Compile menu

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Maelduin
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Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:52 pm Post

Please (sob), please, a radical rejig of the Compile menu, so it doesn't read like something in LaTeX. Make those Formatting levels plainly understood. Make it easy to include or exclude parts of your manuscript without crossing your fingers and eyes, turning three times widdershins and making a wish. Take out the incomprehensible language ("Override title prefix separator for updated links" - WHAT???)
Make it Mac-like. Make it work.
I've been going crazy for two days now trying to compile a fairly simple children's book, with a prologue (called Prologue: Jimmy's Day) and an epilogue (called Epilogue).
So far:
1) the Prologue was Chapter 1 and I couldn't stop it having a chapter number
2) I got rid of the chapter number, but now hadn't got the name Prologue
3) I got Prologue back, but now the epilogue wasn't showing
4) And now the chapters had titles, but no Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc
5) I got the chapter numbers back, but now they were after the chapters' titles...
I'm going quietly away to have a little cry now.
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StaceyUK
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Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:53 pm Post

Make those Formatting levels plainly understood.

I definitely agree with the above statement. When trying to assist/teach someone how to compile, this is one, if not THE thing they find hardest to understand.

I understand the principle as I've used bulleted lists that use levels in MS Word and PowerPoint but I have to check preview to make sure I have the correct level ticked for the compile I need.

To the OP/Mods - I suggest that this is moved to the Tech Support section of the Windows forum. Hopefully someone there will be able to help you achieve what you wish to do with compile.
Blessings, Stacey

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KB
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Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:50 pm Post

The thing is, some things in life just have to take some learning and a little effort to understand. And I'm sorry, but Compile is one of those things - there is no alternative. "Make it just work" - really, how? Work for what, exactly? For your particular project? What about everyone else's?

Scrivener is designed to be flexible for the writing part. You can organise your work however you want. You can have folders inside text files inside folders inside folders inside text files - if you want. You can break your work down into paragraphs, into scenes, into chapters, or into a mix. A text file can represent a chapter, or a chapter can be represented by a folder containing multiple text files as scenes. You might break your book up into parts, or acts, or fitts, or whatever you like. You can write a dissertation, a novel, or a recipe book in it. And you can write in completely different formatting to how the book gets exported - if you want.

The price of that flexibility is that Scrivener cannot possibly know how the books should look on compile, because it is entirely up to you. There are two possible ways software can deal with such complexity when it comes to getting work out:

1. Keep it simple. Just don't allow the program to do much for the export process. Instead, just throw a couple of line breaks between each text file, call it "Export" and be done. If the user wants to do anything else with the document, they can do all of that in a different program. This is the "Mac way" of which you speak.

2. Allow the user to take complete control of the compile process. Given the infinite possibilities of structure, this will, inevitably, involve a lot of options and a little patience on the user's part.

Scrivener takes the second approach. But if you prefer the first approach, then just select "Original" as under "Format As" in Compile, export, open the file in Word, and do all the post-processing stuff in Word.

We have spent a lot of time on Compile, and although it can appear complex, it works, and it works well. Some things take a little learning, because if they didn't, they wouldn't be half as useful. I compare it to driving a car - I often wonder if all those software users who complain that software should be "simple" and "just work" because it's the "Mac way" refuse to drive because of how complicated cars are to drive. They are complicated at first, but they are incredibly powerful and useful once you've mastered them...

So, no, sorry, although we will continue to refine things, we won't be dumbing down Compile, but as I say, you can just use some simplified settings - "Original" for instance - and deal with all the formatting in Word, which will serve just as well.

I would also add that the preset Compile settings make it very easy to compile to standard novel format for most users, using common structures, anyway. It's only when you structure things in weird and wonderful ways in the binder that you really need to get your hands dirty with the more complex Compile formatting.

And really, if you work through all of the options in the Compile pane, starting with "Contents" and working your way down, it's not as complicated as it first appears if you take it one setting at a time. If the "Formatting" pane is bothering you, then just look at the levels in your binder and try to think: which levels are the folders at, and how do I want them to look? Which levels are the different types of text file at, and how do I want them to look? Then set up levels in the Formatting pane accordingly.

