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The split screen option was #2 on my list of Scrivener Plus Points as it provides such a feeling of control over my content.

From day 1, I’ve been using split screens for my NaNoWriMo projects and all other projects too. (Back in December 2015, I needed a third editing screen and pulled into play the Quick Reference screen too.)

In October 2016, in the run up to NaNoWriMo for that year, I wrote my first ‘beginner’s guide’ to split screens, and today I’m taking that a stage further.

Meet the split screen toggle button

The split screen toggle button is at the right-hand end of the header bar at the top of the editing pane.

There are three ‘states’ for this button:

Full: Full screen this icon appears when you are already using split screens (vertical or horizontal). Clicking on it will result in the other pane disappearing, give all the space to the current active pane.

Vertical split: Vertical split this is one option (as shown in the example above), and will appear when you are not using split screens already, and have set the vertical option in View / Layout / Split Vertical.

Horizontal splitHorizontal split: this is the other option, and will appear when you are not using split screens already, and have set the horizontal option in View / Layout / Split Horizontally.

When you split, horizontally or vertically, Scrivener gives you two copies of the same – not so daft if you want to look at two parts of the same document. It’s like the (horizontal) split screen in Word – except you have the option for a vertical split too.

What’s the ‘active’ pane?

At any one time, you are working in one of the two split panes; never both. The header bar changes colour to pale blue, to indicate the active pane. In the example below, the right hand pane is the active pane.

How is the space allocated?

Although the initial split is ‘equal’, you can drag the splitter bar to create more/less space for each pane as you wish.

Split screen example

You can also have a different view mode for each pane. In the example above, I’ve chosen Corkboard view on the left and Scrivenings on the right.

I tend to work from high to low, from left to right. So, I have my outline on the left and the text I’m working on, on the right.

If, while working on a document, I need to refer to a character sketch, I swap the position of the editors using View / Layout / Swap Editors and then open the character sketch in the right-hand pane. But that’s just my OCD kicking in!

split pane with char sketch

Bringing in the Inspector for a split screen

When there’s only one document in the editing pane, the Inspector provides information for that document. Using split screens, you have two options.

  • The Inspector can show data for the active pane.
  • You can lock the Inspector to whichever pane you choose.

So, in the example immediately above, it would make sense to lock the editor to the left-hand pane, which is the text I’m writing. In the example above that, I’d lock to the right-hand pane.

Locking is done by clicking on the unlocked padlock icon at the top right-hand corner of the Inspector. split screen unlocked Inspector

It’s another toggle button, so clicking the locked padlock, unlocks the Inspector from the pane.

Locking a pane within a split screen

As well as locking the Inspector to a pane of your choosing, you can lock a pane. Click on the item icon to reveal a drop down menu and choose Lock in Place. Split screens Lock in Place

The colour changes again, this time to pink!

split screens pink header bar

Can I show you that again, live?

For a demonstration on how to use split screen and the locking of Inspector to panes, and panes, or if you need to ask any questions about Scrivener, book a place at the next Simply Scrivener Special. It’s free and everyone is welcome.

60 minutes of Q&A on Scrivener with me, Anne Rainbow, ScrivenerVirgin.

To help me prepare, you might also complete this short questionnaire.

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