Scrivener Basics

by RS on October 30, 2010

It’s been five days since I’ve downloaded the BETA Windows version of Scrivener and I am loving it! I’ve organized my HAND/EYE articles in such a neat order that I can’t imagine how I wrote and kept myself organized (I didn’t). Last night, I planned next week’s issue all in one afternoon, and I have the next four weeks in the works!

Today, I thought I would go over the basics. I’ll use as “The House of Sages” essay and an example of how to set it up. However, If you don’t have the Beta version, I suggest you take a visit to Literature & Latte and download the Beta version.

Once it’s installed and you open the program you’ll find this page: Open New Scrivener Project

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As you can see, there are a number of templates you can choose from. When I wrote the House of Sages, it was supposed to for a series of essays so it would fall under Non-fiction, but it’s not live yet, so let’s select “Blank” and name the template Essays. Once it’s named the “create” button becomes active and I’m on my way.

Now I have this screen:

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What you see on the left-hand side are the main elements of the Binder and these consist of the Draft, Research, and Trash. On the right is the Editor where you’ll be typing all your text. On top are the various icons and headers, which I’ll go into detail on another day, but if you’re computer literate, you can figure them out and play around with them. The blue circle with the I is called the Inspector and that’s where you going to find a lot of the fun stuff in the program (and it’s easy to use”).  In the center, is a box with three icons: text, corkboard, and outline modes. Click on those and you’ll see the switch.

So let’s just get into more detail about the binder. The section that says Draft will hold and list your different text files or essays. If you want to rename it, just right-click on it and rename. I renamed it as “Life on the Lower East Side.”  beneath it is an untitled document. If you already have a title for the essay your working on, again, rename it. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see in the Editor that it has the new title.

If the essay is already written, you can import it, but since this version of the Beta is still glitchy, your best bet is to copy and paste it. However, if you insist on importing (and it seems to be working now, since I just tried it). Go to File, hit import and it will open up a directory. of your files. One key thing to remember, change your text to RTF (It’s supposed to import .doc and .docx, unless that’s been fixed too) before you import it. Once that’s done, hit import and voila! You know have your very first text in Scrivener, and it looks like this:

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If you want to make edits, just treat it the same way as you would with Word. You can change the font, the type size and so forth. This current version doesn’t have line spacing, but it will be included in the next iteration.

Now you have this text, but you may want to do more research on the topic. In the research section, you can import Web pages, PDFs, and photos. So let’s add a folder that says LES Research. Highlight Research, and go to the big green icon with the plus sign, hit the arrow mark and hit “New Folder.” Once you have it, you can rename it. Let’s say, I want to import a Google Maps webpage. I go to file, hit import, and click Web Page. A box will open prompting you for the URL and you can give it a name. Like so:

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Once it loads, the page will look like this:

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Let’s say that I want to work from that web file and quote directly from it, but I don’t want to go back and forth between that file and my text. To the extreme right of the title, you see a pane splitter with a vertical and horizontal option. Go to your text, hit the horizontal icon, then go back to Research, click on your imported web page, and voila:

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You can resize the panes, scroll down and find the information you need, then go back up to your text and reference. Easy as pie. One thing to note, this is a Beta so SAVE often. Scrivener saves every two seconds on default, but it can’t hurt to save it again and have a backup.

That’s all for today. Wait!! What about the famous corkboard function? Patience friends, that’s for next week. Or just play around with it. If I can figure it out, so can you.

2 comments
Sharon
Sharon

Using Scrivener for Windows for NaNoWriMo. Fantastic, can't wait for fully working product

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