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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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