Ability to specify individual research items in Binder open as Quick Reference by default


I am a Quick Reference person in that I like to keep my writing in the main page and have research items open in a Quick Reference window (rather than see it in split-pane view)

I know I can make bookmarks which open by default into Quick Reference windows, but what I really would like to do is right-click on a piece of research in the Binder and specify that by default, henceforth that item (whether text, movie, webpage, image or whatever) will open in a Quick Reference window (until I right-click again to change it back to default behaviour)

The space-bar short-cut doesn’t work for me (I usually end up opening wrong piece of research or just navigating away from my writing) and it would be tremendous for me to assign a one-click straight-to-Quick Reference pane command for each and any research-item in the Binder

Hope you a) understand my request and b) think it is a good idea & implement it!!

Thanks for reading and for creating the undisputed Rolls Royce of writing software!


Good idea. I run an AutoHotkey script atop Scrivener with shortcut buttons for a few key documents, each to be opened in its particular way. Left pane, right pane, Quick Ref, Outline view, Scroll to Top, and one with an immediate Reveal in Binder. For most documents, the default opening is fine. But these few are structural. They open in a side pocket so that the docs they point to will open in the main. I can confirm that enabling Scrivener to record and adhere to doc-level opening preferences.would be a worthy enhancement.

Rgds - Jerome

The following would be programmatically simpler to implement and I wonder if you feel it would serve your needs:

Currently, option-click on a binder item, splits the editor and opens the second doc in the second split. What if there was simply a Scrivener preference setting to change this option-click behavior to open the targetted document in Quick Ref (and without changing what is currently in the editor(s) – which is the aspect of the space bar shortcut you don’t like). Would that do the trick? From an outsider’s perspective it seems like it should.

Doing it this way has the advantage of being less finnicky as it requires no premeditation with particular docs, and would be (as far as I can see) programmatically drop-dead simple to add. I commend it to your wish consideration.


Thank you both for your input .

I think a Scrivener preference setting which would allow option-clicking on a binder item to open in Quick Ref (rather than second pane as per current behaviour) is a good idea and would probably work very well in my work-flow (and probably be much easier to code). So yes, I think that would do it!

Maybe we could toggle this in preferences with another short-cut (command-option click??) to open in second pane, as now so we could have quick access to either option.

I do appreciate that Scrivener already has a billion and one preferences, but this would REALLY help me quickly access research in a Quick Ref window.

Thanks again


The problem with a zillion different preferences is that people sometimes change a preference to achieve something and then at some later point in time do something similar and suddenly end up with a (to them at that time) completely unexpected result and just can’t understand why, get angry and file this as a bug in the forum.

The problem with your solution is that it makes things more complicated, not less.

In the event that you have a split editor and suddenly want to open a research item in the lower part and have the text in the upper, clicking on the research item will immediately open it in a QR window instead of opening it in the lower part of the editor, and it is tricky to go around that. You would then have to remember how to invoke the context menu without clicking the item and choose “Open -> In …” or go to Preferences and remember where that tick box is that changes where items are opened as default.

I don’t think it’s a good idea at all to have an optional forced behaviour of this kind which is set in Preferences.

I hear your point, but don’t feel that those who want a different preference (isn’t that what preferences are for?) should be held back by the dullards.

This is the “Wish-list”. You may wish for something to be added, giving an argument for that, and I may wish for it not to be, and give an argument for that.
Nothing unusual or untoward about that. And in the end Keith decides.

As an aside, in these circumstances I frequently make my own custom short-cuts using the App Shortcuts preferences of Mac OS, but I don’t think you can do this for ‘click behaviour’ rather than ‘menu items’. If anyone knows how to do this (if possible), I would be grateful to hear it and be happy to create my own personal customisation which wouldn’t impact anyone else.

Thanks again

There is a menu command for opening in a QR window, so why not simply make a shortcut in System Preferences?

That’s what I do, I use Ctrl-Shift-O to open things in Quick Reference (and I have another for Copyholders). If you have a Touch Bar Mac then there is even an optional button for that which can be added. The added benefit of that command, over Spacebar, is that it works from the main editor as well, making it a useful way to “pop” what you’re working out into a window so you can go on and do other things.

I don’t quite know if a custom shortcut is any better than Spacebar though for typical point-at-binder-item usage though. :slight_smile: If Spacebar is opening random other things you must have a different way of clicking on stuff than is typical. Fair enough if so, but it seems like targeting issues would impact most of the other alternatives and ideas listed above.

I do get what you mean about having to first select something and then use a shortcut (be it Spacebar or custom), in that it impacts the editor. Well, Cmd-[ is probably my most used shortcut, but Opt-Cmd-L is right up there. The latter is particularly useful if the idea is to be working on something central in the editor, and periodically wanting to open stuff from the binder into QR. With the editor locked, then it is just a matter of clicking and hitting Spacebar (again, assuming selection in a normal sense though).

Then there is Quick Search! That’s probably my favourite method for pulling up a QR panel quickly, but that’s also because I’m the sort that doesn’t care to leave the keyboard unless I absolutely must. So Ctrl-Opt-G, type in a few letters of the thing I want to open, and Shift-Return.

If you have a keyboard macro program you could create a custom key command to perform the following sequence:*

keystroke: move focus to Editor
keystroke: lock in place
keystroke: move focus to Binder
wait for user: mouse click
wait: wait a second (might need to wait for the interface to catch up)
menu selection: open as Quick Reference
menu selection: select last item on Window menu (moves focus back to main project window)**
keystroke: move focus to Editor
keystroke: unlock in place
keystroke: move focus to Binder

Assigning a key command to this macro would acheive the purpose. You would hit the key command, then click on the doc to be QR’ed in the binder and that is it. Your editor contents would be untouched and the doc you wanted would be open in a QR window. At the end, we leave the focus on the Binder, since that is the last place you clicked.


  • This procedure is certainly doable in my macro program. YMMV.

** This is a vulnerable moment in the procedure, since it may fail to do the right thing if you mave multiple scriv projects open. There may be a move direct way to get the focus off the QR window and back onto the main project window, but I didn’t think of it.

I think this is my issue.

Thank you all for your helpful suggestions!!
Well over-and-above the call of duty!

I will try these work-arounds for now in the hope that my suggestion gets adopted