I’ve discovered the coolest new tool for managing projects and generally organizing the stuff that I need to do my work. It’s called Scrivener, and this thing rocks.

A client sends me a project. As my resource material, I have five websites, three PDFs, a slide deck and four Word docs. Normally, I would have to bounce back and forth between my browser, Adobe Reader and the Microsoft applications as I tried to distill the essence of the message. With Scrivener, it’s all in one place. I import all of the links and documents into the project (slides need to be converted to PDF first, a minor nuisance) and they’re conveniently tacked onto my project corkboard so that I can flip back and forth between them with ease. If I want to organize the project into sections or chapters, they get tacked onto a separate corkboard, and I can arrange and rearrange them to my heart’s content. If I need an outline to guide my writing, I simply select it to appear on the right side of the screen, and it helps me to keep track of my progress. All of this for the bargain price of $39.95.

Scrivener isn’t a word processing program, so if you need to format the text (endnotes, etc.), or if you need to send it along to someone else, you need to copy and paste the text into a Word document. But for the actual writing and research phase, Scrivener is an amazing tool. I wish I’d had access to this years ago.

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