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Scrivener Screenshots

Scrivener Screenshots of 7 Time-savers Authors Love

If you've researched Scrivener at all, you've probably come across the canned affiliate Scrivener screenshots. If not, this image is one of them.

Buy Scrivener

Now it might just be me, but that pic looks boring. Even the staring girl in it looks like she's bored to death. Not the best advertisement if you ask me.

So I wanna show you some screenshots of Scrivener that will get you excited.​ Because to us writers, Scrivener should be anything but boring.

Here's what you'll learn.

What can you learn from a bunch of screenshots, you ask? This:

  • Discover a tool that's better than any character name generator out there
  • Never skip over to an online dictionary again
  • How to write, distraction free
  • Stay on track with word count reminders

Scrivener Screenshots #1: The Scrivener Name Generator

As a fiction author, I've spent hours coming up with names for characters in my novels. Searching the web for name generators, messing with the ones that worked until I sometimes gave up and guessed. It wasn't until I stumbled on the somewhat hidden feature in Scrivener that names became much easier to "dream" up. Here's a couple screenshots of the Scrivener name generator.

it's found in the menu under EDIT>WRITING TOOLS>NAME GENERATOR...

Scrivener Screenshots Name Generator Image

The name generator has a complete set of customizable search options and criteria:

  1. You can select gender
  2. Use it to create alluring alliteration-based names.
  3. Set it to generate initials only.
  4. As well as set the exact forename or surname.
  5. And much more...
Scrivener Screenshots Name Generator Options image

Scrivener Screenshots #2: The Quick Dictionary

You may or may not have figured this out—I found it by accident—but you don't need to skip over to the web to lookup definitions, spelling, and synonyms for words you're unsure about. Simply right-click on a word and tell Scrivener to use it's built-in dictionary to "Look Up "your word" ".

Scrivener Screenshots Dictionary Scrivenerville

That's right, in addition to on the fly spelling and grammar checking, Scrivener will give you:

  • The pronunciation of your word
  • The definition
  • Examples of your word in a sentence
  • And most helpful for novelists, the Thesaurus section will give you synonyms.

Scrivener Screenshots #3: Composition Mode

I don't know about you, but I've wasted tons of time and momentum, getting distracted by other windows while I'm trying to write. Scrivener has solved this problem in an easy and elegant way. It simply blacks out the rest of your screen and leaves you and your muse alone with your words.

You'll still have to silence all of your notifications and alarms, but for the most part you won't get distracted when you pause. I sometimes get "shiny object syndrome" when I'm stopped, searching for words or inspiration in my head. It's as if my inner resistant critic tries to derail me by saying, "Look, a butterfly … on FaceBook!"

Thanks to Composition mode, that's a distraction of the past. You can access composition mode in the menu under VIEW>ENTER COMPOSITION MODE.

Scrivener Screenshots Composition Mode Scrivenerville

If you'd like to have a little bit of inspirational atmosphere to go along with your seclusion, you can change the backdrop for composition mode by going to the Scrivener menu under VIEW>COMPOSITION BACKDROP>CHOOSE. Then you can choose to use none, one of the images you've imported into your project or an image from your hard drive.

For instance, when I was writing Dixxon: Teen Witch I used different images that represented different characters when I was writing their scenes to make things more "real" and easier to describe the way I wanted to the reader.​

Scrivener Screenshots Composition Mode With Background Scrivenerville

There are all sorts of other settings and options you can use in composition mode to customize your writing backdrop exactly the way you want it.

Scrivener Screenshots #4: Customize the Toolbar

It can and has been said that Scrivener has a steep learning curve. This is somewhat true if you try to take in all of its power and flexibility at once. However, despite its MS Word-esque array of functionality, you only need to learn 20% of it's capabilities to use 80% of its power.

Novelists don't need footnotes or tables of contents and researches don't need to use the name generator. You can get amazingly productive in Scrivener by learning the basics. One feature I found helpful to cut down on all the clutter and confusion was the Toolbar Customization menu item. Simply go to VIEW>CUSTOMIZE TOOLBAR and drag and rearrange your most used buttons.

I've gotten so good at quick key combinations that I rarely use the menu or the toolbar, so I stripped mine down to only the ones I use most often.

Scrivener Screenshots Customize Toolbar

If you never use the toolbar—and I'm getting closer and closer to doing this—you can remove it completely from view. use the menu item VIEW>HIDE TOOLBAR and it will be removed. To get it back just VIEW>SHOW TOOLBAR. How simple is that.

