Scrivener templates

Or, how to stop you tearing your hair out each time you start a new project.

A friend was having trouble and rather than write a long twitter thread that no-one will ever find again, I decided to update the content on my blog for once! Heh. Thanks, Russell!

Okay, so you got your Scriv to look and act just as you want it, set the editor width, made the inspector appear in the place you want it, and most importantly, saved your font styles so everything looks great! But then you go to start a new project and… it defaults to Scrivener being Scrivener again! What to do?

Using your old templates and styles to make new Scrivener templates, my way

Here’s what I do. It’s a flexible piece of software so it is by no means the only way but here it is:

  1. Take your old, perfectly well set up project and save it as a new template (don’t worry if it’s got all the text in it, we’ll get that out in a sec, we just want to save it as something else before doing step 2 or you might end up screwing your backups)
    From the main (top) menu choose: File > Save as New Template
  2. In the popup menu, make sure you name your custom template something you’ll spot, eg put your name in it. And make sure you remember which section you have saved it, e.g. fiction. And finally, make sure you tick “save styles into template” because otherwise you’ll get the ugly defaults again!

3. Open a new project
From the main (top) menu choose: File > New Project

4. This will open up the templates dialogue and then you use the left hand list to search for the section you saved it in, e.g. fiction, and your new template should show up! You can then press the “Create” button.

5. The intelligent among you will have noted that your template is full of your old project’s text. You can just delete that. I recommend renaming any folders to generic stuff like “chapter”. Then, when you’ve cleaned your tabula rasa down, save it once more as a template and save OVER what you just created.
From the top menu: File > Save as Template.

Fortunately, Scrivener should remember all the settings you last entered and so you can just press save, and when it prompts you to overwrite, click ok.

Now, you can just start your new project from here. Or, you could leave it and come back to it another time. But each time you start a new project, remember to go for your custom template.

Voila! Much time and frustration saved. It might take a few attempts to get the template right, but once you do, it’s a “set it and forget it” moment.

Under the Moon: Collected Speculative Fiction by E.M. Faulds

Under the Moon: Collected Speculative Fiction by E.M. Faulds

British Fantasy Award for Best Collection 2023

15 SFFH tales with female protagonists

Available now at Ghost Moth Press or online retailers