A more real cork board

In the early stages of a project, I want to pin index cards anywhere on the corkboard with no order implied. I know that certain scenes must appear in the story, and that certain facts must be revealed, but I don’t know yet where each scene will appear in the story or where each fact will be revealed. The way the corkboard works now there is always a strict order, so I have to know where to put each card in that order. It is too restrictive.

As the story progresses, more of the scene and fact ordering becomes clear, but I still don’t want to move cards around necessarily. I want to draw an arrow from the corner of one card to a corner of the card that I think should follow it sequentially. Later, when I am satisfied with my sequence of arrows, I want to select “Arrange Corkboard” and let Scrivner rearrange the cards in the standard matrix format, according to my arrow sequence.

Hi Martin,
Try searching the forums for my reply to this, as it comes up from time to time. Basically, a more freeform corkboard wouldn’t integrate with the rest of the app. As I say, search for my full answer - I would try to find it myself, and may do later, but it’s my birthday so I’m not on full forum duty today. :slight_smile:
All the best,

I understand that the current corkboard is dependent on the other views, so I mean there should be a different corkboard that would simply look like the current corkboard. I guess it wouldn’t have to look like the corkboard, but why not. Call it the Brainstorm board. The process of going from Brainstorm board to Corkboard would be one way. A corkboard view can be built from a brainstorm view but not the other way around. A brainstorm view can only be built by actual brainstorming, whether it be gradual over many days or weeks, or a sudden burst of creativity.

I agree that an independent cork board would be a great thing to have. I felt in the need for something like that during my writings. Just a cork board that can be used to put stuff on without being connected the way it is right now to the rest of Scrivener.

I think it would be nifty to. So far I have been using Inspiration 8 to fill this function.

Oh and Happy Birthday Keith!

Given how it would, by necessity, be an entirely separate entity barely integrated into the rest of the app, it would be best as a separate app altogether rather than a part of Scrivener. As I say, this comes up from time to time, and it is also something I thought long and hard about upon the original conception of Scrivener. Scrivener is designed so that its constituent parts form an integrated whole. A freeform OS X corkboard such as 3by5 would be a wonderful app, and I can see why people would want such a thing - but it just wouldn’t belong in Scrivener, as it could not form part of that integrated whole. The corkboard is a useful visual metaphor in Scrivener useful for showing titles and synopses, but it still represents a linear list of items from the selected folder. Again, I would recommend searching the archives for my full explanation (I will try to find one of those answers later but would be grateful if someone should take the time to use the search function to save me the effort; that way I can return to the champagne with impunity :slight_smile: ).
All the best,

@Martin W. Smith:
Tinderbox is great for this kind of things. If not amazing. It’s for the development process what Scrivener is for writing, only with a somewhat steeper learning curve. Different tools for different tasks! In my case, that’s Devon agent & Devon Think Pro Office + Panorama for research; Tinderbox for development/creation and Scrivener for writing.

Now, if someone could recommend a replacement for FrameMaker for the final draft… I’m still looking for another Mac word processor that suits my needs as FrameMaker has done for many years. And I’m still hoping for Scrivener to offer the option to include style tags in its RTF-output some day in the future. That would save me a lot of work. Since reading The Mac is not a Typewriter a couple of decades ago, I not only got the hang of styles, but the habit of thinking that everything in a text document has to be a style. But maybe I’m just old-fashioned, and the real trend is going back to the typwriter style of writing…:wink:

And @KB: my best, though belated, wishes for your birthday. I love – and appreciate – your work. Even if I curse your boneheadedness (is this an English word?) with regards to styles. :slight_smile:

C. Aichner

I wonder if the way Final Cut shows its clips in the Bin could be a viable hint for Scrivener’s Corkboard. In FC, clip previews can be freely arranged in the Bin, but when dragged to a Timeline they reveal they had a linear order, depending on their top left corner’s position: the higher and most to the left, the earlier it comes in the Timeline.

Another thing I’m thinking to is: now, the Corkboard depends on the Binder’s order. Couldn’t the Corkboard be intependant, until you tell it to re-link to the Binder? This could be a two-way command:

  • Corkboard > Link to Binder: the Corkboard’s documents are reordered according to the Binder’s order;
  • Corkboard > Mirror to Binder: the Binder’s documents are reordered according to the Corkboard’s order (considering the top left corner of each card as a reference).



Unless you are personally creating the layout for publishing your book, isn’t any word processor suitable for this? Is there something that you need in FrameMaker?

I work everyday on FrameMaker (I’m a technical writer most of my day), and its demise from the Mac is urging me to look around for a different kind of job. Maybe I will have to thank Adobe for killing FM for Mac, one day.



As someone who has requested a more ThreeByFive-style cork board in the past, I have come to understand and respect why you don’t want to do it. I think your effort to keep Scrivener “on model” is admirable and very Mac-like. Steve Jobs has built a tidy little business by only doing the things that fit into the broader Apple vision: “We’re not going to do cut and paste on the iPhone until we can do it in a way that’s not ugly, because Apple doesn’t do ugly.” I think the free-form cork board issue is a similar kind of thing. You have to admit, though… ptram may have hit upon a very Scrivener-like solution.

@Anyone Else Who Cares:

I’ve found Curio to be an interesting, ludicrously powerful, and yes, expensive solution to the cork board thing. Curio has been described here many times before, in terms that make it sound intimidating (it is) and like too much tool for the job (it might be).

