google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Armchair Genealogist: Scrivener



I’m always on the lookout for a new writing tool, something to keep me organized and on target. Perhaps I’m secretly looking for a wonderful invention that will take away all the pains of actually sitting down and accomplishing the task. Of course, I learned that long ago there is no magic wand.

I’ve tried a number of programs in the past and I always end up in the same place with a software program that complicates the entire writing process and creates more work and requires me to study a long dry manual to get started.  

Enter Scrivener.....I wasn’t using this program long before I was soon singing its praises. Simply because there is no huge learning curve, you can be up and using Scrivener in a matter of minutes.

Regardless of whether you are writing your family history book, a fictional novel, a how to book, a magazine article or series of blog posts, Scrivener can organize your projects into efficient and organized binders. Scrivener is a flexible and easy-to-use tool regardless of what you’re writing. 

I love Scrivener and I became an affiliate of the product. I've also began creating a series of videos Scrivener for the Family History Writer. Each video helps you explore Scrivener getting to know Scriveners many features, all the while keeping the family historian in mind. 

Scrivener for the Family History Writer 

Video Series

  1. An Introduction to Scrivener for the Family History Writer
  2. The Corkboard - Where you'll plan and outline your family history projects
  3. The Editor - Create the perfect writing environment
  4. Snapshots - Capture your writing before the changes 
  5. The Outliner- Plan and organize in a hierarchical format 
  6. Scrivener - Annotations
  7. Scrivener - How to Use Comments 


Anonymous said...

Hi Lynn,
I just finished watching the video about Scriveners. Good timing as I am about to put in a concerted effort into putting 15-20 years of genealogy research into book form.

I have been using Family Tree Maker genealogy program, a product, for many years. They now have what is called "Smart Story." I am still in the learning curve for the 2012 edition of FTM and wonder if you are familiar enough with it to tell me what advantages there might be to using Scriveners. Ancestry was not familiar with Scribeners, so I turn to you for your advise.

Dorothy Petraitis,

Jenna said...

Thank you for the Scrivener videos. I am writing my personal history for a college class right now and could not be happier. I would recommend that anyone with questions download the free trial and see what makes the program. special. Scrivener is easy to use and yet complex in what it accomplishes.

I found your website today when I realized that I could probably use Scrivener to keep stories and photos organized for writing a family history. Great minds think alike.

Roger W. Wells said...

Your post on using Scrivener are very help full.

It would would like to see how to print the output to pdf and e-pub.

Your booklet "The Complete Guide to Interview" is great. Did you do this in Scrivener? If so it would be great to see a start to finished tutorial on how you did it. Is it necessary to have some other software to publish something like your guide?

One suggestion on you web blog is I have no ideal when the item was published other than looking at some comments. I don't know if I am responding to a really old post or a new one.


Lynn Palermo said...

Hi Roger. Thanks for your feedback. I did use Scrivener for the Interview ebook. However I went from Scrivener to word and then a pdf. I'm currently working on a few other ebooks, I will try some various other paths this time out. But you are right it is a great topic for a video. And no, no other software was required. I do not publish dates on posts, I try to keep it clean looking plus I'm trying to write articles that stand the test of time but I appreciate your thoughts on the matter. There will be more Scrivener videos in the new year, took a bit of a break but there will be more.

Adam Murphy said...

Hey Lynn! Helpful post. Wanted to share a tool that we have been updating ourselves over at -- latest and greatest directory of county clerk contact information for the 3,200+ counties in the USA! Just updated recently and is a great place for people to get records for their genealogy search! Hope I could be of help! -Adam

Kathy Lund said...

I have been using Scrivener for family history. My database Legacy puts out good PDF charts (pedigree, family group sheets, etc.) How can I include them in my final work? Scrivener does not seem to allow PDF or JPG files into its Compilier. Am I missing something? I have gone to their Forums, etc. but can't find an answer. Help!

Lynn Palermo said...

Hi Kathy

You can insert jpgs into your draft but not a pdf. So are you saying you import the pictures into your draft but theyare not showing up in your document when you compile? Are you on a Mac or a PC.

Kathy Lund said...

I have Windows. The "Drag File Here" in the Inspector does not accept the JPG. I can export the text file, paste in the JPG, and import back, but that is a hassle. Legacy does not seem to have an option of producing anything but a PDF of charts, understandable because of the special formatting. Is there any way to compile a family history to include these PDFs? Readers would need these graphic charts.

Kathy Lund said...

I thought I had responded, but apparently not! I have a PC. I cannot use the "Drag a File" in the Inspector to move a JPG into the draft. If I import a text file that includes a JPG, it works but is more awkward.

My Legacy program puts out pedigree charts exclusively in PDF. The other charts do have a very plain text file option that I might be able to import. It would be handy to be able to compile these charts into my family history in Scrivener. Is there a work-a-round?

Lynn Palermo said...

Hi Kathy, to insert a picture into a Srivener project, I go to edit, choose insert, then image from file. This allows you to choose an image from your files. These pictures will remain within your text when you compile. There are many free programs on the internet that will allow you to convert a pdf into a jpg, which you can use for your charts. Save to your computer and then you the same process as above. For example,

Otto said...

Never heard of it before, will have to give it a go.

Priscilla Ware said...

Hi Lynn, I decided to use Scrivener for my family history writing project. Your videos are great. In one of them you mentioned something about using documents which you wrote using Word in Scrivener. I have many stories which I would like to use and also some pictures I inserted into my word documents. Have you addressed how to do this? If so, could you please post the link? Thanks for all you do. Your stuff is GREAT!