StaceyUK - I'm not sure why you are suggesting that this should be moved to the Windows forum when the op is a Mac user.
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StaceyUK
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Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:56 pm Post

StaceyUK - I'm not sure why you are suggesting that this should be moved to the Windows forum when the op is a Mac user.


My apologies I was reading this post from my newsfeed. Could have sworn that this was in the Windows form. My point that the concept of Levels could be explained better still stands though. It can be hard to work out what level a document is within the binder structure.
Blessings, Stacey

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KB
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Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:16 pm Post

Also:
Maelduin wrote:1) the Prologue was Chapter 1 and I couldn't stop it having a chapter number


Several ways of approaching this. One would be:

Image

You don't have to include the folder for Compile, but now you can format the prologue and epilogue, which are at Level 1, differently to chapters, which are at Level 2 - making it simple to add different title prefixes/suffixes (thus adding "Chapter N" to chapters but not to the prologue and epilogue).

Or, if you have things split up into scenes:

Image

Now your chapters are folders, so they can be formatted differently - and have different title prefixes - to the prologue and epilogue, which are text files with no container.

Or, if your prologue and epilogue were divided into different documents too:

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/imgsh ... 210226.png

The prologue and epilogue are still different types, being text groups rather than folders, meaning they can still be formatted differently.

If you have them all on the same level, it's still possible:

Image

Now, if you have title prefixes - "Chapter N" - for the chapters, then obviously everything is on the same level so you can't apply different settings in the "Formatting" pane - in this scenario, obviously your chapter numbering will get added to the prologue and epilogue too. But you can override that by selecting "Do not add document title prefix or suffix" for the prologue and epilogue documents, in the "Title Adjustments" pane. Now the titles will still appear but without the "Chapter..." prefix for those two documents.

And of course, another option is not to include the titles at all, but write the titles into the text documents, just as you would a word processor.

In fact, I should probably stress that: there is nothing stopping you from formatting your work as you go along, just as you would in a word processor. You could just turn off all formatting by selecting "Original" under "Format As", ensure "Separators" is set up to add a page break between your text documents, and you're done. You would write "Prologue" at the top of your prologue document, just as you would in a word processor. And "Chapter 1" at the top of your first chapter - just as you would in a word processor. If you don't like using Compile to do these things, then just don't.

2) I got rid of the chapter number, but now hadn't got the name Prologue


This sounds as though you turned off titles altogether, which you didn't want to do if you were relying on the title of the binder document appearing in the text.

5) I got the chapter numbers back, but now they were after the chapters' titles...


This sounds as though you added them back in as title suffixes rather than as title prefixes.

Take out the incomprehensible language ("Override title prefix separator for updated links" - WHAT???)


Admittedly, taken out of context, the wording of that checkbox can sound confusing. But checkboxes have to be titled concisely, and if you read that in order with the ones above it, it is far less confusing:

"Update titles in Scrivener links with prefix and suffix settings" - any Scrivener links pointing to compiled documents will be updated. So a Scrivener link saying "see Document X" might now say, "see Chapter One, Document X".

"Do not include title suffixes in updated links" - if links are to be updated because of the above setting, don't include title suffixes, only prefixes.

"Override title prefix separator for updated links: [ ]" - wait! If Scrivener links are updated with the title prefix, what if the title prefix is "Chapter X" followed by two line breaks? You don't want those line breaks added. More likely you'll want the Scrivener link to be updated to use "Chapter X - such-and-such", or "Chapter X, such-and-such". This setting allows for that. If you can think of an equally concise but clearer description, then please, be my guest.

And I have to say this for the record: Scrivener on the Mac is Mac-like. "Mac-like" does not mean that the software has human-level AI that can guess exactly what you want to do. If only. :)

All the best,
Keith
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KB
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Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:22 pm Post

StaceyUK wrote:My apologies I was reading this post from my newsfeed. Could have sworn that this was in the Windows form. My point that the concept of Levels could be explained better still stands though. It can be hard to work out what level a document is within the binder structure.


