Why does compiled file have "* * *" in random places?

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’ve searched for this but have gotten zero results, so I’m asking here.

When I compile a novella I’m writing, Scrivener is placing three asterisks in six different places, always centered, always at the end of a paragraph.

I’ve gone into the file and selected “show invisibles” but they aren’t there. They show up every time I compile.

What am I missing? I’m sure these mean something but I’m at a loss.

Thanks for any help,


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Scene breaks (between documents most likely).

Thanks for your reply. How can I get rid of them? I have a ton of scene breaks, but only six of them have the * * * near them. And they’re not even properly centered.

You can (duplicate and) edit the desired compile format and change the seperators before / between sections (see Scrivener manual 24.4 on macOS).

May I ask how you save your scenes in Scrivener? E.g. one scene per text document, or separated by an empty line, etc.

Double click the compile format you were using (left side of the compile panel).
Duplicate if prompted to.
Then follow the location from my screenshot, and uncheck this option.

Here’s the exact format from this draft.

He shook his head. No big deal. Then, he leaned over and whispered intimately into my ear, “Alive. This will work.”


There came the sound of a dropped tool, freezing my heart and stopping me in my tracks, followed by the haggard, irritated voice of my father.

So I use the “§” section break from legal documents. I use this all the time, everywhere. I can’t understand why sometimes it does the *** and sometimes it doesn’t.

Vincent, I’ll check that setting. Thanks to you both!

As the option’s name says, it does when the empty line that the compile formats adds as a separator falls between pages.

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So all of your scenes are stored in one document, separated by “§”?

Probably not. Else he/she wouldn’t have that issue.

Yeah, but my crystal ball is at the shop. :man_shrugging:t2:

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Simply that without a blank line separator, the compile format wouldn’t replace it when needed with ***.

A single document wouldn’t trigger any separator at all.

I have one file for this book, and each chapter has its own folder in the binder. But each chapter may contain one, or many, or no section breaks. This way, I can move or delete whole chapters at a time, but I don’t use different folders for different scenes or sections. I suppose I could.

Thanks for all your help. I just compiled again and it got rid of the ***. Looks much better this way.



Do what works best for you. :+1: Personally, I’d avoid entering such structural information into the text (blank lines, special characters, etc.) and leave that to the Compiler. So the project would look more like this:

  • chapter 1 (folder)
    – scene 1 (text)
    – scene 2 (text)
    – scene 3 (text)
  • chapter 2 (folder)
    – scene 1 (text)
    – scene 2 (text)
    – scene 3 (text)

etc. At least, don’t mix different methods, as the results may turn out inconsistent.


Pursuant to what November_Sierra said, another virtue of breaking distinct scenes into separate docs is this: you will have a Binder which shows you the real structure of your work. Great for analysing how things are shaping up, moving things around, as well as navigating.

In fact, you might really want to track two distinct kinds of scene breaks this way — because there are small scene breaks (usually signaled by a simple blank line in publication) and big scene breaks (often marked by some ornament — the three asterisks are a common way of marking such breaks in manuscript drafts). (Letting compile handle all the separators means one can move any of these scene moments around without further adjustments.)

Seeing these things in the Binder is to me like making visible the large scale grammar of a text — whether it be a chapter of a book or a short story.