Scrivener and Other Writing Tutorials, Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Scrivener Quick Start | Single Document and Scrivenings Mode

HOW THE EDITOR WORKS

Single Document Mode

Select a document from your Binder and then place your cursor inside the Editing area and begin to write.


If you select one file you will be in Single Document Mode and you will see the contents of the current document. 

If you select a folder you will automatically switch to Corkboard Mode and the Single Document Mode icon will switch to the Scrivenings Mode icon. If you don't want to be in Corkboard mode, simply select Scrivenings Mode and your sub-documents will be stacked one below the other in the Editor. 

How the Editing window works

  1. You should have set up your global text formatting in the Blog about setting up your workspace, but if you want a particular document to look different you can set the formatting using the format menu.
  2. Zoom in and out on your text using the Zoom function in the footer bar of the Editor.
  3. You can also keep track of the word and character count of whatever you have selected in the Binder. If you have several documents stacked in the Editor you will see their combined word count, if you only have one document selected you will see its word count and if you select a portion of your document the word count will change accordingly. 
  4. In Scrivener 3 the character count display is optional because not everyone uses it, but it is quite handy for those times when your text has to be restricted to a certain number of characters like on twitter or for subject headings and descriptions for video courses.

To toggle on your character count display in Scrivener 3

  1. Go to Scrivener > Preferences
  2. Open up the Editing tab. 
  3. Make sure you are in the Options tab.
  4. In the live counts region, if you place a check inside Characters you will see your character count in your footer-bar. 

To adjust the width of your text in your Editor in Scrivener 3

In previous versions of Scrivener the text automatically fills the space available in the editing area but Scrivener 3 uses a default fixed width of 700 points in the Editor, so if you expand your screen beyond a certain point the text will appear in a column in the center of the Editor. If you want your text to use up all the space available you can adjust this behaviour in the Appearance Menu


  1. Open the Scrivener Preferences menu.
  2. Choose the Appearance Tab.
  3. Select Main Editor 
  4. Set your preferred editor width.
  5. Or uncheck Use fixed width editor.

Setting basic word count targets

You can set basic word count targets on a document level directly from within the Editor:


  1. Select a document in the Binder.
  2. Click on the Target icon in the footer bar. (If you don’t see the Target icon it is probably because the document you have selected contains no text.)
  3. Enter what you want your target to be for the currently selected document. 
  4. A Scroll Bar appears now instead of the Target icon, showing you your progress towards your target.

Viewing your word count inside the Quick Search field

You will see the word count for your entire project at any time if you hover your cursor over the Quick Search field in the tool bar. Your word count for the entire project on the left, and words created in the current session on the right.

Typewriter Scrolling Tool

While working in the Editor you might find your focus constantly drifting to the bottom of your screen as you follow your cursor and you end up with a sore neck. You can set your cursor to always stay at eye level using Typewriter Scrolling mode.


  1. There is a tool for it that you can add to your toolbar.
  2. Or you can go to the main menu and choose View > Text Editing > Typewriter Scrolling

Stepping backwards and forwards through your documents

  1. You can step backwards or forwards through your documents using the arrows in the Editor title bar. 
  2. While stepping back and forth through your documents you will find that the highlight in the Binder no longer matches what is being displayed in the Editor. To locate the document that is currently displayed in the Editor, right click inside the title bar and choose Reveal in Binder.
  3. Your currently selected document will highlight in the Binder 

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