One of the greatest benefits of Scrivener is its ability to help manage sections of a book-length document. You can quite literally select a section of your book, and then drag it and drop it to another part of your book without any fuss.
Scrivener’s Binder (the left pane in Scrivener) also allows you to see at a glance which sections you’ve written, which can then help you to do determine which sections you may still need to write.
But not everyone is comfortable with Scrivener at first. Things may not be where you expect them to be (though this downloadable cheat sheet can help you get your feet under you). If you prefer to stick with the devil you know, then there’s a way to “hack Word” and get it to behave like Scrivener.
Scrivener’s Binder and Word’s Nav Pane
Did you know that Microsoft Word has a feature that’s similar to Scrivener’s Binder?
|Word’s Navigation Pane|
It’s called the Navigation Pane, and while it isn’t ready-to-use when you first open Word, a few simple tweaks can get Word’s Nav Pane working for you.
Here’s how you do it:
1. Sketch a book outline.
Open a new Word doc. If you like to plan before you write, quickly list the sections you want to include in your book.
Outlining lends itself well to nonfiction books (my outlines usually consist of a rough table of contents), but you could also list all of the scenes, plot points, or story beats for a novel.
Chapter 1: Develop a System
Chapter 2: Just Start
Chapter 3: Motivate
Chapter 4: Collaborate
Chapter 5: Brainstorm
Chapter 6: Research
Chapter 7: Organize
Chapter 8: Draft
Chapter 9: Revise
Chapter 10: Edit
Chapter 11: Add Images
Chapter 12: Clean Up
Chapter 13: Format
Chapter 14: Proofread
Chapter 15: Create a Cover
Chapter 16: Publish
After You Hit Publish
Sample Revision Checklist
Don’t be too concerned about getting you structure perfect. Your structure can change as you write. And that’s okay because we’re setting up Word to handle that.
2. Assign a heading style.
Once you’ve laid down the bones of your book, assign a heading level to each item in your outline. Each of my chapters in Idea to Ebook is a Heading 1. If I were to include sections, I’d style them as Heading 2s and subsections would be Heading 3s.
In fiction, your chapters will be Heading 1s and your scenes can be Heading 2s. Apply your heading styles using the Styles menu in Word.
|Word Styles menu|
3. Manage your headings in the Navigation Pane.
After you’ve applied your heading styles, open the Navigation Pane with the Keyboard shortcut CTRL + F. Click on the tab on the left. You should see your headings in the Navigaton Pane.
If you click on the headings, Word will whisk you to that section of the document. If you drag a heading in the Nav Pane to a different place in the Nav Pane, that section will be moved to a different place in your running document.
By setting up the Nav Pane, you’ve essentially set up Word to behave like Scrivener’s Binder.
You’re not limited to one heading level. If you create subsections and style them as Heading 2s in Word’s Style menu, they’ll show up in the Navigation Pane as well. Play around with it. You can also delete an entire section in your running document by right-clicking on a section title in the Nav Pane and selecting delete.
If Scrivener is too steep a learning curve for you right now, there are ways to tweak Word so that it serves you better. In the end, it doesn’t matter what tool you use to write a book. Your readers will never know, anyway. Why not begin by getting to know the tool you already have?