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Tech Tuesday: Compile in Scrivener 2.x

Part of Scrivener’s beauty is that it lets you build your project in your own way. But when you need to export your jumble of files into one coherent work—say for printing, or formatting in a word processor—it’s time to compile.

In a nutshell, the Compile feature lets you choose which documents to export and in what format.

Simple Compile

For a quick, easy export method, stick to the Scrivener presets.

1. From the File menu, choose Compile.

2. In the Format As drop-down, choose the desired format for your finished file.

Original: Produces output as close as possible to your draft, including font, line spacing, and other formatting.

Enumerated Outline: Only exports the document titles, and is numbered based on the hierarchical structure of your documents.

Novel (Standard Manuscript Format): Creates a book format using Courier 12 pt, scene separators, double-spacing, and page numbers. Treats top-level folders and files as chapters and everything else as sections.

Proof Copy: Outputs text that’s double-spaced for note-taking, and includes a disclaimer that it’s “Not for distribution”. Treats folders as chapters and everything else as sections.

Times 12pt with Bold Folder Titles: Pretty much what it says. Treats folders as chapters, and everything else as sections.

3. In the Compile For drop-down, choose the file type you want.

– Note the exciting addition of EPUB and Kindle formats. I’ve already exported my latest MS to my Nook for review and it looks great.

– Also, RTF is generally the recommended format for word processing, even if you're using Word for your final polishing. The DOC format is really just an RTF in disguise. Word will open RTF files without issue.

4. Click Compile.

5. Unless you selected the Printing/PDF option, choose the location for your file and click Export.

File type options in Compile window

Customizing Settings in Compile

Now, if you want to get fancy, it’s time to open the expanded Compile interface. This is where you can change the document formatting and section separators, add a cover to your e-book, and more. You can also choose exactly which files to export. Only need the first three chapters for that partial request? No problem.

1. From the File menu, choose Compile.

2. Click the expansion arrow to the right of the Format As drop-down to show a table of customizable options.

Customize your settings in the expanded Compile interface

A few notes:

– To create a partial export, select only those documents you need in the Contents pane.

– Click the filter checkbox to filter your selected list of files by Label, Status, Collection, or Binder selection. It might be easier than fiddling with the individual Include checkboxes.

– Changes to your settings are always saved upon compile. To save your settings for the current project without compiling the draft, hold down the Option key to turn the Compile button into a Save button. The Cancel button also changes to a Reset button if you want to undo any changes made since the last time the settings were saved.

– If you want to save your settings for use in other projects, follow the procedures outlined in this post.

– The customizable options will change depending on what you choose in the Compile For drop-down.

Chapter Auto-numbering [Added 10/26/12]

Remove Chapter Auto-numbering

1. From the File menu, choose Compile.

2. Choose the Formatting tab and select the folder row in the top table.

3. Click the Section Layout button.

4. If it’s not already selected, choose the Title Prefix and Suffix tab at the top. Delete any text in the Prefix box (it would look something like Chapter <$n>.

5. Click OK to close the Section Layout window.

Use Chapter Auto-numbering Instead of Chapter Titles

1. From the File menu, choose Compile.

2. Choose the Formatting tab.

3. Deselect the Title check box for the folder row in upper table.

NOTE: If you'd like to change the auto-numbering to use letters (i.e. One, not 1), go into the Section Layout as described in the “Remove Chapter Auto-numbering” section and change $n to $t.

Tip (currently Mac only):
To prevent specific documents from being auto-numbered (like front matter), go to the Title Adjustments tab. If you have your front matter items in a Front Matter folder, you can select the appropriate check box. If not, use the drop-down labeled “Choose…” to select the documents you don’t want auto-numbered. Click Choose until you’ve selected all the documents you don’t want auto-numbered (they’re designated by a check mark on the list once selected).

Unfortunately, I couldn’t possibly cover everything about this important topic in one post, but don’t be afraid to play with the settings and see what you get.

Still need more help? Need more help? Sign up for an online class, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session. If you don't already have it, you can download Scrivener here.

 Good luck!

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  1. Reply

    I really love your Scrivener posts, they’re always so incredibly helpful. My main question (and I haven’t compiled since getting Scrivener 2, so maybe it has changed) is how on earth do I compile and keep all the settings as-is? It exports into a screed-up-format word document with all the paragraphs indentation-free and no space to separate paragraphs. The worst was when it removed all my italics, though – I use them to denote telepathy, and entire conversations had to be reformatted.

    I’m sure it has a super simple answer I’m missing, but if you can explain it quickly I would love to know. Thanks Gwen!

    • Reply

      Thanks, Kali. I’ll do my best to help. My suggestion is to use the Novel (Standard Manuscript Format) setting and then tweak it. This retained the italics, provided first-line indent, and double spacing when I used it.

      What I do is open up the expanded options, then click the Override text and notes formatting checkbox. This allows you to specify your font, separators, etc.

      Since I like TNR, I click on the formatting tab on the left. Then, for each level (folders, files, etc), I select the row, click in the text below, then click the A (font) button to select my font and size. (You can also copy a row and paste it below to copy the formatting to that level.)

      I also like to tweak the Separators to make sure I get a # between scenes, and the Text Options to prevent it from turning italics to underline and such.

      My suggestion is to play around with the different presets. Basically every part of your export document can be adjusted in the settings, but some things may be easier to fix in Word if you don’t have time to go through all of the Scrivener options.

      Let me know if that helps!

  2. Reply

    Perfect timing, Gwen. I got a request yesterday from a publisher who’d like to see my next book. Now I have your explanation for all those new menu choices in Scrivener II.

    I’d love to see what my book would look like on my Nook. Could you tell us how to export a manuscript to do that?

