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Scrivener Review: Writing Software for Mac

written by: S.A. Coggins•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 10/12/2009

Tired of having your writing notes all over the place? Thinking of an alternative way to write your next novel, script, or non-fiction project? If you're looking for a writing software that will help you to organise, plan, and create your creative ideas, then Scrivener might be right for you.

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    Scrivener: A Brief Overview

    Scrivener is a writing software that runs on the Mac platform. It can be used by different types of writers - from novelists and scriptwriters to playwrights and comic book authors. It has built-in templates and an export function. And, you can find different ways to plan and to organise your writing project using Scrivener.

    Some additional notes:

    • Created by: Literature and Latte
    • Requirement: Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or above
    • Compatibility: Universal application for both Intel and PowerPC Macs
    • Cost: Free 30-day Trial, pay US$39.95 for a license, additional 12.5% discount available to students

    Check out Scrivener at Literature and Latte

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    Some Scrivener Features

    scrivener-1 Here are some of Scrivener's really great features:

    • Templates - Scrivener comes with templates for the novel format, film scripts, comic books, radio script, and plays.
    • Export Function - You can easily export your work to MS Word, or other files (including Final Draft, for scripts).
    • Research notes - Add image files, PDF documents, movies, sound files and web pages in to Scrivener and have your research notes handy within the programme. No more hunting around for these notes!
    • Cork Board/Index Cards - Each document you begin becomes an index card note. You can easily refer to these index cards via a cork board view. If you need to shuffle documents or scenes around, just drag your index cards.
    • Outline View - You can easily create and work with your outlines in Scrivener. You can even add notes and color codes to each section for easy reference.
    • Snapshots - Whenever you're editing your draft, you can take a 'snapshot' of your existing draft so that you can refer to them and/or revert to a previous version of your manuscript. Especially handy whenever you change your mind about your revisions.
    • Full Screen Mode - If you need to block everything else out of your computer screen, switch to full screen mode so you don't get easily distracted and you can just get the writing done.

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    Pros and Cons of Scrivener


    • Useful for different writing projects - novels, comics, research projects, non-fiction work, and scripts
    • Clean, beautiful interface
    • Caters to linear and non-linear writers/thinkers
    • Great way to organize writing projects - able to add different types of files in to research folder
    • Value for money


    • It does not have some of the features that may be found in similar writing software (e.g., writing aids - such as character profile templates and plotting guides, built-in submissions tracking, etc)
    • A better way to organise and label the research folder (e.g., separating research notes from character profiles, etc)
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    Bottomline Review of Scrivener

    Rating Average

    Scrivener is an excellent writing software for the Mac platform. It has several features that help to make your work as a writer easier and smoother. Since it has a built-in exporter to specific manuscript formats, it helps to get some of the worries out of making sure that your manuscripts look professional.

    It has a great, easy-to-understand interface. Clean and well-organized. It is definitely worth looking in to for writers who can use a better way of writing other than just using the old wordprocessing software.

    For what it can do, Scrivener is definitely well worth its price.