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  1. Christine


    I’ve used keywords and might revisit them now, but I am a true snapshot girl now 🙂

      • Christine


        I can’t wait for the 2.0 to come out and use it. I have to reconsider the keywords because they are great for keeping track of settings, timeline and subplot. I find the tinting of the index cards and the icons helps me with the visual overview as far as keeping track of the POV/characters. And I put the setting in the index cards. Can’t wait to print those puppies out in the new version.


  2. Tony


    With the new Windows version coming up, “Select desired documents in the Binder, using shift+click (for contiguous selection), or command+click (for non-contiguous files)” may need to be updated in the near future to reflect those commands also.

    • Reply

      No problem, Tony. Glad you found them useful. I’ll have to specify that I’m writing about Scrivener for Mac. At this time I don’t have any intention of getting into the Windows version. Maybe someone else can devote part of their blog to that one. 😉

      Thanks for pointing that out.

    • Reply

      It would require that you only have one POV per scene/document. If you jump around, keywords won’t work for you.

      Does that answer your question or am I misunderstanding your confusion?

  3. pageturners


    It does not, and you are.

    I mean, I literally don’t understand how to do this. Could you possibly take us through adding a POV as a keyword, step by step?

    Or do you mean you just type in “POV: Elvis” on a scene’s keyword pane?

    • Reply

      Okay, pageturners. Let’s try again. =) As far as adding POV, I just mean using the character name to designate that scene as being in his/her POV. So yes, like you said above “POV: Elvis” could be added as a keyword and applied to any document.

      You would do it exactly the way I did in the “Applying Keywords to more than one document at a time” section above. I just noticed that I failed to show how to add to one document only, but it’s the same process without multiple selection.

      So, in short, a keyword can represent whatever you want, there is no special POV setting.

      Another option for tracking POV (which I use) is to modify the Label or Status settings. See the following post for more on that:

      I hope that helps!

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  5. Sinabhfuil


    How would you recommend that you use sibling or child keywords? What’s the advantage?

    • Reply

      Sinabhfuil: Good question! Sibling keywords are just those on the same level, so if you put all your keywords on the top level, they’re all siblings. The main reason to use child keywords is for organizational purposes. Since the keywords get put in alpha order, it can be hard to find what you’re looking for quickly, especially if you have different classes of keywords (e.g. character names and settings). But if you organize them as children of a keyword that’s really just there as a placeholder (much like a folder in the Binder), then you can quickly find all related keywords (siblings). Hope that helps!

  6. Reply

    Can this be used as the subject in an index card? Or is there a better way to represent that function in Scrivener?

    • Reply

      Ahmed: I’m not sure I totally understand your question. The keywords can be displayed by color on the index card by going to View–>Corkboard Options–Show Keyword Colors, but the only way to get an overview of keyword values is in Outline view.

      If you’re asking if you can create a keyword for each subject, then yes. If I’m completely misunderstanding what you’re asking, feel free to try again. 😉

  7. Reply

    Gwen, I’m finally working through your class that I took recently, and I’ve run into a problem that I can’t find mentioned anywhere. When I open the Keywords HUD and try to drag a keyword into the Keywords pane, it won’t do it. It gives me the circle/slash that says it can’t go there. Any idea if I have a setting somewhere that needs to be changed?


    • Reply

      Never mind! I kept digging and found an answer. I thought my Scrivener was up to date, but they had an issue where they did an update to repair a bug with the keywords drag-and-drop, but because of NaNo couldn’t change the version number. So I’d updated on 10/29/13 and the update that won’t be automatic was on 10/31/13. I have to download/install manually.

      So now if anyone comes here with the same issue, here’s the answer! 🙂

  8. Thaddeus Dombrowski


    I just found your blog by searching on the following: tagging documents scrivener. I’m a writer, and scrivener is the best writing tool I have seen. You are filling a need by blogging on this. Thanks.

  9. rnmckinnon


    I did an online search for tags in Scrivener and was directed to this blog post. Keywords are exactly what I’d think of a “tag” function doing. I want to use it to mark which characters are in a scene. Because they’ll be many coming and going throughout the course of my novel, I want to read all the scenes with each particular character in order to make sure I didn’t leave any small plot holes in each character’s story. Sounds like I can do exactly that with Keywords. Thanks for the post!