      • Reply

        Thanks for the link. I think saving as epub right from Scrivener is probably easier, but it’s good to know there’s a way to convert PDFs for Nook. I may check it out. Thanks!

    • Reply

      Congrats on your request, mmarkmiller! I was in the middle of creating a bonus blog post about transferring your file to the Nook when my MacBook took a header onto the floor. 🙁 It’s in a coma right now, so I lost my work. But here’s the process in a nutshell.

      Don’t save to PDF. In the Scrivener Compile window, Compile As an ePub e-book (.epub), using whatever format you want (I suggest Novel).

      Plug your Nook into the computer via the USB cable. It should show up in Finder in the Devices column, just like your hard drive. Then you can drag and drop (or copy and paste) your EPUB file into the My Documents folder on your Nook. (The process is called side-loading.)

      Eject your Nook, then activate your home menu and choose My Library. If it’s not already loaded, select View My Documents. Your file should be in the list. If it’s not, click Check for new content.

      Good luck!

  3. Gail Hart


    Gwen – Thanks for posting this explanation to help us non-techies! I’m really excited that the PC version of Scrivener is almost here.

      • Tolo


        The book would be a bit hard to write currently with the Mac and Windows versions quite different at this time. Maybe when the Windows version is more mature..

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  6. pageturners


    Excellent post, and excellent blog! Thank you!

    I’m having a terrible time trying to get a novel to have a bunch of chapters, just called ‘Chapter One’, ‘Chapter Two’, etc.

    My questions:

    * What folders and files should be in the Manuscript or Draft folder (the main folder)? A single folder with the novel, and separate files titled Chapter One, Chapter Two, etc? Or a bunch of different folders – titled or untitled? (I’ve tried it both ways, but just can’t seem to get it right.)

    * Where does the cover image go?

    * Should I leave the Front Matter folder in the Research folder, or move it up to the Manuscript folder?

    * How can I edit the Front Matter so it doesn’t automatically use my name as the author and the project title as the title, and so I can change the copyright date, etc? (This isn’t my own book but one I’m editing.)

    • Reply

      Pageturners: Sorry for the delay. I’ve been without Internet for a few days.

      – For chapters, I find it easiest to organize by Chapter folders, calling them whatever makes sense. I then uncheck the title in Compile’s Formatting section, and use Level Settings to autonumber the Chapters. (Check the Compile section of the user manual for more details.)

      – For the cover image, first import the image to your project. I assume you’re creating an epub file, so you need to select EPUB format in the Compile For section (in Compile) and then click on the Cover tab to add your image.

      – In compile, I haven’t played with the front matter option yet. Again, how you set up the file is really personal preference. I’d play with it and see what works best for you.

      – To change the title, author, date, etc… choose the Meta-Data tab in Compile.

      I hope that helps. If you need more help, you might consider signing up for my class. Not sure if they’re taking late registration, but it starts Monday:

      Good luck!

  7. pageturners


    Thanks, Gwen – all this is more or less what I’ve been doing (using the rather different Compile settings in Scrivener 2.1). Odd.

    • Reply

      Amy: According to the user manual, RTF (and thus DOC) does not support the use of the tag. RTFD doesn’t support headers/footers at all. You might have to do some style work in Word after compiling to get it done. Sorry!

  8. Reply

    Gwen, I’m a little confused as to how and where to include exactly what I want to show up in Kindle’s and ePub’s TOC (via compile). In other words, I only want “Chapter 1”, “Chapter 2”, and so on to show up in the TOC and not some other things which seem to show up anyway. Is there a clear and simple (dumbed-down) clue as how to do this right every time? And, also, are some templates better than others for making this an easy process?


    • Reply

      Michael: Are you getting lower level items (like scene titles beneath the chapters), or are you getting subtitles with your Chapter 1, such as “Chapter 1: The Phone Call”?

      • Reply

        Gwen, at first I was getting front matter sections that I didn’t want as ‘chapters’; then I was getting some double chapters (from having the word “Chapter” at the top of the text.

        I don’t use scenes; basically, I just have a series of stories, which I was calling “Chapters”. Now, I am thinking to simply have the story names, per se, appear in the TOC.

        I am just wondering: isn’t there a simple way to choose what you want or do not want in the self-generated ePub and Kindle TOC’s. Am I alone in this, but wouldn’t it be a nice, intuitive feature with this being more clear in application?

        Interestingly, I have not seen a clear and simple explanation ANYWHERE that shows what gets included and what does not in these TOCs?

        Can I the only one thinking about this? Or, am I just still too much of a ‘newbie’ with Scrivener ‘to know any better?”

        • Reply

          Michael: Compile is one thing that can’t be described as simple, unfortunately. My response may not be completely satisfactory, so I strongly recommend you visit the Scrivener forums if I still haven’t helped. Either an expert user or one of the programmers will answer your question:

          My understanding is that the auto TOC uses only the top level items (those directly under the manuscript folder) to create the TOC.

          To remove the chapter auto-numbering and just use the names of your folders for each chapter, go to the Formatting tab in Compile and select the folder level in the top table. Click the Section Layout button. If it’s not already selected, choose the Title Prefix and Suffix tab at the top. Delete any text in the Prefix box (it would look something like Chapter .

          If you want to keep the auto-numbering but not have the folder names appear as subtitles, deselect the Title checkbox for the folder level in the upper table on the Formatting tab.

          To prevent specific documents from being auto-numbered (like front matter), go to the Title Adjustments tab. If you have your front matter items in a Front Matter folder, you can select the appropriate check box. If not, use the drop-down labeled “Choose…” to select the documents you don’t want auto-numbered. Click Choose until you’ve selected all the documents you don’t want auto-numbered (they’re designated by a check mark on the list once selected).

