What’s New With Scrivener 3?

Merry Christmas, SE readers! Today, I share the gift of good Scrivener news, just in time for the holidays – as Joan has listed the software as a good writer gift. It’s been well known for a while that Literature & Latte, makers of Scrivener, that newer versions of the software were in the works. Let’s take a look at what’s coming – or has arrived already.

New Versions for Mac and Windows

First, Scrivener 3 is the name of the new version and that will be consistent for both Mac and Windows versions. Earlier Mac versions of Scrivener were 1 & 2 while Windows version 1 was released several years later. Literature & Latte is simply standardizing their version scheme to be consistent so don’t think a Windows version is already out there.

The Mac version is now available and existing users can purchase the upgrade for a discount. More on using the new version toward the end of the post. Check Literature & Latte for updates but existing users will be able to purchase the upgrades for $25 (link below).

The Windows upgrade version is not yet available but will also have a discount for existing users. New user, until the new Windows version is released, can purchase the current version and then be eligible for a free upgrade (they don’t want to hurt sales to new Windows users, so…).

New Features in Scrivener

Now, let’s get into the new features of Scrivener 3 and I’ll list some of my thoughts on these. Please note, I don’t have a new version so I have no screenshots to offer.

According to Literature and Latte’s site, there are quite a few changes and additions to features in Scrivener, many of which has me licking my chops (actually, I’m a little jealous of the Mac users):

Please note, many of these points can be found on the Scrivener 3 page to which I acknowledge Literature & Latte as the source – however I’ve posted those parts from the source in bolded italics & in qotation marks to set them apart from my comments. Just click this link to view the original source-page.

MAC-Specific Features

For Mac users:

There are 2 main additions that are relevant:

  1. “Extensive Touch Bar support has been added”
  2. “Literature and Latte has modernized the codebase for 64-bit Mac editions so it’s faster, more stable and forward-looking for future expected developments in Mac”

Looking for an added bonus? Here’s a good resource (thanks for the link, Staci!) for learning the new version geared just for Mac users from Gwen Hernandez who authored Scrivener for Dummies!

Main Features of Interest

General Features

  • “The interface has been overhauled and modernized.” Based on the screenshots I’ve seen of the Mac version it’s more in-line with  what you would expect from current apps.
  • “Compile has been redesigned and is now not only much easier to use but also more flexible.”  Compiling has always been a bit tricky for some users so L&L appears to have simplified the features.
  • “The text system now has a full styles system (which is even more powerful when used with the new Compile).” This is very important since styles were less powerful (Scrivener has always been intended more for content development rather than final output) but now allow for greater ease of use and, from the sound of it, improved e-book formatting output.
  • “View index cards on coloured threads based on label colour (great for tracking different storylines or anything else).” This really gets my attention because visually tracking (much like in MS Project) makes it easier to develop and adjust a manuscript.
  • “Epub 3 and improved Kindle export have been added.” I probably should have included this one with the compile item above, but it bares some attention. The implication of improved export to epub and mobi file formats would be a big time saver if these are significantly consistent with publishing standards. However, if you are like me and like to read a draft copy from a reader for final editing, improvements here are also worth the upgrade.

Additional General Features

  • “Enhanced outlining.” For those big on outlining, this is a big selling-point for upgrading when possible.
  • “Corkboard and outliner filtering.” Essentially sorting these out helps manage the project even further – especially if it contains more than one book when developing a series.
  • “Refer to up to four documents in the main window using the new “Copyholders” features.” This is very helpful when you need to reference previous details easily. I forget what I wrote about some details and I need the reference – I’m sure that’s very common!
  • “Quickly find any document in your project using the new Quick Search tool.” Ditto the thoughts from above – I still get lost in my more extensive projects!
  • “Use “Dialogue Focus” to pick out all the dialogue in your text.” Wow! Big help to see a lot of interesting points about dialogue. Overall, there seems to be some added features to assist in editing.

