A simple diary function

For years I’ve been meaning to keep a diary of thoughts, concerns and wishes for a book as I actually work on it. With the present one I’ve finally got down to doing it - and it’s a really useful function. I fill in three or four diary entries each week documenting my feelings about the direction of the project, then every Friday, before knocking off for the weekend, make a note of the word count and any general feelings.
At the moment it’s in MacJournal. I wonder if I’m the only one who’d use something like this integrated into Scrivener. All it would need would be folder that worked as a diary, normally sorting in reverse order, with the dates clearly visible (actually I find MacJournal’s mini calendar really useful as a way of browsing between notes). The key is being able to see things in chronological order.

Just a thought - no more than that.

I know it’s not automated, but one thing you could do is just add the entries manually and use Insert > Date & Time into the title. It wouldn’t sort automatically, of course, but if you added them daily then they would be in the order you sorted them.

I’m not sure this sort of thing fits in Scrivener because it means cobbling in a journal and then having users ask why they’ can’t use it to blog. It’s a slippery slope.

One idea I was toying with - a sort of gimmick - was a yearly diary. A really, really simple application that just has dates one the left (possibly a calendar control) and paper on the right to write in. Not really what you are asking for, just an idea I had…

All the best,

Good points. I never understood which journal applications became blog editors, mind. I wonder how many people actually use MacJournal and stuff that way when these days, with broadband, it’s so much easier just to write it straight into Wordpress or something.

That’s not a bad idea.

I’ve been consolidating tools, mostly into and around Scrivner, and tried dumping all my daily journal files (a slew of rtf’s and txt’s) into Scrivner. The idea was to be able to synthesize, expand, or maybe just manage a chronological journal in Scrivener.

Scrivener imported them all flawlessly (it does such things so well). It was then a joy to edit them in the same tool I write in, but then I realized that I couldn’t sort the imported scrivnings by creation or modification date. So that was that.

Being able to sort documents by the date fields would be fabulous. Having a calendar control would be even better. I could also see that functionality being used in my project work to, say, see the most recently edited sections of the book, oldest sections, etc.

I would however stop there. No need to gum up the works re-inventing MJ, DEVONote, Together, or gasp ecto. And if any of this was a detriment to the core of the product, then I, for one, could easily live without it.


Every Scrivener document has a Created and Modified date.
They are displayed in the Inspector panel under General.
To show the dates, click on Outliner and then … in the right corner.
Drag and drop the columns as desired, click on them to sort.

To display dates in document titles, date them yyyy-mm-dd: 2009-05-02
Then Documents: Sort: Ascending to sort them (or Descending, as you wish)

You may also keep a journal in Mail or iCal, attaching notes as needed.
For that matter, you may keep one in any spreadsheet or database program.
IMHO, the best journaling app for Mac is Journler: journler.com/

I checked out Journler and read this on the Journler forum:

journler.com/community/forums/vi … c&start=30

Looks like the developer is MIA.

Caveat emptor.


Thanks for the notes. I belive that the Journler thread Appolo16 linked to already includes a number of my posts. (I was a heavy user of Journler befor the current situation)

Are you suggesting that columns sort in Outline view? I’m running Scrivener 1.51 and I don’t seem to be able to sort on any colums. Is there a preference setting, or a trick I am missing?

I am abel to sort by document TITLE via Documents>Sort>Ascending/Descending. But not by clicking on a column.

You can’t sort by columns - I believe sorting them via Documents > Sort was exactly what the poster meant. You can’t really sort an outline in the same way as you can a flat list.
All the best,


Expanding on Keith’s suggestion to add a date within the document title, here is how I would enter and then sort, view and search through date centric writings in Scrivener:

  1. Create a separate folder to hold date oriented journal or diary material.
  2. Enter the date as the document title.
  3. Enter a descriptive title in the Synopsis panel.
  4. If desired, link related document pages to each journal or diary page via the document references tab.

Within the binder, dates can grouped and sorted, and then the Outliner provides a pleasant view of dated synopses.


Keith, I think the date diary idea is a great one. I’d definitely use it. It would help make Scrivener my all purpose go-to writing tool. Great work.

… Happy long time Scrivener user with nothing much to add here - just wanted to express my meager vote for a more diary-friendly, but not bloated, Scrivener.

Meaning, perhaps, the ability to create a new document with the current date and time as the title with one click.


One thing you’ll be able to do in 2.0 is sort by outliner column. So you could sort by created date - remember the created date field already gives you the exact date and time the document was created.

You can also just hit shift-cmd-opt-D to insert the date in the title after creating a new document. I’m hoping to add AppleScript support for 2.0 depending on time restraints (otherwise to a 2.x update), which should allow you to do this in one step…

Happy New Year,

Thanks for your response. It got me thinking that I could use Spark to automate the process - I just spent 10 minutes tinkering and now I have a simple keyboard shortcut to create a new document with the date (in the needed YYYY-MM-DD format) and time in the title. I’d be happy to help anyone out who needs help with this.

I’d be interested in the steps for this.
I’d like a simple way to log my work/progress for the story I’m writing.
One better would be a shortcut to append the document & word count for the session/day to that file.

Sure -

  1. Download Spark by doing a Google search for “spark mac”.
  2. Press Apple-5 to create a new keyboard shortcut for the date (click on the date tab and define the format you want for the date).
  3. Press Apple-5 again, but this time hit the keystroke tab instead of the date tab. Click record and in the text box type in Apple-N followed by your date shortcut from step 2.

When you run the shortcut from step 3 in Scrivener, the Apple-N will, of course, create a new entry, and then the date shortcut will work its magic over the text that says Untitled.

Hope this helps.

I just wanted to add agreement that a simple chrono/calendar journal function would really be a useful addition - nothing elaborate that would change the essentials of the program; just maybe the aforementioned calendar and dated entries.