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Autonumbering (Compiling with Scrivener 3) | ScrivenerVirgin

Let Scrivener count for you

In a previous post, I introduced autonumbering and explained how the actual numbers don’t appear until you compile your manuscript.

Last time, we looked at chapter numbering and the various options. I also mentioned that you can automate the numbering for:

  • Parts
  • Figures / images
  • Tables

You can even dream up your own name and create a ‘named auto numbering stream’. These tags are put within the text of your manuscript, and they are replaced with actual numbers during the Compile process. So, let’s get started.

Numbering parts

As well as chapter numbering, you might need part numbering.

There are two ways of achieving this – much the same as there are two ways of numbering chapters.

  • You can set up the autonumbering within the Compile pane.
  • You can include your placeholders in the titles of the parts.

I created a new project: a novel with parts. Scrivener provides for a couple of Chapters within each Part, and Scenes within them. You can add to this as your novel develops.

Before I write any words though, let’s check what Scrivener offers by way of autonumbering of the parts.

Within the Title Options, there is a placeholder: Part <$t:part>. The word ‘part’ is the name of the placeholder and Scrivener not unreasonably chooses this to number the parts. However, any other word would work as well … but not be so meaningful.

Notice that in the Title column of the top table, the box is not ticked in the Part Number row. So, Scrivener will use the placeholder, not whatever is the title for each part.

If you decide you’d rather specify your own titles, tick the box and delete the placeholder from the Title Prefix box.

Choose your own numbering style

Notice also that the default placeholder has the letter t. This generates One, Two, Three, … for the numbering of parts. You can change this to whatever you want.

  • n for 1, 2, 3, …
  • r for i, ii, iii, …
  • R for I, II, III, …
  • l for a, b, c, …
  • L for A, B, C, …
  • w for one, two, three, …
  • W for ONE, TWO, THREE, …
Autonumbering acts and scenes in a play

If you create a new project using one of the scriptwriting templates, Literature & Latte provide automatic numbers for your acts and scenes.

The initial Stage Play (UK) Script comprises one Act and One Scene. I’ve created additional scenes, and a New folder with two more scenes, as seen in the Binder.

The numbering is already in place, and is replicated when you create new Acts and Scenes..

When it’s time to compile, the numbering is done for you. (To achieve this effect, with no page breaks, I tweaked the Separators, replacing all Page breaks with the Empty line option.)

Set up your own numbering system

If you’d rather decide your own numbering system, delete the ACT[N] SCENE [N] from the documents before you start to duplicate/create new acts and scenes, and use placeholder text within your titles.


To make sure the scenes start again at One, include the reset tag just before the placeholder tag for the first scene in each act, and don’t forget to tick the Title box in the Compile pane.

Autonumbering is provided to make life simpler, but you still have the option to do things your own way!

Next time, I’ll focus on tables and figures and how you might cross reference these within the text.

Questions? Need a helping hand? Want a demo?

To watch me demonstrating how to control auto numbering of parts, acts or scenes in Scrivener, or to ask any questions, book a Simply Scrivener Special.

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

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  • Martin

    9 February 2023 at 10:32

    Dear Anne, thank you so much for your contribution. It has most likely saved me submitting my PhD thesis late! Big thanks.

  • Manda

    16 January 2023 at 09:05

    Do you think it’s possible to auto number sections and subsections in a continuous format? For example;

    Chapter 1 (main chapter)
    1.1 (section)
    1.1.1 (subsection)

    I’m writing a thesis and must title this way.

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