How to Manipulate Scrivener Labels

So last week I participated in #YAGetsStuffDone on Twitter, which was a tag that lasted a week and encouraged goal-setting and cheering each other on to get their goals done. One of my goals was to finish plotting a project I'd barely started brainstorming, which I did both in Word and Scrivener simultaneously, writing the synopsis in Word and transferring it over to Scrivener on scene cards to get everything ready for drafting.

When I finished on Saturday, I posted my results, which looked like this:

A lot of people appreciated the color coding, as I did (it's so pretty to look at!), and some asked how to change the colors around in Scrivener, so I figured I'd write a quick post about it.

You can do color coding for a whole host of things—for two projects I drafted with chronically ill characters, I used the colors to signify different pain levels, for example—but I most often use it when I'm drafting a dual or multi-POV novel.

When writing a multi-POV novel, each color signifies a different POV. I like to do it this way because it helps me visually see the spread of different POVs, so no one character gets too much (or little) screen time. This is especially helpful in the brainstorming stage because it forces me to think about whose POV each scene will take place in and why.

Luckily, manipulating the labels in Scrivener so I can do this quickly is really easy.

  1. Right click an index card —> Label —> Edit...

  2. Open Meta-Data Settings. Here you can change the name of your labels, add more labels, remove some labels, change the colors by double-clicking the color box, etc. As I said, I do one label per POV character, but however you set it up is up to you. Once you're done, click "OK."

  3. View —> Use Label Color In —> Pick your settings. I like to check off Binder, Index Cards, and Outliner Rows, so the index cards change colors and so do the labels in the row of scenes. If you want the little index card icon to change colors too, then you can also check off "Icons" but I don't usually bother with that.

And that's it! From there, whenever you want to change the label (or color) of the index card, you just Right click —> Label —> [Pick your label]. The colors will change automatically as you go label to label. 

It's that easy and the results are not only visually pleasing, but helpful for organizational purposes. I definitely recommend it if you like to add a little splash of helpful color to your outlines. 

Note: Like many Scrivener features, I'm not sure if all of this is available in the Windows version. It might be! But it might not. I have the Mac version so I'm not sure.

Have you ever used the label feature in Scrivener?

Twitter-sized bite:
Want to color-code your outline in Scrivener? @Ava_Jae breaks down an easy way to do so. (Click to tweet)

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