Scrivener 3 – The Binder

Using the Binder

The binder is the main navigation tool in Scrivener. 

Uses of the Binder

1. Access Your Project
  • You use it to access the different parts of your project.
2. Create Sections
  • You use it to create new sections.
3. Arrange Sections

You use it to arrange sections.

Note: Scrivener refers to each section in the binder as a “document”, but each document can contain as much or as little text as you like.

The Basics are Simple

  • Click on a document to open it in the editor.
  • Click on the triangle next to a folder or group to show or hide (expand or collapse) its contents (subdocuments).
  • Drag and drop documents to rearrange them.
  • Double-click on a document to rename it.
  • Click “+” in the footer at the bottom of the binder (or in the toolbar) to create a new document. (Cmd-N)
  • To create a new folder, click the button containing a folder with a “+” inside it at the bottom of the binder, or click the down arrow next to the “+” button in the toolbar. (Opt-Cmd-N)
  • You can also add new documents from the Project menu or by hitting enter when a document is selected and the binder has the focus.
  • Import files into Scrivener by dragging them from the Finder into Scrivener’s binder. Alternatively, use File > Import > Files… in Scrivener’s main menu at the top of the screen.

 

3 Special Folders in the Binder

Along with anything else you add, the binder always contains 3 special folders that cannot be removed:

1. Draft Folder
  • The Draft folder. Anything you want to be part of your finished manuscript should be placed inside this folder. Its contents will be compiled into a single document when you export or print using File > Compile… Because the Draft folder is used for building your manuscript, it is unique in that it can only hold text files—you cannot import image or research files into this folder.
  • Tip: If you want an image in the text of your manuscript, place the cursor inside a text document in the Draft and use Insert > Image From File… to insert the image into the text.
  • Note: All folders and files can be renamed, even the special folders. In some of Scrivener’s project templates, the Draft folder has a different name, such as “Manuscript”.
2. Research Folder
  • The Research folder can hold text or media files (images, PDF files, video files and more), and is the default storage location for research materials not intended for inclusion in the final manuscript. You don’t have to put all your research files into the Research folder, though—you can create other folders for your support materials anywhere you want.
3. Trash Folder

Whenever you delete a document, it ends up in the Trash folder. Documents are not deleted forever until you select Empty Trash… from the Project menu.

 

There’s Nothing Special About Other Folders

In Scrivener, there’s no real difference between folders (excepting the three special folders) and text files. A folder is just a special kind of text file that has a different icon and opens in a different editor view mode by default (we’ll get to view modes shortly).

You can convert a folder document to a text document and vice versa easily. Try this now:

  • Ctrl-click (or right-click) on “Get Oriented” in the binder (directly beneath the yellow “The Basics” folder).
  • From the contextual menu that appears, select Convert to File. Note how the folder icon becomes a text stack icon.
  • Ctrl-click (or right-click) on “Get Oriented” again. You’ll see that the option is now Convert to Folder—click it to convert back. (You can also convert from the Documents menu.)

So, whether you prefer to use folders or text groups is entirely up to you, and you can convert between them at any time. (Note: A text or file group is any non-folder that has subdocuments.)

How to Search for Documents in a Project

To search for documents in the project:

  1. Click on the magnifying glass in the toolbar. A search field will appear at the top of the binder.
  2. Enter text in the search field. The binder will be replaced with a purple search results list.
    • Tip: Click on the magnifying glass icon in the left of the search field to change search options.
  3. Click on the “X” in the left of the search results header bar to return to the binder, or click on the magnifying glass in the toolbar again.

CloseSearch.png

4. Click on the magnifying glass in the toolbar to hide the search field if it is still visible.
5. You can also run a quick search for documents using the Quick Search field in the toolbar (which currently shows “The Binder”, the current document name). This works like the search field in Safari and brings up a menu of the top results. This is great when you know the title of the document you want to find.

Next week we’ll look at THE EDITOR in the binder.


Note: Some content is adapted from the Scrivener 3.1.1 (9907) help files.

Friday’s With Scrivener 3 – The Main Interface

The Main Interface

Scrivener 3’s main interface comprises three main parts They are:

The Binder

The list on the left is called the BINDER. It is called the BINDER because it acts as the project’s ring-binder. The BINDER is where you file and organize all of your material.

The Editor

The EDITOR contains the text you are reading right now. The EDITOR is where you’ll do all your writing. The EDITOR can also show research documents, such as images (JPEG files) and PDF files.

The Inspector

If you click on the “i” in the right of the toolbar (the strip of buttons at the top of the window), you’ll open the INSPECTOR. The INSPECTOR displays information relating to the document currently shown in the EDITOR. Examples of information shown include a documents synopsis, label, and status.

