Chapter Titles in Scrivener Compile

Scrivener is great, isn’t it?

Scrivener is really hard to learn, isn’t it?

I can’t really learn and retain lots and lots of information just by reading it one time. I need to use the information in some way or else I find I have a problem and learn by finding the solution. My most recent problem was that the chapter titles for my novel manuscript weren’t appearing in the Compile document. I struggled with this for awhile. I did Google searches. I asked people on Twitter. I asked two smart, curious people who are good at problem-solving and debugging. I did more Google searches.

(In the middle of researching this problem, I stumbled upon the answer to another problem! How to populate the project status bars!)

Finally, after some continued struggle and putting the question away and then coming back to it, I re-read the block of text at the intro screen within Scrivener. Turns out I needed to not work in folders. Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 2.18.04 PM

I didn’t want to make multiple scenes. I just wanted to write chapters. So I thought that meant write in folders. But that was wrong. Based on the intro screen info, I needed to create text files and move those text files up to the chapter level.

Scrivener Chapter Titles


Within each text file, I also selected the boxes on the far right that said “Include in Compile” and “Page Break Before.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 2.18.12 PM

So I went through every chapter and created a text file, copy and pasted the words into the new file, then deleted the folder. Then I went to the Compile screen. Guess what!

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 2.18.42 PM

All of the chapter titles I wanted were highlighted in yellow! WOOO!!! I hit Compile. And when I checked out the document, all of my chapter titles were right where they should be!

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 2.19.06 PM

So my whole problem was answered right in the main screen. For reference, here’s the info:

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 5.31.24 PM


While I really enjoyed using Scrivener to work on my novel manuscript I am by no means a power user. There are so many features I haven’t even begun to explore. I’m about to work on a non-fiction picture book proposal and I¬†believe I will learn even more about the features of Scrivener as I encounter problems or want things to look a certain way and then learn how to make it happen.

What feature of Scrivener did you learn through problem-solving? Which feature is your most favorite?




About: Elizabeth

Writer, Author, Social Media Coach, Reader, Runner, Triathlete, Wife, Mother.


  1. Thank you!! Trying to compile and export my book from Scrivener to PDF and kept losing the titles! You saved me a lot of time (and headaches!). Happy writing! (Just found your site Googling about Scrivener and titles.)

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Glad I could help. I struggle with using the export feature, but writing in Scrivener is really a lot easier than a traditional word processor IMO. What are you writing?

  3. Roy C says:

    I’m trying without success, to put the word Chapter 1 2 3 etc when I formatting a PDF. What happens, my 30 odd chapters are not separated by the word Chapter, plus Chapter number. I have clicked on many variations in compile but it does not seem to give me what I want. On a previous occasion I had no problem, but now I have, It would be much appreciated if you can point me in the right direction.

    Many thanks,
    Roy C

  4. Elizabeth says:

    This might have something to do with what level your chapters are in the left hand sidebar of your Scribophile. Does that makes sense?

  5. Chuck M says:

    Thanks for this. It helped me find the problem. And while this may come a bit late to the party, the only part of this you needed to do was to select “Title” in the Compile Formatting pane. It will include folders and text files. I don’t think there is any difference in Scrivener between folders and text except the icon.

  6. Phil Cobb says:

    Thanks. This helps immensely because this is the same way I write. Now I know it’s not wrong. (Everything else I found focuses on setting up Chapters with multiple Scenes underneath.)

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