Poking Around in Scrivener 3’s Inspector

Scrivener’s Inspector has always been one of my favorite features. I usually keep it open because I often use Document Notes when I’m working on an article or scene. In version three, Literature and Latte decided to make some design and functionality changes for the Inspector. They’ve streamlined it and made it less clunky.

Let’s take a tour of the new Inspector and look at some before and after images so my sloppy explanation is clearer. NOTE: To see the images larger, click on them.

Previously, the Inspector’s header in Scrivener 2 looked like this:

Scrivener 2


From left to right you have: notes, references, keywords, metadata, snapshots, footnotes and comments, and the padlock.

In Scrivener 3, the header’s icons have a cleaner minimalist look:

Scrivener 3


From left to right you have: notes, references is now bookmarks, metadata, snapshots, and comments and footnotes. Keyword and the padlock icons have been ditched.

The footer in Scrivener 3 is where you can now find Label and Status.

When you clicked on Notes in Scrivener 2, the Inspector was divided into three panes–Synopsis, General, and Document Notes:

In Scrivener 3, we see a few changes:

First, the center pane is gone. General has been folded into Metadata. Label and Status, as I showed above, are now located at the footer. And here’s the cool part: you can expand Synopsis. It’s no longer fixed. If you’re wordy, like me, simply go to the edge of the index card and drag down the border, or click on the arrow on the notes pane to close it, and you’ll have a larger space to write on the index card.

Click on the bookmark icon and the third pane in Scrivener 2 changes to Document References The top two panes remain the same (Synopsis and General). In this version, you can close the these top two panes to have more room in the third pane.

In Scrivener 3, References has had a name change: Bookmarks. Instead of three panes, you have two. In the top pane, you can drag documents or external files. In the bottom pane, you’ll see the selected item.

In Scrivener 2, Keywords had a dedicated icon in the Inspector. The third pane changes to accommodate keywords.

Whereas in Scrivener 3, Keywords and General Metadata and Custom Metadata are included.

Note the difference in Scrivener 2:

Snapshots in Scrivener 3 has had a tiny facelift. The major difference in Scrivener 3 is that it has the title of the document and the pane below is shaded. See the differences below:

Scrivener 2

Scrivener 3

Comments & Footnotes in Scrivener 3 has a small design change the plus sign to add comment in Scrivener 2 has been replaced with a comment icon and the +fn has been relaced with cf.

Scrivener 3

Scrivener 2

And there you have it! Overall the changes are not that dramatic. I was slightly thrown off with the location change for Status and Label, but I like that it remains static when the Inspector is open.

Adverb Honing with Scrivener 3’s Linguistic Focus

Hello, my name is Simply Scrivener and I use adverbs often that would make Stephen King cringe. Well, that’s a fib. I was trying to come up with a clever way to get your attention and introduce Scrivener 3’s Linguistic Focus.

I don’t agree with Stephen King’s opinion about adverbs. Like most things in life I believe they can be used in moderation. Some writers—mostly novice scribes—tend to sprinkle adverbs like fairy dust throughout their prose.

Sometimes when you’re in deep writing mode and your story has carried you into a different world you tend not to notice when you’ve been generous with adverb usage. And that’s why Linguistic Focus is such a great tool because with a click of your mouse, you can see all your adverbs stand out in the spotlight.

To use Linguistic Focus go to Edit->Writing Tools->Lingusitic Focus. A window will open that allows you to select what part of speech you want to standout. There’s also a slider that fades your unselected text.

Here’s some text from a chapter, highlighting the adverbs I used:

Linguistic focus will never replace a good copyeditor, but it will help you trim your usage of adverbs or any other part of speech. It’s a good tool to use when you’re at the beginning of your revisions.

*H/T to Alan McGrath for catching to two grammatical errors. THANK YOU!

Creating a Readable Outline with Scrivener 3’s Centered Outliner

If you stop by my other blog, you’ll see that I write a lot about the trials and tribulations of my work-in-progress. This has been a ten year project. There’s been much stumbling around, many revisions, revelations, and long periods of not working on it because of plain old ennui.