Next Week

Next week we will start by looking at the BINDER in more detail.


Note: Some content is adapted from the Scrivener 3.1.1 (9907) help files.

Friday’s With Scrivener 3 – The Key Concepts

Before using Scrivener it helps to understand the software’s “Key Concepts” or core ideas. 

What is Scrivener?

Scrivener is a word-processing, project management program, and outliner designed for authors and writers. 

Who is Scrivener’s Audience?

Scrivener is aimed at all type of writers. It is for novelists, journalists, academics, screenwriters, bloggers, and playwrights. It is for writers who need to structure a long piece of text. 

Think of Scrivener software like a ring-binder. It is a scrapbook, a corkboard, an outliner and has a digital text editor that’s made for growing a manuscript and writing project from concept to completion.

Here are three keys to understanding the concepts behind Scrivener.

Key # 1 – Writing

Conventional word processing software like Microsoft Word is nice for writing all kinds of things. The creator of Scrivener liked to move around writing different sections of work as they come to him. As a result, he always struggled when it came to writing anything of length. It was hard to write the middle or end before you wrote the beginning.

Scrivener makes it easy to compose in any order you want, whether that’s from start to finish or completely at random.

Word processing software only knows about the document you’re working on at any one time. If you happen to be working on a number of documents pertaining to a single project, it’s up to you to keep track of them. By contrast, each project you create in Scrivener can contain as many documents as you desire, allowing you to write in chunks as large or small as you wish. All are stored together, easy to find, and easier to organize.

If you’re writing a novel, you can write each chapter in a separate document, or you can break it down further and write each scene in a different document. It’s all up to you. Flexibility like this makes it very nice to keep track of your work. And when you come to export or print your work, all of those countless sections can be compiled into a single document. It’s magical and it works! Plus, you can compile in a choice of different formats. 

Key #2 – Research

I write nonfiction and historical fiction My books and articles require research. When you work on a book or lengthy paper you too may do research. Instead of having a lot of different files in different file formats stored in different locations on your computer that often you can’t remember or find, Scrivener lets you store them all in one location and you can easily find them. Very nice.

Scrivener projects aren’t only for storing text documents. As you research and compile your data you can import your research documents. This includes images, PDF files, web pages, even movie and sound files. You can import the files directly into Scrivener. You can then refer to your research right alongside your writing.

Key # 3 – Outlining and Structuring

Every writer approaches the task of pulling together ideas in a different way. Because of this, Scrivener allows you to choose whatever structure best fits your project, and to work with an overview of that structure.

Scrivener’s sidebar (the “binder”) shows a nested list of documents that can be expanded and collapsed so that you can work with your whole outline or only subsections of it. Here you can create not only as many text files as you wish, but you can also create folders to contain your text files, and you can have folders within folders within folders. You can even nest text files inside other text files. In Scrivener, a folder is simply a special type of text file, and you can freely convert between one and the other.

How you structure your project is for you to decide. It’s your choice. You might have a folder for each chapter, containing text documents for each scene; you might have no folders and just use text documents for each chapter. You might do something completely different. There’s no right way or wrong way. There is only your way. You’re the boss.

Every document in a Scrivener project is associated with a synopsis and notes (assigned using the inspector). Scrivener’s outliner and corkboard views show only the synopsis and title of each document, allowing you to step back and see the forest for the trees. Instead of having postcards or post-it notes with your chapters and scenes you have them electronically with the corkboard. You can assign synopses manually or leave them blank, in which case the first lines of the text are shown. This makes it easy to get an overview of your work and to restructure it via drag and drop.

No Imposed Plan for Writing and Outlining

If the idea of outlines makes you shudder, never fear: Scrivener imposes no fixed plan for writing and outlining. You might start by creating a bunch of folders and empty text files, creating synopses for each one in the corkboard or outliner. Then you might go through and fill in the text files, referring to the synopses as a prompt for what you need to write. 

Conversely, you might write like crazy and worry about all the structural stuff only when your first draft is complete. In that case, you can just type away, creating new text documents as and when you feel like it, and you can split things apart and rearrange everything only much later in the process. Or you can use a combination of both methods.

In the next blog post, we will dive into Scrivener. 


Note: Some content is adapted from the Scrivener 3.1.1 (9907) help files.

Friday’s With Scrivener 3 – The Basics 

Are You New to Scrivener? 

