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Tech Tuesday: Split screen in Scrivener

The Split Screen feature in Scrivener is a simple, easy-to-use tool, but I have some friends out there who weren’t familiar with it. And it’s very useful.

Here are a few ways you might use it:

– View the end of the previous scene while working on the opening of the next one.

– Compare two versions of a scene, either in Snapshots, or if you saved the previous version in a separate document.

– Copy text from one scene or document to another.

– Refer to your research files or photos while you write.

– Look at your manuscript’s structure in the Corkboard or Outliner view in one pane, while you work on your scene in the other.

The easiest way to activate the Split Screen is by clicking the Split button in the upper right corner of the Editor window. You can also choose Layout from the View menu to select your preferred style.

To toggle between horizontal and vertical split, hold down the Option button while clicking on the Split button. (Windows users have two buttons: one for horizontal split and one for vertical.)

Once you have your screen split the way you want it, the same document will be displayed in both panes. Click in the header or text area of the second Editor pane and select (in the Binder) the file you’d like to view in that pane. As mentioned earlier, you can choose another text document, a file from your Research section (text document [shown below], web page, photo), or even the Outliner or Corkboard.

You can tell which Editor pane is active because the document title will be underlined in the Header, and the header color changes to blue.

In the Tech Tuesday post about Snapshots and Unused Scenes, I mentioned that by creating a copy of a text document before you make revisions (instead of taking a Snapshot), you could use the Split Screen feature to easily compare old and new versions of the file. Now you know how. 🙂

Need more help? Sign up for an online class, check out Scrivener For Dummies, read more Scrivener articles, or ask me about private training. Enjoy!

UPDATED: 1/26/13


  1. Reply

    I appreciate your Scrivener info. I just got mine up and running from the finish with NaNoWriMo and was searching around for that toggle. And, shuzam, Gwen to the rescue.

    Congrats on your send-me-more rejection. One step closer to the-check-is-in-the-mail.

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  5. William H. Burling


    Your instructions reveal how to create a split screen. However, I am not sure there are instructions on how to close the split screen. close and save or just close and not save

    • Reply

      Sorry, William. On the Mac, just click on the Split Screen toggle button again to go back to no split. On Windows, the horizontal split button changes to No Split when you click either Horizontal or Vertical. HTH!

  6. Jacqueline


    Thank you for posting this, Gwen.

    I must have clicked on the Split Screen button by accident but couldn’t work out what I’d done!

    I’m finding Scrivener invaluable for compiling and editing the novels I’m writing.

    There’s quite a steep learning curve involved in using Scrivener, but it’s worth it!

    Many thanks,


    • Reply

      Glad you figured it out, Jacqueline! It’s definitely useful to recognize a feature even if you never plan to use it. 😉 And I agree that it’s worth it. Good luck with your novel!

  7. Karim


    Nice little tutorial. Question: how do I use dual monitors? I need to use the Corkboard for one monitor and the Editor for the other. Thanks!

    • Reply

      Thanks, Karim. 🙂 You can’t really split parts of Scrivener across two monitors like that, with the exception of full screen/composition mode. So, I guess you could view full screen/composition mode on one monitor and the Corkboard in the other. Maybe. I no longer have an extra monitor to try that out.

      The other option would be split screen. You can view the Corkboard in one pane and the Editor in the other. No 2nd monitor required. Here’s a post on working in split screen: Good luck!

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