a new user, scientific papers

Hi all,

I am a new user and maybe these are basic questions but I haven’t been able to figure it out despite some poking around. I am loving the feature of Scrivener where I can keep an outline of my science paper on the left panel (Binder) and have the actual text in the window on the right (belonging to each item in my outline). What I need help with is:

  1. is there any command (ideally, a right-click option) that would take an element in my outline and indent or outdent it (move it inward or outward in the hierarchy of the outline, keeping its vertical location) - for example, take a sub-section and make it a Section or a sub-sub-section?

  2. is there a convenient keystroke to create a node at the same level? For example, my outline has sections A,B,C. I have C selected, and I want to hit Apple-N (or similar) and have it create a blank section (named “untitled” or whatever) at the same level as C, and below C. Right now, I’m clumsily selecting C, asking that it be duplicated, and deleting its contents, to make a bare new D.

  3. The Undo button doesn’t seem to do much - moves, deletions of sections or text, etc. seem not to get Undone after I go to a different part of the Outline. This is troubling - I’d like Undo to reverse whatever the last action was, precisely - is that possible or am I missing something?

thank you in advance!


  1. Yes, the Documents/Move/ sub-menu has a number of commands for moving items around, and you’ll notice they all have keyboard shortcuts, too. I don’t know if I follow what you mean about it keeping its vertical location though. If something in the middle of a folder is moved out to that folder’s level, it will necessarily be moved below the other items of that folder.
  2. Cmd-N should be working here actually, as well as just the Enter key. The main exception to that is when you have a folder selected and want to make a sibling of that folder that isn’t a folder. There is no way around that, but with the simple keystrokes learned in the answer above, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. It’s rarely encountered in my experience anyway.
  3. This doesn’t sound right either. There are some things that cannot be undone, this is true, but deleting text always should be—or do you mean deleting the entire node? Things aren’t actually deleted in the software, they are moved to the Trash folder. I would overall say that one shouldn’t rely on Undo in the outliner/binder/corkboard though. There are technical issues with making everything you can do there undo-able.

thank you!! very helpful:

  1. superb, now I see it, and have created shortcuts as needed.
  2. yes, it does - no idea why it wasn’t working for me yesterday.
  3. yes, I was thinking about moves and deletions of nodes - I had expected Undo to undo them, but it doesn’t.

Another thing I realized is that it’s not easy to leave without saving: I opened a document, messed around with it, and then was going to say “no” to “save before quitting?” but it never asked - it quit and saved my changes, which I didn’t want. Is this customizable behavior?

thanks again!

No, Scrivener automatically saves your work when you pause. You can delay it, but there’s no automatic undo before you quit. If you want to be able to get back to a previous version on a document-by-document basis, consider using Snapshots. If you want to do that for an entire project, consider using “File->Back up->Back up to…” before you start making changes.

Yeah, as Robert points out this is just how Scrivener is designed to work and there is no way around it. Scrivener does have an answer for what you were trying to do though: snapshots (which are fully documented in §15.6, pg. 221 on). This introductory paragraph, from the Quick Tour of the user manual, explains the rationale:

If you’re worried about having to remember to snapshot things (though if you are used to saving things as you are happy with them, it should be easier to remember), you can set Scrivener to automatically snapshot anything you’ve edited in the project since the last Cmd-S, in the General preferences pane.

super, thank you!