I don't really see how this could be any easier to understand, as long as you think about the levels inside the Draft folder:

Image

If something is directly inside the Draft folder, it's at Level 1. If something is buried a level deep, it's at Level 2... And so on.

And the concept of levels is explained in the manual, isn't it? Sorry, I'm not quite following this part of the confusion...
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Floss
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Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:53 am Post

i think i,ve spotted what the problem is... those coloured dots and floating labels don't appear on the windows version. :wink:
i am happy to give feedback on short passages.

be warned, though. my feedback can be blunt... always well intentioned and aimed at helping you improve, but possibly more honest than you are used to.

as such, i will only chip in if directly invited.

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AmberV
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Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:55 am Post

Indeed, the user manual even has this illustration, which makes sense to me, but then again I made it. Any feedback on what would make this confusing would be appreciated:

Image

P.S. Excellent point, Floss. Nice of you to finally drop by!
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:42 am Post

Some observations from a psychologist:

1. People don't usually read the manual. They usually expect the interface to tell them what to do, and they only look at the documentation when they have already made all sorts of assumptions about how things are supposed to work, and found that those assumptions are not giving the results they expect. Reading the manual therefore often entails throwing out the ideas they already have and adopting new ones. This is remarkably difficult, and in some cases it is never wholly achieved. (I simplify, but this is commonly what happens.)

2. Compile in Scrivener, in one way at least, may be contrary to the "expectations" that people have built up when using other software. In my case, it took me a moment to grasp the idea that a *Document* could be Level 1, while there could be a *Folder* below it at Level 2. I suspect, though I cannot be sure, that some people may be having trouble in adapting from the "normal" state of affairs in which a Folder usually comes above a Document in the hierarchy. They look at the picture of the Folder in the interface, and don't really see "Level 1+" after it. It would probably help if the user could see another Folder in the interface with "Level 2+" after it -- that would make them realise that another level was available.

I may well be wrong, but there is certainly evidence from psychological studies that shows that existing knowledge acts as a considerable barrier to learning new paradigms.

3. People do not see what is in front of them. There is a phenomenon called "inattentional blindness" -- it basically means that if you are not expecting to see something, you will not notice it, no matter how salient it is. There are plenty of experiments by Simons and Chabris dealing with this phenomenon, and it is quite extraordinary what people are capable of missing when they are thinking about something else, or have expectations that don't allow for something being in front of them.

Sorry that these are just a couple of random thoughts, and I'm afraid I don't really have any solutions to offer.

I used to be a gliding instructor, and it was interesting to watch people travel along the path from being totally overwhelmed by the number of different tasks they had to perform, to complete mastery, such that they became unaware of the complexity of what they were doing. Perhaps part of the problem with compiling in Scrivener is that it is something that some of us only do very rarely (about once every five years, in my case). We thus have to relearn it every time we do it. For me, it will therefore probably remain complex, because I don't do it often enough to make it automatic. In fact, every time I do it, the software has changed quite radically!

All the best,
Martin.
You should judge people not by how close they get to the top, but by how far they have come from the bottom. Some people have a mountain to climb just to get to the place where others start out. (Me, 2010)

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MimeticMouton
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Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:51 am Post

AmberV wrote:Any feedback on what would make this confusing would be appreciated

I can think of countless ways to make this confusing. :) But perhaps it would be helpful if the Draft folder itself were visible in the example binder image, as a sort of grounding point? It's true that depending on the compile group settings, the Draft isn't necessarily going to be the base Level 0, but it *usually* is, and once the basic concept of the levels is understood I think it's easier to jump to "just compile this particular folder and treat it like it's the entire Draft".

