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How Awesome Is Scrivener

Scrivener continues to pop up here and there, like Planet Money's Adam Davidson on the Evernote Podcast. Its fans cut across a wide gamut, such as novelists, lawyers, students, professors, and reporters. And now it's even on Windows.

What makes Scrivener so amazing is that it changes long-form writing into something manageable. Instead of scrolling through endless pages of a long document, or trying to create some sort of document map or thumbnail drawer, you have the document split up as you like, and you can navigate and move effortlessly, when and where you like. It can be "chunkified," broken into chunks of material in ways that are useful (and then combined at a later point). You can zoom in and out on the material as you like, getting an eagle's eye view or a very granular view. This is precisely what long-form writing requires. Plus, it passes one of my main tests for a piece of software: IT DOESN'T CRASH.

An interesting experience for many Scrivener users is how many amazing features are under its hood. Many have commented, in blogs or podcasts, at how a "wish it could do this" became a "it does do this!" moment. The software has been extensively thought out, with powerful features that can be discovered with a quick search of the menus or the manual, but without a lot of bloat or endless icons.

I had a "it does do this!" moment not long ago, when I was wanting to search and modify the synopses of a project while in another section of the project – Scrivener can do precisely that, allowing you to edit the found synopsis from within the search panel. This means you don't navigate away from your current place; you can search, edit and add, close, and keep going. Amazing! Quick References are also terrific, they allow you to open different parts of a project in mini-windows, so that you can work on multiple sections at the same time.

So here's to Scrivener, the most powerful long-form writing tool on the planet.

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