Scrivener: Printing Your Manuscript

Scrivener_-_Compile_Contents_ScreenThe process of printing a manuscript in Scrivener is called compiling. It represents the power in Scrivener to literally compile your writing how you wish it to appear in print or in a digital file for the next steps in preparing your book for publishing.

In one of my Scrivener projects, I have 6 versions of a book I’m working on.

  • The original draft
  • Second and third drafts
  • A copy edited version returned from a copy editor
  • The cleaned up version of that copy editor
  • Another version with alpha reader edits added

I could have even more versions, and at any time along the process of writing I could print out any of these versions for posterity, or go back to an earlier version to find out why I wrote it that way or what an editor had to say, or restore an edited version to one of the original versions, all within the same project file.

When it comes time to print these versions, or the final glorified version of my manuscript, it begins with a compilation process as I choose which documents to include or exclude from the version I’m creating – or, in Scrivener language, compiling.

Remember, as discussed in the tutorial on how to format your manuscript for writing, what appears on the screen may be different what the final version prints.

I tend to write better in a serif font. Not sure why, maybe too many years of writing for the web and code, but I like writing in serif. However, I don’t always like reading in a serif font. Sometimes I like reading in a sans-serif font, one without those little hooks on the ends of letter forms. With Scrivener, when you compile your manuscript, you can choose which font.

You may also choose to not print out or save in a digital format for emailing and sharing only a portion of the manuscript. If you are working with a writing group and wish to only print out chapters 20 and 23 for reading or review edits, you may select only those for compiling. It’s up to you.

There are many articles, tutorials, and videos on working with Scrivener’s compile feature. I’ll let them do the heavy lifting on this topic as it is just so diverse and can be very simple, but also complicated depending upon your goals.

Please note that Literature and Latte offers extensive free tutorial videos on Scrivener, including tips on compiling.

The following are articles to help you compile and learn how to format and style your compiled manuscripts for printing, sharing, or using in Word, InDesign, or other publishing programs.

Other Scrivener Tutorials and Articles

The following are other articles in this ongoing series on using Scrivener for Writer’s in the Grove members and the general public.


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