Project Tracking & Inspector (Metadata)

Project Tracking

  • “Keep track of how much you write each day using Writing Statistics. See draft and session progress bars in the toolbar.” These are actually separate points that L&L lists but they go hand-in-hand. The integration of tracking into the toolbar improves on the former tracking which makes us all smile – especially when it comes to those participating in NaNoWriMo or any of the associated boot-camps.


  • “Improved Custom Metadata allows you to add checkboxes, dates and list boxes to the Inspector and outliner.” These are great additions for those of us who keep track of the manuscript through metadata and use the Inspector heavily. I’m a fan already!
  • “The powerful new Bookmarks feature replaces Project Notes, References and Favorites, and allows you to view oft-needed documents right in the Inspector.” Again, this added feature raised my expectations. I’m using Project Notes, References and Favorites more than ever with my new projects so I’m excited to see how the functions are improved.

More Technical Features

  • “Export rich text to MultiMarkdown or Pandoc.”
  • “Broadened support for technical formats via Markdown output and custom post-processing.”

These are more technical in nature, especially for those who write documents for webpages. But these are big improvements and no small matter for Scrivener 3. I want to improve my content output to blog posts as I move forward and this seems like a good time to make a shift in usage.

When to Upgrade

As with any software there are always questions about upgrading. Do you need it? Will it help you some how? Should I upgrade now or wait?

Based on what I’ve seen, there’s no question you shouldn’t plan to upgrade to Scrivener 3. There are just too many improvements not to consider it. Also, there will be the question of how long L&L continues to support older versions and I doubt there will be any further updates or bug fixes as they will focus more on their new product.

However, while the Windows version is months away, I’m taking my usual cautious approach to new versions of software. I tend to prefer letting the bugs get fixed first so I don’t have any problems – especially with my publishing schedule for 2018.

Publishing schedule will drive a lot of authors regarding upgrading to Scrivener 3. I would also prefer not to upgrade in the middle of one or more big projects. There are just too many new things to learn about the software and that’s a big distraction to completing a project. Instead, I suggest you wait until the time best fits your schedule to upgrade so that you have neither a problem with the software nor find yourself frustrated with learning the finer points of new features.

However, I am excited about the Scrivener 3 version and all it’s new features. Thanks for reading today. I hope you’ve found the post helpful. I’ll follow-up as soon as I can about the new changes and what they mean. Please share your thoughts and impressions in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

P. H. Solomon

18 thoughts on “What’s New With Scrivener 3?

  1. Thanks for this informative summary of the aspects of the new Scrivener, Paul. I’m like Staci in how I use the program, and I would definitely miss the note cards at the side of my current scene. It gives me something to think about … upgrade or not to upgrade. The main bonus for me, I think, would be the easier compiling. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have the new version. I haven’t compiled yet, and I’m looking forward to playing with that feature because it didn’t always go smoothly for me with the old version. I would call myself a competent user, but not a power user. There are features I don’t now, and never did, understand and use. But I used a lot of the features and customized the app to suit my needs. I have to admit, I’m struggling a little to get the software to look the way I want, there’s still one feature I’d like that they don’t have (automatic renumbering of files and folders when adding, subtracting, or reordering), and I hate that they got rid of project notes. Yes, I can view my outline in bookmarks in the inspector, but when I do that, I can’t view my specific notes on my index card for that scene. I really liked seeing both at the same time. I didn’t realize there was a special outlining feature; perhaps I should explore that.

    I am glad I got the update, but like anything else, I’m sure it’s a learning-curve process. Great introduction to the changes, P. H.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the informative post, P.H. Nice to have a summary of the new features. I’m a windows user, so I’ll have to wait a few months. Scrivener is the best investment I’ve made in regards to writing. Can’t imagine using anything else.

    For those on Facebook, there is a Scrivener Group where users can ask questions and get answers. I believe Gwen Hernandez is a part of the group. This is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/463927253627424/

    Liked by 2 people

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