Scrivener 1.5.3 review

We must admit that some of the gems we review go straight in the trash afterwards. Some stay on our machines for a little while. And a very few become part of our toolkit; the apps we use every day. Scrivener is one of those rare applications. If you’re a student, write reports for work or fancy yourself as an author Scrivener is the perfect tool for you. It’s designed to help you plan, organise and execute large writing projects, from degree dissertations to blockbuster novels and everything in between.

The basic features it gives you to do this are a simple but powerful word processor, outlining tools and an internal file system that enables you to keep research – image files, PDFs, movies, sound files and web pages – alongside your writing project. All of your work on a project is stored in a single file. A useful keywords system helps keep track of characters, themes or ideas.

We first reviewed the package at version 1.0 back in 2007. The program had big overhauls at 1.10 and 1.50, introducing lots of feature tweaks and fixes. At version 1.5.3 it’s mature, stable, Snow Leopard ready and boasts an ever-expanding fan base.

Among the newest features is synchronisation with WriteRoom (www.writeroom.ws) – the online, distraction-free word processor. This, in turn, enables syncing with the WriteRoom iPhone app, so you can tap out notes for your thesis anywhere then edit them in Scrivener when you get home. Since the last time we reviewed the app, developer Literature and Latte has added support for saved layouts, spruced up the colour scheme and made significant improvements to export and draft compiling.

OUR VERDICT

Our one tiny gripe with the program, which we are reluctant to admit, is that it’s Mac only. You can import files from Word or just about any other word processor though – so if you have to work on a PC for a while, it’s easy get your edits into Scrivener when you’re back at your Mac.

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