Scrivener and Other Writing Tutorials, Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Scrivener Basics | Page Layout View (Mac Only)

In traditional word processors the page layout view shows exactly what you will see when you print your document but in Scrivener whatever you have selected in the Binder will show up in the Editing window taking up all the space available if you are on previous versions of Scrivener, and in a central column in Scrivener 3. 


In Scrivener 3 you can customize the settings by going to Scrivener > Preferences > Appearance Tab > Main Editor > Options.


  1. By default your editor width will be set to 700 points. You can change it. . . 
  2. Or disable the fixed width editor altogether by unchecking Use fixed width editor
  3. And you can adjust your margins.

You can then zoom in and out on your content or scale your images back in the Editor, but that does not really demonstrate what it would look like on a page.

Switch to Page View in the Editor

In previous versions of Scrivener you can go to View > Page View > Show Page View

  1. In Scrivener 3 you can click on the View toolbar icon and select Show Page View
  2. Or go to View > Text Editing > Show Page View. The image below says Hide Page View because I already have Show Page View activated. This is also where you can choose to have two pages across.

Now that's nice, but you don't know what size your paper is so we still have to set that up:

How to set up your page size

Go to File > Page Setup. This is your Mac page set up dialogue box and is the same one you get if you are setting up a page in Microsoft Word.


  1. You will get a long list of preset paper sizes with any sizes you have set up manually in a list below, and you can change your view in the Scrivener Editor by clicking on any of these options.
  2. If you hover your cursor over any of the options the tool tip will tell you the paper size for that setting as well as what the margins are set to. 
  3. You can set up your own custom sizes by selecting Manage Custom Sizes from the Paper Sizes drop down menu.
  1. I have already set up a couple of the most common book sizes.
  2. To add a custom preset, click on the + button which brings up a new preset. Double click on it to rename it. 
  3. Then enter a width and a height for your new preset. 
  4. You can leave the non-printable area on user defined. 
  5. Then set the margins the way you want them. I have chosen the default margin sizes recommended by Createspace. I can't tell you what size your margins should be because it all depends on how thick your book is and how generous you want to be with your margins.

Click on OK and the page layout box will appear again with your new preset included in the custom list.

Choose your new preset or any of the other presets from the dropdown list and click on OK and your page in the Scrivener Editor will resize to the setting you chose. 

Note that, unlike traditional word processors where the page layout looks exactly as it will look when you print your document, in Scrivener it is just one of the ways you can view your text so these virtual pages may not be 100% accurate. The final arrangement of the pages isn’t known until the text is compiled into one document for export.


It is still worth comparing your document in the paper sizes you might want to choose when you export. You can see that some things, like images may need to be adjusted.

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