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Tech Tuesday: Split and merge in Scrivener

Have you ever created a long scene and then decided it should really be two scenes? Maybe there's a great hook in the middle, or you missed a time change. Or maybe you imported your MS from Word, and now it's one long scene that you need to break up into 80!

No matter why you need to do it, splitting scenes is amazingly simple in Scrivener. Here's how:

  1. Place your cursor within the text where you want the split to occur.
  2. Go to Documents–>Split–>At Selection.
  3. Scrivener moves all of the text after your cursor into a new file with the same label as the original plus “-1”. For example, if my scene were called To Doctor, the section I split off would become To Doctor-1.

Voila! Scenes split. If you're splitting a large amount of text into many scenes, it's worth learning the shortcut for Split, which is Command+K (Mac) or Ctrl+K (Windows).

Okay, but let's say you wrote two scenes and they really should be one. Or you split a scene five months ago and you want to merge it back together. No sweat. Just use the Merge feature:

  1. Select the scenes you want to merge.
    – use Shift+click for contiguous scenes
    – use Command+click (Mac) or Ctrl+click (Windows) for non-contiguous scenes
  2. Go to Documents–>Merge.
  3. Scrivener merges all of the scenes into the top selection, in order from top to bottom. So, if you merged Scene 1, Scene 2, and Scene 14, all of the text would be moved to Scene 1 (in order).

That's it! If you like shortcuts, you'll find them on the menu. The one for Merge is Shift+Command+M (Mac) or Ctrl+M (Windows).

Need more help? Sign up for an online class, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session.

[Edited 6/16/14]


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12 Comments

    • Reply

      David: You have a couple options for that. You can either import one project into the other (File–>Import–>Scrivener Project) or you drag all the desired files from one project’s Binder to the other’s Binder (requires both projects to be open and their windows moved so you can see both Binders). Hope that helps!

  1. Reply

    As always, you’re a great help with my quest for a self taught masters in Scrivener. Or maybe, it is a taught class after all. Your entire Web site is like a text book. Thank you so much for taking the time to teach all these helpful tips.

  2. Reply

    Great tip. However — I would like to merge several documents in my project to print them out and read all together, but then undo the merge. I can’t seem to find a way to do this. (My novel has multiple characters with different time-lines, but I want to make sure each time-line is cohesive).

    • Reply

      Sandra: No need to merge them to compile them together. In the Compile window’s Contents tab, you can select only those documents you’d like to see together and uncheck the rest. Even easier would be to create collections for each timeline and then choose only the desired collection from the small drop-down at the top of the Contents tab in Compile.

      If that’s all too complicated, or you already merged, you can’t undo the merge, but you can split the merged document where desired by clicking at the break point and going to Documents–>Split–>At Selection. HTH!

    • Reply

      Ziya: Yes, you can. Just select the folders and go to Documents>Merge. The two folders will become one, but in Scrivener 3 for Mac, any documents inside either folder will end up outside of the merged folder. On Windows, it looks like the lower folder docs will get kicked out and the upper folder docs will stay put. Not sure why the difference.

      In both versions, if you select the folders AND the files inside them, the folders and documents all merge into a folder that has text written in it but no subdocuments.

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