top of page
  • Writer's pictureSofiya Pasternack

TUTORIAL | Scrivener 3 Quick Start

Woohoo! Let's talk about Scrivener!

Hey friends! Here are my tips and tricks for Scrivener 3. This video is my quick start guide: everything I personally think you need to get up and running (er, writing) quick, fast, and in a hurry!


PDF coming soon!

(sign up HERE to be notified when it's available!)


I hear about Scrivener a lot: "There are too many features. It's too complicated. There is too much stuff to learn." And yeah, that's true. But it's uhhhh also true of MS Word. Yeah! Word has TONS of cool features! You're just not using them! You've bypassed them and just use it as a word processor. You can do the same thing with Scrivener, and learn all the really cool stuff gradually over time. You don't need to learn ALL of Scrivener's cool stuff up front, just like you don't need to learn all of MS Word's cool stuff up front (and it really does have some cool stuff).

But this post isn't about Word. It's about Scrivener! You can watch the video, or read things here. So let's go!

In this post, we'll go through the following topics:



Renaming Files and Folders

Section Types

Creating New Files and Folders

Split Screen

Typewriter Scrolling Feature


Templates Are Your Friends!

Open up the program, and you'll see this screen!

I highly recommend using one of these templates. You get cool stuff with the templates that is going to be super helpful not only with your own writing, but with my videos as well! There's stuff built into the backend that is awesome to have around.

I always choose "Novel with Parts" because... I dunno, I like that one the best. But go ahead and find the one that sparks the most joy for you.


Dashboard Orientation

Open up your brand new shiny document and marvel at it! Ooh! Aah!

Okay that's enough, let's get going.

In a nutshell, you've got four areas:

To the left is the Binder. This is where all your stuff is stored. Think of it as, um, a binder.

On the right, the Inspector. This is where you can leave notes, manage the metadata, and create bookmarks (and more!).

The middle part is where you type.

And all along the top is the toolbar.

That's it! So easy!


Renaming Files and Folders

Renaming things is as easy as clickety-click. That is to say, you just double click on text, and the text will highlight. If you're already selected on that text, you can just single click on it.


Section Types

Section types are important for the Compile later. Mostly the important thing for you right now is to not mess with the preset.

Okay, you still want to mess with the Section Types. Head on over to the Inspector pane, navigate to the Metadata tab (the little tag in the middle!) and open up the Section Type dropdown.

What does it meeeeeeeeean?

Click on "Edit..."

And this menu pops up.

These are all part of whatever template you selected. This is in the "Novel with Parts" template. The others have other stuff. So what's the significance? Click on "Default Types by Structure" up at the top there.

Okay. Depending on where you have things nested, they're assigned different Section Types. When you compile, the Section Types are preset in specific formats, and they'll affect how your manuscript works. As you click down the Document Type list, you can see in the Binder on the left, the yellow highlighting shows you which documents are included as which Section Types.

I don't want to go too much into this, since I'm going to do a major deep dive later! So let's move on!


Creating New Files and Folders

In the Binder, right click on whatever folder you want a new document or folder in. In the menu that pops up, choose Add, then New Text or New Folder, depending on what you want. A new selection will show up in that folder! If it's nested wrong, you can just click and drag.

You can also click on that green plus sign at the top (that I so kindly circled in red here). The green plus will add a new text document. If you click the down arrow next to the text, you get some more choices.

Down at the bottom, clicking that plain plus sign adds text, clicking the folder plus sign adds a folder and the cogwheel brings up the same menu as right-clicking.


Split Screen!


Click the double-line-lookin-thing in the upper right.

Two screens! Boom!

What if you don't want two screens anymore? Pick the side you want to KEEP, click the single-line-lookin-thing in the upper right, and it will go back to a single screen.

If you want the screen to split horizontally instead of vertically, just hold down the OPTION key on the keyboard while you click the split screen button.


Typewriter Scrolling Feature

And the final fun thing for the Quick Start! Typewriter scrolling! This keeps your cursor in the middle of the screen, rather than hugging the bottom while you're typing. I love it!

First, the Scrivener menu, then Preferences.

You'll get this awesome menu. Go to the Editing tab, and click ON the "Typewriter scrolling always jumps to scroll line."

Exit out, then go to the View>Text Editing menu. At the bottom, make sure "Typewriter Scrolling" has a checkmark to its left (mine does not in the image below).

Ta-daaaa! Scrivener Quick Start! Really, that's all you need to get going. Have fun!


Did you enjoy this post?

Sharing is caring!

Share this post to your social media,

or save the image below to Pinterest!


meet sofiya!

Sofiya Pasternack is a mental health professional, the highly-distractible author of Jewish MG and YA fantasy, and prone to oversharing gross medical stories.

Want Cool Stuff?

and get:

  • First looks at announcements, cover reveals, and more!

  • Access to exclusive ARC & book giveaways.

  • Free downloads for plotting, character arcs, and world building!

  • Free classroom guides.

  • Discounts on Zoom classroom visits.

More Posts

read more

bottom of page