Scrivener: Adding Files and Folders

When you open Scrivener, you will see a page like this:


Here you will find several templates that can be adapted for your novels that are already set up with files and folders you may need for your project. If you want to keep your project as simple as you can, choose “blank” and you can manually add only what you need. Hit open, write the name of your project and there you have it. If you want to open an existing document, you can hit “Open Recent” for current files or search your computer by “Opening an Existing File.”


With the “Blank” preset, you will see “Draft” – your top drawer – and “Research” – your bottom drawer. If you would like to rename your files, just double click (left click) on the title. It will highlight and you can type in whatever you want the name to be. You will see one text file already under the “Draft” heading. If you hit “Add” (green button with the plus) another text file will be added. It is entirely possible to write your novel, just but adding text files for each chapter and exporting the story without further work. For our purposes, though, we’re going to add files to become each chapter.


Make sure you have “Draft” or “Research” highlighted so the file will go into the right drawer. You can add folders by clicking the down button next to add and holding it for two seconds when it will open the menu. Then click, “Add folder.” You can add as many folders that you like. I usually do one folder for each chapter. If you have trouble with this, you can also add files and folders by going to the “project” tab and hitting “new folder.”


So now you have filled your proverbial filing cabinet with the folders you need to get started. How do you put the paper into your folders? Well, surprise. Scrivener is set up to add a new text document/paper every time you press “enter.” Highlight the folder, or even the text file ABOVE where you want to add the new paper and hit enter. You’ll see your now paper, clean, white and ready to type. You can also follow the steps to add a “folder” and add a “text” instead, but since this is the bare bones, just remember enter. 🙂

Now, what happens if you need to change a text to a file or a file to a text? You can convert the files by highlighting the folder or file you want to change. Then go to “Documents” drop down to “Convert” and choose “convert to file/folder”. You cannot do this in batch form so when you set up your document, be sure to choose which layout you want to work with when you set up your document, to avoid having to change things one by one.

You can repeat the steps to add folders and files in the “Bottom Drawers” by highlighting “Research” text, then adding as many folders as you need to organize your novel. 

So now we’ve got your drawers, files, and text pages set up. You can start typing if you’re starting your novel from scratch.