          I hope that helps. Good luck!

        • Reply

          You’re not alone! I want to have the TOC read Chapter 1: Summer Vacation, but have the top of the actual chapter read Chapter One: Summer Vacation.

          Haven’t figured out how to do that yet. Have you had any luck?

          • Reply

            Rose: In the Section Layout window that I mentioned above (make sure you’ve selected the row that refers to your chapter folders or documents first), change the $t to $n.

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  10. Reply

    Thanks for the post. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get rid of the Chapter headings between my scenes!

    Keep up the great work.

  11. Pingback: Tech Tuesday: Getting rid of double paragraph returns in Scrivener | The Edited Life

  12. Akin Nase


    Dear Gwen,

    I am currently writing my Thesis with Scrivener and have been experimenting with the compile settings in order to use the enumerated outline as a ToC. Do you know if there is any possibility to put the respective page in the suffix of the title? If I insert it just prints out … I would love to have the pagenumbers on which the respective chapters start on listed in the ToC…

    • Akin Nase


      Oh, and on an related issue – do you know if there is a way to adjust what metadata should be included when you compile your document? Currently it lists the dates the file was “created” and “Modified”, plus “Label” and “Status” and any custom meta-data I set. Is it possible, to just have the custom metadata in the compiled document?

      • Reply

        Akin: For meta-data, when you check to include it at compile, it’s all or nothing. Another option is to add a placeholder in the prefix or suffix for the item levels where you have meta-data. It would look like this, where “MySpecialField” is the name of my custom meta-data field.

        My Special Field:

        If the value of the field for a document were “cyclops”, the output in your compiled document look like:

        My Special Field: cyclops

        To avoid having the field name show even when there’s no value, just use . You can add as many of these as you need to output all of your fields.

        Hope that helps!

    • Reply

      Akin: When you say you’re inserting the page in the suffix, are you using a placeholder tag? And are you only trying to export a table of contents? Because I was going to suggest selecting all the items in the Binder that you want to show up and then going to Edit–>Copy Special–>Copy Documents As TOC. Then you can paste that into a new document. It includes the page number links and indents to match the hierarchy.

  13. Reply

    Hi Gwen,
    Help! I recently purchased Scrivener and your book for dummies, like myself, and I’m already stuck. In may haste I compiled a book to word doc and now find I can edit, but can’t copy n paste additional work into the compiled doc. with the exception of coping from the web. How do I go about changing it back to an unconverted file or to where I can copy and paste other words from word docs. I can’t seem to figure that out.


    • Reply

      addypea: So you mean when you view the compiled document in Word you can’t past anything into it? I honestly can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t be able to. There’s nothing special about it, it’s just a Word document, regardless of whether it came from Scrivener or you opened it and created it from scratch in Word.

      Now, if you want to make changes to your original work, just open your project in Scrivener and make your changes there. You should be able to copy and paste there too. In both cases, you might try using Edit–>Paste And Match Style to make sure you don’t get weird formatting.

      I hope that helps. Let me know if I totally misunderstood what you’re asking. Good luck!

      • Reply

        Thank you Gwen for you quick reply. It seems I had a corrupt file that was the culprit. All is good now.



  14. Reply

    My chapter titles are in the table of contents, which is fine. But even though I have “title” checked for every level, they aren’t coming through at the beginning of each chapter.

    The setup I have is very simple, each chapter is one document immediately below “Manuscript”. I’ve tried different presets, nothing seems to work.

    Any suggestions?

        • Reply

          Mike: I’m getting it to work (on both PC and Mac since I wasn’t sure). Here’s what I’m doing.

          I chose the E-book format and the EPub eBook output. In the Separators section of Compile, I set the Text Separator to Section Break (Page Break on Windows). In the Formatting section, I selected the Title for the Text Level 1+ row.

          I didn’t do anything else and I got each document on a new page with the document title at the top. As long as the Title for the text level(s) is selected, I can’t think of anything that would strip it out. I’m assuming you have named your documents in the Binder.

          Also, as a side note, I’d add page padding for the Text Level 1+ row if you want your chapters to start part way down the page.

          I’m not sure what else to tell you. If you restart Scrivener and it’s still giving you the trouble, you might want to contact tech support, or check the forums.

          Good luck!

          • Reply

            Thanks for taking the time, Gwen. I’ve done all of that, it’s still not working. No idea why not. I’ve restarted Scrivener, restarted the computer, nothing works.

            In the end I gave up and just copied and pasted the chapter titles into the chapters.

            • Reply

              I had a similar problem with my manuscript. I also use Windows. Strangely enough, SOME of my chapter titles would show up in the TOC, and some would not. It turned out that the ones that appeared happened to be immediately following a page break.
              I corrected my problem by starting the compile and then clicking on the “separators” section. The second item in that section says “Folder Separator.” I changed its setting to “Page Break,” and recompiled, and suddenly all of my chapters appeared correctly in my TOC.

              Now I just need to figure out how to have my TOC come AFTER my Front Matter rather than before it. I had to add my Front Matter manually since it wasn’t generated in the Windows version of Scrivener.

              • Sheridan Jeane: Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you mentioned the page breaks, because the automatic TOC that Scrivener creates only provides an entry for each item that gets a page/section break (essentially one that is forced to start on a new page).

                There’s no way that I know of in the Windows version to adjust where the TOC shows up, or whether one is created, when you produce an e-book. Sorry. 🙁

  15. Reply

    Hey Gwen,

    Loving Scrivener for Dummies so far–thanks for all of the excellent insight!

