Writing in two columns


I started writing a research paper and thought that it would be great to use Scrivener for that. The problem that I ran into is related to using tables to achieve a two-column design. It works great inside Scrivener but it is totally kaputt when compiling a PDF.

I basically just created a Table with one row and 2 columns, inserted some text and used the option “Distribute Columns Evenly”. When exporting, however, only the left column is visible and only one page is displayed. I added screenshots.

Then, after compiling

Any Ideas about how I could fix this?

Scrivener actually supports proper multi-column layout. You should not be resorting to a hack with tables. In the Compiler, make sure you are using RTF for your output format, and in the lower half of the Layout compile option pane you will find options for setting up columns. You can delay columnar layout if your first section is an abstract.

As noted, this is an RTF feature that we support. PDF is not intended to be used for production output in most cases (especially academia). It’s good for proofing copies though.

Thanks for the tip, it (kinda) worked.

Outputting in RTF actually ignores the columns setting. Word (doc&docx) and ODT work as expected.

I’m not sure what you mean. The Word and ODT formats are derived from the RTF file itself (which is Scrivener’s native format). Perhaps the RTF file was opening in something simple, like TextEdit, which doesn’t support column display?

Spot on. TextEdit was the culprit. Thank you very much!

Is there a way in Scrivener to write my book text with a side-bar summary column like this example picture from a printed page? I tried a two-column table, but that actual turned out badly.

I’ve got some LaTeX code laying around that does side-captions like that, and in theory it could be plugged into a Scrivener compile Format if you work from the right premise (LaTeX/MultiMarkdown) while writing—but since I doubt that is what you mean: no way! What you’re looking at here is a book that likely had every page attended to, and a good number of them hand-crafted to look the way they ended up. You need an entirely different kind of tool for something like this, like InDesign.

Scrivener doesn’t even have a real concept of figure captions, just styled text above or below a picture. For this you need something that associates a caption with a figure so that it travels wherever the figure ends up, and can be stacked among other captions for figures on the same page. And by hand-crafted, look at how if that caption were even one inch taller it would make a mess.

Thanks for the reply, I figured as much, but thought it was worth asking. Something for Scrivener 4 . :wink: