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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!


Tech Tuesday: Scrivener 2.0 is coming!!

It’s coming, it’s coming! Scrivener 2.0 is officially—finally—almost here. I cannot wait for the release, currently set for an undetermined date in October. Here are a few of the new/updated features I’m looking forward to.

  • Improved integration between the Corkboard, Outliner, and Edit Scrivenings views.
  • Move index cards totally freeform around the Corkboard.
  • Print index cards!
  • For those used to Page Layout view in Word or similar software, Scrivener 2.0 now boasts its own version. Great for visualizing your writing by pages instead of just word count.
  • Snapshots will now show up in the Inspector, and best of all, will include a compare feature. I’ve been waiting for this.
  • The full screen function was updated with several features, including the ability to put in your own background photo instead of just solid colors. I’m envisioning some leaves or an ocean view in my future…
  • Organize documents into collections in the Binder. For example by POV, status, or whatever label you want.
  • Make revisions with a different text color to help you keep your edits straight.
  • Copy a document as an HTML file for easy blog posting. This will be super handy for me since I now use Scrivener to write and archive all of my blog posts.
  • Scrivener will now support exporting to EPUB format for use on Sony Reader, iBooks, etc. Super Brownie points for this one!

That’s a brief taste of what’s to come with 2.0. The best part? The upgrade is only $25, and new users get the wonder that is Scrivener for only $45. I would gladly pay double that or more. And, no, I’m not an affiliate. I don’t make any money if you click on the link from here.

Scrivener has changed the way I write—and organize my writing—for the better. I’ll never go back to a plain old word processor again. I’d rather write longhand. :-p

Go to the Literature and Latte blog for more details on the upcoming release.

Write on!

Looking for 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: Advanced Highlighter Features in Scrivener

You probably know that you can highlight text in Scrivener using your choice of colors. Big deal, right? Any decent word processor offers that. But did you know that you can also search by color, and rename the colors to something more meaningful for how you use them?

If not, then read on.

Just in case you don't know already, here's how to highlight text in Scrivener with one of the standard highlighter colors (or one of your own choosing).

  1. Select the text you want to highlight.
  2. Go to Format–>Highlight, and then choose the color from the submenu.

Now on to the really cool stuff. I know several people who mark up their paper drafts with highlighters. Why? One does it for items such as dialogue, emotion, conflict, and setting. Another marks each character's dialogue so he can track it through the whole MS and make sure it's consistent. Still another uses it to mark areas that need research or revision (much like we did with annotations).

You are only limited by your imagination here. Once you've marked up your draft, you can use the Find Highlight function to search for all highlighted text, or one color.

  1. Go to Edit–>Find–>Find By Formatting.
  2. In the Find drop-down menu, select Highlighted Text.
  3. To search for only one color, check the box next to Limit Search To Color, then click the color box to choose the desired color.
  4. Click Next (or Previous if you want to go backwards).
  5. Scrivener will take you to the next instance of the chosen color(s) in your MS.
  6. You can edit or read the text and then click Next again to move to the next instance, without closing the Highlights Finder dialog box.

Image of Formatting Finder window
If you'd like the change the color names to something more meaningful, you can do that too (currently Mac only).

  1. Go to Format–>Highlight–>Show Colors.
  2. Select the color label (double click) and type your own label.
  3. The new labels will show up in the Highlight submenu of the Format menu.

I hope you found this as cool as I did. 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 highlighting!
[updated 7/31/14]

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Tech Tuesday: Saving Layouts in Scrivener

You already know you can create project templates in Scrivener, but did you know you can also save multiple layout settings? Honestly, mine are kind of boring. I pretty much stick to one layout and toggle between that and full screen mode. However, after Keith and David put out a call for user layouts recently, I realized that there are as many layout preferences as there are Scrivener users.

Here's how to set up and save yours.

  1. Set up your screen in the layout you want to save. This includes the binder, editor, outliner, corkboard, and inspector visibility, as well as the size of each.
  2. From the View menu, choose Layout, Show Layouts (or Shift+Cmd+) ).
  3. Click the + button at the bottom left of the dialog window.
  4. Give your layout a title and description, and check all of the settings you want to save.
  5. Click Save.

Now, if you mess around with your screen layout and want to get back to your preferred layout quickly…

  1. From the View menu, choose Layout, Show Layouts.
  2. Select the layout you want in the list on the left, and choose Set.

To delete a layout:

  1. From the View menu, choose Layout, Show Layouts.
  2. Select the layout from the list on the left, and click the – button.

You can export layouts to share.

  1. From the View menu, choose Layout, Show Layouts.
  2. Select the layout to export from the list on the left.
  3. Click on the Manage… dropdown arrow.
  4. Choose Export Selected Layout, and save it as desired.

You can also import layouts from your friends.

  1. From the View menu, choose Layout, Show Layouts.
  2. Click on the Manage… dropdown arrow.
  3. Choose Import Layout, select the desired layout file, and click Open.
  4. The imported layout will now be visible in the list on the left.

The best part is, these layouts are now available for all of your Scrivener projects. For more information about Layouts, see the Scrivener Help under Windows & Panels, The Layouts Panel. Or check out the Scrivener Online Support page.

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.

Write on!

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