I’m happy to write that I’ve been consistenly working on the novel since July and I am making progress. If all goes well, I might finish it by the end of the year.

For this tutorial, I’ll be showing how to use the Centered Outliner, but also my process. Typically I am a plontser. A combination pantser and plotter. As I pointed out in a previous post, I use Alexandra Sokoloff’s structure for my WIP: three acts and broken down into eight sequences. Each sequence holds x number of scenes or chapters.

Once I have my structure set up in my binder, I typically create a document and give it a title and write a short blurb of what it’s about in the synopsis. I do this until the end of the sequence and then start writing.

For this exercise, I want to try to think more as an outliner and get down all the major details of each scene so I could easily flesh it out while I write the chapter. To achieve this I use the synopsis pane found in the Inspector.

If you’ve been using older versions of Scrivener, you already know that text in your synopsis will appear in either the Corkboard or the Outliner. In this new version of Scrivener, users have more room to write longer synopsis. I used a modified outline structure that was taught when I was in elementary school.

After I completed each of the synopses, this what my Centered Outline looked on the screen.

But what if I wanted to print it out? Simply go to File->Print Current Document. You’ll get this window:

Open the PDF in Preview and this is what it will look like when you print it out:

I like this new feature to the Outliner a lot. I don’t like printing out spread sheet because it never prints out in one cohesive and neat document. This way, I can write it out in my modified manner and comes out in a readable format that can be popped into a three-ring binder.


Playing with Layouts in Scrivener 3

I’ve been fiddling with several features and the one I’ve been having quite a bit of fun with is Layouts. Scrivener provides a number of layouts and I can see using many of these preset layouts as I work on my WIP.

Let’s take a tour of layouts and see what each one provides and the benefits to your workflow.

First, you can access Layouts via the menubar by going to Window->Layouts:

Or clicking on the icon in your toolbar. If it’s not there you can customize your toolbar by going to View->Customize Toolbar and dragging the icon to the toolbar.

As you can see you have a number of layouts provided and you can also customize your own layouts by going to Manage Layouts by accessing Layouts via the menubar option. Click on that and this is what you’ll get:

You can create your own layouts in the same manner as you did in previous versions of Scrivener (at least in Scrivener 2. I never used Scrivener 1). To learn how to create your own layouts see in the Custom Layouts post.

If you select the Default layout of Binder, Editor, and Open Inspector, this is what you get:

This is the layout I typically work in. Some people find it too busy, but I use many of the Inspector features and like to keep it open so that’s the main benefit for me.

The Three Pane (Outline) includes the Binder, The Outliner and the Editor. My WIP looks like this using this layout:

If you’re partial to outlining and seeing the flow of your plot this is a good layout to use. The benefit for me is to view the current status for each scene or chapter.

The concept of the Three Pane (Corkboard) is similar to the Three Pane (Outline) if you are a plotter and like using index cards. We’re getting in territory that’s more visual and one that I play around with often. I like moving the cards around to see if the story can be ordered differently. In a recent revision, I actually combined two scenes into one via moving the chapters and turning them into subchapters.

The Editor only layout has the Binder and Inspector hidden. I use this layout when I’m revising the scene. At this point, I don’t want any distractions.

The Corkboard Only layout I use mostly in freeform and with images to inspire me.

The Centered Outline layout is a new feature. Instead of working with the spreadsheet appearance this is like a conventional outline and synopsis. This new layout makes me want to flesh out my synopsis more to make my outline more complete.

Dual Navigation consists of the Binder, Editor, Outliner and Copyholder. This is ideal for the multitasking writer. On a large screen this would be phenomenal, but on a laptop it’s a bit cramped.

Of all these layouts, I’m intrigued by the Centered Outliner. In my next post, I’ll show you all how I’ve set it up so that it looks like a traditionally organized outline.


Favorite Features in Scrivener 3

I’ve been playing around with some of the new features in Scrivener 3 and found some lovely surprises that I know I’ll be using often especially when I get to the editing process of the WIP. Below is the breakdown of some of these new features.