    I love the program, and I know you have the ear of the folks at Literature and Latte, so my ONE complaint with the software (and it’s quite possible that I’m just being an idiot and doing something wrong) is that we need section breaks for chapters or subchapters to show up in the TOC. I tend to write one chapter per text page, which normally works out great. However, I just tried to compile my first book using folders as “chapters” and text pages as “subchapters,” and the TOC was a mess until I added the section breaks.

    I guess what I’d like to see in the next edition of Scrivener is a little more customization so that chapter headings don’t all need to be uniform justification, size, etc. It’s fine in the body of the book, but when I want right-justified subchapter headings and get to the end and want a centered “Stay in Touch By…” page, I still for the life of me can’t figure out how to do so.

    Again, this could easily be my own ineptitude, so feel free to let me know if that’s the case! And I LOVE my Scrivener–I really don’t know how I used to write without it. It’s just a gentle suggestion for a “tweak,” is all.

    Thanks so much, Gwen–your book is great!


    • Reply

      D.J.: Thanks for letting me know you’re enjoying the book! I don’t entirely understand your question about section breaks. Are you talking about adding section breaks in the Separators tab? And you know you can handle headings for different levels on the Formatting tab, right?

      What you could do for that last page you want is set it up in the Editor the way you want it to look, and then click the As-Is checkbox in the Contents tab of Compile. That keeps Scrivener from messing with indents and spacing during the compile process. The only thing that can be affected is the font if you use the Quick Font Override (Mac only right now).

      Or you could make it a subdocument of your last subchapter to give it a lower level in the hierarchy, then format that level’s Title differently in the Formatting tab.

      While I have a good working relationship with the guys and gals at L&L, the best way to submit a proposed feature is to add it to the Wish List thread on the forums page: Just check and make sure someone else hasn’t already. 🙂

      Good luck!

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  18. Reply

    Is there a way to convert a project from the non-fiction format to the Novel format? I think I like the Novel format better, but would prefer not to have to cut and paste to a new project.

    Also, when I go to compile, I see there are smart tags for the page numbers but they show up as ? in my Kindle reader. What am I doing wrong?

    Thank you!!


    • Reply

      Suzanne: The easiest way to switch templates for an existing project is to create a new project based on the Novel template, then import the existing project via File–>Import–>Scrivener Project. It’ll bring the documents from the other project over to the new one.

      I believe the issue with the page number tags when viewing on an ereader is that there’s really no concept of pages/page #s from Scrivener’s point of view. It has no way of knowing where the pages will break since the ereader handles that, so it doesn’t populate the tag.

      Good luck!

      • Reply

        Thanks so much for the quick reply! Your suggestion worked well – I dragged the contents of the imported manuscript folder into the new manuscript folder and saved.

        Good point about this being an ebook, I’ll look at deleting the page number tags. (Page numbers are overrated!)


  19. Reply

    Thank you, Gwen for such clear and easy instructions on Compiling. I searched elsewhere in vain.
    Bacon. Saved. You. My.

  20. Reply

    Dear Gwen, greetings again from Azerbaijan, I hope this finds you well. I have a question: how reliable are Scrivener’s page counts? Here;’s why I ask. According to Scrivener’s ‘Project Statistics’ feature, volume 1 of my 2-volume novel (140k words) when formatted at ‘350 words per page’ amounts to ‘376’ pages in paperback. Likewise volume 2 (114k words at 350 words per page) represents ‘304’ paperback pages. However, when converted to Word.docx for my editor, the page count for volume 1 jumped up by 100 pages, and volume 2 followed suit, to a lesser degree. To make matters worse, I’ve just contacted my formatter in the US, whose cost calculations suggest that 140k words (E.G. my volume 1) will be closer to ‘600 pages’ when formatted. Yikes. Any idea why the huge discrepancies? I like Scrivener and, as a rookie-user, I am tempted by your classes and may well sign up soon. But this page count business makes me wonder. Likewise Scrivener’s spell-check feature, which seems pretty lame at times. Word now seems to have picked up dozens and dozens of punctuation errors and typos that Scrivener missed. Or is it me who is missing something, on both points? I think I can guess the answer : ( but would be grateful for any advice. Thank you and best wishes from a blistering evening in Baku. Mike

    • Reply

      mikeormsby: The page counts depend on a lot of things. Generally, it only counts what’s selected for inclusion in Compile. It’s there to give you a rough guide, but a lot depends on the font, size, margins, and so on that you choose when formatting for output. If you have the Mac version of Scrivener, you can change the per-page word count used in the calculation by going to the Options tab of the Project Statistics window.

      I agree that Scrivener’s spell check isn’t as robust. It uses a different dictionary than Word, and while it’s pretty good at catching misspellings, it’s not as strong on grammar. Where Scrivener really excels is at helping you customize and organize your writing experience/process. For me, the rest is gravy.

      Stay cool! 🙂

      • Reply

        Thank you Gwen for your prompt and helpful reply. FYI, my font and spacing are the same in Scrivener & Word: 12-point Times New Roman, double-spaced). Margins I am less sure about, perhaps that’s the problem, but a 100-page difference strikes me extremely ‘rough’! Am aware of the Options tab; I stuck with ‘350 words pp’ which seemed to be the default. Whatever, my formatter says Word’s count sounds more accurate. Agree that the organizational aspects of Scrivener are useful. Best wishes and thank you, again.

  21. Reply

    Hi Gwen,

    Thank you so much for your post.

    I have been watching Scriviner tutorials for an hour trying to figure out why when I compile some of my folders are not translating into separate Chapters. I have 28 folders but only 12 Chapters are showing up.

    Any ideas?

    Ive tried playing around with the settings but haven’t come up with the answer.

