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Scrivener for Windows gets an awesome update (1.7.1)

Scrivener for Windows might be the baby of the Scrivener family, but it’s catching up to its big brother quickly (and, happily, making my book even more useful to Windows users). The May 27th update to 1.7.1 is huge. It brings to Windows some of the key features for which many users have been waiting, even if they didn’t know it. 😉

Here are just a few of the additions I think will make PC people very, very happy.

Creating a Table of Contents
Creating your own TOC used to be a pain. Now it’s a cinch. Just select the items in the Binder that you want to include in the contents list (using Ctrl+click or Shift+click). To create a TOC with page numbers (say for a POD book or Word doc), go to Edit—>Copy Special—>Copy Documents as ToC. Create a blank document and paste the list.



To create your own ebook TOC (maybe more or less detailed than the one that’s created automatically), use Copy Documents as Scrivener Links instead.

Preserving Formatting
If you have a section of text with special formatting that you don’t want to lose when you compile, you can preserve it. Scrivener will protect the font, alignment, font size, spacing, everything. Just select the desired text and go to Format—>Formatting—>Preserve Formatting.

Using Format Presets
Want to apply a group of font and/or paragraph settings to select sections of text over and over? You can create and apply presets. This works nicely in conjunction with Preserve Formatting to apply style and preservation to things like quotes, representations of letters, text messages, or emails, or subheadings that you’ve embedded directly into the text.

Presets are found under Format—>Formatting. See this post for more on how presets and preserved formatting work.

To add the Preset Selector button to your format bar, go to Tools—>Customize Toolbars. Select the Format Toolbar in the box at the top right. In the left column, select Preset Selector (should be near the top) and click the right arrow button at the center to move it to the right column. Use the up/down arrows to adjust its position, if desired.

PresetSelectorCustomizing Icons
You can now customize the icon for any object in your Binder. Just right-click the item and choose Change Icon.


Adding a Full Screen Background Image
In the past it was difficult to add an image to the full screen backdrop, and if you did, it affected all projects. Now you can quickly select a backdrop image, and choose a different one for each project. Go to View—>Full Screen Backdrop. You can then select an image from the list (culled from those in your Binder, if any), or click Choose to select an image from any drive attached to your computer. Click here to learn more.

BackdropMenuFullScreenCreating Multiple Project Notes
If you’re like me, you can think of several uses for the Project Notes section. No need to choose, or clutter up the space. You can now create multiple project notes and toggle between them by clicking on the Notes header. To create a new project note, click the Notes header in the Inspector and choose Manage Project Notes. In the Project Notes Window, click the [+] button to add a new note. Click the X on a note’s tab to delete it.


Creating Documents from a Template
Do you have a form you like to use over and over? For example, a character information sheet. Now you can create document templates and then create new documents using the template. This way you won’t overwrite your original, and creating a new one is a snap. The Novel template comes preloaded with Character and Setting Sketch templates, but you can create your own.

Compiling Your Work
There have been several much-needed updates to the Compile function. Here’s a quick list.
– You now have the ability to create one or more front matter folders outside of the Draft that can be added in when compiling. You can have one for your ebooks, another for your print version, and still another for your submissions to editors/agents.
– Windows has finally eliminated the need to click an extra button (Modify) to access the formatting editor on the Formatting tab of Compile. (Guess I should update some of my posts…)
– The compile preview should provide more accurate results since it’s now based on PDF output.
– There are more options under Transformations tab, like Remove Highlighting and Remove Text Color.

And there’s much more (e.g. adding custom meta-data, additional placeholder tags). For the complete list, click here.

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.

 Happy writing!

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Scrivener’s best for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is coming! Worried about how you can reach your 50K words? Scrivener can’t do the writing for you, but it can certainly make the job easier.

Here are some of Scrivener's best features to help keep you on track when you’re burning up the keyboard.

Stay on Track

Staying on track for NaNo is not easy, but keeping track of your progress is a cinch if you use Project Targets.

You know you need 50,000 words, 1667 per day if you write all 30 days. Set up your overall word count goal, and then a session goal for each time you sit down to write. The colorful progress bars will show you how you’re doing.

Mac users can use the Deadline setting under Options to calculate the session target automatically based on the days you plan to work. And when you're done, you can tweet your results right from the Project Targets window by clicking the blue bird!

For more on Project Targets, check out this post.

Enter Your Den of Zen

If you’re like me, you write better without distractions. Scrivener has you covered with Composition Mode (Mac)/Full Screen Mode (Windows).

You can change your background color to whatever gets your creative juices flowing and block out everything else. Mac users can even change the background to an image.

Learn more here.

Don’t Slow Down

Haven’t figured out that line of snappy dialogue? Need a fact, but don’t want to stop your momentum to research it? Insert an annotation and get back to work.

