if this isn’t … :slight_smile:)

I have long been a happy user of Nisus Writer Pro. It’s really nice for my needs. But then I stumbled upon a review of Scrivener, not as a Writer’s tool, but as a information collection/organization program (compared to DevonThink and other such software), so I decided to give Scrivener a try. Nisus’ Document Manager is OK, but I felt the need for something to help me organize and compile stuff. And Scrivener fascinated me, so I went ahead and bought it.

I am still working on finding a good flow between Nisus and Scrivener, with questions like: Should I write in Nisus and then import to Scrivener and organize and edit more? Or should I just write in Scrivener and then just export to Nisus to do final touch-ups and formatting? (I’m not expecting you guys to answer this, just presenting some background for my questions — explaining what kind of stuff I’m using/considering using Scrivener for.)

To further complicate the picture, I got myself an iPad, and now I am working on finding a good way of writing stuff on the Mac, and then use the iPad when teaching class(es). So I need to export the teaching material I write to a format that is easily viewed on the iPad. If I use Nisus directly, I’ve had to create a A5 template with almost no margins and very large fonts to be able to view RTF files in a nice way on the iPad. (I’ve given up on finding a way to edit RTF files on the iPad, ref. http://www.nisus.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=3716&start=15)

I’m now playing with the idea of creating nice styles in Scrivener and do the main typing there, and then export to two different formats, one for printouts and one for showing/editing on the iPad. (I have Documents to Go, and if I export to a word file with large fonts, it should work.)

To be able to do most of my typing I need to find a quick way to change formatting presets in Scrivener without using the mouse. (I need to be able to quickly change between title, body, quotation and maybe lists.) Tried searching the manual, but didn’t figure this out. Maybe I can make macros or something?

And I guess I also need to make some templates/setting for compiling these two different versions. Anyone have similar needs and have experimented with this?
(I wish I could have even clearer questions, but I hope I managed to describe my needs.) Any hints/thoughts on this will be appreciated. :slight_smile:

It’s worth checking if you can create relevant keyboard shortcuts using OS X’s System Preferences (you can choose to make shortcuts that are specific to Scrivener). I haven’t done it for a while, but I’m pretty sure you can set keyboard shortcuts for any menu item.

Yes, you can create keyboard shortcuts via the System Preferences for any menu item with a unique name, so even if you make your own custom presets you can assign them shortcuts provided their name doesn’t clash with another item. Instructions for doing this are here.

And I realize you didn’t ask for it, but my two-cents’ suggestion is to do most of the writing, at least at initial stages, in Scrivener. First, because that’s what it’s intended to do (and then compile and do final formatting in NWP), and second because if you get caught up in making fancy styles and so forth in NWP and then import to Scrivener, you’ll likely lose all of that anyway, so it won’t have helped you. You can make presets and do formatting like you’re talking about, but it’s not dynamic word-processor style–so for instance, if you create a header preset and apply that to a few items, and then later in the day change that preset to a different font, it won’t affect the items you’ve already applied the preset to. Presets are just saved formatting, so there’s no association between the preset and the text after you’ve assigned it.

Ergo, you can do that formatting initially in Scrivener, but any polishing you’ll want to do in NWP after you’ve done the writing and probably some editing (depending on your needs), but you should find NWP’s style manager up to the task of making quick changes on the formatting you used in Scrivener so it shouldn’t be terribly tedious. Meanwhile, with all its organizational tools and views (outliner, corkboard, etc.) and the ability to break the document into chunks as you like and re-arrange them freely, Scrivener offers a lot more for the initial drafting process and for big revisions and structural changes.

Thanks for the suggestions. Making shortcuts in System Preferences —> Keyboard seems to be working. :slight_smile:

I have also come to the conclusion that when using Scrivener, it makes the most sense to do the initial bulk of the writing in this program, and then later do final formatting and such in Nisus (NWP).

But I do still wonder a little about templates and such. Because I have quite different needs on the iPad and on paper/in NWP. On the iPad I need bigger and different fonts, especially for block quotes and such. I was thinking maybe it wouldn’t matter too much how the styles looked in Scrivener, that I could just make compile filters, but if I override formatting and stuff in the Compile section, then the structure parts which I’ve added through using the formatting styles Heading, Sub-heading and Title doesn’t really matter. Then all structure must be added through splitting my document in folder, docs and sub documents, right?

Or can I add rules saying that all “Body” text should be formatted as this font, and “Block Quote” should be this font and preserve tabs, etc.?

(I’m not saying that structuring my work in sub documents and such nescessarily is a bad thing — it makes a lot of sense in bigger works. It does require me to change my habits/flow, which could be good. But I’m still testing this. And I need to find out how easy it will flow, especially when I’m working in fullscreen mode … if that turns out to be “my thing” …)

Anyway, Scrivener is impressive. I know I’m trying to use it for slightly different purposes than what it’s main focus is … :slight_smile:

Working with the structure could help with some (possibly all) of that, and you will probably find as you work more with it that it becomes comfortable although it’s definitely a change from writing in a word processor. Viewing the different components together is easily done with Scrivenings view, which can be brought into full screen as well. If you’re using fairly small chunks (e.g. more at a paragraph level), you may want to check out the preference (at the bottom of the Formatting tab) to separate sections with a single line break, as it will help keep the text tighter together and may provide better flow for you.

Another option, like you were talking about, is to use the Formatting>Preserve Formatting tool on different special formatting like your headings or quotes (you can even update your presets to include that so you won’t have to adjust any new text with it). You can filter how much formatting this code preserves when it comes time to compile by clicking the “Options…” button at the top of the compile Formatting pane (it will of course only apply if you’re overriding formatting generally, but that would be the point). That isn’t enough to use a different font entirely (unless you don’t filter it at all), but you can preserve alignment, tabs and intents, and size.

Between those two features you can probably get everything you need to set up a couple different compile options for your different destinations. You can save settings, too, so you can get one set for your iPad and save it, then make one for going to Nisus, and then just load whichever you need.