Scrivener Quick Tip: Comments

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This post is part of my Scrivener Quick Tips series

(I’m using the Mac version of Scrivener, v 2.3.1)

Today I want to look a little closer at Comments, which is not to be confused for Notes or Project Notes.

For my excursion into Comments, I’ve modified my good ol’ Scrivener Walkthrough Project, adding some actual text from a short story I wrote.  I’ve already setup a few Chapter folders and pulled the text in to play with.  Let’s get started.

Here you see my Scrivener Walkthrough Project.  Note that I have the Inspector Pane (right hand side) turned on and that it’s showing the Synopsis Card, General Information and Notes boxes:

I also want you to know that I have the Manuscript selected in the Binder, and I’m in Scrivenings Mode for my View, which lets me see all of the subdocuments/folders/scenes of the Manuscript in a single stream in the Editor.  Along the bottom of the Inspector Pane, you have the following buttons (in order from left to right): Notes, References, Keywords, Custom Meta-Data, Snapshots and Comments & Footnotes.  Clicking that last button changes the Inspector over to where I want to be:

Along the top of the Comments & Footnotes pane are three buttons:

As you may expect, the first button is to add a new Comment, the second is to add a new Footnote, and the third is to delete a Selected Comment or Footnote.  I’m just gonna concentrate on Comments today and will be leaving Footnotes for another.

To add a Comment, you have to select some text first.  You can just highlight the text you want to comment about in the editor:

And then click the ( + ) to add a new Comment:

Note that the Comment is stamped with your name, the date and the time.  This is important to remember cause I think you can do something cool with this – more on that later*.  Your Comment can be whatever – in this case, I just commented that I like the name ‘Malachi’.  I can add more Comments by highlighting the text in the Editor, and clicking the ( + ) button:

Now, if you, like me, prefer a little color in your Comments, you can actually right-click any of the comments and color code them so they stand out from each other:

Also, as you might have inferred from the little down arrow in the corner, you can collapse or expand a Comment by clicking the little arrow.  You can also delete a Comment by clicking the little x in the right hand corner of the Comment.  If you drill down in your Binder – say you select the Chapter 1 folder only, then you will only see the Comments for that Chapter:

Now – an interesting feature of Comments – they act almost as a bookmark.  If you click a Comment, the Editor will scroll to that spot in the Manuscript.  In my example above, I added a comment to Chapter 1, another to Chapter 2 and a third to Chapter 3.  Clicking any of those Comments (with the Manuscript selected in the Binder) takes me right to the text (and highlights it):

Note that the highlight color matches the Comment color.

If you want, you can also right-click a Comment to turn it into a Footnote:

“Can you export Comments?”

Yes.  You can control how they are exported when doing your Compile:

Uncheck those boxes and choose from the menu items:

And different Compile output formats, have different choices:

So – you can have Comments that are just for you, or Comments that you want to export as part of your final document.

BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE!

Remember when I marked something above with a *?  My thinking is this – since Comments are user based, you should be able to send your Scrivener Project to another user who can open it in Scrivener on their computer (obviously, they’d have to have purchased a copy), and you can either:

A) Collaborate back and forth or
B) Mark up the document similar to how Word does this.

Having said that – it doesn’t work exactly the way Markup in Word does.  Comments aren’t auto-created by someone making changes to the Manuscript (deleting a comma, for example).  But I still see it as a worthwhile feature.

All you have to do is find an editor/agent/collaborator who is also using Scrivener…

More Scrivener Tips coming!

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~P

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