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Tech Tuesday: Clipping text to Scrivener 2.x

You probably know that you can import text documents and web pages into Scrivener, but what if you just want to copy a portion of the text. Or you’re browsing the file or site and don’t want to switch over to Scrivener to import?

Try Services. Once you’ve installed Scrivener and restarted it once, Services should be available to you from all compatible applications. (NOTE: If you don’t have Scrivener options under the Services menu, see the ** below.)

First, a couple of rules for clipping to Scrivener to work:

  • You must have at least one Scrivener project open.
  • You must have text selected in the current program (the one to clip from) before the Services will be available.

Add a Clipping to the Project

In this example, I chose to add a clipping (a reference-type file) from a Word document.

1. Make sure the Scrivener project you wish to add the clipping to is the active project in Scrivener.

2. Open the appropriate document in Word (or whatever program you desire).

3. Select the desired text to clip.

4. From the application menu (e.g. Word, Safari, TextEdit), choose Services, select Scrivener: Make New Clipping.

5. In the small pop-up window, type the name of the clipping as you want it to appear in the Binder. Click OK.

The clipping now appears at the bottom of your Binder in a new folder called Clippings.

At this point, you can leave the new file there, or move it to the desired folder. I use a Research or References folder.

Add a Clipping to the Active Text Document

Another handy option is to append selected text right into the file currently active in the Scrivener editor. In this example, I appended a piece from a website. The process is similar to making a clipping above with a few minor changes.

1. Make sure the Scrivener project and file to which you wish to append the clipping are active in Scrivener.

2. Open the appropriate file or web page to copy from (in this case, my blog in Safari).

3. Select the desired text to clip.

4. From the application menu (e.g. Word, Safari, TextEdit), choose Services. Select Scrivener: Append to Current Text.

5. In the small pop-up window, type the title of the clipping as you want it to appear in the file. (You can delete the header later.) Click OK.

The clipped text appears at the bottom of the active document, regardless of where the cursor was within the Editor pane.

Append to Current Notes

This is another option in Services. It works the same as above, but instead it adds the clipped text to the Document Notes for the active document in Scrivener.

Clipping Unformatted Text

If you want the clipped text to be unformatted, choose the unformatted options instead (see below to add them to your list).


Can’t find any or some of the Scrivener options in the Services menu? Try this…

1. Click the Apple button on the menu bar. Choose System Preferences…

2. Choose Keyboard (obvious, right?). 😉 Click the button for Keyboard Shortcuts.

3. In the left-hand column, choose Services.

4. In the right-hand column, scroll down until you see the Text header. Expand if necessary and scroll down until you see the Scrivener options in the list.

5. Check the box next to each service you want to have available.

6. Close System Preferences.

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: Snapshots in Scrivener 2.x

Planning to edit a file, but don’t want to lose your current version? Try Snapshots. The Snapshots feature has been upgraded in Scrivener 2.x and is now infinitely more useful. Let’s take a look.

Create a Snapshot of Your Current File

Use these steps when your cursor is in the editor pane of the file you want (the file is highlighted in gray in the Binder instead of blue).

  1. From the Documents menu, choose Snapshots, Take Snapshot. (Or, my preference, use the shortcut cmd+5).
  2. Alternatively, you can click the Snapshots button (which looks like a camera) at the bottom of the Inspector pane, and click the + button to take a Snapshot.
  3. Note that the Snapshots button now has an asterisk in it. This tells you that the document has one or more snapshots associated with it. Another snapshots “tell” is the folded right corner of the document icon in the Binder.

Create a Snapshot of One or More Files by Selecting in the Binder

If you want to take a snapshot of a file you’re not yet editing, or of multiple files, use this method.

  1. Select the file(s) in the Binder. (Use shift+click for continuous selection, or cmd+click for non-contiguous.)
  2. From the Documents menu, choose Snapshots, Take Snapshots of Selected Documents (cmd+5 works here too).

Adding a Title to Your Snapshots

Snapshots are tracked by the date and time they were saved, but you can also give them a title. To save a Snapshot with a title from the very beginning, use one of the two methods above, but choose Take Titled Snapshots of Selected Documents (or shift+cmd+5). To add a title after the fact…

  1. In the Inspector pane, double-click in the Title box for the Snapshot you want to name.
  2. Enter a title.

Great, so you have a snapshot. Now what? Now you can go on your merry way, editing without fear of losing your original words. But let's say you think your earlier version might have a better opening paragraph and you want to go back and look. One of the great new features in 2.x is the ability to easily compare versions of a document.

