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Scrivener 3 is on the way…

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Posted by Dr Andus
Dec 3, 2017 at 01:25 PM

 

Graham Rhind wrote:
Indeed, and since you suggested it I have been looking into it.  There
>are lots of reports online from users about instability and crashes when
>the master file gets too large, even in Word 2016, and it did crash on
>me already today when trying just with smaller files.  As far as I can
>see, every time I want to create/insert/merge or split I have to expand
>all the sub-documents. So that means having to open (wait wait wait)
>then edit (in a horrible view - Outline view is not exactly
>user-friendly) a 3000 plus page 110 plus mB document, which is exactly
>what I want to avoid. I can’t see an easy way to nest sub-documents.
>There’s no drag and drop should I need to re-order the documents as far
>as I can see. There’s no way to add flags or tags to, for example, show
>which files have certain changes made to them. There’s no way to assign
>for each sub-document how the link to the next document is to be created
>(page break, return, line break ...);  and so on.

Graham,

May I ask why this document needs to end up as an MS Word file? Is it your choice or an external requirement?

My understanding is that MS Word is a software to make typesetting/desktop publishing (what is commonly referred to as “formatting”) available to non-specialists.

But as it also allows you to write the document from scratch or edit existing documents, these lines between writing, editing, and typesetting (before it is consumed as a ‘published’ document in the form of a .docx file, PDF file, some other digital file, or as a printed doc) become blurred.

Since Word is an entry-level typesetting software, my experiences confirm yours in that it is only suitable for relatively small and simple documents without too much complex formatting and tables and documents.

I have found it unsuitable for dealing with 300+ page documents (with multiple chapters, EndNote references, multiple images and tables, headings, TOC etc.), so I can’t image trying to use it for 3000+ page docs.

It would suggest to me that you might need a more professional typesetting (desktop publishing) software, if that’s the need. I’ve never used one, but I presume that’s what the likes of Adobe InCopy and InDesign do.

However, if you’re only using Word for writing and organising a large document, and want the ability to have meta-comments on the process and the overall document itself, then there are plenty of other options.

You could either look for one software that can do it all within (such as Scrivener), or use other software to use as an overlay by linking from within that software to smaller chunks of Word files, if you must use Word.

ConnectedText (whether from within a CT topic or CT’s Outliner) comes to mind, but there must be other outliners that allow you to link to Word files. And then it becomes a matter of organising, annotating etc. those links to smaller Word files.

This inadequacy of Word was one of the reasons that drove me to a Markdown-based writing process in plain text (in WriteMonkey and Gingko). LaTeX is another option, but I didn’t need that complexity, plus I also need a Word file as a final output, due to it being the standard required by publishers in my field (unfortunately).

I found writing in plain text with Markdown in WriteMonkey hugely liberating, as it freed me from the obsession fostered by Word to keep formatting the document as I write, only to discover that Word regularly messed it up, and then I felt compelled to be fixing the look of the document, instead of focusing on the content and the writing process (not to mention that much of the formatted text ended up being edited out, so it was a waste of time to format it in the first place).

These days I do all my writing outside of Word, and only export stuff into Word at the very latest moment, for the very final act of formatting (i.e. typesetting), before sending it out.