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Scrivener – Writers Software

So I’ve been trying some new writing tools for the thesis. Possibly a bit late in the game now but I’m still writing other things for various reasons, for example the UKAPUOffSite Link newsletter editor and I’ve written a few magazine articles for the UK weekly computer magazine Micro Mart OffSite Link and not to mention I’m still writing academic papers.

So when I learnt of Scrivener OffSite Link, I thought I best give it a go. This app promised to be a great tool for those serious about writing so I thought I’d jump in. I won’t cover it in detail, others have mentioned it in other reviews online, I’ll just cover why it’s no good to me.

Impressions

Well I thought it looked good. Until I started playing with it and then quickly realised that it’s severely limited in terms of academic writing.

To write in LaTeX you need to either write it in LaTeX in the editor (and it’s not a great editor for doing that with I can assure you) and export the whole think as a text document or use Multi Markdown and then get that converted to LaTeX. Neither of which are done nicely in Scrivener (it lacks syntax highlighting, code completion etc).

it’s final nail is a lack of referencing software – referencing previous work is a cornerstone of academic research so this oversight is horrendous. It can be got around if you want to export your document to RTF format and use something like Zotero OffSite Link to reference your work (Zotero allows you to insert a reference citation field and then you can scan the compiled RTF document to add the references in).

Lastly, a lack of working Table of Contents system and ability to set headers/footers etc mean that for me, it’s a nice piece of software that goes wide of the mark. Perhaps for novelists it’ll be fine but for academic research, a few glaring omissions make it impractical.

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