Compare view in the Snapshots pane

Compare a Snapshot with the Current Version

  1. In the Binder, select the file you want to compare.
  2. In the Inspector, click on the Snapshots button.
  3. Choose the snapshot you’d like to compare to, and click the Compare button.
  4. Added text will be underlined in blue. Deleted text will be crossed out and red.
  5. To adjust the level of granularity, click the down arrow next to the Compare button. I suggest leaving all three checked unless all you've done is added and subtracted whole paragraphs. Play with it, but it can be confusing at paragraph level if you made a lot of small changes.
  6. Use the right and left arrow buttons to move among the flagged changes. Or just scroll in the pane.
  7. If you decide that you like the entire Snapshot better than the current version, you can easily reinstate the snapshot by clicking the Roll Back button. You will be prompted to take a snapshot of the current version before you roll back, just in case you have regrets.
  8. When you're done looking at snapshots, you can click the Original button to view the selected snapshot in the Snapshots pane without highlighted changes. (This is the default view when you first open the Snapshots pane.)

Did you notice something annoying about comparing the two versions? The Snapshots pane is kind of small, isn’t it? No problem. You can also compare versions using Split Screen.

Compare Using Split Screen Mode

  1. Click the Toggle Split button at the top right corner of the Editor pane.
  2. To see the snapshot without red/blue edits, drag the snapshot you want to view from the list in the Snapshots pane to the header of the split window you want to view it in.
  3. If you want the edits to show in the the text editor, hold down the Option key while dragging the desired snapshot to the editor pane. (Thanks to MM for sharing this capability!)

The snapshot is read-only and can’t be edited. However, you can copy and paste from the snapshot in the editor pane to your current file.

Comparing versions in Split Screen mode

Delete Snapshots

Got some old versions you know you don't want? Delete them. Here's how.

  1. In the Snapshots pane, select the version you want to delete.
  2. Click the – (minus) button in the top right corner of the pane.
  3. A warning dialog box will appear. If you're sure you want to delete it, click OK.

So, that's a quick snapshot of Snapshots. 😉 For another method for keeping old versions of your files, see Snapshots and Unused Scenes (written for 1.x). For more help, check out the insanely thorough Scrivener manual under the Help menu, or try Scrivener's online help.

Write on!

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: Project Targets in Scrivener 2.x

arrow in target bullseye

Want to know how many words you added to (or deleted from) your manuscript today? Need to see how close you are to your total word count goal? My favorite way to do this in Scrivener is via Project Targets.

The Project Targets feature lets you set an overall project target (of words, characters, or pages [Mac only]), as well as a target for your writing sessions.

You can also set a target for an individual document within your project. This is great if you're shooting for a minimum word count for a scene, or when you have a desired word count for a blog post or article. See the Document Targets section at the end for more.

View Project Targets

To open the Project Targets window, go to Project—>Show Project Targets (Mac) or  Project—>Project Targets (Windows).

You'll see two types of targets: Draft (or Manuscript or something else depending on which template you chose or if you've renamed that folder) and Session.

Setting targets (Mac)

Setting targets (Mac)

Setting targets (Windows)

Setting targets (Windows)

Draft Target:

  • Lets you set a goal for the entire manuscript.
  • Only counts text from items stored within the Draft folder.
  • By default, it only counts text from items that are selected to be included in Compile, either in the Inspector's General (General Meta-Data in Windows) section, or in the Contents pane of the Compile window. Windows users can deselect the “Documents included in compile only” checkbox to count all text in the Draft folder. Mac users can make the change under the Options button (see the Project Target Options section below).

Session Target:

  • Lets you set a goal for your current writing session, whether it be one hour, or the whole day.
  • Provides a net word count, so if you delete more words than you add, you'll get a negative result. This might be desirable, especially if you're trying to reduce your total word count during revisions (Mac users can change this behavior in the Options section).
  • Count resets at midnight or when you close the project (Mac users can change this behavior in the Options section) .

Setting Your Targets

  1. Under the Draft Target progress bar, click in the number box after the word “of” to enter a target for the entire manuscript.
  2. To change from words to characters or pages (Mac only), click the double arrow button and select your preference.
  3. Follow the same steps to set a session target in the text box below the Session Target progress bar.

