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How do I copy into Atomic Scribbler


I installed Atomic Scribbler yesterday. I think it’s me, not a bug, but for the life of me I can’t figure out how to get my document from Word into separate chapters. If I create a folder called Chapter 1, it won’t open so I can’t add my text. I’m sure I’m doing something wrong, but I don’t know what menu I should use, or how to import or just copy and paste. I can import the entire novella draft but I can’t break it into chapters.


In my iteration of Atomic Scribbler, I created a new folder called chapter one, then with the chapter one folder selected, I went to the heading called :Import from Folder" and selected the appropriate stuff to pick up the other folder, chapter or whatever.

If I wanted to make a number of chapters, I merely made as many new pages as needed for chapters, then copied and pasted chapter by chapter, changing the page name as needed for new chapters.

It wasn’t elegant but it worked for me.


I’m not sure what you mean by creating pages. All I want is to create a folder called Chapter 1, copy the text into that folder, then create another folder called Chapter 2, copy the text into that, etc. Every now and then I have a chapter with more than one scene, but for now, this novella is all 1 scene chapters.

To be honest, I took an in-person workshop with the author of Scrivener for Dummies, and still haven’t mastered the tiniest fraction of how to use it. I’ve been using Word for over 20 books, and it might have it’s own quirks, but at least I know how to use it.

So far, I feel like this is more trouble.


Have you ever considered to do it the other way around, MountainGram?

What I mean is, take your Word draft and divide it into as many chapters as you want, starting with ‘Chapter 1’ — BEFORE you import everything.

Then go and bring these separate chapter files into Atomic Scribbler (AS). Once they are in AS, you can continue with the content as you please.

I have Scrivener (since version 1.0), PageFour, and AS on my PC as well. Switched from Scrivener to PageFour, back to Scrivener, and then back to PageFour for good again. That was before AS was available. PageFour is the older (former) version of the new AS. The moment the long awaited AS was available, I got it right from the start and stick to it since then.

Let me tell you that importing is NOT more trouble with AS then Scrivener. It’s actually more intuitive and easier to handle than Scrivener in general. Why do you think there are so many courses out there, offering to learn Scrivener — and cost up to three times of the program itself.

The user manual for Atomic Scribbler will be ready today. I just have a few things to put into the ‘Appendix’ section, and then send it to Darren to check it and make it available for you guys. Yet, everything is actually available online too. It’s just more convenient to have the complete Knowledge Base information as a PDF available.

– Hans


You’re missing a step. A folder itself cannot contain text, only scenes or notes can contain text. What you need to do after you create the folder “Chapter 1”, is to add a scene to that folder — call it anything you like — then copy Chapter 1’s text from your main document into that scene.

The Scenes section of the Knowledge Base gives a good overview of how this is all structured. There are two screenshots at the top of that page that show different examples of what a project with multiple chapters could look like.


Thanks - I have a complete, 25 chapter novella that I was planning to use to check out AS. I still can’t figure out HOW to paste into chapters. If I create a folder and call it Chapter 1, nothing happens when I click on it. I don’t know how to get it to accept text.

I’m very old school. I need more screen shots, I guess, or a step by step how to written in baby steps. What I saw said that I could import my full doc, and then I’d have to break it into chapters. I can’t figure out how to do that.

In truth, most of what I need is a tracking system for chapters and also for characters. To date, I haven’t found anything better than a spreadsheet for character name tracking–not descriptions, just an easy to alphabetize list so I don’t keep calling everyone Hank.


Yes, I saw the screen shots. Silly me, I thought I could work in a chapter. So, what I call a chapter, AS calls a Scene? My mind doesn’t work that way, but I’ll give that a shot.


