Scrivener Basics (3) Compile!

My final week of Scrivener tutorials. Start here, then here, if you came here first and need a refresher or basic training.

Compile… This is in the Toolbar, but it’s special!

Compile develops your output but will look at metadata to do it. To not have to fiddle with the metadata (even though it’s handy as the third tab in the inspector synopsis pane), keep consistent throughout on how you put together chapters. Chapter headings as folders, scenes as documents within, etc.

When ready to send any part of your document outside of Scrivener, use Compile.

In there you will work from top, left, right top, centre, right bottom, then you are ready. It sounds more complicated than it is.

  1. Start with what kind of output you need. PDF, Word, or other in the ‘Compile for:’ dialogue box. There are many options I don’t understand, but if you do and you need it, it is there.
  2. Select a Format. I usually select Manuscript (Times), but you will play around and see what you need.
  3. On the right is a dialogue box at the top. The sample here says ‘Manuscript’ and underneath you have a list of all the chapters and scenes it will include. If you are sending one chapter to your writer’s group though, you can either deselect the items you don’t want included in your output, or select other options in the drop-down menu here. Notice: There is a column underneath that says ‘section type.’ This will dictate what you do next.
  4. Under Section Layouts, you need to do some thinking.
    1. If you only have chapters selected for output or only scenes, then in the middle here, you will scroll around until you get the kind of output you are hoping for.
    2. If you have chapter headings and scenes as I do here (or any combination of types), you need to click ‘Assign Section Layouts…’ at the bottom of this section.
    3. On the left will be a menu with all the types of sections you have ‘Section Types.’ Selection one, then scroll under ‘Choose layout for…’ to find an output you like. Do this for all section types and then OK.

5. The final step is determining if you want to add front and back matter. This will be your title page, table of contents, dedication, bibliography etc.

6. Hit Compile. This will take you to a place where you can save the output file, but also, underneath the file name list is a dialogue check box allowing you to specify if you want to open the compiled file right away to check it. It will suggest a program to open the file in based on your selections above. This is great to see what your output looks like and I play with this a lot to get what I want.

You can ignore highlighting and other document formatting when you compile. On the right, over the drop down menu for “Manuscript,’ you will see a gear. Select that and you have lots of options. Select the luggage tag, and you can add author name and project name. (You only have to do this once and it will affect your title page).

If you want to make a custom output, choose the + symbol at the bottom of the left-hand column. I’d suggest this at a later stage to can play with it, for example, I don’t like my scenes to be separated by a ‘#’ symbol, which is the default.

I know this is a lot. If you set up your document properly to start, the rest you can play with and learn as you go. Happy writing!

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