Scrivener for Mac - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Scrivener for Mac

CNET Editors' review

Scrivener is an excellent, idiosyncratic app for creating and managing complex writing projects, whether you're trying to write a novel, play, TV show, or magazine feature. No simple word processor, Scrivener is a full authoring tool, using a metaphorical "three-ring binder" interface that helps you organize draft text and research documents into a simple system for writing, revising, and rearranging text.

While the basics of Scrivener's interface are intuitive--the system of folders, documents, and index cards on a virtual corkboard--you'll need to invest some time and effort to fully understand all of its features, including flexible output options, "snapshots" for handling revisions, a potent outlining tool, full-screen editing mode, and an exhaustive system for keywords, labels, and the like. Thankfully, Scrivener has a feature-summary video, a built-in tutorial, a responsive developer, and an active and enthusiastic user community. Scrivener also now supports a couple of new formats--Final Draft's FDX and Write Room's WS--so you can easily move files from those applications. The price tag might seem steep given the ubiquity of free and cheap text editors, but Scrivener is an exceptional tool built for a particular task.

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All User Reviews

Results 1-10 of 44

  • 1.0 stars

    "Awful and impossible"

    September 10, 2013  |   By stljone

    Version: Scrivener 2.4.1

    Pros

    The only pro to Scrivener is that it is not a virus. It didn't actually infect my computer, but it did infect my life.

    Cons

    Scrivener is impossible to use. The company has no support or reliable assistance. They will direct you to "thousands" of websites that offer tutorials... well, no they don't. They tell you that there are thousands of websites with tutorials, but never actually provide any of these marvelous tutorials.
    Before you buy, google "Scrivener complaints" and read through some of the thousands of reviews talking about this impossible software.

    Then go figure something else out. It's not worth it at all.

    Summary

    Not recommended by this writer. It's horrible software. Impossible.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "From a graduate student in history: "Life Changing!!""

    March 31, 2013  |   By adina_johnson

    Version: Scrivener 2.4

    Pros

    As an academic historian, I am constantly wrangling evidence, pdfs, photos, interviews, you name it. Scrivener is amazing at keeping me organized throughout the writing process--from researching, to writing, to editing, to printing. I love the ability to look at my evidence on one panel while typing in the other. I love being able to rearrange my chapters and sub-points at will. Basically, no words could explain how much I love Scrivener!!

    Cons

    There are a few formatting quirks, but they are easily fixable once compiled into word. It would also be wonderful if Scrivener and Zotero could work better together. But these small complaints are FAR outweighed by the benefits of Scrivener.

    Summary

    Love it! Get the 30-day trial, do the tutorial, and fall in love!

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  • 5.0 stars

    "From a professional writer: EXCELLENT!"

    January 7, 2012  |   By bigbang

    Version: Scrivener 2.2

    Pros

    Feel, stability, predictability, organization and workflow integration.

    Cons

    Not cheap, but for me, it's been very well worth it. Especially with how quickly I've received technical support when I've needed it.

    Summary

    I'm the author of a 992-page book that's used in a lot of college courses. I'm now working on the 7th edition. I read several journal articles a day and do countless browser searchers, and need a program to organize my research. I also do a daily 90-second radio broadcast that is research intensive. So I spend several hours each day collecting and organizing information.

    I've tried just about everything including MacJournal, Circus Ponies Notebook, Devonnote, Evernote and Together, SOHO Notes, and more. I found each of these to be excellent in its own way, and I well understand if one suits your style and needs better than Scrivener. If fact, if you do a lot of writing, I'd strongly encourage you to try each one and find the one or two that you are most comfortable with.

    For me, Scrivener has provided the most intuitive and best feeling environment. Maybe that's because I started writing back in the old days, when one used 3x5 cards and a typewriter. Perhaps that's why I've done better with Scrivener than the others.

    I've honestly had no loyalty over the years to one of these programs or the other. Shamelessly, I'd consider switching tomorrow if an organizer came along that felt even better, so the fact that Scrivener has kept me happy for the past 18 months says a lot.

    (I'd especially switch to a new app if I could find software that helped me feel less resistance to the process of writing in general--but I've found no apps with this kind of miraculousness attached. Writing remains a challenge for me, even though I'm successful at it and make my living from it. I still dread having to do each new project. I've also found that no program can do the hard work of entering the information I need to enter in a way that's most useful. That's ultimately up to me. Damn.)

    The two times I've needed to get technical support with Scrivener, I've heard back within 6 hours. Both times, they were able to solve the problem.

