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Working with projects in Scrivener for iOS (w/videos)

Here’s a little primer (complete with videos) I created to get you started with Scrivener for iOS. If you’re looking for a full class on the app, use this link for a sweet deal on Steve Shipley’s Udemy course.

Creating a New Project

Scrivener for iOS can be used as a standalone program without the Mac or Windows version. As such, you can create a new project within the iOS app. This also means that if you’re on the road and want to start something new, there’s no need to set it up on your computer first. In a minute, I’ll tell you how to move the project to Dropbox, if desired. Here’s how to get started.

  1. Tap the + Create Project button on the right side of the screen. Alternatively, you can tap the “Tap to create a project” button under On My iPad at the left. create a new project
  2. In the New Project dialog box that appears, tap in the text box and type the name of your project. enter the project name
  3. Click Create.
  4. Choose whether to save the project on your iPad or Dropbox. If you’re not working with the Mac or Windows version and don’t need to sync with Dropbox, choose “On my iPad.” If you’ve already set up Dropbox for syncing, and would like this project to be available on your other devices, select Dropbox. NOTE: Remember, you can always move an iPad project to Dropbox later. I discuss this in the next section. choose where to save it The project is created using Scrivener’s basic Blank template, and the project is opened. new project

Video review – 50 secs

Closing a Project

When you’re ready to close a project, simply tap the left arrow button in the upper left corner until you reach the Projects screen.

Back to projects button

Sometimes, if you’re in a document in a folder in a project, you may have to tap it several times to back up through the layers.

back from document button

NOTE: If you tap your iPad’s home button to exit Scrivener, the project doesn’t close. If you plan to work on that project on another computer/device, be sure to return to the Projects screen and sync before exiting.

Moving a Project

On the main Projects screen, projects are organized in two ways. Under the Projects column on the left, they are grouped by location and sorted alphabetically. The project tiles on the right side of the Projects screen display the projects by “last viewed” date/time.

You cannot adjust the order of display in either list, but you can move them between your iPad and Dropbox to change their location. Here’s how.

  1. In the Projects column, tap Edit.
    edit buttonThe Projects column enters Edit mode.edit mode
  2. Press and hold the three lines icon to the right of the project you’d like to move until the project box turns gray.
  3. Drag the project to the desired location. moving a projectThe project is now shown in its new location. NOTE: If you moved a project from your iPad to Dropbox, a blue triangle appears to alert you that the project has not been synced to Dropbox.
  4. Tap Done to exit Edit mode.

Duplicating a Project

To duplicate a project (same as File—>Save As on the Mac or Windows version), do the following.

  1. In the Projects column, tap Edit.
  2. Tap the circle to the left of the project to duplicate. selecting a project to duplicate
  3. Tap the Duplicate button (squares with + inside) at the bottom of the Projects screen. Scrivener creates a complete copy of the project in the same location as the selected project and adds a number to the end of the new project’s name. duplicate project
  4. Tap Done to exit Edit mode.

Deleting a Project

Here’s how to delete a project.

  1. In the Projects column, tap Edit.
  2. Tap the circle to the left of the project to delete.
  3. Tap Delete at the bottom of the screen. When the confirmation message appears, tap Delete. The project is removed from your list. NOTE: If the project is stored in Dropbox, it won’t disappear from Dropbox until you sync Scrivener, even though the file no longer appears in your list.
  4. Tap Done to exit Edit mode.

Renaming a Project

To rename a project, do the following.

  1. Press and hold the project name (in either list) until the Project Title dialog box appears. renaming a project
  2. Type the new name and tap OK.

Video review – 3:39 mins

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

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A Scrivener Story Genius template and an iOS course

Story Genius and Scrivener

Story Genius book and Scrivener logo

If you’re a fan of Story Genius by Lisa Cron, I published an article at Writer Unboxed on Sunday about how to use Scrivener to work through the Story Genius process. I also included a Scrivener template—reviewed and approved by Lisa Cron—that I created to go with it.

Even if you aren’t familiar with Lisa’s book—which I highly recommend for all types of fiction writers—you might find the discussion of how to set up a project useful/interesting. 😀

Scrivener for iOS Training

iOS Welcome Screen

Love the idea of using Scrivener on your iPad or iPhone, but need help? I offer private training on the iOS version, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly and incredibly thorough online course, you can’t go wrong with Steve Shipley’s new Udemy course.