    Thank you,

    • Reply

      Mayra: So, first thing I’d check is that all the boxes are selected in the Include column of the Contents pane in Compile. Also, make sure that all of your chapter folders are directly below the Draft/Manuscript folder and not inside of another folder. They should all line up along the left side at the same level. Those are the first two things that come to mind.

  22. Frederic P


    Hi, Gwen Hernandez
    Just a little question.
    Is Scrivener only for working on e-books, or can we use it also for paper-back books editing?

    • Reply

      Frederic: Scrivener is for working on your writing, regardless of final output type. If you want to produce a book for CreateSpace or LuLu or something similar, you can output to a DOC, PDF, TXT, RTF and so on. You can either do all of the format tweaking in Scrivener, or export it and do it in another program.

      The beauty is that you can do the writing, then handle the formatting of it separately, depending on what type of output you want. That way you only have to make your editorial changes in one place to output to multiple formats. I hope that answers your question!

  23. Reply

    I reverse-engineered a 110,000 word MS Word novel into a Scrivener Project because MS Word introduced anomallies into almost every chapter. (The entire text would be printed, but the last paragraph of each chapter was forced into the middle of the last page of that chapter all by itself.)

    The Scrivener project has all the required content, but it does not compile. When I compile the project in Scrivener, the compiled product has the first three chapters compiled correctly, but the rest of the compile only includes the subhead of each chapter file. I’ve tried to compile in DOC, PDF, and RTF formats, always with the same result.

    I don’t know whether I’m doing something wrong, Scrivener can’t handle 110,000 words, or what. The binder for the project appears normal, and each folder appears on the cork board. The content is there, but it doesn’t compile. Is this something that can be fixed? Or does Scrivener have limitations that i’m not aware of?

    Any help on this problem will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Reply

      David: Scrivener can absolutely handle 110K, no problem. It’s only project limit is the size of your hard drive. 😉

      The first place I’d check is in the Compile window under the Contents tab (see my 2nd image in the post above). Make sure that all of the documents you want to include have a checkmark in the Include column. Another possibility is that you have selected a portion of your manuscript from the drop-down menu at the top of the Contents pane (which shows Manuscript in my image above).

      I was going to have you check that all of your files are in the Draft/Manuscript folder, but if you’re seeing them all on the Corkboard when you select the Draft, then it sounds like they are.

      Let me know if none of that solves it.

  24. Reply

    Gwen, thank you for your very quick response.

    My manuscript has a prologue, three major parts with chapters, and an epilogue. They are all in the manuscript folder. Every part appears on the corkboard. All the text appears in the Scrivenings display. When I compiled, I made sure all the ‘include’ blocks were checked.

    Still, the manuscript didn’t compile properly. As I said, it compiled the prologue and the first two chapters properly, but all the rest of the chapters appeared, but they only had the subheading that was included in the source.

    Here is an example of what I get:

    CHAPTER FOURTEEN (These two lines are centered mid-page.

    Here are a few lines from the Chapter Folder. All the rest of the content of this and all the other chapters is in the Binder folders where it belongs. :

    Virginia City, IDAHO TERRITORY
    September, 1863
    There was gold in the creek, and the miners started remembering it. Their tempers cooled and Smith and Ball found themselves standing alone. Then they too went back to their claims.
    “Where does Pizanthia hang his hat?” Magruder asked Paris Pfouts.

    Gwen, I hope this is enough to let you visualize my problem. If not, please tell me what else I could show you.

    Thank you again for your help. I’m looking forward to the licensed version of Scrivener if I can get this solved.

    • Reply

      David: The only other thing I can think of without looking at it is to check the Formatting tab in Compile. Make sure that the Text checkbox is selected for all item types that contain text. Otherwise, feel free to click the Contact link above and send me a message. I have a feeling this has to be in the Binder layout, but without seeing it, I can’t be sure.

  25. Reply

    My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was entirely right.

    This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information!

  26. Reply

    Here’s a Scrivener mystery that I can’t find discussed, unless I missed it in you book. I imported a clean (nuked then reformatted using only Styles) .doc into Scrivener. I compiled it into a mobi. Perfect. Except on the Title page I had listed this was Book Two” in the series when it was really Book Three.

    No problem. I changed the one word on the Title page and compiled again ( making sure nothing changed in the settings). The mobi was produced again with Book Three on the Title. It remained Book Three for the next 15 compilations, even though I tried:
    Making a new Title page.
    Renaming the front matter folder.
    Creating an entirely new front matter folder (without copying anything from the old folder)
    Emptying the trash ( in case it was picking up the old folder)
    Using a different folder (Barnes & Noble)
    Compiling without any Front Matter included.

    How on earth can Scrivener compile the error Title page without the document even being in the project?

    The whole thing was too hard on my religion to continue, so I skipped on to creating 2 epubs ( same formatting– different front matter.) They turned out fine.
    I compiled for mobi again, lo and behold, everything was perfect.

    This wasn’t the first time it has happened, the previous night, while working on a different book, one word on a Title page went rogue and left justified (instead of centered, even though it was centered in the page document)
    I bet I deleted the front matter folder and receated it at least five times. It finally compiled after about 45 minutes.

    I know this wasn’t a one-time quirk. This is Scrivener Version. 2.5, for Mac. I can’t find any discussion or even a logical explanation why Scrivener compile would hold onto documents after they have been deleted from the project ( and the computer).

    I’d really appreciate your brain power and expertise in understanding this mystery. Thanks. Barb

    • Reply

      Barb: How weird! Off the top of my head, the only thing coming to mind is the Meta-Data tab. Was the title correct in there? But it still shouldn’t create a page you don’t have included on the Contents tab. I will say that when things get weird, I find it helps to shut everything down and restart my computer. 99% of the time, that solves it.

