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Outliner for redacting?

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Posted by Dr Andus
Sep 26, 2011 at 10:37 PM


In the end I decided to go with Scrivener for Windows. While I liked the idea of marking topic sentences as headers in Word 2010’s outliner, Scrivener offered a number of additional interesting features. It allowed me to break down the text into an outline of individual paragraphs, where I can zoom in and work on each paragraph in isolation and also organise them into a hierarchy, without altering the text. The Inspector in the right pane is also useful, as I can colour-code paragraphs with labels such as “Reduce?” or “Remove?” or “Important,” making it easy to come back later in corkboard view, when I need to come back and decide what to remove or reduce. The “Document Notes” section is also useful for recording meta commentary on what could be done with a particular paragraph.

But what works really well is the word count. In Word you need to highlight a particular section to get the Word count, and once you un-highlight it, it’s gone. In Scrivener it is possible to isolate any part of the text (a paragraph, several para., a whole chapter), and the word count is displayed continuously, while you work on that section. Finally, in the Binder pane, the outline of the document can display how many paragraphs are in a given section, thus giving a sense of the relative size of each section. The full screen option where I can block everything else out and just work on that individual paragraph is also very nice.

The only downside so far is that I lost the associated EndNote bibliography when I imported my Word file. This means that I will need to individually re-insert all my references (177 in all). But somehow that felt like a price worth paying, given the above benefits. This is my first time using Scrivener, and I’ll definitely buy the license when it comes out.