How Scrivener files and folders work
Whether you like to draft an outline and grow it into a book or screenplay or write down everything that pops into your head and then rearrange it into a coherent story, you keep everything you want to export as your finished product in one main folder called the Manuscript/Draft/Screenplay Folder and everything that is not part of your finished product, like research and character sketches, on the outside of it.
Then, when you go to export your manuscript, Scrivener combines all of your individual folders from within the Manuscript/Draft/Screenplay folder into one long document and converts it to the file format of your choice. PDF, .epub, .mobi, .doc etc.
For eBooks the Scrivener Novel Template also automatically generates a clickable table of contents based on your chapter headings and you can include an internal book cover and metadata before you export.
First I am going to go over a few basic pointers about how to manage your files and folders in the Binder. If you have been using computers for a long time you will be familiar with this so feel free to skip over these sections but please bear with me as I frequently come across new users who don’t know some or all of it.
Adding and naming folders and files
There are several ways to add folders or files to the binder. Open the Add icon in the toolbar and select New Text or New Folder from the dropdown menu.
Or select the + icon or the Folder icon from the footer bar of the Binder.
Or you can right click on a document in the Binder and choose Add > New Text or New Folder from the drop down menu.
Selecting folders and files
To select one file or folder in the Binder, just click on it.
Toggling folders and files open and shut
Irrespective of what you have selected, if you hold down the Command key and hit the 9 key all folders and files in the whole Binder will expand at the same time. To contract all files and folders hold down Command and hit the 0 (zero) key.
Arranging folders and files
To move a file or folder to a new location click and hold on it, then drag it to where you want it. A target preview will appear as you hover over other documents showing where it will land when you release it.
To stop the file or folder you are moving from landing inside another document you can hold down the Alt key while you move it.
Deleting folders and files
To place a document into the trash prior to deleting it completely drag it into the Trash Folder or right click and choose Move to Trash from the drop down menu.
You can still retrieve your document from the Trash folder by dragging it out again. To empty the trash, open the Main Menu > Project > Empty Trash. (In Scrivener 2 you used to be able to do this directly from the context menu by right clicking on the Trash Folder but this is no longer an option.)
Changing files to folders and vice versa
Documents in the Binder can contain text as well as other documents, so you can drag one on top of another to group them together. This is useful when you are deciding where to split scenes or if a scene grows into a whole chapter.
Adding icons from your hard drive