    Another thing to consider is the stability--each note in Scrivener is kept as a separate text file in the project folder. This means that there's no database corruption to worry about. No question, databases have their advantages, especially for easy back up, searches, and perhaps for cloud storage. But as long as my hard drive is working, there is no way I'll ever lose the notes I've put into Scrivener. I just make sure I do daily backups to jump drives that I swap out and store in another location.

    On the other hand, I don't need to download directly to a blog or other media from Scrivener. I have no idea how well Scrivener works for that, nor am I syncing between laptop/smartphone and desktop. All I can tell you is for my particular purposes as a writer--which might be different from yours--Scrivener is the program that I've settled on to collect, collate and process my work.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Not Your Ordinary Word Processor"

    December 19, 2011  |   By straittalker77

    Version: Scrivener 2.2

    Pros

    Useful app for any writer, novelist, or screenwriter. Does everything that word does and then some. Has an incredible variety of useful features. Easy-to-use interface. Comes with easy-to-understand manual that is in depth.

    Cons

    Some small output bugs, but stable for the most part.

    Summary

    Scrivener is an amazingly powerful writing tool that will help organize and manage your writing project from beginning to end. The app is unlike any other word processor. It helps to break down your work into tiny pieces so the writer can create a larger, more complex project. It has a bunch of useful features like the snapshot feature, split-window view, the powerful inspector panel, and the corkboard views, which all help organize your scrivenings. It's easy to use for the most part, but you may want to keep the manual handy just in case. Definitely recommend this app for anyone who is serious in writing.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "This product just keeps getting better and better."

    August 26, 2011  |   By avro105

    Version: Scrivener 2.1.0

    Pros

    Great new features in this version. Well worth the upgrade price.

    Cons

    None I can think of.

    Summary

    If you are a student or write content for work. Scrivener is a must. I reckon it gave me another 10% on my degree.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Not a word processor - Instead a flexible author's tool"

    April 2, 2011  |   By MiguelD--2008

    Version: Scrivener 2.0.5

    Pros

    A wide number of features - but you can easily adapt it to working the way you do. It uses a programmer's approach to writing - because it was concieved by a programmer who is also an author. But, in the end, it is a wise approach.

    Cons

    To really see what it can do and understand some of the assumptions behind the way it is set up - you do need to invest time and review the training videos. If you want a word processor for writing - this is not a replacement for document formatting.

    Summary

    Best approach I've found for helping me organize and write articles and that long considered but never started fiction piece in the back of my mind. Well worth $45 dollars if you spend the time to try it and understand the purpose and process behind it.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Jack of all trades"

    April 1, 2011  |   By UVMoose

    Version: Scrivener 2.0.5

    Pros

    A word processor, note collector, research archive and more. Ability to split screen and have notes in one document and current work in the other is invaluable.

    Cons

    Doubtful anyone beside the author of the program can use all the tools it offers. Can be a little overwhelming.

    Summary

    I'm a journalist/author and I do ALL of my writing on Scrivener. I would be lost without it and can't imagine going back to a standard word processor. I do occasionally have to check the terrific manual to recall how to do something but that's OK. You can use as little of the program as you need or as much as you want. Either way, it's worth every penny.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "works well with so many options"

    February 12, 2011  |   By jmichaeli

    Version: Scrivener 2.0.4

    Pros

    keeping track of different sections; able to easily find things/sections;

    Cons

    have not really found any...

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  • 5.0 stars

    "It's my favourite app for Mac"

    December 10, 2010  |   By emmeeffe

    Version: Scrivener 2.0.2

    Pros

    A great piece of software, well coded and very well supported by a large community and a great developer, Keith Blunt

    Cons

    Not (still!) available in all main languages (italian missing!)

    Summary

    This application is what I needed for my writing project. It's a great way to manage my ideas.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "complete writing toolkit"

    November 30, 2010  |   By very_old_nerd

    Version: Scrivener 2.0b

    Pros

    Puts many useful tools in your hands. Revising, restructuring, creating visual representations, and accessing your research become easy rather than tedious. Version 2 has many improvements.

    Cons

    Nothing (and this is after more than 2 years with V 1, and a month with 2.0.

    Summary

    Its usefulness increases exponentially with project size. For a 2000 word piece of short fiction, well, maybe it doesn't give you much you can't get with an ordinary word processor. But when your project starts to grow, or to have chapters . . . then Scrivener lets you do things easily that would be an enormous headache with any other tool.

    My first published fiction was written on a DEC VMS editor, then I moved to dedicated word processors and then to Scrivener. So I've tried writing with tools not really meant for creative writing, moved to those that did it OK, and ended up with one that does it superbly.

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Results 1-10 of 44

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Scrivener for Mac