The progress bar fills and changes color (in graduated shades from red to green) as you add words.

Making progress (Mac)

Making progress (Mac)

Making progress (Windows)

Making progress (Windows)

Project Target Options (Mac only for now)

You can change which documents count toward your progress and how you’re notified by clicking on the Options button while in the Project Target window.

project target options window

Draft Target section

Applies to your entire manuscript.

– The first option will only count words written in documents that are set to be included in compile (either in the Inspector's General section [called General Meta-Data in Windows], or in the Contents pane of the Compile window).

– The second option will only count documents selected to compile in your Compile Manuscript settings (chosen in the Contents pane of the Compile window during your last compile). This means that even if a document is selected for compile, if you've applied a filter or some other means to narrow down what gets compiled, this box will only include the final (smaller) list.

(I recommend leaving both of these unchecked so you don't have to worry about counts changing if you compile a portion of a manuscript or an outline.)

– The Deadline option allows you to input the date that you need to reach your goal.

Session Target Section

These options apply only to the current writing session.

– The reset drop-down menu lets you choose if/when Scrivener will reset your session count. If you tend to work late, or don't take note of your progress until the next day, I recommend choosing to Never Automatically Reset Session Counts.

– The first checkbox in this section lets you count words written anywhere in the project, even outside of your Draft folder, even those not checked to Include in Compile. That means character sheets, notes, etc… But this only applies to the Session count, not the progress toward the Draft goal.

  – Allow negatives lets you have a net word count below zero. So, if you write 100 words and delete 200 words, your session word count would be −100. If you uncheck the box, your word count won't dip below zero no matter what, but your net count may be inaccurate if you delete a lot of text.

  – Automatically calculate from draft deadline lets you choose a deadline and let Scrivener determine how much you need to write each day to meet it. For this to work, you must have a date entered in the Deadline field of the Draft Target section above.

– Use the day of the week buttons to select those days that you intend to work. Scrivener will adjust the target session count accordingly.

Show Target Notifications

If you select this option, a small pop-up will appear when you reach your target (or fall back below it when deleting text).

Document Targets

In addition to project and session targets, Scrivener also lets you set targets for each specific document and displays your progress in the status bar at the bottom of the Editor.

  1. To start, select the document for which you want to set a target.
  2. Click the circular target icon at the right of the status bar at the bottom of the document (see image).
  3. set doc targetsEnter the target count and select the type of target (words or characters).
  4. If desired, choose to use notifications.
  5. Click OK.
    The word count/target and a colored progress bar are now visible in the status bar.DocTargetProgress

Enjoy shooting for those targets. May you have many words to track! For more on targets, check out this 6/30/2016 post on Tracking Progress at Writer Unboxed.

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.

[Updated 11 June 2015]

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Bonus Wednesday: From Scrivener to Your Nook

I’ve had a few questions about how to save a Scrivener file to view on a Nook (for iBooks/iPad, see link at bottom). Good news: the process—known as side-loading—is pretty simple.

Export Manuscript from Scrivener

  1. To start, compile your manuscript (see the Compile post for more info).
    • I recommend the Novel (Standard Manuscript Format) format, which you may then modify as desired.
    • In the Compile As drop-down box, choose ePub e-book (.epub). [If you’re exporting for Kindle, choose the Kindle e-book (.mobi) option instead.]
  2. Click Export and choose the location where you want to save your file.

Copy the EPUB File to Your Nook

The instructions below are for a Mac, but the process is basically the same in Windows using My Computer.

  1. Plug your Nook into the computer via the USB cable.
  2. Open Finder. Your Nook should show up in the Devices column on the left.
  3. If it’s not already highlighted, select Nook in the Devices column to display the Nook’s folders.
  4. To make it easy, open a second Finder window and locate your EPUB file.
  5. Now drag the EPUB file to the My Documents folder on your Nook. Alternatively, you could copy and paste instead of dragging.

Drag Scrivener file on right to Nook's My Documents folder on left

Reading the EPUB File on Your Nook

  1. Eject your Nook by clicking the Eject button (down arrow with bar) next to Nook in the Devices column.
  2. Tap the ⋂ button twice to activate your menu screen.
  3. Select My Library. If the My Documents screen is not active, select View My Documents from the list.
  4. If your book is not in the list, select Check for new content.
  5. Your file should appear in the My Documents list, ready for reading.