Scrivener Tips

SCRIVENER TIPS: To remove a button from the Scrivener Toolbar, once you are in Customize Toolbar mode, simply drag it directly off of your Scrivener toolbar at the top of the application window and it will "poof" away.

It took me a couple minutes of staring at it before I got that. So simple it wasn't intuitive...

Scrivener Screenshots #5: Tracking Word Count

Let's say you're like I am and you set your writing goals based on word count. For an average novel I set a goal of between 50,000 and 90,000 words and I calendar my time so that I have daily goals to meet a certain timeline to be able to hand over my draft to my editor.

In short, I need to track word count, both overall and daily or session count.​

Voila, that's easy in Scrivener.​ Go to the menu item PROJECT>SHOW PROJECT TARGETS and up pops a seemingly insignificant but pretty powerful little window. It allows you to set project word count goals, track overall progress and word count, as well as keep track of how many words you've written in a given session.

Scrivener Screenshots Scrivenerville Project Targets

And in the Options you can:

  • ​Set draft targets
  • Define what a "Session" actually is
  • Give yourself a deadline
  • Define writing days and set notifications so Scrivener can "remind" you if you're off your goal

Careful though, sometimes I get demotivated with a little "Big Brother" window hanging over my shoulder saying, "More word count! More word count!"

Scrivener Screenshots #6: Comparing Snapshots

Ok, you may have heard of and used Scrivener's Snapshotting capability. You may have even used it to roll a document back to a previous version. But did you know that you can compare two versions to each other to see the changes/differences?

Lise and I use snapshotting to protect our drafts before we send them to our editors. By doing that, we know we can always roll back and recover if we don't like an editor's changes. And since we share our project files directly with our editors, we snapshot our documents before we send them to an editor and after we get them back.

Our editors annotate in red, so it's easy to see what's been changed, but accidents do happen, so occasionally we'll compare before and after versions to make sure changes were made.

To do that, we simply go in and view our snapshots, shift+click the before and after versions and click the "Compare" button. Then, in a column beneath the snapshots, a document with all of the changes in different colors and strikethroughs shows up. It's pretty easy to scroll it and double check changes.

Scrivener Screenshots Compare Snapshots

Scrivener Screenshots #7: Titles and Invisibles

I decided to lump these two together due to their location in the menu—they're right next to each other under FORMAT>OPTIONS>SHOW TITLES IN SCRIVENINGS and just below that SHOW INVISIBLES.

Well, that's all well and good but what exactly does each of them do?

Show titles in Scrivenings

For whatever reason, the good folks and Literature and Latte decided that when you went into the VIEW>SCRIVENINGS menu item, that any folder, subfolder and document you had selected in the binder would only show up with the document text and not the folder/chapter titles. I'm not sure why, but let me show you what I mean.

Scrivener Screenshots Show Titles

Maybe recognizing that you might want to edit not only the documents but their titles and folder titles as well, luckily they provided a way to see them in the editor. If you go to the FORMAT>OPTIONS>SHOW TITLES IN SCRIVENINGS menu item, you can turn on the titles of folders and documents.

Scrivener Screenshots Show Titles On

I set them to default to "showing" in all of my project files.

Show Invisibles

No, this isn't a tool to help you see that girl in The Fantastic Four. Though, that might be cool. Here's what this menu item truly does. It's much better.

One of the functions that I actually like in MS Word is the ability to view all of the formatting characters, so you can find double spaces, page breaks and the like. It took me a while to find this one, because "Show Invisibles" doesn't scream at you that it does the same thing. But once I found it, checking weird spacing​ issues and pages that won't line up became much easier.

More than once, Lise has called me, trying to figure out why she can't get a printed PDF file to line up the right way. This function is one of the first places I point her. Here's what a document looks like when this setting is turned on.​

Scrivener Screenshots Show Invisibles

And as if proving my point of its usefulness, check out that line in the image above that says "We're burning her..." See that conspicuous blue dot in front of it? That means there's a space before the beginning of that sentence. Not good and I'll have to go back and fix it.

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Next Steps: Your Favorite Scrivener Screenshots...

I hope these Scrivener screenshots and the tips and tricks with them helped you out. You can share your favorite Scrivener tips and screenshots in the comments below.

Steve Windsor

Steve Windsor lives and writes in fiction thriller-land for half of his day, and writes non-fiction books on authorship and ass-kicking for the other half. He does both of them from inside his favorite software, Scrivener.

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