Sunday, October 28, 2012

Scrivener: How to add a cover image when compiling a PDF

I'm in the process of creating various types of formats for Excel Basics In 30 Minutes, my latest ebook about how to use Excel. These days, I am using Scrivener for most production tasks. It can export to .mobi, ePub, and other print and electronic formats with ease. But I discovered that the Compile settings window does not include an option for including cover images in PDF files, as is available for ebook formats.

Fortunately, there is an easy workaround. Here's how:
  1. Assuming you are using a Front Matter folder (recommended by Scrivener), create a new text file (right click on the folder title>Add>New Text. 
  2. Title the file whatever you want, and make sure it is in front of the other front matter (see circled file in the screenshot below)
  3. In the text file, go to Edit>Insert>Image Linked To file. "Image Linked To File" lets you scale the image inside the page, instead of having to use an external editor like Photoshop, Paint, or Preview to get it to the right pixel count. Double-click to scale the image down if it's too big.
  4. In the Contents pane of the Scrivener compile window, Cover Image should be the top item if you are including the Front Matter folder. Check "As Is". This tells Scrivener not to include the name of the text file, only the contents (which is the cover image).
  5. Compile.

Here's the way I set up the cover image in my own Scrivener project file for my "Excel for Dummies"-style book:


  1. Thanks for this Ian - saved my bacon when I suddenly needed a PDF review copy of a book :)

  2. Thanks so much for this! I found it really handy.

  3. Thank you so much! I tried watching a YouTube tutorial and was left scratching my head. So then I Googled how to do this and there you were. Your explanation was short and sweet, and I appreciate that and the fact that you shared it. :)

  4. When I try this the Insert>Image Linked To file option is greyed out.

    1. You may have the document in the folder selected - you need to click in the document itself, as though you're about to type something. Then it should be available.

  5. What image are you talking about? There's no image in your PDF Front Matter folder. Like Brian, Image Linked to File option is grayed out for me, too.

  6. Thank you! This worked well for me.

  7. A terrific solution.. Fast and easy.


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