My Five Favorite Scrivener Tricks

I saw a blog over on, 5 Scrivener Tricks You’ll Love. They are some great tricks, too. If you are a scrivener user, they are some great tricks. Scrivener is like that. You think you know everything and someone comes along and shows you a new trick.

Scrivener logo

So with that in mind, here are my five favorite scrivener tricks I’ve learned recently.

1. Custom Icons

The little squares in the binder for scrivenings can get a little boring, plus there’s so many other options, and so many ways that customizing that icon can help you, depending on your writing style.

My current work in progress has a bunch of points of view. I want to see at a glance who’s point of view each scene is from, so I customized the icon accordingly.

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Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 4.25.56 AMYou can change the icon by right clicking in the binder and selecting “change Icon” in the pop up. You can kick it up another notch by adding your own icons. At the bottom of “change icon” is manage icons which brings up a submenu. Click on the plus arrow and search your computer for any smallish png file and add it.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 4.27.09 AMScreen Shot 2015-11-11 at 4.27.24 AM


I downloaded a large, free, fantasy, icon pack here.

2. Copy between scrivener projects by simply clicking and dragging.

A great way to copy information from one scrivener project to another is to simply click and drag it from one binder to another. Open both projects side by side and drag away. It will create a copy in the target project, but leave the original project the same.

For example, the Bear Naked series now has four books. The characters are mostly the same. So for each new installment I simply drag the entire character folder from one volume into the next.

3. Drag pictures into document notes

Did you know you could drag pictures into the document notes section. Why would you want to? Some I struggle with how to describe a scene. I can use a picture as a prompt. Another Bear Naked example, in book two I was struggling with how to describe a Stavanger Church in one scene. I downloaded a picture and dragged it into the document note, so I could see it while I was writing. It really helped me.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 10.51.14 PM4. Not sure about a scene? Don’t delete it, just drag it outside the manuscript folder.

When you compile the manuscript at the end of your writing project, only things in the manuscript folder get added to the book. You can make that work to your advantage by dragging scenes out of that folder.

If you were unsure about a certain subplot, you could drag those scenes out of the manuscript folder and then compiling the document for beta reader A. Add them back in and compile again for beta reader B. Based on their feedback you can make a final decision.

Perhaps you write romance. Some of the publishers you submit to want super sexy stuff. Others want cleaner versions. No problem. Drag the sex scenes out for a cleaner read, or add them back in for more heat.

Both examples are levels of editing and rewriting that would be a major chore with a traditional word document, but are a snap in Scrivener.

5. Sync with Simplenote

Simplenote is just that, a simple note taking application. It works on ios and android devices. Scrivener has a built in tool for syncing documents with Simplenote.

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The good people at Literature and Latte have been promising a version of Scrivener that works on the ipad. Until they make good, you can use this simple trick to carry some of your writing on your favorite tablet. Under the file menu you find sync–>Simplenote. It’s a pretty straightforward process, but there’s also a great video on the Literature and Latte website to help if you get stuck. The first time you do this, you will need to give Scrivener your Simplenote account information, email and password. Each time you sync a new project you will have to create a project keyword.

This trick allows you to sync a couple scenes to your tablet to take with you wherever. You can write, edit or share those scenes. When you get home you can reverse the process, replacing your old file with the newly edited one as easily.
Those are my current five favorite tricks with Scrivener. Ask me again in a couple months and I might have five more. Scrivener is like that. It’s intuitive and relatively easy to get started with, but the more I learn, the more I am in awe at what it can do.

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One Response to My Five Favorite Scrivener Tricks

  1. dacia schuetz says:

    Valuable piece , For my two cents , if people is requiring to merge PDF or PNG files , my colleague came across a tool here

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