Scrivener and Other Writing Tutorials, Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Scrivener Basics | Opening a New Project

If you don't see the Project Templates window as soon as you open Scrivener select File from your Main Menu and choose New Project from the drop down menu. 

NOTE On this website navigating to any of the Main Menu drop down options will be described like this: Main Menu > File > New Project.

  1. The Getting Started tab has links to the developer’s comprehensive tutorials on how to do everything. To get the best results out of Scrivener I would encourage you to go back and browse through all their linked tutorials but for now it is more information than you need to get started.
  2. The All tab holds a list of all the different writing templates 
  3. The tabs below that show the same templates separated into categories.

In Scrivener you can create a new project for each book, video course, blog etc. or put a whole series in one project.

You could add folders to each project for your website, marketing activities and submissions to agents or publishers for a particular project, or you could open a new project for all your marketing activities across all projects.

Templates do not force you in to a specific structure.

They are just guides with some helpful settings for laying out your work, and pre-configured settings for exporting your finished product. You can ignore them completely by choosing a Blank template or modify them to suit yourself. 

But it is important which template you choose.

Because they come pre-configured with the optimum arrangement of files and folders and the right kind of formatting for each type of writing. For instance your text will be formatted differently for book templates than it would be for screenplays and when you go to compile for export your document will be laid out differently.

Whether you are writing fiction, non-fiction or a screenplay, Scrivener's main features work the same way.

And Scrivener manages your content in the same way. You get the same menus and you keep your files and folders in the same sidebar. You will edit your work in the same area and have the same choices of view modes in which to view your document. You have all the same functions available in the Inspector menu and all Scrivener’s special features like split screens will work in exactly the same way. 

The purpose of this series of blog posts is to show you how Scrivener's features work no matter which template you use.

Whichever template you choose will come with a detailed explanation about how to use that particular template at the top of the Binder sidebar.

Once you have selected a template, click on Choose in the footer bar. For this demonstration I am going to choose the Novel template.

Naming and saving your project

  1. Once you have chosen a template the Save As dialogue box floats up. Give your project a name that will be easy to remember.
  2. Decide where you want to save it to on your computer. Scrivener will save your work every couple of seconds so you don’t have to worry about losing too much work if you have sudden loss of power, and it will automatically backup when closing. Here's a video on how Scrivener backs up and how to back your Scrivener projects up to Dropbox in the cloud.
  3. Click on Create in the footer bar.

If you open multiple projects at once they will open in tabs.

A new feature in Scrivener 3 is that if you have multiple projects open at the same time they will open in new tabs in the toolbar. If you want to separate them so that they each have a new window simply click and hold on the tab and drag it out to the side.

Finding your Scrivener project again.

The next time you launch Scrivener, the easiest way to find the project you are currently working on is to click on the Open Recent drop down menu in the footer bar of the welcome menu. 

  1. You can also access your recent projects by navigating to Main Menu > File > Recent Projects. 
  2. However, only your last 10 projects or so will show up. If you are on a Mac and you are looking for older projects click on Find All Projects in Spotlight instead. (Not available on Windows yet)

This will take you to a list of all the finished Scrivener projects in your finder.

NOTE: Scrivener will open up your project exactly where you left off the last time you had that project open.

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