Starting Scrivener (Yep, the absolute basics)

road to horizon with START

No matter what level of Scrivener user you are, it’s important to know the basics. Over the last few years, I’ve realized that many people don’t understand some of the key fundamentals of Scrivener. So, we’re going to start at the very beginning to ensure that you're on the right track.

The basic file type used in Scrivener is the project. Think of a Scrivener project as a big three-ring binder where you can store your writing, along with your research, notes, pictures, links, and references.

Starting Scrivener

To start Scrivener, you can open the program by clicking the icon located in your task bar, in the Start menu, or as a shortcut on your Desktop (if you have one there).

Scrivener logo

When you start Scrivener, you will see one of two things:

  1. The New Project window
    This window appears the first time you use Scrivener, and anytime you closed all projects before exiting the program last time (see #2 tip). From here, you can either create a new project or open an existing one.
    NOTE: You can also access the New Project window when Scrivener is open by going to File—>New project window
  1. The last project you worked on
    If you close Scrivener without closing your projects first—totally okay to do—it will open those same projects when you start it next time. Pretty cool, huh?

TIP: You can change your settings to ensure you always see the New Project window when there’s no project open in Scrivener. Go to Tools—>Options
—>General, and check the box to “Show start panel when there are no projects open.”

Opening an Existing Project

If you already have an existing project, you can open the project and Scrivener at the same time. Simply locate the project file in File/Windows Explorer and double-click it, then double-click the .scrivx file.

project file in File Explorer

To open a project from within Scrivener, use one of the following menu options.

— File—>Open

— File—>Recent Projects (to access a shortcut list of recently opened projects)

— From the Project Templates window, click the Open an Existing File button.

— From the Project Templates window, click the Open Recent button (to access a shortcut list of recently opened projects).

Video Review – 1:33 mins

4 thoughts on “Starting Scrivener (Yep, the absolute basics)”

  1. Lison says:

    Hello Gwen, how are you and how is the moving to LA, lucky lady ?
    I’m doing the course again, just for a refresh before starting my second book, is there a way to put a ‘page marker’ to remember where I am for the next time. (That might not be the day after…)
    Thank you !

    1. Hi, Lison! We’re leaving on Thursday, so things are pretty busy around here. 😉

      Scrivener actually holds your place for you, both within the project and within each documents. So, when you reopen a project, it should be exactly where you left off. And if you switch to a document you were working in weeks ago, the cursor will be where you left it last time you worked on it.


  2. Lison says:

    Hello Gwen, sorry to disturb you while you are so busy.
    I ment when I am studying the course for the second time, is it possible to have a marker on your course. Because, they are all marked ‘done’… now
    Thank you again… Lison,

    1. Ah, sorry. What you can do is mark the lessons as incomplete as you go through them again. The Mark Complete button should say Mark Incomplete for any lesson you marked previously. This will also clear the checkmark and remove the strikethrough text on the sidebar syllabus so you’ll know where you are (even if it’s backwards from your actual progress).

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