5 Scrivener Tricks You’ll Love That You Didn’t Know About

In August, I wrote about how much I love Scrivener. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, go do it here.

(Even if you’re not a writer, you might want to give it a look. If you hate Word as much as I did, Scrivener might be worth it, even if you don’t do as much writing as a novelist does. It’s a much easier to use program, and it’s not that expensive.)

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After that post, readers asked me a lot of questions about using Scrivener that I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know it well enough yet. When I first started using it, I dove in headfirst (I have a tendency to do that …) and taught myself the basics mainly by fiddling around with it until I figured it out.

This approach is great because it’s dirt cheap. This approach is not so great because you miss out on most of the cool features Scrivener has that can make writing easier.

I had intended to buy a comprehensive training course, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. So I figured now was the perfect time to find one I liked, and share my results with you. I have a full-length review coming soon, but I was so excited about these little features that I love using that I wanted to get something written about them right away.

I have to give credit to the super-comprehensive program I learned them from:

Joseph Michael’s Learn Scrivener Fast

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Definitely stay tuned for more about that later, but in the meantime, here are a few easy tools I’ve just learned that I love:

1. The Name Generator

In the menu, go to: Edit >> Writing Tools >> Name Generator

A box pops up with a slider bar; use the slider bar to tell it how many names you want, then click Generate Names.

Voilà!

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2. The Word Frequency Tool

There is a wonderfully fun website called Wordle that I used to use, which would take a chunk of writing that you copied and pasted and turn it into a giant word cloud, with the words larger or smaller based on your frequency of use. It was an inventive (and pretty!) way to see which words you were overusing—like “like” or “just” (both of which I have a problem with). But it stopped working for me and no matter how I’ve tried to troubleshoot, I can’t get it to work again. Never fear, it’s the Scrivener Word Frequency Tool to the rescue. Just head up to Project >>> Text Statistics and click the arrow next to Word Frequency. You’ll be able to see at a glance which pesky words to weed out.



3. This Cool Trick for Moving Things Around in the Binder

One thing that has often frustrated me in Scrivener is moving files around in the binder. They have a tendency to want to slip under another file when I want to keep them on the same level. Fixing that is super easy: Hold down the option key. Then it moves along the same level and never slips under. Amazing, right?

4. Dictionary and Thesaurus

Isn’t it great how you never ever have to leave Scrivener? Yeah, well, not for this either. Double-click the word you want to look up, then command-click (or right click for you PC-lovers) to get both the dictionary definition and a thesaurus entry. Click on the pop-up window for a longer entry.

5. Scrivener Will Read Your Work for You

But only if you’re a Mac user. Sorry, PCs. This is a really fun, kind of silly feature. Just put your cursor wherever you want your computer to start reading and head up to Edit >>> Speech >>> Start Speaking. Enjoy the robot voice making your words come to life.

What’d I miss? What kind of little tips and tricks do you have for learning Scrivener?

P.S. I’m loving learning this kind of stuff from Learn Scrivener Fast. Full review post-haste, I promise.

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One thought on “5 Scrivener Tricks You’ll Love That You Didn’t Know About

  1. I’m currently working on the second book of a series, and this is a little trick you may not be aware of. You can take your character and place sketches from one project to another simply by minimizing project #1, then clicking on the character sketch, and dragging it to project #2! Wonderful for authors who write series, because it preserves your continuity. I’m recovering from cancer 2 years ago, and my memory has suffered from chemotherapy. Without Scriv, I wouldn’t be near as productive as I am now!

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