iOS Scrivener, Draft Preview

I’ve been writing about iOS Scrivener quite a bit lately, so this will probably be my last post on it for a while 1, but this feature is one I missed in my initial review and it deserves a bit of attention.2

Part of Scrivener’s brilliance is how it breaks down different sections of a writing project into separate documents. These different documents can represent entire chapters, or smaller sections of a larger narrative or argument. For my workflow, I attempt to keep my individual documents as small as I possibly can, this way I can rearrange my writing at will without having to do much old-school copying and pasting.

The problem with this workflow comes when a writer wishes to see how a project, or an extended section of a project, flows together. This is where Scrivener’s excellent “Scrivenings View” comes into play. This view takes the current document selected, as well as all documents hierarchically underneath it in the binder3, and stitches them together in the editor as a single entity. The distinct breaks between documents remain visible, and the document titles can be displayed so one knows which document is being viewed as the project is scrolled through, but it appears as one document.

I’ve used this view when I constructed my sermon outlines in Scrivener’s Outline View. It allows me to write the message as a cohesive whole, while keeping its structure at the forefront. Scrivenings View carries over to Composition Mode, which only adds to my appreciation of the feature.

For various technical reasons iOS Scrivener is unable to implement Scrivenings View, but it has another trick up it’s sleeve which is almost as helpful. When editing a document4 a button, which looks much like typical “hamburger menu,” is displayed in the bottom toolbar to the left of the word count indicator. When tapped, “Draft Preview” is activated. This looks very similar to Scrivenings View, and there are even options to display folder and text titles in the preview5 which further hint at its similarities. Unlike the aforementioned Scrivenings View, however, activating Draft Preview stitches together every document in the binder – no matter its hierarchical level. Helpfully, the preview always opens at the document or folder currently selected in the binder. A navigation slider also appears at the bottom of the preview, which helps with quick navigation through a project.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Unfortunately, Documents cannot be edited directly in the Draft Preview6. Double-tapping inside the window, however, will both activate the currently viewed document in the editor and set the cursor at the point which was tapped. It’s pretty slick.

This is yet another way iOS Scrivener is making writer’s lives easier when they are on the go7.


  1. I need to write my Star Trek: Beyond review! 
  2. Thanks for the poke silverdrag0n 
  3. Whatever’s indented more to the right. 
  4. Or when a folder is selected in the binder, if you want to activate the feature for an entire chapter. 
  5. Tap the settings gear in the upper left of the preview. 
  6. Again, there are technical limitations in iOS. 
  7. It should be noted this is an iPad only feature. 

One Comment

Add yours →

  1. I am so glad I don’t have to understand or use a scrivener to do my little bit of writing. What I have works for me.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: