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Overview (Collaborative working with Scrivener) | ScrivenerVirgin

Collaborative working.

In my case, initially, that means me-today trying to collaborate with me-yonks-ago.

Let me explain!

I’ve finished NaNoWriMo for another year and put that effort aside. I won’t start editing again until February at the earliest. Even then, I’ll probably work on one of my backlog of NaNo novels rather than the current one.

Because I pick up and put down novels – and have several on the go at the same time, plus loads of other writing projects too – it’s essential I leave myself reminders as to what I’ve achieved so far, and what still needs to be done.

In Scrivener, I have four choices as to how to communicate with a future-me:

  • Annotations
  • Footnotes
  • Comments
  • Notes

This blog post offers an overview. Subsequent posts will go into more detail.


Annotations are messages you leave yourself within the text, just like you would scribble on the hard copy of a manuscript. Scrivener treats them like formatted text … and presents them within a (colourful) bubble.

To write an annotation, use Cmd + Shift A to switch it on and then type. It’s a toggle switch – the same keystroke combination turns annotation off. Or, highlight the text and make it a message with Cmd + Shift-A.


Footnotes are treated just like annotations. The main difference is the expectation that they will be exported. Then, they will appear at the foot of a page, or as endnotes, according to your Compile settings.

Within the Editing pane, footnotes look exactly like annotations. However, the bubble is grey.

It’s only when you export – for proofing purposes – that footnotes are positioned on the page.


Comments can be attached to text, are dated and assigned to a person (which allows for collaboration with others) … and appear in the Inspector.

Project notes and document notes

Also, within the Inspector, it’s possible to record notes that relate to a single document, and/or to the project as a whole.

Spoilt for choice!

I’ll go into each option in more detail in subsequent posts. If you have any questions, do ask. I’ll do my best to answer them.

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  • Patsy

    13 December 2016 at 10:03

    This seems a bit like track changes, which I’ve used when collaborating with someone else, as with From Story Idea to Reader.

    It hadn’t occurred to me that I could use it to make notes on my own writing. That’s a good idea for a read through prior to editing.

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