Scrivener: Comments and Annotations

What do you do when, in the middle of writing, you think of something that needs checking, more research or whatever? Make a mental note? Scribble something on a scrap of paper?

If you’re writing in Scrivener, you can take advantage of the comments and annotations features to document those ideas and reminders when they happen and where they are needed. Each of these features functions a bit differently giving you useful options for documenting and tracking these notes.

Scrivener workspace showing comments

In this example, you see a piece of text that’s being edited. Notice the text highlighted in yellow. It’s associated with the comment visible in the information pane on the right. The text below it highlighted in red is an annotation. The biggest difference between the two is that a comment appears separate from the text while an annotation is inline with the text. There are any number of ways these features can be put to use – from reminders to questions for editors. And, because they have special formatting, you can configure the compiler to automatically strip them from the manuscript when compiling it for review, publication or whatever.

Because of this formatting and thanks to a special Scrivener command, you can easily browse through your manuscript to find each annotation and comment you’ve created. Use the Edit > Find > Find by Formatting command to display the option pane shown here and choose the formatting feature you want to find.

Find by Formatting pane

Not only can you find all annotations (in this example), but by also using the Containing text field, you can quickly find all the annotations discussing a particular topic. For example, if you use annotations as placeholders for graphic images need to be included in your manuscript, use the word “graphic” in each annotation then search for annotations containing that word to quickly find where you still need to include them.

Comments and annotations allow you to “jot” down things that come to mind while writing without taking you away from your writing effort to do it. Scrivener provides these tools and more to keep you focused and keep everything you need within easy reach.