Laying-out This Summer With Scrivener

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.

To begin with, let me take care of a little house-cleaning on two points of information. First, I’ve updated my website so that the Store page is now the Store/Downloads page. I’ve posted all the Scrivener project templates I’ve create there for anyone to download and use free including a new one for articles. Second, if you’re looking for a great post about using Scrivener for blogging then check out Bryan Collins’ Using Scrivener For Blogging: The Ultimate How To Guide.

Now onto today’s topic: The Layout Manager. This feature is one that at first seems rather cryptic or even redundant to other features. However, a closer look reveals that the Layout Manager has a specific purpose – saving multiple work layouts of Scrivener bars and views. That’s a simple explanation for what it does but it actually provides a certain flexibility according to need – but more on that in a moment. Let’s look at how to use it and then discuss context.

Scriv Window_Layout Menu
Opening the Layout Manager

To access the Layout Manager, click on Window (Alt + w), slide down the menu to Layouts to get a fly-out menu for Layout Manager. If you have no layouts then there is only one choice available – the manager.

Once you open the Layout Manager you have this window, you can name and save different work layouts. Read the description for the manger’s purpose and you get a bit more idea of its purpose. To add a layout click the + button and name the layout. To delete click the minus button. There’s also a gear button to further manage your settings by updating, importing or exporting the layouts. You can also choose to “Save outliner and corkboard settings” and “Preserve all meta-data appearance options”.

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Scriv Layout Manager
The Layout Manager

So, you have a way to save your layouts, meaning what settings you have turned on like the Binder, Inspector, Corkboard and split views of the editor. Without the Layout Manager if you are working in one layout in one mode you have to manually change multiple settings depending on your activity. You may be developing or editing and want consistent views for what your tasks are. Just like using project or document templates, you can change views to suit what you are doing. One handy tool is the update feature which you use to save changes to a layout by choosing the layout in the manager and then choosing the settings button and the update option.

Scriv Layout Settings Saved
Settings saved in the Layout Manager across projects.

There are some caveats to all this as well as some useful benefits. First the caveats: while your layouts are for your installation of Scrivener on a specific machine, not all of the settings are preserved between projects since not all settings are meaningful in every project. One of the main settings not preserved are collections which are project specific. Also, I have not found that the manager allows you to toggle to a Full-screen mode with or without a backdrop. However, there are a lot of settings that are preserved including the outliner/corkboard views and the meta-data options if turned on for a specific layout. Here’s a screenshot from the Scrivener manual that lists all the settings preserved:

Now more about the benefits: the Layout Manager allows Scrivener users to setup their individual layouts based on workflow for differing tasks. Then users can toggle between layouts to perform various tasks without taking time to change individual settings, thus saving time.

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Essentially, with each new project you have the ability to progress through your own workflow of development using your layouts without making constant changes to the view. Want to write with nothing else on at some point? Just change to that layout. The usage is meant to allow users to make layouts based on beginning project development and progressing through all the stages of work. It’s just one more way that Scrivener allows flexibility in project development to suit individual user needs.

But what happens if you replace your computer? Or what if you want common layouts on multiple computers where Scrivener is installed? This is where the Export/Import features are valuable, allowing you to setup layouts on new and different computers.

Once again we see how valuable Scrivener is to writers of all kinds in the development of their work. Why not try making a few layouts and see if using them helps you through your daily writing more efficiently? 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. I’ve updated the site with a new landing page starting today but you can still view the News page for announcements. As part of the changes, new email subscribers will receive my free new guide, 15 Must Have Apps for Self-Publishing Authors. Sign-up today! I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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.

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