Steve is a Scrivener super user who built the course with Scrivener for Windows developer Lee Powell. The class is on sale now, with an extra discount through the end of March if you use the link above.

I hope your writing is going well, and that the groundhog is good to you tomorrow!

Get unleashed for NaNoWriMo with Scrivener for iOS

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month
Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Whether you’re stuck with a desktop computer, or don’t want to lug your laptop around, Scrivener for iOS can set you free. Since I expect many of you will be using it to lay down words for NaNoWriMo this year, here’s how to use my favorite features for NaNo (as covered in last week’s post for Mac and Windows) in Scrivener for iOS.

Before you start using the iOS version, I highly recommend you read—or at least skim—through the Tutorial. It will help you immensely, especially the parts about Working with Projects, Syncing, and The Main Interface. Okay, all of it, really. 😉

A few things to keep in mind about the iOS version.

  • If you return to the Projects list, you are closing the project you were working in.
  • Unlike the Mac and Windows versions, you can only have one project open at a time.
  • If you plan to work on both iOS and a Mac or PC, you need a Dropbox account (if you use this referral link, we both get an extra 500MB of storage) and must install Dropbox on all the computers/devices you plan to use with Scrivener. Then, move any laptop/desktop projects you want to work on into the correct Dropbox folder before you begin.
  • If necessary, sync your projects before you start writing.
  • Remember that when you finish working on a project on your iOS device, you must tap the sync button on the Projects page (see below) before trying to open the project on another computer. Likewise, ensure that a project on your desktop/laptop has synced to Dropbox before trying to open it on your iPad or iPhone.
  • If you don’t have Internet access, syncing won’t happen!

Sync button

Put New Ideas in Their Place

I recommend creating an Ideas document to store thoughts you have about future scenes, and a Change Log to keep track of changes you want to make to existing scenes. Both of these can ensure you don’t lose any fabulous ideas, while staying on track with your writing.

To create a new document outside of the Draft folder, do the following:

  1. Navigate to the high-level view of your project’s Binder (the header at the top of the Binder should display your project name, not the name of a folder).
  2. Tap the + button at the bottom of the Binder, give the file a name, and tap Add. The new document appears at the bottom of the Binder (see image below).create new document
  3. Tap the Edit button at the top of the Binder (see above).
  4. Drag (tap and hold, then drag) the file to the desired location within the Binder, as shown below. moving documents
  5. When done moving files, tap Done. new docs in binder

Make a Note and Move On

Don’t let yourself get stuck or distracted when you can’t think of the perfect analogy, or know you need to do more research. The iOS version allows you to use annotations or comments to make notes for yourself so you can get back to writing. Here’s how.

  1. Tap the comment bubble button in the predictive text row (shown below) to get a submenu of options and choose Add Comment or Inline Annotation.getting annotations and comments NOTE: For comments, your cursor must be next to text for the option to be available. Also, you can tap the comment bubble button in the extended keyboard (the row of buttons above the predictive text row) for quicker access to comments, but you may have to swipe left or right to see it.
  2. Type your annotation or comment.annotation ioscomment
  3. For annotations, repeat step 1 to turn off and return to standard text.
  4. To view a comment, double tap the highlighted word. view comment

Block Out Distractions

The iOS version doesn’t have the same full screen/composition mode that the Mac and Windows versions have, but you can hide the Binder and work only with your text.

  1. Tap the Full Screen button at the top of the Editor. full screen button
  2. To view the Binder again, tap the name of your project in the upper left corner. return to binder view

Headphones are optional.

Pre-Plot, or Don’t

Plotters: Create your scene documents beforehand either in the Binder or the Corkboard. If you like to plot using index cards, then do the following.

  1. Select the Draft (aka Manuscript) folder.
  2. Tap the + in the upper right corner to create a new card. Title it, add a brief synopsis of the scene, if desired. creating new cards/documents
  3. Tap Add.
  4. Repeat as needed.

Once you have all of your scene documents created it’s merely a matter of filling them with words starting November 1.

Pantsers: Show up on day one, select the Draft folder, create a blank document and start writing. Repeat.

Grouping Documents into Chapter Folders

Here’s how to group documents into chapter folders.

  1. In the Binder, tap the Edit button at the top. The button changes to Done.
  2. Tap the circles to the left of the desired documents to select them. grouping documents
  3. Tap the Move button at the bottom of the Binder (see above) and choose Move into New Folder.
  4. Tap Done at the top of the Binder to exit Edit mode.
  5. Tap and hold the New Folder to get the Inspector so you can rename it, then tap Done.