Hi MountainGram,

I can relate to your frustration – unfortunately, any work environment like an editor has to build its own paradigm for getting things done. I think the key to understanding AS (and I’m a rank beginner) is to view the main “book” elements in a Project, which it calls Chapters, as containers of more than just text. The idea is that while writing a chapter, one is very likely to have various bits and pieces of other material – not chapter text per se – that need organizing. So a Chapter contains perhaps a few scenes (blocks of text that we’re taking for granted in Word, etc.), perhaps some Notes (which might never end up as text), and maybe even folder of additional text fragments, notes, etc.

So if we are OK with the notion of a “Chapter” being a container, then the natural behavior is for a single click to select it, and a double-click to open and close it. And a right-click opens a context menu.

Note that the context menu contains commands to create a new “Scene” or a Note or a Folder. So when I’m importing existing text into AS, I don’t actually import it into the Chapter object, but rather into a Scene or two within the appropriate Chapter.

I hope this helps. I’m learning AS right now, too, so feel free to chat about any other areas of difficulty or confusion. It’s pretty clear that Darren has given a lot of thought to this slightly unconventional way of handling the parts of a book, but IMHO that’s just what we’ve needed for a long time. Scrivener is great, and has a lot of potential, but for some reason the developers are less concerned about ease of use (and ease of discovery) than I would have liked.




Yes, once the fact that a “Chapter” in AS isn’t a “Chapter” in my mind, I figured it out. Now, if I can import my Excel character naming system into AS, it might prove worthwhile for that alone.


I just noticed that there’s no “Add a chapter” option in the Project context menu. This is presumably because a Chapter is really just a Folder. Calling it a Chapter gets the user oriented, but then subsequent Chapters will be created by invoking “Add folder”. This could cause some confusion. At least, it prompted me to try to explain it!

It’s also worthy of note, as I get more familiar with this UI and document paradigm, that a folder is truly just a folder, not a chapter or a set of notes, until it starts to contain things. The user determines what a folder really is.

Although the demo doc gave me the impression that AS is based on chapters, it’s really a framework for managing Scenes and Notes (etc.), by means of Folders. So a logical approach is to name top-level folders Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc., but that’s just the writer’s own choice. Top-level folders could instead be Part One, Part Two, etc. And one could put ALL text blocks within a Chapter or Part folder, or in a separate folder on that level.

This approach requires users to consider the structure of their text. In the magnificent old pre-Windows formatting document editor Manuscript, from Lotus, all text was just called a block, which was equivalent to a paragraph. Short blocks got formatted as headings, longer ones as paragraphs. Since the whole model was hierarchical, indentation was used to determine a block’s position in the matching format hierarchy. It sounds weird, but it was very simple, and worked amazingly well for almost all conventional document development.

This is the kind of flexibility – mainly in the Tree – that originally drew me to Scrivener, although I found S to be weirdly hard to grasp, due to the added specialization of various doc structure elements. Or at least it did confuse me. The document export system was so confusing that as a long-time former programmer and software architect, I still gave up trying to figure it out.

As I write this, after importing a 150,000 word novel in over 90 chapters, I’m really excited that the document model of AS may be so simple and flexible that I will soon find it indispensable.



I went around and around when I was deciding over the Chapter / Folder naming convention. I started out calling a folder a Chapter, then changed it to Folder, then added a second type of folder called Chapter with a different icon so that the options were available.

In the end I chose to stay with just Folder, as I didn’t want to be forcing writers to work in a specific way. My feeling was that writers coming from a Word background might be more comfortable starting out with all their chapters in one folder, and a single chapter written into a single scene, migrating to a more complex structure later on. Writers who like to break down their scenes even more might create a folder for each chapter, containing multiple scenes.

The Knowledge Base that outlines Scenes, Fragments and Notes contains a couple of screenshots of sample project structures that use folders very differently. At the end of the day, Atomic is not about directing the writer to work in one way. It’s about flexibility and allowing the writer to define his own structure.

Of course, this means the writer has to make decisions on her own as to which approach best suits the way they work. But… you don’t have to get the structure right straight away. You can create new folders weeks or months from now and drag and drop scenes into those folders in order to restructure your project later.