Gwen Hernandez

Author of romantic suspense. Scrivener expert.

Tech Tuesday: Templates in Scrivener

UPDATE: For the Scrivener 2.x templates post, click here.

If you’ve been working in Scrivener for a while, you probably have it set up exactly the way you like it. You’ve modified the labels, opened the Inspector, created your own extra folders and files for things like unused scenes, research, productivity tracking, character sketches, and saved searches. Maybe you like to have twenty chapter folders all formatted correctly, ready and waiting to fill.

However you like to set it up, you’d probably prefer not to have to do it again every time you start a new project. As always, there’s a fix for that. Scrivener allows you to save templates. If you use Scrivener to write both novels and screenplays, you can create a template for each.

To get started, you can open a new project and set it up, or take an existing project that’s set up the way you like it, make a copy in Finder, and then open it in Scrivener. If you use an existing one, strip out everything that’s specific to the existing project (labels, text documents, research documents, etc.) and then save it.

Once you have your blank shell you’re ready to proceed.

  1. From the File menu, choose Save As Template…
  2. Enter the Template Name and a Description

Now, you’re ready to create a new project using your template.

  1. From the File menu, choose New Project (or choose New Project next time you open Scrivener)
  2. Select the template you want to use and click Next.
    – Note: The Templates… drop down box at the bottom will allow you to import templates from other people, export your templates to share with others, delete existing templates, and choose to make the selected template the default.
  3. Enter your Project Name and you’re done.

For more information, check out the Scrivener help, or the online support page. And, I’d love to hear suggestions for future Tech Tuesday posts. Write on!


  1. Love it…want to cross blog on Tech Tuesdays? LOL. I just posted up about reality fighting techniques because I was inundated with it tonight.

    I love SCRIVENER. I would resell it if I could. I would put it on my PC and my PC laptop rather than logging in remotely to the mac every time I want to write. :D That’s how much I love this application.

    And, it was the only way I got book 3 written for the Elemental Goddesses. I think Glacial was trying to kill me.

    I have a certain way I like to work, so this is going to be a huge help! Thank you :)

  2. Is the existing project already a Scrivener project, or can it be any other WORD project as well?

    • Christine, a Word project wouldn’t work because it’s all about how you have your folders and Scrivener settings, not about the text that you’ve written.

      Now, you could create a template based on an existing Scrivener project that’s set up the way you want. Then open a new, blank project based on it, and import the Word document. Then, just split it into scenes like we talked about before.

  3. Templates don’t include documents, do they? If I left a document in my Research folder and saved the template (like, say, a PDF guide to the university library), it wouldn’t appear in projects created with that template — or would it?

  4. Are there any sites with pre-existing templates you can download? I have the extras that came with the install (with about 4-5 templates, including the novel template).

  5. I too love Scrivener. Would marry it if my wife allowed polygamy.

    I used some of Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering tips and build a 4 part novel template you are all free to grab.

  6. Looking forward to the Dummies book! In the meantime, would you know where I could buy some good templates for nonfiction books?



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