Today we’re exploring one of the coolest new features in the recent Scrivener 3.0 upgrade: custom meta-data. (This post assumes you’ve already upgraded. If not, you can read my post about the new version here, and you can save 20% off the price of the upgrade if you use the code APRILDAVILA at getscrivener.com.)
Okay, so, if you cringed a little bit when you read the term meta-data, don’t worry. It’s not quite all so scary as it might sound. In fact, using meta-data in Scrivener 3.0 is WAY easier than it was in v2.
In short, meta-data is just information about data. In practical terms, meta-data allows you to make notes about the parts of your project, and the fact that Scrivener allows you to set it up however you want means you have endless flexibility in how you use it. Here’s how it works.
Open the Custom Meta-Data Window
Create Some Meta-Data
1) Click the little plus sign at the top to get a blank space where it says “meta-data title”
2) Enter a title. For this example I’m using “Ready for Editor”
3) Right below that window is a drop down box for “Type.” Choose “Checkbox.” (For this example, I decided to go with the checkbox option, because it’s nice and simple, but once you’re comfortable with it, you can play around with the other options, using lists, dates and text.)
4) Click “Okay”
Use Your Meta-Data
Okay, so now you’ve created meta-data. So what?
1) Click to view your project in outline mode.
2) Find the little greater-than symbol and click there to get a drop down of all available meta-data.
3) Find the check-box for the meta data you just created and check it.
Now your new header of “Ready for Editor” will show as a column header in your outline view. Click and drag it to move it left, and you get something like this:
Custom Field Love
With that last example you can start to see the benefit of being able to set things up yourself. Because maybe you’re not interested in tracking whether each chapter is editor-ready. Maybe you are more concerned with mentioning Taylor Swift in every chapter. Or maybe you want to make sure your main character gets naked in every other scene. You could set up some meta-data headings like this:
There’s frankly no way Scrivener could predict all the possible meta-data tags we, as writers, might want. So it’s kind of awesome that they make it possible for us to create our own.
Have you played around with your meta-data at all? If you’ve devised any cool tricks, lay ’em on us. I always love to see how people make this software work for them.