(I’m using the Mac version of Scrivener, v 2.2)

A powerful tool in the Scrivener arsenal, is Compile.  In version 2.2 for the Mac, this feature really takes on a whole new dimension.  With Compile, you are one click away from exporting your project out in whichever format you need.

Today I’m going to talk about Compiling for Synopsis.

When I secured an agent for my novel, Samantha Kane: Into the Fire, one of the first things he wanted was a synopsis for book 2.  Which I didn’t have.  But needed to create.  SO, I took to Scrivener’s manual to see what the software could offer me.  What I found was gold.

You might remember my previous Scrivener Quick Tip: Inspector Synopsis, where I talked about the Corkboard and Outline/Synopsis views.  In either Corkboard or Outline/Synopsis view, you can create an outline for your project, adding information at every level of your project.

Here’s my fake project.  Note that I’ve added info for each scene:

Outline View with info for Scenes

Now, if I have an agent asking for my synopsis, it’s really easy to essentially export the text from this outline.  I start by going to File: Compile:

This will bring up the Compile Dialogue screen:

Your Compile Dialogue has a lot of options.  What we’re looking for today is under the Format As dropdown.

Whoa! Look at all the Compile options!

Clicking on Format As: Synopsis Outline actually changes the options you have:

In this screen, you can either use the default settings for your Synopsis Outline, or you can go down the menu list on the left, and change individual options under each item, like if you wanted a specific font.  You could also check or uncheck boxes under Contents to add or remove sections of your Project / Manuscript.  Another option is to use the default settings, and make your format changes in Word (more on that in a second).

Once you have everything set the way you want, click the Compile For drop down at the bottom of the screen:

For my example, I’m choosing .rtf – Word Compatible.  Even though there is a Word format or two available, Scrivener recommends that if you’re going to be working on your compiled document inside of Word, that you use the .rtf format.

Once you choose your format, click Compile.  In my case, this creates an .rtf file which I open in Word:

As you can see, everything is editable.  So if you’re comfortable formatting stuff in Word, you can do all of that.  Although, it does give you some basic formatting right off the bat (like bulleted text).

More Scrivener Tips coming!

Don’t have Scrivener?  You can try it free here (no, I don’t get paid for pointing you at them!).



  • J.T. Evans Posted March 5, 2012 9:10 am

    Great tip and excellent walk-through! Good stuff in there.

    • Patrick Hester Posted March 5, 2012 10:33 am

      Thanks JT!


  • Bud Sparhawk Posted March 5, 2012 12:07 pm

    Patrick, I’m really enjoying these posts about Scrivener capabilities. Maybe I’ll start posting about it in my blogs.

    • Patrick Hester Posted March 5, 2012 6:42 pm

      Bud – so glad you’re enjoying these!

      You should totally blog about Scrivener on your own site. I, for one, love to hear how other folks are using Scrivener.


  • Paul (@princejvstin) Posted March 5, 2012 2:38 pm

    That’s pretty clever. And useful for writers, but that’s the point, right? 🙂

    • Patrick Hester Posted March 5, 2012 6:43 pm

      Paul – if you notice in the screen shots, there’s a lot of different options under Compile. Synopsis was just the one I chose to focus on today. I really have only scratched the surface on the features Scrivener has to offer.


  • Trackback: Scrivener Quick Tip: Compile for Synopsis | Everything Scrivener
  • Trackback: Scrivener Quick Tip: Compile for Enumerated Outline | All Things From My Brain

Comments are closed.