An Introduction to Scrivener for Windows 1.x

This is everything you need to know to get up and running with Scrivener 1.x for Windows in ten minutes. This training is provided by Literature & Latte, creators of Scrivener.

Transcript:  Hi, I’m Keith Blount, and I’m the developer of Scrivener. In this video, I’d like to show how easy it is to start using Scrivener. Whether you’re starting a new writing project or want to edit an existing one, Scrivener has a lot of powerful features but don’t let that daunt you; you only have to use what you need. It’s designed to work around you not the other way around.

So in this video, I’m going to show you the fundamentals of Scrivener, everything you need to get started using it in under 10 minutes. The features I’m going to show in this video are in fact the features I designed Scrivener for in the first place. Although we’ll be using the Windows version in this video, everything you see here applies to the Mac version too.

First, let’s fire up Scrivener and create a new project. You’ll see I’m presented with a window that allows me to choose from different project templates for novels, scripts, academic writing, and so on. I’m going to pick the most basic template, the blank one which will create a blank project- all other templates are based on this one by the way.

Okay so here we have Scrivener’s main window, you’re now ready to start writing in the main editor. On the left here we have the binder which is the source list showing all documents in the project. I can show or hide that using the binder button. The other main aspects of the interface are the inspector which I can show or hide by clicking on the blue disc here, and the ability to split the editor in two which I can do by clicking here, we’ll come back to those in a moment.

So I’ll type some text and format it as I want using the format bar or menus. Now one of the key ideas behind Scrivener is that it’s easier to manage writing a long text if you break it down into smaller chunks. It’s entirely up to you how large or small those chunks are though. Chapters, scenes, paragraphs, arguments, whatever.

As soon as you want to create a new chunk, we just click on the Add button and it appears beneath the selected documents in the binder, add a title and we’re ready to start typing there too.

Let’s take a quick look at the binder, note that there are three folders there by default although you can add more. The draft folder is the most important, that is where you put together your actual manuscript or text, and the thing inside that will be compiled into one long document for printing or exporting when the time comes. You can place pretty much anything you want to support your writing in the research folder, images, PDF files, notes, and so on. Anything in there and anything else that’s not contained inside the draft folder won’t be included in your final manuscript.

The trash folder is self-explanatory. That holds any deleted documents until you empty it. Of course, if you’re new to Scrivener but chances are that you have some work you’d like to import, that’s easy enough. I’ve got a Word document that I want to bring into my project, to do so I just go to file, import files, and select it. Alternatively, I could just drag it into the binder… here it is I want to break it down further though so I’m going to split it up. To do so, I just place my cursor where I want to split it and use documents, split at selection, or hit command K- control K on Windows.

I can navigate between the different documents in my project by selecting them in the binder like so, and I can drag them around to rearrange their order. I can also create folders anywhere I want until I’m happy with the structure.

If I want to make the rest of my screen disappear while I write, I can just click on full-screen mode. Once I’m finished, I hit escape to return to the main window again. The best-selling novelist is using Scrivener, you don’t use many more features than the ones I’ve just shown you. So that’s writing in Scrivener. Now let’s look at some of the structural tools.

Let’s open the inspector- note the index card at the top. Every document in your project has an index card associated with it. The index card is used to show the title and a synopsis of your document. Let’s enter a synopsis here. Now, look what happens when I click on the draft folder we switched to corkboard mode. And here you can see the index card, but it’s associated with the document I just had opened.

I can edit it, and I can use the cork board to rearrange my documents. See how it has moved in the binder. If I open that document again, you’ll see its index card reflects the edits I’ve made. The best way of understanding the relationship between documents and index cards is to imagine that each document has an index card clipped to it, and in corkboard mode, you see only the index card.

The corkboard shows two subdocuments of whatever folder is selected. So at the moment, I can see the contents of a draft folder, but if I click on my chapter folder I can now see what’s inside that. So the cork board allows you to get an overview of your documents by seeing only their titles and synopses, and it allows you to move them around by moving their associated index cards.

We can also create a new index card on the Corkboard which creates a new blank document. I’m going to use an index card to write a synopsis of what I intend to be in this scene which I’ll write later on. When I’m ready to return to the writing, I can open my new document and see from the index card in the inspector what I’d planned to write. But maybe you’re not partial to cork boards, that’s fine you don’t have to use it, if I click on my folder again I can switch to outliner mode instead.

The outliner works in exactly the same way as the cork board. It shows me just four titles and synopses of the subdocuments of a selected folder, and I can edit them, rearrange them, and create new documents and write synopses to remind me what they should be about when I come to write them.

You can also show other information in the outliner but we won’t worry about that here. The corkboard and outliner tools can, therefore, be used to restructure writing you’ve already done or to plan an outline writing you’ve yet to do. So you can plow ahead and hammer out your first draft without touching these tools and then use them for the editing process afterwards, or if you’re the sort of writer who prefers to map everything out in advance, you can use them right at the start of your project to create an outline then do all the writing afterwards, or you can do a bit of both of course.

You’ll notice with the control which allows you to switch between the corkboard and outliner has a third option, let’s look at that now. If you click back on this folder, we’ll be back in outliner mode. If we click on my third button, we switch to what we call ‘scrivener mode,’’ this allows you to view some or all of the documents in a folder as though they were all part of one long text.

This works on any folder with text files in it. This gives me a way of working on my manuscript as one long document, as individual chapters, or as pieces as large or small as I want. And that’s the fundamentals of Scrivener covered.

I’ll just show you two more things before we wrap it up though. First I mentioned a split view earlier, I can split the editor horizontally, or vertically, I can then view different parts of the same document or different documents entirely alongside one another.

I can also bring in research files such as images and PDF documents, and view them alongside my text as I write. Finally, when you finish writing your manuscript, you just go to file, compile, and compile the whole thing for exporting to another program or for printing.

You can also generate a PDF file. All of the text files that are inside the draft folder will be compiled into one long document. Compile is a very powerful feature allowing you to completely change the formatting of your exported document if you want, making it easy to generate your manuscript in different formats such as standard manuscript format, MLA format, ebooks, and so on, but I won’t worry about that here.

And that’s really it. There’s a lot more to Scrivener and we have a range of video tutorials on our website to talk you through various more advanced features when you’re ready. I hope this video has given you some idea of what Scrivener can do and how easy it is to use.

Thanks for watching!