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Autonumbering (Compiling with Scrivener 3) | ScrivenerVirgin

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One of the most-asked questions when compiling is about chapter numbering. For many, this proves to be a stumbling block. So, today, I’m explaining all – and much else about Scrivener’s auto-numbering feature.

There are a host of numbering options, and they are activated using ‘placeholders’. These are essentially ‘tags’ which are replaced during the Compile process for actual data. A complete list is available via the Help Menu.

Tags are easy to spot; they start with <$ and end with >.

Title options

You have the option to let Scrivener number your chapters for you using numbers (1, 2, 3, …) or words (one, two, three, …).

To activate the auto numbering of chapters, you need to put a tag as a title prefix in the Title Options pane (part of the Compile process).

Notice the ‘t’ in this tag. It results in the words ‘One, ‘Two’, ‘Three’ etc being used to number your chapters.

There are alternative options for the worded version of a chapter title number: w and W. This extract from the complete list of placeholders (available via the Help menu) explains all.

And there’s always the simply numbering activate by the ‘n’ tag.

This can be combined with the ‘:chapter’ in the Title prefix pane – or used for many other auto numbering options.

What if you don’t wan’t Scrivener to automatically number your chapters?

If you’d rather number your chapters yourself, or not number them at all – just have the titles you’ve used for the titles of your chapters – that’s simply achieved, by ticking the correct box in the Section Layouts pane.

If you tick the Title column AND set up the Title Prefix, you’ll get both: your title and Scrivener’s automatically generated one!

Decide which you want and change the settings accordingly.

Alternative numbering options

Scrivener provides options so you can count using Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, …) or Roman:

Or, you can use lettering:

Other auto numbering options

It’s not only chapters that Scrivener can number for you. 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. More on that, in the next blog post.

Questions? Need a helping hand? Want a demo?

To watch me demonstrating how to control auto numbering of chapters 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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  • Harry

    22 March 2023 at 13:30

    Thank you so much for your blogs. This one on auto-numbering was very helpful. I was trying to get the same look as what I had created in a word processing file and this really saved time.

    I would suggest your actually writing and selling a short ebook book on compiling and structuring in a similar fashion that you have provided here. I think it would really be useful to PhD students like myself.


  • Al Cline

    7 December 2022 at 17:59

    I like the autonumbering feature for Figures but how do I reference it in the text. I want to say “See Figure 5” or similar but i dont know what number that figure is (or will be). Is there a way to specify a placeholder without it incrementing to keep the reference and the figure number in sync?

  • Bob

    25 January 2022 at 12:22

    Hi Anne,
    Is there a way to duplicate the “Title Adjustments” function of Scrivener 2 using Scrivener 3?
    I am using Scrivener 3.2.3 on Mac OS 11.6.2. I know that in Scrivener 2 it was possible to individually prevent certain Chapter level folders from incrementing the Chapter number of subsequent Chapter level folders (think Chapter level folder for Introduction, which should not add to the Chapter numbers that follow it).
    Scrivener 3 no longer has the “Title Adjustment” option in the Compiler sidebar (trying PDF right now, which had the option is Scrivener 2)
    Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

  • Lisa Bugajski

    10 May 2020 at 19:43

    These tips are great and would be very helpful if I had Scrivener3. I am a windows user and just started using Scrivener but find that I am frustrated by certain limitations including creating citations. How long will it be until Scrivener3 is available for windows?

  • KevinBrown

    20 December 2019 at 23:01

    How do I get to the “Title Options” pane? When I run “Compile”, I do not see the pane show at the top of this article. Instead, I get a window that has these options:
    Page Settings

    But no “Title Options”

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