My Curio experience didn’t get wonderful until I understood its central metaphor: Each Curio project is like a large room, the walls covered with whiteboards. You can write on them, draw on them, attach documents and images to them, mind map on them, pin your whole damn manuscript across 50 of them and make notes as you please.

Anyway, I like it. It may be worth a look. They give you a nice, long, free trial period, and plenty of tutorials to get you going (they call their little tutorials “Turorinis” – please don’t hold that against them).

One final suggestion: Curio seems to work best when you dedicate a good number of consecutive hours to it.

I too think Paolo’s approach is elegant (though what it means in programming terms, I haven’t any idea). And I also endorse Tinderbox and Curio. OmniGraffle and SuperNotecard are other possibilities.

However I do also want to recommend something truly revolutionary: a real corkboard with pins and cards*. Dirt cheap with a hugely flexible UI, you can add loads of metadata to it, draw all the arrows you want, hang it on the wall, kick it when frustrated and even invest in several all of which you can keep in vision at all times if you feel so driven. It doesn’t export in OPML - but sometimes a bit of re-typing does no harm and may do some good.


  • Mine has ribbons as well but they are a version 2.0 plug-in.

I’m afraid it still doesn’t work either (again, I refer you to earlier answers I have given this very suggestion :slight_smile: ). Final Cut doesn’t have an infinite number of possible bins, I assume? Whereas Scrivener has an infinite possible number of corkboards (well, file space permitting). You are asking for a complete rewrite to the corkboard code (yes, it depends on its tile-like nature in the code as is) and in such a way that it no longer has any link to the structure order until you explicit tell it to have such a link, which would mean that some corkboards would reflect that order, and some would not (depending on what folder you clicked on). In the boundaries of Scrivener (and all software needs boundaries), I just don’t see this fitting or adding anything. Anyway, that’s me final answer. :slight_smile:

The Stickies application works well as a freeform corkboard.

Yes, and there is an application named “Stick 'Em Up” that allows to change between different sets of stickies, so that the set for a novel can be kept apart from the stickies used for other purposes.

this is my first post so let me premise it with a big thanks! I’ve been using Scrivener for over a year and have found it to be a wonderful place to do my writing.

Keith, re the cork board discussion. I get you maintaining integrity with the overall workings and not wanting it to shift more towards the mind mapping side of the spectrum, but i wonder if a little more flexibility still might be possible. Specifically:

  • would it be possible to maintain the sequential flow of the cards, but allow us to put in “card line breaks” so we can have a say two cards on the top line, then four on the next. This would help visualise and break up info but maintain the integrity when switching to outline view (the card line breaks could just disappear)

  • could we please have the ability to press return and start a new line on the card. Ive often wanted to add bullet points on a card but have been unable to do so (am i missing something here?)

  • finally i would love the option to display the contents on top of a card, repeated inside the document itself. So when you double click on a card, at the moment the info on top appears in the inspector, but i’d love the option of it appearing inside as differently marked text. This would be useful for the early stages of planning imo

once again, big thanks for all your work. I wish you had an affiliate plan because i seem to recommend this program a lot. One friend is now buying a mac to use it :smiley:

all the best

Hi Arun,

I think you will like 2.0, as that heads in some of these directions. :slight_smile:

Card line breaks and rows… Something similar is coming, something that will enable you to do just this. More news next year.

You can currently enter a return on a card by holding the Option key as you press return (this works in most OS X controls). There will be an option in 2.0’s preferences to have it so that the Option key is not required.

Not quite sure what you mean about the card contents. The cards are designed specifically to show the title and synopsis. Hovering the mouse over will bring up a tooltip showing the first few sentences.

Oh, and we do have an affiliate program! Er, but I can’t find where we put the information on our site. Maybe we never put it up (I think David may have been trialling it with a few volunteers first, I’m not sure). E-mail David at sales AT literatureandlatte DOT com for info.

Thanks and all the best,

Is this the page you are looking for?

I use MindManager for that thinky business that everyone is always wanting a free-form corkboard for. I can move the results into Scrivener in two ways: i) as binder structure, and ii) as (outline-)structured text within a document.* I find this works very well.

The mindmap representation of structure effectively makes a visual break from the imposing linearity of a textual outline,* and it offers invitingly simple means of reorganizing ideas. Distributing the bits of text in space seems to aid focus by putting what you are not focussing on out of the way. Mindmaps share both these features with index cards on a corkboard. At the same time, of course, a mindmap is still a hierarchical tree – equivalent in structure to an outline (or set of outlines) – so you still are creating (and can export) structure, but with the benefit of the psychological breathing room.

And while I think I understand people’s attachment to the index card metaphor, it is ultimately a limiting metaphor. It may sometimes disguise the fact that mindmapping software is ticket.

Good mindmapping functionality that flows well is serious business. Not, I think, a mere add-on feature for an app like Scrivener. For evidence, I point to the fact that almost no mindmapping software out there is really useable for any serious purpose. Most are chunky, distracting, do not have a natural workflow, and you have to look good and hard to find one you could work in and not feel like you were in grade school.


  • The former is done by exporting to OPML and importing into Scriv. The latter requires custom maneuvers.

Yet, I find the now unsupported MyMind a very effective, pleasant tool to use. And the way it imports/exports data from other apps, like Scrivener, is the right way to integrate it in my workflow.


I like MindNode Pro. It’s very basic, but for my basic purposes it works really fine. Nice GUI and a very responsive developer. (There is a free Lite version too for the desktop. Not to forget the App for the iPhone and iPod touch, MindNode touch.)