I suppose there could also be a help button on the formatting pane to pop up this explanatory image without needing to refer to the manual, but I'm not sure where it could go that would fit in and I'm not sure it's better to do that than to just go to the manual--there's no point in laying out everything all over again when it's already explained in detail there. But perhaps a small pop-up then with a reference to the manual might encourage seeking that source earlier in the process rather than beating one's head against the tool for a while first? It's much better to read a manual when not dazed and bloodied from the battle. ;)
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AmberV
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Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:40 am Post

MimeticMouton wrote:I can think of countless ways to make this confusing. :)


There you go again, twisting my words into a semblance of what some may consider to be proper grammar!
.:.
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Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:01 am Post

I have to procrastinate on my novel somehow!
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Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:16 am Post

I have read all the answers here, but unfortunately did not understand them. I'm probably very stupid. I've read the manual, and didn't understand the part about the Compile menu at all. I've looked at AmberV's explanation of the plus-minus-equals bit in the Compile menu and am absolutely baffled. This, I promise you, is not because I don't want to understand. I simply don't understand it. (Perhaps this may be linked to the fact that I'm largely innumerate and spatially blind, and numbers arouse the same kind of horrified, baffled terror in me that this menu does.)

This is how I've got the chapters at the moment:

Screen Shot 2012-11-29 at 09.11.28.png
Screen Shot 2012-11-29 at 09.11.28.png (29 KiB) Viewed 911 times


I first clicked what I thought were the logical options in the Compile/Formatting menu (given my limited ability to understand these things):

Screen Shot 2012-11-29 at 09.14.21.png
Screen Shot 2012-11-29 at 09.14.21.png (139.3 KiB) Viewed 911 times


This (as far as I remember) caused the chapters to be called:

CHAPTER 1: [Prologue: Mind the Gap - but the prologue title didn't appear]
CHAPTER 2: The Curse of the Kidds

and so on.

Obviously what I wanted was instead:

Prologue: Mind the Gap
CHAPTER 1: The Curse of the Kidds

and so on down to Epilogue, without a chapter number. (The 'Epilogue' scene was also (like the 'Prologue' scene), on the kind advice of Robert Guthrie, who's been trying to help me with this on the Mac Tech Support forum, at Level 1, and outside a folder.)

I just couldn't get it to work, and tried all kinds of things, changing the Compile/Contents section for the Prologue to 'As-is' (which moved the chapter numbering but took away the Prologue's title, 'Prologue: Mind the Gap'); checking the Prologue file in "Do not add title prefix or suffix to documents" in the Compile/Title Adjustments section; eventually wildly clicking random choices of files and folders in the Compile/Formatting section without success.

Eventually I said whatthehell and sent off a compiled PDF to my friend for whom I'm doing this (because he gave up, too baffled himself to tackle it) - he accepted it happily, but said the Epilogue was missing, and why was I now styling myself Keith Blount - he wrote: "The name Keith Blount, followed by ePubTest, appears on every page of the pdf you sent".

KB, I do understand your red and blue blobs: could you possibly repeat that image and do the equivalent for the Level 1 folder, Level 1+ folder, Level 1 file, Level 1+ file and so on in the Compile menu so I can see how they relate to the Level 1 and Level 2 in the Binder?

I'm sorry to be so unintelligent as not to understand the Compile/Formatting menu. I only wish I could; I only wish it were simple and clear to me what all those folders and documents and pluses meant, and I wasn't putting the kindly makers of Scrivener to so much work.
Image

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KB
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Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:26 am Post

Hi Maelduin,

No one's calling you unintelligent! Far from it. We're just trying to get to grips with the confusion. Your screenshots help - I think I can see the main point of confusion now.

Take another look at your first screenshot, in particular at the "Prologue":

Image

Now look at the options you have ticked in Formatting:

Image

There are three "Section Types" in "Formatting":

• Folders
• Text groups (text documents with subdocuments)
• Regular text documents.

Each has a different icon. The icons for text groups and regular text documents are similar, with text groups being indicated by the icon being stacked.

Now look again at your "Prologue" document. Is it a folder, a text group, or a regular text document? Look at the icon.

Hopefully, upon looking at it with fresh eyes, you can see that it is clearly a regular text document - it is not stacked; it has no subdocuments itself. Its icon matches the bottom icon in the "Section Types" list of the "Formatting" table:

Image

Note that you have not ticked "Title" for regular text documents, which is required if you want the Prologue's title included.