A quick note on annotations and bookmarks. As you’re reading your manuscript, you may want to make notes using the annotations feature (Highlights and Notes, Add Highlight or Note). I recommend that you also bookmark each page on which you make a note because the Nook’s Go To feature works on bookmarks, but not annotations.

For info on transferring your project to iBooks, check out Ara Grigorian's post.

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 and happy reading!

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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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Tech Tuesday: Project templates revisited for Scrivener 2.x

A Scrivener project template is a framework on which to base a new project. Whether you’re penning a book, article, screenplay, or research paper, there's a template for you. (For more on how to choose the best template for your project, check out Choosing a Scrivener Project Template.)

For example, the Novel template comes prepopulated with certain folders, such as Manuscript, Characters, Places, Research, and Templates (the latter is for document templates, which are similar but are for documents within a project). The Novel template also includes Compile settings that are tweaked to export your file in standard novel format. For a minimalist approach, start with the Blank template.

Here's how to use project templates, and create your own.

Creating a New Project from a Built-in Template

  1. Click on the File menu, choose New Project.
  2. Click on the appropriate category icon along the left side, and choose a template from the list.
  3. Click Choose.
  4. Give the new project a name and location, and click Create.

Template window

Project based on the built-in Novel template

Even if an existing template doesn’t have quite the set up you’re looking for, chances are it’s a good place to start. For example, I based my book project on the Novel template, then added folders for the four parts of my novel, changed the Label and Status fields, added an Unused Scenes folder, a saved search, and more.

Creating a Custom Template Based on Your Project

Once you have your project put together the way you like to work, you can create your own template for future projects. If you make changes down the road, just save the improved version with the same name to replace the old version.

  1. Unless you’re using a blank project to create your template, click on File, Save As and give the project a new name to distinguish it from your working project. You’ll be able to delete this once you’ve created your new template, so you may want to save it to the Desktop for easy access.
  2. Strip out all of the manuscript-specific items (unless you want those scenes in all of your future work ;-)).
    NOTE: Not only can you save the structure and layout, you can even incorporate reference files (like a story structure cheat sheet or a reminder of how to write a synopsis) into your template. In fact, anything in the file when you save it as a template will remain, so be sure to strip it of anything you don’t want (including project-specific settings, keywords, and meta-data values) before saving.
  3. Click on the File menu, choose Save As Template.
  4. Enter a name.
  5. Choose a category (where it will be listed in the Template window).
  6. Enter a description, if desired.
  7. Choose an icon, if desired.
  8. Click OK.

Saving a stripped out project as a template

Filling in the information for a custom template

Creating a New Project Based on a Custom Template

Follow the instructions from Create a New Project from a Built-in Template above, but choose the custom template you created.

Template Options

Notice that the Options button in the Project Templates (Mac)/New Project (Windows) window provides four choices.

  1. Set Selected Template as Default: Will highlight that template in the Template window every time you open it.
  2. Import Template: Allows you to import a template you’ve downloaded from the web or a friend, or transfer templates from another computer.
  3. Export Template: Allows you to export a template to be moved to another computer, or to share with others.
  4. Delete Selected Template: Lets you delete a template you no longer want (custom templates only).

Got any questions? Ask away.

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.

[Updated 1/27/17]

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Not really Tech Tuesday: Playing with Scrivener 2.0

If you’ve been off-planet, or passing time in a cave in the Hindu Kush, you might not know that a sneak preview of Scrivener 2.0 was released today. This post will not be about all of the awesome, wonderful features that have been added. (I already mentioned a few in my anticipatory post last month.) I’ll get to that in a couple of weeks, or maybe after November—i.e. NaNo—ends.

I’m just gloating because I downloaded my copy (which I’m using to write this blog), and it’s beautiful. All the familiar parts are still there, but there are shiny new buttons and toys to play with and I can’t wait to uncover all of its secrets.

For now, if you want to know more, check out Keith’s great videos introducing the new features, or check out his blog post about them.

And for my friends still stuck with PCs, the Windows beta version also came out today. Apparently, it’s a bit rough (you know, beta version), but a nice preview of what’s to come.

Time to go celebrate with Reese's peanut butter cups. Write on!