Document/Project Bookmarks
You all know how much I love my research and to have it within reach when I write. References has has been renamed to Bookmarks. the concept is similar to Preferences where you can add internal and external links. However, instead of having the link and opening up in another editor, there’s a preview pane below. Here you can see a website, an image, a document. To select it, boookmarks, click on the ribbon icon in the Inspector. To add internal bookmarks, external bookmarks, or an external file bookmarks, click on the gearwheel and make your selection. You still have the option to double-click on the bookmark to have it open in its dedicated application, but the preview pane is a nice touch. Once you begin adding bookmarks, the icon on the toolbar turns red.


Label Colors in the Binder

I like my visuals and color code my scenes according to my character point of views so I can see it in the Binder. Previously, Scrivener allowed for colored icons and a full bar of color, but now you can add dots! To add these, simply go to View->Use Label Color In->Binder.

If you like it very colorful, you can select Full-Width in Binder:

Linguistic Focus

This new feature emitted an “oooh” from me when I first discovered it. It’s part of Scrivene’s new writing tools that allows you to focus on specific parts of speech. Let’s say you tend to use adverbs too extravagantly (see, what I did there?).  Click on the text, and go to Edit->Writing Tools->Linguistic Focus. A window will open with a menu wit the parts of speech. Select the one you want to highlight. Once selected, the rest of the copy will be faded (you can fade it even more with the use of the fade bar).

Emojis for File Icons

I can’t help myself, but I love changing my folders into pretty icons. Instead of fishing around the interwebs for icons, you can select them from Emojis & Symbols. To change a folder, select one you want change and go to Documents->Change Icon->Icon from Text. Click the smiley face emoji and choose your prefered image. Once selected, it will be automatically entered in the text box.


The Copyholder

Copyholder allows you to show the content of another document within the editor. Sort of like Split Screen, but not exactly. Meaning, the copyholder can only hold a single document  to view and doesn’t support Scrivenings, the Corkboard, or the Outliner. To activate Copyholder, select the other document you want to view, hold down Option, and drop the document into the editor’s header.  What you get is the Main Editor pane (Chapter 22)  with the Copyholder (Chapter 23) within that pane. Note the headers for each one. The Main Editor pane has the ruler showing and the Copyholder’s header isn’t aligned with the Main Editor’s header.

I tend to work on several documents at the same time. Split screen was ideal for when I was working on two documents, but sometimes I need to refer to at least four documents. With Copyholder,  I can work with four documents using the same method. In this case, split your screen, hold onto to Option and drop the selected document in either header.  It takes some practice to get it right, but once you mastered it you can you’ll be able to edit four documents at almost the same time.

That’s it for today. As I play around with more of the features, I’ll post more new favorites.


Scrivener 3

If you haven’t been following the latest Scrivener news, the new upgrade launched today.

As you can see above, the logo has been updated to one that’s minimalist and very elegant.The yin-yang is subtle and the use of the quotation marks is clever.

I will be making changes to the header of this blog and include Scrivener 3, and Scrivener iOs logos. I am still Simply Scrivener, but now a bit more expanded.

What’s in the future for this site? It’s been a long time since I posted a tutorial. The rationale was that once Scrivener 3 came along, I would start posting about the new features. But many users on the Literature and Latte forum and Facebook pages brought up the issue that many of them can’t upgrade to either Sierra or High Sierra. Would their versions of Scrivener be inoperable? Would new Scrivener users using older operating systems, which still allows 32-bit apps, be able to use the program? Thankfully, yes. Scrivener 2 will still be available for download from Literature and Latte for individuals with older operating systems.

To be fully transparent, the tutorials I offered on this site were mostly the features I used often and liked the best. You might have noticed that Compile was never covered and that’s because it was the one function in Scrivener I truly disliked. Scrivener 3’s Compile has been simplified and I hope when I actually print out my work it won’t be a formatting mess.

I will cover features in Scrivener 2 I rarely used (or didn’t like). I will post tutorials on the new features and cover more Scrivener iOS features.