If you do tick "Title" for regular text documents, of course, then this will affect those "Scene" documents, too, which you don't want. But that's okay. Your "Prologue" document is at level 1, where as your "Scene" documents are at level 2:

Image

So, you need to tell Compile to add titles for your level 1 regular text documents, but not to your level 2 regular text documents. At the moment, you have titles turned off for regular text documents at "Level 1+" - this means at level 1 and at all levels below level 1 (level 2, level 3 etc). You need to select the regular text document row in the "Formatting" table (the third row) and click on the "Add Level" button:

Image

Now you can tell it to turn on titles for text documents at Level 1 (e.g. "Prologue") but not for text documents at Level 2+ (Level 2 and subsequent levels):

Image

Check those settings against your binder. What these settings say are:

• Folders at Level 1+ will only have their titles included. This will affect all folders ("Level 1+", so folders at all levels, but you only have folders at level 1 anyway, so that's not an issue) - "The Curse of the Kidds", "Charlie's Chestnutts" and so on. In the "Section Layout..." pane for folders, you will want the title prefix to add "Chapter <$n>" or whatever.

• Text groups at Level 1+ - I've left everything un-ticked here, because from what I can see of your binder screenshot, you don't have any text groups to worry about, only folders and regular text documents with no subdocuments.

• Single text documents at Level 1 - this will affect your "Prologue" (and your "Epilogue", I'm guessing), because that is at level 1 inside the Draft folder. I've therefore ticked both "Title" and "Text" since your prologue contains text and you want its title included.

• Single text documents at Level 2+ (level 2 and subsequent levels) - this will affect your "Scene" documents, which are single text documents, as you can tell by their icon and the fact they have no subdocuments, which sit at level 2 (they are inside folders, unlike "Prologue"). Thus I have only ticked "Text", as the titles for your chapters are being added by the enclosing folders.

KB, I do understand your red and blue blobs: could you possibly repeat that image and do the equivalent for the Level 1 folder, Level 1+ folder, Level 1 file, Level 1+ file and so on in the Compile menu so I can see how they relate to the Level 1 and Level 2 in the Binder?


No problem, although hopefully the above has helped too:

Image

Image

The main thing to remember about the levels in the Compile pane is that you can add or remove them, using the buttons in the top-right of the levels table. The last row for each of the three document types (folders, text groups, and single text documents) will have a "+" after it, indicating that the formatting and options for that level will also apply to all lower levels.

This was probably your problem and the source of your frustration - perhaps you didn't realise you could add other levels to that list? Your project is set up so that you need your text documents on level 1 (the prologue and epilogue) to use different formatting and options to the text documents on level 2 (the scenes), so you needed to add a "Level 2" row to the formatting table in order to achieve that.

he accepted it happily, but said the Epilogue was missing, and why was I now styling myself Keith Blount - he wrote: "The name Keith Blount, followed by ePubTest, appears on every page of the pdf you sent".


This sounds as though you created the project a little while ago. I accidentally left my name in one of the templates in an earlier version, d'oh. This you can edit in the "Page Settings" pane, though, which allows you to customise the header and footer.

How about this? If you are still confused, send me your project - or a dummy project using the same document structure but with gibberish text - along with an example of how you want it to look when it is compiled, and I will set up the Compile options for you and turn it into a tutorial that we can put on our knowledge base?

All the best,
Keith
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

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Maelduin
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Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:55 am Post

Thank you very much, Keith (and all others); I'm going out for a calming walk by the sea, and will then come back and read your post in detail.

I'm wondering if it may be possible that my Scrivener's just gone rogue; for instance, the search-all-documents search has completely stopped working. I just searched for "Gene Sharp" (having copied in Sharp's complete book From Dictatorship to Democracy in a file named 'Gene Sharp', which of course contains the words "by Gene Sharp") and it failed to find any reference to him in the project. Navigated down to the bottom, and there was the folder and its contents.
Image