      That said, this might be a good question to ping the support team (or forum) about. They field more of these kinds of questions than I do, so it might be something they’ve encountered before. Good luck!

      • Reply

        Thanks for getting back to me. I thought about shutting down, but kept thinking….”Maybe if I try…XXXX”. On the forum, I’ve found a couple of other references to a document “hanging up” and not changing, and both times they said that shutting down only resulted in the same compile upon opening. I’ll certainly give it a try and also post on the forum. There’s GOT to be an answer somewhere. I didn’t check the meta-data tab. I’m wondering if the “reset” would dump the custom compile and take it back to default, or simply the last setting?

  27. Reply

    Gwen, thanks. I’m posting what I discovered, and apologize for taking up space on your blog, but thought it might help others if they run into the same problem. After taking your advice and contacting Scrivener Tech support (who was quite kind and patient), it was suggested that the problem might be with the “Electronic Reader” I was using to look at my on-line work. I was using Kindle for PC., and it possibly could be loading the same document over and over again rather than the new, edited document. I’d need to go to the file where Kindle keeps files, delete the old files before the new, updated version could be seen. (Calibre will do the same thing…upload the old doc).

    Instead of doing the homework, looking for Kindle’s cache, I used the Kindle Downloadable Previewer to check my mobi’s, and the problem was resolved. (Of course, I had already pulled out half my hair, rolled my eyes to the back of my head after 15 tries at making corrections and getting it to work earlier.) I suppose I need more faith in Kindle’s output. I suppose that’ll come with more experience.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Reply

      CortlandWriter: They’re all spam. I’ve been deleting them as they pop up, but since they’re more sophisticated, they get through the filter and end up in the Inbox of everyone who’s following a post first. So annoying. 🙁

  28. Reply

    Very good information. Lucky me I recently found your blog by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have saved as a favorite for later!

  29. Reply

    Hi Gwen,

    Re chapter numbering, a couple of times, the chapter title and number have appeared as the first line of text in Scriv and in the compile… so I’d have 1-Why do you imagine golden birds? at the top of the first scene of chap 1. With a few blank lines below. But that’s only happened once or twice and I can’t figure out why. This is in the draft, not just after compile. All the chapter folders are labeled as such in Scriv and are at the same level in Binder. Thoughts? Thanks!

    • Reply

      Claudia: It sounds like you’re saying those words are actually in the document when you view it in the Editor. Did you import your manuscript from another file (like a Word document)? If you used import and split, and used “Chapter” as your unique separator, it would strip out the word “chapter”, but leave the number and title behind.

      Either way, if they’re at the top of a document when viewed in the Editor, you can just delete the unwanted text. Or if I’m totally misunderstanding, you can contact me using the Contact link above, and I’ll tell you how to send me a screenshot. Just let me know if you’re using Windows or Mac. 🙂

      • Reply

        Hi there, Gwen. Whatever happened wasn’t as complicated as all that. At least, I didn’t DO anything… one day I had line at the top of my document (for scene 1 in chapter one) saying 1-“chapter title.” I thought, that’s COOL and promptly entered chap titles for the rest of the book. But they didn’t show up that way. I want them, but I can always add them in Word later. I was just curious as to what might have caused it to do that (sometimes it thinks a scene is a chapter, I’ve noticed, on compiles, and puts CHAPTER FOUR randomly at the top of something. But this was a different display, format, etc….

  30. Bill McCauley


    Hi – Has anyone figured out a way to get the TOC generated by compiling to Kindle to show up AFTER the title page and copyright page instead of RIGHT AFTER the cover? Thank you for any help you can provide!

  31. Bill


    Good grief! Another problem! I published a kids’ book with about 30 photos in it. The pictures all show up fine on the reviewer. I downloaded a copy of the book from Amazon, and the pictures also show up perfectly on the Kindle app on my computer and on my ipad. But on my Kindle Fire, about 1/3 of them show up as a tiny little dot, a little bigger than a period. What on earth is going on? Thanks for any advice you can give!

    • Reply

      Bill: It sounds like the images couldn’t be rendered for some reason and the dot is a placeholder. You might check that your images meet Amazon’s suggested size/quality for MOBI files. This might be a better one to address with the guys at Literature & Latte. Sorry I can’t be more help.

      • Bill


        Thanks, Gwen, for taking the time to respond. I’ll keep working on it. If it’s because the images don’t meet the guidelines, it’s weird that they show up perfectly on the Kindle previewer and on the Kindle app on my computer and ipad. Spooky!

        • Reply

          Bill: I don’t really know. The problem is that each of those platforms processes things differently, and I’m not very familiar with them. You might see how it looks on the Kindle Previewer with Kindle Fire selected as the device to emulate. Also, Kindle has some pretty active forums. I haven’t dug in, but I know there’s a wealth of information out there. Good luck figuring it out. 🙂

  32. Reply

    Hi Gwen,

    Discovered your site last week and have really enjoyed reading through it. I’ve got what is probably a dumb and obvious problem but I’ve tried the Scrivener forum and looked through your answers and tips here but can’t find anything.

    I’m going through the Scrivener Tutorial and I am at the part where it tells me to save by compiling and then to open the document in Scrivener. I’ve saved the document several times in several different ways and whenever I go to pull the document up (I’ve tried both through the Open menu and the Import File menu) it shows that nothing is there. When I look for the file through my Control Panel, sure enough the file is there.