    • Reply

      rnmckinnon: Thanks for letting me know how you found me. Yes, keywords are absolutely like tags, and that’s a great use for them. If you do a keyword search for one of the characters, you can even save it as a collection and read through it using Scrivenings mode (multiple document view). Have fun!

  10. Hedley Finger


    Gwen, would you be able to use keywords (i.e. “index entries”) to compile a back-of-the book index for non-fiction works? Is there any way to print out a list of keywords or save it to a file? Would it be possible to save to a file with entries hyperlinked back to the back to the sections in which keywords are embedded?

    It would be labour saving if keywords could be used for indexing, because when you published a revised edition you would only have to add keywords for the new material and those embedded in deleted material would be automatically deleted from the index.

    • Reply

      Hi, Hedley. Creating an index within Scrivener would not be easy. Internal links will only go back to a document, not a specific word or location. You could create a document with a list of keywords, but again, not the direct links.

      Keep in mind that keywords also only apply to an entire document, not a specific word. You CAN create a list of the keywords you’re using in your project.
      1. Create and open a blank document in your project.
      2. Open the Project Keywords panel by clicking the button on the toolbar, or going to Project–>Show Project Keywords.
      3. Select all of the keywords in the list and drag the selection onto the blank document.
      Then you can export the list or let it be compiled with your manuscript (if it’s in the Draft folder).

      Scrivener has lots of great layout features, but was ultimately designed as a drafting tool, with the expectation that you would export to another program if you needed functions that provided heavier lifting in the formatting department. Anyway, good luck!

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  12. Reply

    Thank you again and again for your clear explanations. I just posted this on Facebook: ‘Gwen Hernandez in her classes, books and website gives expert, useful advice on unlocking the power of Scrivener. For example here I just learned how to use keywords (tags) which let me select poems for compiling them into ebooks.’

  13. Claudia Putnam


    Hi Gwen, thanks for all your amazing help, as usual. Question: Your keywords pane does not seem to have all those obnoxious color boxes. How do I get them out? There are enough color codes in Scrivener already! Thanks!

    • Reply

      Absolutely, Claudia. Unfortunately, those are really old screenshots from before keywords had colors (which I had completely forgotten!). You can double-click a color box to change its color, but I don’t know of a way to hide it altogether. If you’re seeing the keyword color chips on your index cards in the Corkboard, you can set Scrivener so they don’t show. Go to View>Corkboard Options>Show Keyword Colors to deselect it. Thanks!

    • Reply

      Hi, Heidi. Currently, that’s only available on the Mac version, though I would look for it in the forthcoming Scrivener 3.0 (this year or early next, maybe??), which is supposed to have feature parity across PC and Mac.

  14. Reply

    Is there any way in Scrivener 3 to make a global keyword change? I would like to change the keyword:
    I tried changing the keyword in the keyword panel, but it did not change in the current section that I was editing.

    • Reply

      Hi, Tobias. If you modify the keyword in the project keywords panel (via Project>Show Project Keywords), the change should propagate throughout your project. You cannot make the change from the keywords pane in the Inspector. Or am I misunderstanding?

  15. Reply

    I did originally make the change as you suggested. But I guess it did not take effect immediately. Since you said it ought to work, I tried again and switched to another section and looked at the keywords. IT WORKED. Thanks.
    -toby robison

  16. IY


    I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else experiencing problems
    with your blog. It looks like some of the text within your content are running off the screen. Can someone else
    please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This may be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Thank you

    • Reply

      IY: Sometimes if your screen is narrow or your resolution is large, the text might not be able to wrap properly, especially in the comments section. My site is supposed to be responsive for mobile devices and such, but may not always render perfectly. Sorry!

  17. Emanuek


    Is it possible to create folders that automatically add text based on keywords? So let’s say I want a folder “sunset” that automatically collects all snippets keyword-tagged “sunset.” How to create such a folder that automatically adds those snippets based on the keyword “sunset”?

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