I’ve been using Scrivener since early 2016. Back then, I had been unsatisfied with the regular “word files plus project folder” – setup for my writing projects. It just took to long to organize research, pictures or backmatter. Even with the help of bookmarks and Pinterest, it was still a pain to find stuff again that I knew I had already looked up and saved somewhere. So, I gave Scrivener a try and have not looked back since.
But, just as it is often the case with any given application, I don’t use the tool the full extent of its capabilities. There are always some special tricks, features and hidden functionalities I never needed or just don’t know about.
When I stumbled over SCBWI_Dakotas chapter’s webinar on Scrivener, I signed up, positive I’d learn something new. I wasn’t disappointed. (check out their chapter website here – there’re more webinars to come.)
1) Split Document with ⌘K
When importing an already full or partially written manuscript (e.g. from MSword) to Scrivener, I’ve always assumed I had to specially format the original file with parseable identifiers and import using these to get one text documents per chapter in Scrivener.
Turns out, there’s an easier way: Import the whole text. In the text, click where you want your new chapter to start. Press ⌘K and voilá! Scrivener divides the document into two at this point.
2) Colour code documents and folders in the binder
I had used labels in Scrivener before but these only always showed up as a smallish ribbon on the folder card or notecard when the corkboard view was active. But when I’m actually writing and not outlining anymore, I rarely use the corkboard view.
Turns out, there’s a way to show the label colour in the binder. In the menu go to the View tab. In the fifth section, you’ll find the submenu “Use label colour in….” Check binder here and say hello to a colourful binder!
3) Drag and drop matter from outside the application directly to Scrivener
It’s not that I’ve never used drag&drop across application before – I just wasn’t aware it would work with Scrivener, too and used the import function in the file menu.
Instead, it’s just as easy as you might imagine. Just plug any other document, URL or item directly to the place in the binder where you need it.
4) Compare snapshots of your documents
I already use snapshots. A lot! As in ten plus snapshots for certain scenes and I’m not even in the revision process. I just tend to rewrite often. It’s a stupid habit, I know, but well… *shrug*
Whenever I notice I’ve changed some phrase or sentence and want back the former version, I’d select the old snapshot and scroll until I’d find it.
Turns out, there’s a compare button. I’ve no idea why I ignored it so long without even trying it once. Now I know better.
5) Session and Manuscript targets
If only I had known this last November and keeping track of my progress during NaNoWriMo would have been a lot easier. There’s even a “allow negatives” checkbox.
Well, NaNoWriMo is done but I’ll make use of this feature anyway. Part of my goals for 2018 is to keep track of my progress in more detail – not only the time spent writing but the actual output, too. I believe I’ll get more done if I keep myself accountable. This is going to be easier now. Yay!
What else was new?
The webinar reminded me of the “composition mode.” I’ve used that before, too, but not as often as it would make sense. I’m planning on spending more time writing in this distraction-free mode.
Last but not least, I’ve learned there’s a new Scrivener version. I’ll have to check that out! Who knows what else I’m missing otherwise.
What about you? Do you (still) use MSWord or something else? Let me know!