Scrivener is writing software designed to aid all aspects of the writing process, from organizing and revising, through to publishing and training.

Import/export capabilities of Scrivener include multiple import/export formats; you can compile your work as plain text, rich text, Word document (including an RTF final draft for screenplays), or PDF document.

What Is Scrivener?

Scrivener was designed specifically to assist writers of novels, nonfiction works, memoirs and screenplays by helping them organize their research, draft documents and notes into a single project file.  This is in contrast with word processors such as Microsoft Word which open individual document files requiring scrolling before reaching any particular part of their writing project.

Scrivener is an exceptional writing tool, but its learning curve may be daunting for some writers. However, its creators have made every effort to ensure it is user-friendly.  There are tutorials, videos, and even a free trial version available to get you up and running quickly.

This program’s primary advantage lies in allowing you to break a large writing project down into more manageable sections, increasing productivity while giving an accurate indication of how long it will take to complete. Furthermore, Outline view and Corkboard views make this process even simpler by making section reordering easier.  These features also prevent disruptions to writing flow.

Other features in the program include a note taking function, word count tool and integrated corkboard where index cards for each chapter can be organized using colored labels. Each card can contain brief synopses about what should be included in each section of your manuscript. Moreover, you can import and export files using various formats including plain text, rich text, Word, Final Draft, ePub, etc. Additionally, it also has a Compile menu so that your manuscript can be turned into PDF, Word file, ebook or self-published book for printing or publication!

Scrivener can be used on Windows, Mac and iOS devices and is integrated with Microsoft Office for seamless template access. Its various features will increase productivity and efficiency.  However, always back up your work.  This will ensure your project remains undamaged while remaining synchronized across devices.  In case of an error you can restore from backup and continue working on the project without losing progress.

What Does Scrivener Provide?

Scrivener was created as book writing software that would assist with every stage of creating a manuscript, from writing, researching and organizing individual sections of work through, to formatting and layout of completed pieces. Compatible with both Mac and Windows computers but requires a steep learning curve for optimal use.

Scrivener makes it easy for writers to organize all of the research notes and files they accumulate during their writing journey into an easily searchable project file, be it documents, photos, videos or quotes. By centralizing everything under one project file you ensure everything can be easily located later.

Scrivener software enables you to easily generate a list of key words and phrases for your manuscript, helping you recall important aspects of the story more easily. This can be especially beneficial when writing novels and nonfiction. Furthermore, any photos or videos related to your book can also be stored securely in Scrivener projects.

One major advantage of using this software is its ability to create a draft of your manuscript in ebook or PDF form, with table of contents, preface and index features included for an easier submission to publishers or agents for review.

Scrivener offers another service for authors working with multiple editors or proofreaders, tracking changes made to your manuscript. This feature is especially valuable if working with multiple editors and proofreaders at once.  Additionally, the program saves copies at various stages during editing for future review and revising purposes. Scrivener can also assist with compiling your book into printed or digital version that meets publisher requirements.

How To Use Scrivener ?

Scrivener may appear intimidating at first glance, but once you understand its purpose and functionality it becomes far simpler to use. With features like corkboards, post-it notes and dual screens available to writers to organize their ideas as they write in any desired style.  Scrivener also allows the creation of multiple projects so easily switching between them becomes possible.

Scrivener’s primary feature is the Binder, which acts like a folder on your computer and stores everything you need for writing projects; files for research (PDFs and images), notes and outlines as well as images. All these items can then be displayed on a Corkboard, similar to old-school storyboards used to organize films or books.  Its Outline view provides more detailed outlines.  Draft mode makes viewing your entire document simple.

Scrivener provides another useful feature in setting goals or targets for each document in order to track progress. You can set targets on either an overall project basis, for instance a word count goal for the whole book, or per individual document, or set deadlines.

Scrivener stands out from other programs by enabling you to view text in full-screen mode, offering a great way to focus and block out distractions when working with multiple windows and tabs open at once. Access this option using F11 on the keyboard or by going into View > Enter Full Screen View mode.

Split-screen view of a manuscript can also help when comparing two versions of a section in the same document, especially helpful when writing novels with multiple time periods and character arcs that interweave each other. It may help remind authors how certain scenes or characters were written previously chapters.


Scrivener has quickly become one of the premier writing apps since its 2004 launch, being utilized by award-winning novelists, scriptwriters, students, academics, and others alike. Thanks to its innovative organization capabilities and comprehensive selection of features, including no monthly payment or annual fee.  It remains popular among best-selling novelists, scriptwriters, students, academics and more.

Image attribution: Scrivener media kit.

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