Scrivener 2: Even More Bells and Whistles

Scrivener is just plain awesome!(Photo credit: Allan Reyes)

As most of you know, I write long form texts on Scrivener because it is probably, in my opinion, the best word processor software a novelist could ever use.  A few days ago, I updated to Scrivener 2 and found several features that were even better than the original.

1.  Exporting to OpenOffice and Word Improved – Scrivener 1 would export to these formats in the form of RTF files, .DOC files and the like, but not perfectly.  I publish to Smashwords, and their guidelines to list my novel in their premium catalog is something that is necessary for me.  The problem was that the Word files that Scrivener converted were still full of little glitches that the auto-vetter found unacceptable.  The new conversions create more true .DOC and .ODT files.

2.  Improved Layout Compile Formatting – Scrivener 1 would export to a PDF in the format of a proof copy, but now the program gives the writer more control over formatting than before.  In this way, there is no need to shoot this file into another word processor to finish the formatting.  Scrivener 2 does it all.

3.  Locking View Modes – I would often reference my character bios in the binder for continuity and other reasons, but every time I did that in Scrivener 1 I would have to shift to the view mode I wanted (i.e. cork board, outline).  Scrivener 2 allows you to lock the view so that when you go to the character bio for example you will always see it the way you locked it.

4.  Side-Out Sidebars – I will either use Scrivener in one of two ways: full screen mode or composition mode.  Full screen mode allows me to see the binder with all of my research, etc., but when I want to have nothing on the screen but my words I use composition mode.  Scrivener 2’s full screen mode allows sidebars to be hidden, but when you mouse over the edges of the screen they dance out for you to use.  This is a great feature and I am finding it very handy for many reasons.

5.  iBook Author Multiple File Compiling – This is by far one of my favorite features.  When working with iBook Author to sell a book on iTunes, one has to cut and paste each chapter into the program and then compile to iTunes.  Scrivener now makes a ready to use file that is compartmentalized with individual Word files ready to import into iBook Author.  It is a real time saver.

6.  The Project Targets Bar – This thing is awesome and has been updated with even more cool bells and whistles to keep a writer on task.  If you haven’t used this in the past, it is a progress bar that you can use to figure out how many words you will have to write on the days you write (for me it’s every day) to finish the book on time.  It keeps a writer motivated, and Patrick Hester has a great little tutorial about it’s uses.

For a full list of changes to the program, check out the website here.  I love Scrivener 2 even better than Scrivener 1.  The program has helped me stay on task, has made my job easier when formatting for printed books or e-books, and has given me much more freedom by allowing me to have all of my research, notes, and documents easily accessible in one program.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

8 thoughts on “Scrivener 2: Even More Bells and Whistles

  1. I will love Scrivener 3.0 I want it to format the same novel into Smashwords, into Amazon (they use different Table of Content), and collaborative file to send to an editor for him/her do the changes, and then import them as track change the way Word or Pages do.

    And of course, I want a Scrivener secure cloud so that I can work on my novel with any gadget or device able to get online.

    Ok, I think I’m looking for Scrivener 5.0 then 🙂

  2. I have to be honest I am loving scrivener, but being someone who has the technical ability of a goldfish I am still finding my way around it. I am upgrading from the trial this week and am going to sit down and learn how to use it properly. But its a much more cost effective program than Final Draft (which I will have to get at some point as it’s the industry standard for scripts.. at least that is what I have been told)..

  3. This sounds like such an awesome program, Roger. One of these days (years), I will be able to afford it … lol. 🙂

  4. That reminds me: I’ve been meaning to see if I can export to Neo Office rather than Open Office. Also, I just tried #4, the slide out sidebars, and it doesn’t work for me. I assume you’re talking about the Mac version, unless the Windows version is now up to 2. Just occurred to me that the app (Sidenote) that hides at the edge might be cancelling it out. Nice feature, but not worth removing my notes app. The info panel, which is what I use most, is available from the popup menu at the bottom, so no loss. I’ve been discovering some of the new features, little by little, since I never read the docs. I’ll probably be using the target feature during NaNoWriMo, and the character names feature has been a huge help.

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