The Black Bag

Untangle Your Fingers & Try Scrivener’s Auto-Complete List

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

Scrivener LogoI love using tools in real life. I have all kinds having been raised to do a variety of fix-it jobs around the house. It’s great to find that Scrivener has a variety of tools that can be used to assist us writers and make us more efficient.

One of these features is the Auto-Complete List. This can be used to make typing faster by adding words that you commonly use in a specific project. This allows you to add custom words to a list that are automatically completed so that you proceed with fewer typos and less typing.

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Before discussing the tool further, let’s first turn it on and get a feel for using it this simple – but powerful – tool. Click on Project and choose Auto-Complete List from the menu (that’s CTRL + Shift + 4 for those who like using keyboard commands as I sometimes do).

Scriv Auto_Complete Menu

The Auto-Complete List will be turned on so that it can be managed.

Scriv Auto_Complete Window

To add click the + button and type in your common word. Make sure that it’s correct and hit enter. The minus button allows you to remove a word for any reason, misspelled or otherwise. Since this is a feature located on the Project menu then this list is available only for the project in which you are working.

As indicated above, the Auto-Complete List is both simple and powerful. It’s very easy to add words that you commonly use to avoid completely typing them repeatedly in your project. It also reduces the number of misspelled words that you’ll need to correct later as well as backspacing so much. Fewer words to complete typing means less effort. That’s what makes the Auto-Complete List so powerful.

However, I can see one caveat to this tool – too many words that are alike. Just think if you add lots of words that begin with the same letter sequence you may find you have to stop too much to choose which word fits. In this case, the tool will reduce your efficiency. For this reason, avoid adding too many words, especially words that are spelled similarly.

As a fantasy writer, I see this tool being very helpful with the use of lots of unique names common to a story or book. Since these are unique words I can spend a lot of time trying to make sure I’ve spelled them correctly. With the Auto-Complete List I can start typing these names so they complete without risking misspellings and reducing my editing time later. Of course, the same holds true for any words that are specialized to a writing project in any genre, fiction or non-fiction.

I haven’t used the Auto-Complete List at all. But I plan to use heavily in the coming month while I complete a rough draft of An Arrow Against the Wind and maybe one or two short stories – as well as for my blogs, newsletters, etc.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyHave you used the Auto-Complete List in Scrivener? If so, have you found it helpful? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Just as a note: I am not affiliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor.

 

Scrivener Tips Pt. 7: Elements For Your Document Template

A few weeks ago, I shared about using the document template feature of Scrivener. It allows you to create a template internal to your project with differing features and content so you can start writing more quickly without forgetting your commonly used elements for your documents. It makes the process of writing approachable.

But what should you include in a document template? How much should you include? What’s the benefit of this bit of work? Let’s take the last two questions first.

Scrivener Set As Template Folder

As to how much you should put into a document template, this depends on your needs. If you need a simple template with all the common formatting for your project then it’s a straightforward process. If the nature of your project requires more information then you should include that. For instance, with a blog or newsletter project (assuming you are using a year-long project for these), you can use the document template to include common content that appears in all your posts or newsletters.

As to the benefits, it’s a time-saver. You won’t waste time re-creating the same document conditions every time you start a new chapter, blog, newsletter, etc. Also, this template usage eliminates forgetting to include common content such as those used on blog posts and newsletters.

But what should you include in your Scrivener document template? Here are a some suggestions:

Scriv Tip 7 Doc temps1. You may want to create several templates depending on what your project is. As an example, I’m using a year-long project for my blog posts and newsletters so I may need multiple templates for these. This is especially true of my blog project where I develop different kinds of posts. I can make different templates for Scrivener posts, interview posts, serial posts and general category posts.

2. Include your ending content for blog posts. Again, these may differ based on the type of post.

3. Include introductory content. Again this may differ depending on usage but it sure helps you jump into writing without much worry with getting everything correct.

4. Regarding formatting, do you have special formatting that will be used in your project several times? Then you should consider creating a template that incorporates this formatting. There’s nothing so time consuming than trying to re-create formatting to match earlier content. With the document template you can re-create that formatting by choosing to use the template.

Scrivener New From Template Cork

The main take-away is to include as much as necessary to simplify your writing process rather than get bogged down with unnecessary details. As I run across a repetition of form in projects I’m creating a new document template or adding necessities to existing ones. That way I will spend less time on continuity and complete my writing faster.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyHow can you use document templates in your Scrivener projects to streamline your writing? If you’re already using this feature, what elements of your writing do you include in your document templates? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Screenshots from my blog project

Just as a note: I am not affliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor.

 

Scrivener Tips Pt. 2: Compiling

Compiling Conundrums

I’ve recently begun preparations for sending the manuscript 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.

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

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. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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