Once you’ve created a project, the next step is to get familiar with Scrivener’s interface. In this tutorial, we’ll review the menu and tool bars, the Binder, Editor, and Inspector.
The menu bar runs across the top of the window. Each menu has its set of commands and sub-menus.
Below the Menu bar is the Toolbar. On top, dead center is the project name and directly below is a row of pretty and colorful icons. These default icons are the ones most commonly used. Hover your mouse pointer over an icon and a small yellow text box appears describing the icon’s function.
One of the many neat functions of Scrivener is that you can customize them. To change the Toolbar go to View->Customize Toolbar. A new window will open and you’ll be able to switchout the buttons by dragging them into the default toolbar, or directly to the tool bar. You can also turn on and off the text below the icons and make them smaller.
The Binder’s function is similar to the Finder or Windows Explorer. This is where all your folders and text documents are located in an easy-to-find manner. This area is solely for text documents. Beneath the Draft icon, you’ll create and file all your documents. I like to think of the Binder as an actual three-ring binder where I’ll have my dividers (folders) for each scene or chapter and the loose-leaf paper (text documents) neatly kept. And just like a three-ring binder, I can move and arrange my documents in any type of order.
Within the Binder is the Research folder where I can store more than text files. Here I can import website pages, PDFs, photos, and even .wav and MP4 files. I can create sub-folders for brainstorming, mind-mapping, characters, locations, and any specific topic that is relevant to my current project. Like the Draft section, I can move folders around and arrange them in any way I like. Finally, right below is the iconic rubbish bin where I can trash whatever I don’t find necessary.
Right clunk in the center is the area that is called the Editor. This is where you’ll be doing the majority of your writing. Like a word processor, the Editor has it’s own formatting toolbar. If you want a ruler as a guide, go to the menu bar and select Format-> Show Ruler. To hide it, follow the same steps, but this time the command will say Hide Ruler.
Within this area, you’ll discover that you can have different views: the Corkboard and index cards, Scrivnings (when multiple files are selected) and the Outliner.
To the right of the Editor is the Inspector. This section displays the nitty-gritty information of your work, also known as metadata. The Inspector displays the Synopsis, a section where you can type a brief summary of your scene, you can insert an image, or anything that describes the chapter or scene. The middle area called General allows to add or edit custom names for both the label and status. For example, for Label, if you’re writing a novel with multiple points of view, you might want to assign each chapter with a different POV and color code it, which will be reflected in the Binder, Corkboard, and Outliner. The last third portion of the Inspector, Doucument Notes, is another section where you can write notes, brainstorm, or paste notes from elsewhere.
Each of these sections can be customized. The next tutorial will focus in getting your workspace to accomodate the way you write.