This series on the Basics of Scrivener 3.0 for Macintosh covers everything you need to know to start using the software. You should read the blog posts in this series in order. Once you’ve completed looking at them,  you’ll know what you need to know to create your own projects and use Scrivener efficiently. I will be posting a new article every other Friday

Some Tips Before You Begin

Tip # 1 – Don’t Let Scrivener Scare or Overwhelm You

Scrivener contains many powerful tools. You don’t have to use (or even know about) them all. Just use what’s useful to you and don’t worry about the rest. Once you know the basics of Scrivener, you can look into other features when you feel you need them.  You can go to Scrivener > About Scrivener to check your Scrivener version. It is found on the lower left corner of the Scrivener applet. 

Tip # 2 – Make Sure You Can Read the Text 

If the text is a little small for your liking, change the text zoom by going to View > Zoom or using the percentage button below the text. 

Tip # 3 – Turning on the Toolbar Titles Helps

You might find it helpful to turn on toolbar titles while going through the Scrivener tutorial. To do so, Ctrl-click anywhere on the toolbar (the band of icons at the very top of the window) and select “Icon and Text” from the menu that appears.  

Tip # 4 – How to Reset Scrivener to the Default Preferences

Maybe you were like me and tried to use Scrivener without reading the help files or tutorial. Maybe you clicked on this, adjusted that and changed some of the settings. My blog posts, as well as the Scrivener tutorial, assume that you are using the default preferences. If you’ve changed them the instructions won’t always work. You need to change them back to default. Here’s how to do that. You can reset them to the defaults by clicking on the “Defaults” button in the Preferences pane, available under Scrivener > Preferences…

How to Import a Microsoft Word Document Into Scrivener

My Experience

Maybe your writing experience shadows mine. You’ll recognize my story. I’d been writing for several years using Microsoft Word. Through trial and error, I finally had an average mastery of Bill Gates word processing program.

One weekend I attend a writer’s workshop. It seemed like every speaker and attendee were gushing over some software named Scrivener. Scrivener was like the handsome new boy who had transferred to your high school.

All the guys you knew for years no longer were as attractive. All your girlfriends were gushing over this Johnny-come-lately boy. One glance and you saw why they were going crazy. You also thought he’s out of my league.

Maybe like looking at the new boy you saw how attractive Scrivener looked. You also thought Scrivener was probably out of your league. It looked too hard. The learning curve looked too steep. You realized you already had your files in MS Word. You did not want to retype the manuscript.

Good News

You are smart. You are smarter than Scrivener. You do not have to retype a manuscript to get it into Scrivener. It is actually fairly straightforward to import an existing file from Word into Scrivener.

Importing is one of the first functions a new Scrivener should master. Here is how to do it.

Importing a Word Document

To import a Word document go to:

File=>Import=>Files.

A new window will open.

Select the file you want to import into Scrivener.

Select open.

A window will pop open alerting you that your document will be converted to RTF as well as what the Draft folder supports.

This should be a problem as your draft will normally only be text without images.

Typical Scenario

You are writing or have written a novel in Word. You have all the chapters in one large file. You may or may not have your scenes separated by “breaks.”

What you want is to have all the scenes in the Word file broken down into several separate text files, a file for each scene. Instead of importing the entire document as one large file what you can do is use Scrivener’s Import and Split function.

How to Use Scrivener’s Import and Split Function

Go to the Word document.

For every scene/chapter break, you need to type in a separator symbol such as a hash mark (#) in the document.

Once you’re finished adding your separator symbol, save it, go to Scrivener and go to File=>Import=>Import and Split.

A window will open,

select your Word document

Make sure the separator is in the box, in this example a #.

If you separated each scene with three hash marks, the box needs to have three hash marks (###). If you used three * then you need three * in the box (***).

Hit okay

Like magic, your large Microsoft Word document now appears as several text files in the binder.

You then can move scenes and chapter around easily.

Remember, you can learn to import your existing Microsoft Word files into Scrivener. You are smart. You are smarter than Scrivener. There is no need to retype a manuscript to get it into Scrivener. Following the above checklist makes it straightforward to import an existing file from Word into Scrivener.

You are now ready to import and master one of the basic first functions a new Scrivener should learn.

Introducing Scrivener

Scrivener software is your scribe.

If you look up scrivener in the dictionary you will find the definition that a scrivener is a historical noun meaning a clerk, scribe, or notary.

Scrivener software is your scribe. The software is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft. Each wants to be a writer knows the first step to getting a book published is to complete writing the first draft.

How Does Scrivener Help?

Scrivener is your complete writing studio.

Scrivener helps you to write, structure, and revise your book.

Scrivener helps you create order from chaos

Scrivener helps you organize your research where it is not only within easy reach but where you can find your stuff.  

Scrivener helps you get the first draft completed where you can compile and/or export it for printing.

