Creating a New Project from a Built-in Template

Viewing Built-In Project Templates

Scrivener comes preloaded with a variety of templates (projects with predefined settings) for you to choose from, including a blank one. Whether you’re penning a book, article, screenplay, blog, report, or research paper, there’s probably a template to suit you, but keep in mind that templates are just starting points. You can modify the project setup to suit your own needs later. The Project Templates window displays template categories down the left-hand side, and the offerings in each category to the right. The All category displays all the templates in one place. Go ahead, check out what Scrivener has to offer in each of the categories. Project Templates window annotated The Blank template is the basis for all other templates, and is generic enough to meet your needs no matter what you’re writing. The other templates have been customized for various types of writing, with additional folders and default compile (export) settings that the designers thought you might find useful.

Creating a New Project

When you create a project in Scrivener, you must give it a name and location before you can start writing. Why? Because Scrivener auto-saves your project every two seconds that you’re not typing or accessing a menu. So, if the power goes out, you still have your work. Cool, right? Here’s how to create a new project.
  1. From the Project Templates window, click on the Blank category icon. (I like to start with Blank because it's less confusing, especially to new users. Feel free to choose any template you want to check it out. You can always delete the project later, or modify it as needed.)
  2. Select the Blank template from the pane on the right.
  3. Click Choose…
  4. Pick a location for the file (click the expansion arrow to the right of the Save As text box to view more location options, if necessary).
  5. Type the desired file name in the Save As textbox, and click Create. creating a new project The Scrivener window opens with a new, blank project with the title you gave it at the top.
If you go looking for your project in Finder, it’ll be called <filename>.scriv. All Scrivener projects are saved with the .scriv extension.

Video Review – 3:51 mins

7 thoughts on “Creating a New Project from a Built-in Template”

  1. Mark Herbkersman says:

    How do I choose how many files appear when I click open/recent?

    1. Mark: That setting is handled by your Mac settings. To adjust it, go to System Preferences>General and adjust the Recent Items dropdown value (see attached image).


  2. yiwada says:

    I want to use Scrivener to write my PhD dissertation as I see the final compilation of all my writings on the Google Drive documents in a style (e.g. MLA or Chicago Manual) is a daunting task at the end.
    Q: Am I correct in assuming that Scrivener would make thisa taks easy?
    Q: your template for the Paper (assumed academic paper) has MLA style, and your template for the Essay is set for the Chicago Manual. How can I set the Paper in the Chicago Manual?
    Thank you,

    1. Scrivener should make keeping track of all the elements of your dissertation easier. And it should also make outputting everything in the same format easier, though the Compile function takes a bit of getting used to since it’s rules based, not “what you see is what you get” like most word processors.

      As for templates, I agree that it’s confusing, but the fact that the template using Chicago Style is called an Essay is irrelevant. The Paper and Essay templates are nearly identical. I’d choose “Essay (Chicago Style)” for your needs and then add as many documents or sections as needed.

      I’d also recommend reading the About document at the top of the Binder to understand how they’ve set things up for you. But also keep in mind that you can change anything to suit your needs. Templates just contain folders, documents, and settings that might be useful for you, but are not unchangeable. You can add or delete any documents or folders as desired.

      You could also just choose the Blank template and set things up exactly as you need them. The Essay template does not automatically format your works cited or your footnotes for you. It’s just designed to support having them. All of this is something you can do without the template too. I’d suggest creating a new file based on the Essay template to look at it and see what you think. You can always delete the project if you don’t want to use it.

      Quick point of clarification: These are not *my* templates. They’re the ones the software developers created to include with Scrivener. 🙂

      1. yiwada says:

        Hello Gwen,
        I appreciate your clarification about the Scrivener templates. I didn’t mean that you created those templates.
        I did figure the compilation task wouldn’t be easy, so I signed up for the long course to understand the feature when I am nearly there to tackle it. Learning a new platform takes a lot longer than expected, and I hope getting used to using it will make the process easier. Yoshiko

  3. Bonnie Samuel says:

    Hi Gwen, if one choses a template rather than “Blank,” is there a way to see the settings within that template, i.e. margins, spacing, font (if specified), headings etc.
    Not knowing the set up could be reason some run into snags trying to insert something that is additional setting?
    I’ve been using the basic non-fiction template, but ran into issue placing endnotes…for example.


    1. Bonnie: I saw your other message saying you figured this out, but for anyone else with the same question, unfortunately, you have to create a project based on the template to get the full details on it. I usually just create one called DELETE ME or PRACTICE or something and delete it from Finder when I’m done looking at it, or rename it if I want to use it. Each template has an info sheet at the top of the Binder that explains its setup in more detail.

      With any template you choose, you can delete any of the additional files/folders (other than Draft/Manuscript, Research, and Trash), and add any files or folders that you need for your own process.

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