Keep Research Handy

Though importing is generally best done while on your Mac or PC, you can import files in the iOS version. This works for both research and text with the same rules as Scrivener for Mac and Windows (no images, PDFs, or other non text-type files in the Draft folder).

  1. Select the desired folder (outside of the Draft/Manuscript folder) and tap the Import button at the bottom of the Binder. importing files
  2. Choose the source for your imported file—yes, you can even choose Camera and take a picture of something!—and select the desired file. imported file

Track Your Progress

Your goal is 50,000 words. Scrivener makes it easy to track your progress, even in iOS. Maybe even easier. As with the original, you can set a target for the entire manuscript, as well as one for each writing session.

  1. Choose a text document.
  2. Tap the word count at the bottom of the screen. NOTE: If you’ve tapped inside the document and entered edit mode, the word count will be at the top of the screen. project targets window
  3. Tap the word Draft to set a manuscript target and use the spinner to select your goal.
  4. Tap Targets to return to the main Project Targets window.
  5. Tap Session to set a session target.
  6. Tap Start New Session to reset the Session word count (your progress) to zero. project targets with goals

Have Fun!

Whether you’re using Scrivener for iOS for NaNoWriMo, or just to be untethered from your computer, have fun with it and enjoy your newfound freedom!

For more help with Scrivener, sign up for an online class, check out Scrivener For Dummies, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session.

Like this article?

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Scrivener for iPad and iPhone is here (TLDR: I love it!)

corkboard with picture cardsFinally!

For years now, iPad® users have been begging Literature and Latte for a Scrivener app for iPad and iPhone®. It took a few years longer than planned (for a variety of reasons), but (I’m guessing you’ve already heard) the Scrivener app is finally here, and it’s pretty awesome.

The app combines the familiar, easy functionality of iOS with the best of Scrivener’s features.

And it works with both the Mac and Windows versions of Scrivener.

extended keyboard and adding annotations

What’s In It?

The Binder, Corkboard (iPad only), and Inspector are there. You can set goals and track progress (with a cool new look), add comments and annotations, color code your documents, apply Label and Status values, add document notes, and even compile your work. And lots more.

In many ways the app is more intuitive than the original software, though some of the best editing features may elude users until they discover the extended keyboard.

progress bar

Honestly, I wasn’t one of those who craved Scrivener for iOS—I’ve always preferred writing on my laptop when on the go—but this app is a game changer. Assuming I’ve already synced my projects through Dropbox (and have wifi or cell access) I can simply open the project on my phone or iPad and tap out my thoughts.

I can even create a new project right in the app and sync it with my computer later.

So now I can leave my laptop at home when I want to travel light and still get some writing done. I’m already seeing the possibilities, especially after spending the last month moving/traveling (with a couple more weeks to go before we’re in our house).

the inspector open

The Deets

Interested? Search for “Scrivener” on the App Store® (beware of imitators, you want the app from Literature & Latte) and buy it today. Or click here for a direct link. At $19.99, I think it’s more than worth it.

In fact, the functionality is so good, you could use it as a standalone program, without syncing to a computer at all if that’s your preference.

Before You Start

I strongly recommend at least skimming through the built-in tutorial, especially the part on syncing. Most of the questions I’ve seen in user groups about syncing today could have been answered with a quick read-through. We all want to jump in and play, but you’ll have much more fun—and less stress—if you take a few minutes to educate yourself first.

A few notes:

– Before you try to sync, you must update your desktop/laptop software to the latest version (Mac and/or Windows).

– You also need to have/get a Dropbox account (if you use this referral link, we both get an extra 500MB of storage, but no pressure!) and install Dropbox on all the computers/devices you plan to use with Scrivener.

– Remember that when you finish working on a project on your iOS device, you must click the sync button in the navigation bar before trying to open it on another computer/device. Likewise, ensure that a project on your desktop/laptop has synced to Dropbox before trying to open it on your iPad or iPhone.

– Probably obvious, but for syncing to work properly, you must have an Internet connection on all affected devices.

Have fun writing on the go!

Are you using Scrivener for iOS yet? What do you think?

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

Like this article?

tea mug and chocolate barIt takes a lot of mint green tea and dark chocolate to fuel these posts.

If you found something helpful, please consider a small donation to my pantry. Thank you!

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Donation Total: $3.00