Annotations are colored bubbles of text that you insert directly into your writing. They’re easy-to-spot reminders that something needs fixed, but later, after NaNo. And when you’re ready to make the changes, they’re simple to find again.

Click here to learn more about annotations.

Also, consider creating a Change Log or Ideas Log document in the Binder to store ideas for earlier scenes, or those that might come later in the manuscript. You can jot down an idea when inspiration hits, and then get back to writing. When NaNo is over, your ideas will all be waiting.

Info at a Glance

Need quick access to your character’s names and/or basic info? Or your descriptions of locations? Or a reminder of what special power each character has?

Whatever it is, in addition to storing a complete document in the Binder, you can put an abbreviated list in the Project Notes section of the Inspector panel. Not only does this make it available without leaving the document you’re working on (or using split screen), but you can view the Project Notes pane from Composition/Full Screen view.

Easy Access

Don’t forget to import your must-have research, notes, references, and images before you get started. By storing key items within Scrivener, you won’t have to waste time hunting them down when you’re in a crunch.

Remember to breathe, relax, and have fun. Even if you don’t reach 50K, you’ll come out knowing you gave it your best shot, and you’ll likely have more words than you otherwise would have.

Good luck!

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.

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Tech Tuesday: Full Screen (Composition Mode) in Scrivener 2.x

full screen composition mode with image

Sometimes you just need to block out all distractions and write. That’s where Scrivener’s Full Screen feature (called Composition Mode on the Mac) comes in.

Entering Full Screen/Composition Mode

When you’re ready to block out everything and write, don a pair of noise-canceling headphones, hide your phone, and enter Full Screen/Composition mode (hereafter called FS/C for short).

  • Mac: Go to View—>Enter Composition Mode.
  • Windows: Go to View—>Enter Full Screen.

Or, click the appropriate button on the toolbar.

Composition mode button


full screen button


By default, FS/C looks like this. Plain, but effective.

FS/C mode with black background

Making Changes with the Control Strip

Text too small? Paper too wide? When you first enter FS/C, or any time you point your mouse to the bottom of the screen, the control strip pops up.


It contains options for changing the text zoom, paper position, paper width, and background fade. It also displays the word and character count for the document(s) being viewed.

NOTE: Changes made here only affect the current project.

Changing the Background Color or Image for All Projects

Project-specific settings can be changed from the control strip, but global settings are available in the Scrivener Preferences/ Options menu.

1. Mac users go to Scrivener—>Preferences. Windows users go to Tools—>Options.

2. Choose Compose (Mac) or Appearance (Windows).

3. Mac users go to Customizable Colors at the bottom, and select Background. Windows users go to the Colors section, click the triangle next to Full Screen, then select Background.

Preferences, Compose Mac


Options, Appearance Windows


4. To change the color, click the colored square and choose a new color.

Selecting a Background Image for a Single Project

Rather than color, I often opt to use a background image. Sometimes it’s just a picture that puts me in the mood to write, like a calming ocean scene, and sometimes it’s an image that keeps me in the setting of my story.

Background images are set at the project level, and will override the global color choice you made in the last section. Here’s how to add an image.

1. Make sure the image you want is accessible from a drive on your computer (e.g. hard drive, flash drive, Dropbox), or is imported into your current Scrivener project (i.e. in the Binder).

2. Go to View—>Composition Backdrop (Mac) or View—>Full Screen Backdrop (Windows).

3. If the image you want is saved within your project, choose it from the submenu. If not, click Choose and select the desired file from your computer.

4. Click Open.

Next time you enter FS/C mode, your background image is displayed.

FS/C with background image

Removing a Background Image

To remove the background image for a project, go to View—>Composition Backdrop—>No Backdrop (Mac) or View—>Full Screen Backdrop—>No Backdrop (Windows).

Viewing the Inspector from Full Screen/Composition Mode

If you really need to take a peek at your Inspector—maybe to review the synopsis, or to change a Label or Status value—there’s no need to leave FS/C mode.

Simply click the Inspector button in the control strip.

inspector button

Mac users will see a modified version of the Inspector. Use the upper drop-down menu to choose which section of the Inspector you want to view.

Inspector in FS/C


inspector in FS/C mode


Switching Documents in Full Screen/Composition Mode

One of my favorite features—especially when I’m deep in revisions—is the ability to jump to another document without ever leaving FS/C mode and breaking your flow.

Just click the Go To button in the control strip to choose another document.

go to button in control panel

Exiting Full Screen/Composition Mode

When you're ready to exit Scrivener's den of zen, choose one of the following options.

  • Press the ESC key on your keyboard.
  • Pull up the control strip and click the Exit button at the far right.

Here's to distraction-free writing!

Want more? 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.

[Updated 12 October 2016]

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