A #Scrivener Compiling Primer

Happy Monday to everyone! PH back in the house with some additional Scrivener tips, this week covering some compiling basics. This is a point at which you are ready to extract the manuscript from Scrivener and begin editing so it’s important to have useful results that you want when you compile. But getting everything can be a bit tricky if you haven’t compile a manuscript previously. With that in mind, here’s a quick primer to get you going, make sure to consult your version of Scrivener with the Compiler settings and check the instructions for more details. 

Compiling Conundrums

When I first began sending manuscript version of The Bow of Destiny to my editor, the manuscript needed compiling which I had never done for a book. I had compiled for a short story so that was rather easy. For a book there were a few more details required than I had previously experienced. There was some trial and error so here are a few things I learned along the way including some extra tips at the end.

Manuscript Expectations

I wasn’t concerned with the format of my manuscript since it was consistent. However, I did want chapters without titles and a header. My first attempt did not work as I expected. The folder names became chapter titles and labeled scenes appeared in the text. This is likely because I originally used a general template rather than one specific to a novel. But no biggie, I started poking around and found settings in the compiler to help me get the manuscript to the appearance I wanted.

Custom Compiling

First, click on File and then Compile to open the Compiler:

Scrivener Compiler

Compiler MenuNote all the different categories on the left menu. Click on Contents and verify that everything for your manuscript is selected. You can use these to change settings in the compiler. When you start making changes it will change the “Format As:” to Custom.

For my purposes, the necessary changes were made by first clicking on Formatting and turning off all the check marks for title. This removed folder titles being used as chapter names so that only the chapter numbers remain.

To change the layout of a section click on a level to highlight it and then on the Selection Layout button.

Selection LayoutHere you can edit the beginning layout of a section. In my case I removed any text I didn’t want and added a few details.

Next I wanted to change my header. To do this click on Page Settings from the left menu of the Compiler and then type in or change the header settings. My screen shot above also shows an example. Not that “Not on Page 1” is not checked by default. I checked that and made sure that page one was counter by checking the second box.

Saving and Presets

Choose Compile FormatTo save these custom settings click Save and Close on the lower right. When you re-open the Compiler and choose Custom from the menu these will remain. However, you can also save your custom presets by clicking Save Presets in the lower left.

Choose Compile Preset

Once you’ve saved a preset you can load it by clicking on the Load Preset button in the lower left and scrolling down the list of standard presets to My Presets and choosing the one you want based on your needs.

Load Compile Presets

Extra tip # 1: Use a consistent folder/document structure.

When you create your chapters in the binder, create a folder, then a document within it. Do this consistently and choose the document rather than the folder when compiling and your results will be more of what you expect.

Extra tip # 2: Use font choices for you project and also in your headers/footers.

When you create the document make sure your font is set to the one you want to use throughout the document. I have my default set to Times New Roman. However, when you compile you may find the header/footer is different. This is changed by clicking on Page Settings on the left of the Compiler where you can then choose a consistent font. Again, make sure to save your settings for the compiler so you don’t change then constantly or forget to check settings that you think should be default but aren’t.

I hope this helps when you compile a manuscript. There are many other settings so take time to learn those according to your project parameters. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section and I’ll reply as soon as I can.

P.H. Solomon

11 thoughts on “A #Scrivener Compiling Primer

  1. Pingback: Friday Finds #writetips #fiction #qotd – Staci Troilo

  2. I’ve used the compile for critique partners and for .mobi and .epub. (My formatter takes the crit partner document and formats for print in Vellum.) The compile in the new Mac version looks nothing like this. It’s more visual and a little easier.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: A #Scrivener Compiling Primer | Welcome to Harmony Kent Online

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