Scrivener: Marking Multiple Documents to Include in Compile

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screenshot of Scrivener Outliner options
Screenshot by Lancy McCall

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Scrivener is my favorite writing tool and I love Scrivener’s metadata. It’s helpful for organizing and searching your story. And Scrivener makes changing this metadata fairly easy. You select the documents you want to change, right-click, find the metadata field you wish to change, and select the new value.

Easy peasy, right? Right. Except for the Include in Compile checkbox. This very important option tells Scrivener whether or not to include this document when it compiles your export. And yet, it doesn’t show up in any of the menu items as an item you can easily change. Typically, you set it in the Inspector Metadata window or you add it as a column in the Outline view and change it there. There’s even a way to quickly select your compiled documents in the Compile window before you export.

But these approaches only allow you to toggle the checkbox one document at a time. This has frustrated me on several occasions. I’ve specifically looked for a way to do this faster in the past. And I finally found it! (In the Scrivener User Manual, no less. Yes, I’m nerdy enough to read the user manual.)

TLDR: In Outliner mode, hold down the Option key and click a checkbox in the Include in Compile column. All documents showing in the Outliner view will toggle to match.

How to Change Multiple Documents at Once

Set Up the Outliner View

You must set up the Outliner View to show only the documents you want to work with.

First, make sure the Include in Compile column is in the Outliner View. (You can do this by right-clicking in the column headers, then selecting “Include in Compile” from the list OR clicking the > button in the upper right-hand corner of the view, then checking the field on the dropdown.)

screenshot of Scrivener Outliner options
Screenshot by Lancy McCall

Next, show only the documents you want to update. You can do this in different ways:

  1. Do a temporary Search based on other metadata criteria to filter your binder, then select those documents in the Binder.
  2. Set up a Collection based on a Search to collect these documents for you as you write. Show that Collection and select all the documents in the Binder.
  3. Select the Manuscript folder and expand or collapse the levels in the Outliner view as needed to show the documents you want to change.
  4. Hold down the Command button and manually select the documents you wish to change in the Binder.

Make the Change

Once the Outliner is showing ONLY the documents you want to change, hold down the Option key and click the checkbox for Include in Compile on any of the documents in the list.

Important! This will change the setting on all checkboxes that are visible in the Outliner.

Documents that are not showing because they are collapsed will not be affected.

Caution

This is a powerful shortcut and has saved me a lot of time, especially when I’ve needed to reorganize my story or add/remove scenes.

BUT you should use it with caution. If you suddenly wind up with all kinds of documents in your Compile list, you may have accidentally changed some you didn’t mean to. Always double check what documents are showing in your Outliner before using this cool feature.

Wrap Up

That’s it. That’s my tip of the day for Scrivener.

I’ll be honest, I wanted to get this documented so I could find it easily when I need it in the future and can’t remember how I did it. Lucky you for getting the benefit of my poor memory. 🙂

For more information on how to use Scrivener metadata, check out this article: Analyze Your Novel’s Scenes with Scrivener Metadata.


What’s been your experience with the Include in Compile checkbox? Do you have any workarounds like this? Let me know in the comments.


Happy Writing!


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