I was planning a different entry for today, but I see that most of my new readers and my faithful subscribers seem to want more posts that are informative and less about my perspective about the writing life and personal musings. Although Requiem for a Giant Flemish Rabbit was quite popular and it even inspired a subscriber/Facebook friend to adopt a three-month old bunny in memory of Mr. Cole. I admit when she wrote me about her new addition it felt great that my words had some influence (and yes, that was a bit of shameless promotion  to pique your curiosity if you haven’t read the post).

Today’s post has to do with Split Screen Mode. It’s a feature I use on an almost daily basis. Prior to making the discovery, I was going about it the old-fashioned way of resizing a window in another program and resizing Scrivener so I could view two different documents at the same time.

With Split Screen mode you can divide the Editor screen into two different panes. It’s easy and painless (no pun intended). Each pane works independently of each other. If you need to change settings on one pane, no need to worry that it will switch the settings in the other one. For example, let’s say that you’ve imported a document (NOTE: this only works with text documents, not PDFs or web pages—at least that’s what I noticed) and you discover the print is a tad too small to read, you can change the text scale in one pane and it doesn’t affect the second one. Split Screen mode also remembers the settings of each pane and you don’t have to fiddle with them the next time you use this option.

How do I use Split Screen? I write the email blast for HAND/EYE Magazine, and summarize four articles featured that week in the online issue. I have the letter open in one pane, and in the second one the article that I’m trying to summarize. I also use Split Screen when I’m writing and reviewing my research notes, or reviewing two different chapters to see how the transitions work, or incorporating notes from one version of a document into another.

To activate Split Screen, select a document in the binder, which will appear in the Editor. Click on the split toggle screen icon that’s next to the two up/down arrows to the right of the pane header. The pane with the blue header bar is the one that’s active and the inactive pane is a light gray. To open another document, click on the inactive pane to make it active, go to the binder and select the text you want to view. Just an FYI, if you have the Inspector open, the synopsis, the data section and the document notes will also correspond the active pane.

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Here’s a neat trick—say you want to work on one document, like that email blast I write. I tend to forget which is my active pane and I end up closing that document when I switch to view the next document. If you know that you’re working on a document, but just viewing others, you can lock that pane by clicking on the document icon in the pane header that’s on the left.  A drop menu will appear and at the bottom you’ll see “Lock in Place.” Once it’s locked, the pane header will turn a pink/salmon color.

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If you don’t like the horizontal panes and prefer vertical, hit Option and click on the split toggle button. You can also resize the panes by dragging the sizing handle that’s between the two panes (it’s a very light gray).

The beauty of Split Screen is that it’s not exclusive to text documents. You can view your corkboard, the outliner, or an image (you can see in the example below that the top pane is locked by the pinkish pane header.

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That’s a brief rundown of how I use Split Screen. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to get back to you. Or even better, and I strongly urge this, purchase Scrivener For Dummies by Gwen Hernandez. It’s a valuable reference book that you will use often. Guaranteed.