    I was really enjoying going through the Scrivener Tutorial until I hit this problem. Now I’m stuck! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,


    • Reply

      Ray: I haven’t been through the tutorial in years, but it sounds like they want you to compile your manuscript to a document and then import it back into Scrivener. File–>Open would only work to import an existing Scrivener project (.scriv file). For this, you need File–>Import–>Files. Beware that if you compiled to a PDF or other non-text file, you won’t be able to import it to the Draft folder. It’ll have to go somewhere outside the Draft (like Research).

      Make sure when you compile you keep track of where you saved the compiled document. The Desktop is an easy choice for when you’re playing around. Easy to find again.

      I’m not sure I’m helping, but feel free to clarify if I missed what you were asking.

      • Reply

        Gwen, thanks so much for the quick response. I saved it as a PDF (as the instructions said to) and then saved it to a folder I made just for Scrivener. I tried opening it with both File->Open and File->Import->Files. When I get home I’ll try to save it straight to the Desktop.

        I might be misreading it, but it sounds like you’re saying I should import the PDF file into the Research section of the Binder?

        Thanks again for your help,


        • Reply

          Ray: If you know where the file is and can locate it again, you don’t need to go through it again. But yes, if it’s a PDF, it can’t be imported to the Draft folder. Research (or anywhere else) will work.

  33. Tracy


    Hi! I’m reading Scrivener for Dummies, but I don’t see this answer. I’m doing the NaNoWriMo and using the trial version of Scrivener. I like the paperback version because I can get those made through my job. The thing is, I don’t want the “Chapter One” and default Chapter titles over everything. So, i deleted the chapter headings but it won’t let me go back to paperback format for printing.

    What can I do?


    • Reply

      Tracy: If you choose Paperback and then make some adjustments, all of the other settings that were there for paperback are still in place. The format preset menu changes to “Custom” to show that you’ve adjusted things, but you should still be able to print in Paperback format just fine. If you choose Paperback again from the Format As drop-down, you’ll just lose your tweaks. Does that make sense?

      • Tracy


        thanks so much for getting back to me! I can make the adjustments and print and it should still be in paperback. got it!

  34. Reply

    Hi, Gwen, I’m using a Mac and Scrivener. Why can’t I italicize some sentences. I was able to do it once but not again. It’s grayed out in the menu bar. thanks

  35. Reply

    Very good post. I have almost completed my first novel ever and I am using Scrivener for Windows. The only problem I am having is the PDF or DOC file that is generated following the compile. Everything is coming out as fully justified even though I have set everything up to be right aligned. I am beating my head against the wall on this. When I open up the compiled file in Windows it is showing as left aligned file but all the text is justified. Any ideas on what might be causing this?

    • Reply

      Robert: If you’re using one of the Compile presets, then check the Formatting tab. Select the text level that corresponds to your text documents and make sure they’re aligned the way you want. Another option is to choose the Original preset which keeps the text exactly as you have it in the editor (but still allows you to adjust the titles/auto-numbering as desired).

      • Reply

        Thanks so much for replying. I posted over at Literature and Latte’s forums but no one has answered yet. I checked everything again and followed your instructions and continued to have the same problems.

        I discovered though that it appears to be a font problem. The compile settings were set to compile to “Courier New” font. After compiling, I noticed that if I changed the font in Word the full justification disappeared and went to left-aligned like it should.

        I went back and changed the compile font to “Times New Roman”, compiled and everything came out in Word formatted properly. For some reason my versions of Scrivener and Word do not play well together if using the “Courier New” font–everything ends up full justified.

        I’m not sure if anyone else is having this problem. Would love to know what the REAL problem is.

        • Reply

          Hmm. I wonder if it’s a glitch with the latest version. You might try contacting them via tech support’s email, but I’d still expect a delay over the holidays. They might be taking the week off. Glad you found a workaround. Thanks for letting me know!

  36. Sherri Caldwell


    This is a random Scrivener-to-Kindle question I can’t find the answer to anywhere. One section of my ebook is a 2-column table with 101 rows. I imported the table from MS Word, and was able to remove the gridlines, and it all looks great, EXCEPT… how can I preserve the table such that page breaks in the .mobi format will not break up the “paragraphs” or text within rows of the table– can you format or specify to page break only on empty lines or between rows?

    • Reply

      Sherri: That would be a nice feature, but Scrivener doesn’t have it. And with the variable nature of what a page is on an e-book, I’m not sure how they’d accomplish it. Seems like it would have to be built into the e-reader. If there’s a way to do it with HTML, then you’d want to create an EPUB in Scrivener and edit it with a (free) program like Sigil. Then you could use Amazon’s Kindle Previewer to convert your EPUB to MOBI. I’d check to see if Kindles even support what you’re looking for before putting too much time into it. Sorry I can’t be more help. Good luck!

  37. Reply

    Hi Gwen,

    Word is forcing section breaks between text docs on compile. I have it set to break pages between text docs, but they’re going to section breaks in Word. The Scriv folks on the Lit&Latte forms say this shouldn’t be happening, but I keep getting it. Have you seen this before? I have taken out the Page Break Before check on the contents pane of the Compile menu (though I don’t think that should matter), but the Separators page has Page break for between adjacent text docs. I compile for Word docx and each time (maybe 10 times now), I get section breaks between each page (it’s a poetry manuscript, so most pages are separate docs in Scriv). As you can imagine, this can mean that a 40-pg doc has 40 section breaks that have to be deleted and then reinserted as page breaks to make them appear as a separate poem on each page to preserve the proper formatting, pagination, headers, and TOC… What a pain! That’s just for a chapbook–soon I will be compiling a full-length book, which is around 100pp… !

    Thoughts? Thanks very much, as always.

    • Reply

      Claudia: How strange. I’m not sure I can help if the guys at L&L can’t, but my first thought is to try changing your export settings in Scrivener–>Preferences (Mac) or Tools–>Options. If enhanced converters are on, turn them off. Maybe choose a different type. Basically play with what’s there.