Scrivener even has an ios version if you use an iPhone. So far there isn’t a version available for an Android user like me.

Scrivener is used by persons needing a long-form project management tool. The software is used by all sorts of professional and amateur writers, from best-selling and aspiring novelists to Hollywood scriptwriters, from students and academics to lawyers and journalists: anyone who works on long and difficult writing projects.

So, what is Scrivener?

Scrivener is aimed at writers of all kinds—novelists, journalists, academics, screenwriters, playwrights—who need to structure a long piece of text while referring to research documents.

Scrivener is a ring-binder, a scrapbook, a corkboard, an outliner and text editor all rolled into one.

It is primarily intended to be a first draft tool; although it is possible to complete a project that requires only basic formatting – such as a novel or short story – in Scrivener, often you will want to take your draft to a dedicated word processor or layout program for final formatting.

Scrivener is intended to be a kind of “writer’s shed” for those of us who don’t have a spare shed.


Source: Adapted from the introduction in Scrivener tutorial in the software’s help file

What is Scrivener?

What is Scrivener?

If you look up scrivener in the dictionary you will find the definition that a scrivener is a historical noun meaning a clerk, scribe, or notary.

Scrivener software is your scribe. The scribe is a powerful content-generation software for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft. Almost every wants to be a writer knows the first step to getting a book published is to complete writing the first draft.

How Does Scrivener Help?

  • Scrivener is your complete writing studio.
  • Scrivener helps you to write, structure, and revise your book.
  • Scrivener helps you create order from chaos
  • Scrivener helps you organize your research where it is not only within easy reach but where you can find your stuff.
  • Scrivener helps you get the first draft completed where you can compile and/or export it for printing.
  • Scrivener even has a ios version if you use an iPhone. So far there isn’t a version available for an Android user like me.
  • Scrivener is used by persons needing a long-form project management tool. The software is used by all sorts of professional and amateur writers, from best-selling and aspiring novelists to Hollywood scriptwriters, from students and academics to lawyers and journalists: anyone who works on long and difficult writing projects.

So, what is Scrivener

“Scrivener is aimed at writers of all kinds—novelists, journalists, academics, screenwriters, playwrights—who need to structure a long piece of text while referring to research documents. Scrivener is a ring-binder, a scrapbook, a corkboard, an outliner and text editor all rolled into one. It is primarily intended to be a first draft tool; although it is possible to complete a project that requires only basic formatting – such as a novel or short story – in Scrivener, often you will want to take your draft to a dedicated word processor or layout program for final formatting. Scrivener is intended to be a kind of “writer’s shed” for those of us who don’t have a spare shed.” 1


1From the introduction in the Scrivener tutorial in the software’s help file

How To Change The Default Font In Scrivener For Windows

Scrivener

I have used Scrivener for over five years. I own Scrivener for Mac and Scrivener for Windows. I love Scrivener. I’m a twenty plus year  IT professional. Scrivener has been a challenge to learn. I have attended several online and courses at writer’s conferences in my quest to master the software. Scrivener’s has many awesome features.  One thing about I hate about it is the default font is Courier New.  I despise Courier New.  For years I dutifully changed each new document to Times New Roman 12 being unable to figure out how to change the default font. The leaders of the conferences I attended had no idea how to change the default. I read the Scrivener manual and online help. The solution eluded me.

I finally figured it out.

Yeah me! I don’t give up. I finally figured it out and how to change all my existing documents to my default font in one magical moment. Woohoo!

So, I wrote a little help or knowledge base article. The title (drum roll please) …

How To Change The Default Font

This is not obvious. From the Scrivener Toolbar go to Tools.

scrivener-01

Next, you click on Tools and select Options

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When you select Options then select Editor. Then you have to select Font. It is the letter A below that I have circled in red. My goodness, what a hard thing to find.

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That will get you to this window.  Now see that little random italicized A?  Yeah, that’s the button.  That’s what they use as their symbol for FONT.  It is not like any other software. So click the button.  That takes you here. Pick your preferred font. This will only affect new work going forward.

If you want to change the default on existing work you need to select all the chapter and scenes you want to change and then go here.

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That takes you to this window. Now you decide what you want to change.

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In my case, I just converted everything. It is my understanding that if you run this feature on existing scenes (or other documents), it will keep font size, alignment, tabs, and indents, spacing BUT NOT ANY ITALICS OR OTHER FONT FORMATTING.  So use on existing stuff at your peril.

This event, this is how you change the default font and I call it”How To Change The Default Font In Scrivener For Windows.”  Use at your own risk. Make a backup before you start in case you don’t get what you want. I am sharing my experience and make no guarantees that it will give you what you want. I worked for me.


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