Scrivener for Thesis Writing:Compose Mode with Floating Inspector or Quick Reference

Scrivener for Thesis Writing: Compose Mode and Inspector

Compose Mode is for distraction free writing but sometimes you need to access your notes or other material.

Compose mode is used to write without distraction from the (very) busy Scrivener interface.  It is easy enough to enter compose mode
1.Click on the section that you wish to work on (write/edit)
2. Click Compose from the top bar (blue coloured icon).
3. Scrivener will open a simple document with black background.
Tip: If you are using two screens you’ll find the the ‘Compose Screen’ opens on your ‘other’ screen to which your main Scrivener project is open in. 
Whilst Compose Mode is made for being ‘distraction free’ – sometimes you do need some information that is available in your main project. There are two ways to do this.
Method 1: Accessing Inspector from Compose Mode
  1. If you have a comment in your text- click on the highlighted yellow section and a floating Inspector Pane will open up
  2. You can choose to move to another section of the Inspector via the drop-down menu
  3. If you don’t have a comment- you can access the floating Inspector by the Menu Bar -> View-> Inspect-> choose your option



Method 2: Accessing Quick Ref from Compose Mode with two screens
  1. Enter into compose mode on your main section
  2. On your other screen, click on the section you wish to appear in Quick Ref and then click the “Quick Ref”  button
  3. Drag the Quick Ref pane over on top of your Compose Mode screen.
  4. Note: Quick Ref will only include a single document, it can’t show a ‘grouped document” (i.e. folder with sub-files)

Here is screenshot to illustrate what Compose mode with the Inspector box open looks like

Scrivener for Thesis Writing: Compose Mode

Compose Mode: you can navigate to different sections of the Inspector whilst in compose mode. You can also shift the Inspector box via drag and drop



Happy Thesis Writing!




Remember Scrivener has a free 30-day trial period. You can download Scrivener with an Education Discount via this link (Note: purchasing via this link gives me a commission about equal to the cost of a cappuccino)






About Sarina Kilham

I'm a Doctoral Researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney. Trained as a social scientist and with a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture, I'm interested in farmer's experiences of growing feedstock for biodiesel production. My research has focused on biodiesel production in Brazil and Timor-Leste. Also on Twitter @sarinakilham and blogging at
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