      You also might try exporting as RTF instead of DOCX.

      And if you still can’t get it to work, I was thinking you should be able to do an Advanced Find and Replace to change the section breaks into page breaks on the Word end.

      Good luck! If you figure it out, I’d love to hear what worked.

  38. Reply

    Don’t know if this is the best thread for this, but…

    I’m scrounging through the options to see if it’s possible to adjust margins and / or styles when exporting / compiling to a LibreOffice writer document. I can easily make it 8″ x 5″ with fixed margins of the size I set, but I haven’t found anyway to set up ‘Mirror’ margins, as one would want for a paperback book, for example.

    Any suggestions?


    P.S. I’m using the latest Scrivener and Writer versions on Mac.

    • Reply

      Jeffrey: Here is fine. Thanks for letting me know that you’re on a Mac because right now that makes a difference. The Mac version does support mirroring. It’s hidden on the Page Settings tab in the Facing Pages section at the center. You would check the “Use facing pages (alternating margins, headers and footers)” box.

      When you do that, the margins are set up for right-hand pages, and right-hand headers/footers are set up in the Header and Footer section. Margins will be flip-flopped automatically, and you can put the header/footer for left-hand pages in the Facing Pages section.

      I haven’t used LibreOffice Writer, but this works out really well for PDFs and Word docs, so as long as Writer supports it, you should be fine. 🙂

  39. Carol


    Hello! I’m very new to Scrivener, just sort of swimming around. I haven’t been able to figure out how to get it to compile to Word (.docx) such that the titles of my chapters are formatted not as plain text, but as Heading 1, sections as Heading 2, etc., so that I can generate a Table of Contents immediately after compiling in Word. Would you please point me to if & how that can be done? Thank you!

  40. Kir


    Hi Gwen,
    I was wondering if you knew how to omit folders or documents from an Enumerated Outline? Even if I uncheck them from the “Content” section and clear all the data selection options from the “Formatting” section, while they don’t appear in the outline, the numbering continues to count them even though they’re not there. Any ideas?

    • Reply

      Hi, Kir. Are you on a Mac or PC? I see what you’re talking about, I think.

      Here’s a potential workaround on the Mac version (I don’t think this works on the PC, but I can’t test it since mine’s not with me while I’m traveling).

      1. Choose Enumerated Outline from the Format As drop-down menu in the Compile window to reset the Enumerated Outline settings to the default.

      2. At the top of the Contents pane, in the drop-down menu that says Draft (or Manuscript), choose the parent folder for the files you want to include. This might be a Part folder or something else, probably the one you didn’t want to include but was messing up your numbers).

      3. In the Compile Group Options drop-down menu that appears to the right, choose “Treat Compile Group as entire draft.” This makes it so Scrivener sees the selected files as the only files in the manuscript.

      4. Then select/deselect in the Include column from that list as desired, and compile.


  41. Pat


    Hi Gwen,

    Can you please tell me how to compile my novel for literary agents with Scrivener? I need the text double-spaced with a centered title page in 36 point type and my name in much smaller type below the title. Then for the novel itself, I need 12 point Times New Roman font with the chapter number centered and the scene break underlining centered too.



    • Reply

      Hi, Pat. Create your title page with the specifications you mentioned. Then, on the Contents tab in Compile, check the As Is box for the Title Page document. For the rest of it, choose Standard Manuscript Format from the Format As drop-down menu at the top of Compile. At the bottom, under Compile For choose Microsoft Word DOCX or whatever file type you need.

      You’ll want to remove either the titles or auto-numbering for your chapters as mentioned in the blog post above if you have folders for your chapters. To get the font to Times New Roman, if you have a Mac, you can use the Quick Font Override tab to change all fonts to Times New Roman. Otherwise, under the Formatting tab, you’ll have to select each row in turn and change the font (click the A button) to Times New Roman.

      What do you mean by scene break underlining?

      • Pat


        Hi Gwen,

        Thank you for answering my questions about Scrivener. Scene break underlining means the line separating scenes within a chapter that are composed of the underline key.

        Take care,


      • Pat


        Hi again, Gwen,

        What you said worked for the title page, font, and double-space, but I don’t want the file names to show. Can I remove them in compile?



        • Reply

          Pat: Most agents just want a # symbol between scenes. You can insert that in the Separators tab under the Text to Text section by choosing Custom from the drop-down menu and putting # into the text box. If you want to stick with underlining and want to center it, you could select the underlining, make sure there are no indents applied on the ruler, and go to Format>Formatting>Preserve Formatting.

          To remove the file names, deselect the Title checkbox as outlined in the blog post above under the Chapter Auto-Numbering section under the “Use Chapter Auto-numbering Instead of Chapter Titles” subheading.

  42. Lison Dubreuil


    Hello Gwen, how are you ?
    I compile my book and it is almost what I want. I don’t succed to put a larger space between the title of each chapter and the beginning of the chapter itself. Is it something we have to do manually ?
    Ex: title: La Fête à Nina
    Texte: Elle arriva à sa maison rapidement.
    In between these two, I would like a space of 6 lines.

    • Reply

      Hi, Lison! You can add that extra spacing either by changing the after-paragraph spacing of the chapter title or adding space into the title suffix area. How you do that depends on your version. Remind me if you’re on Mac or Windows and which version.

  43. Lison Dubreuil


    Hello Gwen, sorry to come back to you that late.
    I use Scrivener for Windows and it is up to date.
    I just returned to my book 2 days ago. Familly problems. So far, I didn’t solved this issue.
    I will try adding space in the title suffix area. Thank you so much for your kindness.

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