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Friday, December 4, 2015

Compiling in Scrivener: The Option Panes

Welcome back to my series on Compiling in Scrivener! Today, I’ll be going over the Options Panes under the “All Options” tab in the Compile sheet. I'll also explain which Options you will be able to work with, which depends on your desired output. For this post, I’ll just be discussing the sheet itself. My next few blog posts will cover every option pane in excruciating detail, focusing on the most commonly used ones.

With the “All Options” tab selected, the top and bottom menus remain the same as they were on the Summary tab. The center area, however, changes to reveal all the options, and their settings. In the left pane is the list of the currently applicable options. The list of settings that apply will depend on the output format, which is set under the “Compile For:” menu at the bottom. The “Format As:” option at the top contains a list of possible Presets, which have default settings for the Options as well as a preferred “Compile For:” setting. You can change these within a project, and when you click the “Compile” button any changes you have made will stick to that project. You can also create new presets, and I will cover that in a separate blog entry. The key thing to remember about the Compile sheet: Compile is all about the “Compile For:” menu. The list of Options on the left pane and their actual settings in the right pane tell the Compiler how to send your project to the “Compile For:” menu’s selection. The Presets at the top simply change the settings of those options based on either the default Scrivener-created settings or with the settings you have changed—either in the project with which you’re working or by saving a custom preset. Now, let’s take a look at the "Compile For" selections.

The selection in the Compile For menu determines the actual output format of the compiled file. This image shows a list of the options available under the Compile For menu. The available output formats in this menu do not change, but the default selection will change, depending on the preset selected and whether you’ve made changes to your project already. As an example, I have here a brand-new Novel project. When the Compile sheet is first opened, it starts with “Novel” as the preset, and by default the Compile For output is set to Print. All of the default Options settings in this Preset focus on formatting the output document in a way that makes it easy to read once the document finishes printing. Other presets have different defaults; E-Book and E-Book with parts both Compile For ePub eBook (.epub) by default, iBook Author Chapters defaults to iBooks Author Chapters (.docx) format, and so on.

List of default presets under "Format As:"
Example Options (left side) for iBooks Author Chapters
Example Options (left side) for E-book preset

The default settings for the Options available to each Compile For output kind are intended to make it easier to deal with the output afterward. That is, if you leave the default settings, you will often be okay with the results. The best way to know, however, is to compile the document once and then examine the result. Then, you can see what things you may like to change based on the actual output. Sometimes, the default output works fine. Other times, not as much. In particular, Word output can be troublesome. This is not a unique problem to Scrivener; indeed, it is a problem with Word itself! In his book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book, Guy Kawasaki notes that some of the beta readers of that book had problems with the Word 2007 output from their Word 2011 applications. And the Microsoft developers working on Word have gigabytes of existing code, comments, and documentation to get it right, but still can’t! For that reason, Scrivener recommends compiling for RTF output if you intend to open the file in Word, rather than the .docx or .doc formats.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what Options there are, and for which Compile For output types they are available. First, the following Options are available to all output types:

    •    Contents
    •    Formatting
    •    Transformations (though, not all settings are available to all output types)
    •    Replacements
    •    Statistics

The following are available to almost all output types, except as noted:

    •    Separators (all except .fcf, .fdx, and .fountain)
    •    Layout (all except .fcf, .fdx, and .fountain)
    •    Tables (all except MultiMarkdown or .fcf, .fdx, or .fountain)
    •    Footnotes (all except .fcf, .fdx, or .fountain)
    •    Quick Font Override (all except .txt and MultiMarkdown formats)

The Page Settings option is available to many output types. Essentially, any kind of output that admits of page sizes and header/footer or margin settings will have this Option available. This excludes all E-book formats, Web output (page or archive), MultiMarkdown, or .txt, .fcf, or .fountain formats.

The following are available to certain output types only:

    •    Print Settings (Print and PDF only)
    •    Cover (.epub and .mobi only)
    •    Title Adjustments (all output types but only if certain criteria are met in the Formatting options)
    •    Script settings (.fdx & .fountain only, but .fountain only has a few plaintext settings available)
    •    HTML (Web page but not Web archive, .epub, .mobi only)
    •    PDF (only to PDF, and only if the Publishing layout engine is selected under the “Print Settings” Option)
    •    Compatibility (only certain MultiMarkdown output types: MultiMarkdown without further clarification, MultiMarkdown .tex, & MultiMarkdown .html)
    •    Meta-Data (excludes iBooks Author Chapters, Print, .txt, .fcf, .fdx, .fountain); however, certain output types have different Meta-Data settings than others
    •    RTF Compatibility (.rtf only, except if you have changed your .doc formatting to use RTF-based code, in which case it appears under .doc as well)
    •    Kindle Gen (only .mobi output)

It is understandable why Scrivener compiling can seem overwhelming, there are a lot of options! While this is true, it is worthwhile to note that for most projects, you will only need to work with a few settings at a time when Compiling your project. Learning how to master just a couple of these Options can go a long way to easing the anxiety of working with Compiling in Scrivener, and that’s what I’ll help you with over the next few posts. Next, I’ll go over the five Options that are available for all output types and their settings. I'll pay special attention to "Formatting" since it is the one that has the most impact on most output formats. As always, if you have questions or comments leave them below.

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