Append Selection: how did I ever live without you?

Just “discovered” Append Selection to document – I’m a non-linear first drafter, and this feature has already saved me so much time cutting and pasting bits and pieces to different documents.

It’s brilliant, and I doubt I will ever be able to work in another program that does not have a similar feature.

Thank you! I have to admit that I think this feature first appeared in MacJournal (or maybe it was Jer’s). Whichever it was, I loved it enough to put into Scrivener… :slight_smile:

I seem to have pretty much skipped over this feature so far. Thanks for pointing it out. Do you feel like sharing precisely how you use it?


I’ve been using Append Selection as I do an overview of my story.

I have a folder called Outline and within it are subfolders Act One, Act Two and Act Three. I’ve been using the subfolders for index cards with synopses. But since the subfolders can also be its own text document, I’ve been fleshing out broad strokes of what should occur for each act as a reminder of where I’m supposed to be going.

Generally I start off on story, but as I’m fleshing it out it, odd things will come to mind. I’ll make a quick note about a character. Or I’ll have an idea of a scene that belongs in another act. My grocery list. All this is mixed in with what I’m supposed to be writing. CUT TO: A few days later, going through pages of material to find what I want and then cutting and pasting between documents.

With append selection, if a particular brain dump should be part of another document or folder within my project binder, I can transfer it with a few clicks without breaking my writing rhythm. The text will appear at the end of whatever document I have chosen and the selected text will remain intact in the original document.

This feature will be indispensible when I start writing actual scenes or want to restructure parts of my story.

I have another use for the append function. I don’t necessarily want a snapshot of a whole document before editing, but I do like to back up selected portions of text before making major changes to them. I use append selection to copy the text in question to a special backup file, then go ahead and make my changes. If I decide to restore all or part of the original text, it’s easy to recover. This is especially helpful when I want to merge part of the old text with part of the new and undo is no help. Now that Scrivener’s shortcuts are all in place (I hope), I’ll find an unused key combination so I can automate the process. It will only take a second to do the append, and I won’t have to worry about losing any of those irreplaceable, impossible to reconstruct sentences.


Thanks to both of you, I’m starting to see the possibilities. One could set up an “edits” file for backing up cuts, a ToDo file for sending to do items from notes, even a journal file for tracking progress. Instead of switching files all the time, just append to the appropriate one.

Hmm, the possibilities. With a bit of organization and key equivalents, this would be another good way to stay in flow.


One thing I use Append Selection for is keeping track of ways I’ve described characters, etc. All I do is send the description to the file, and later on, when I have to refer to something again, I just have to check the character info sheet.

My question is: is there a way to use Append Selection to create a new file, or do I always have to append to an existing file?

Under the Services menu, select Scrivener>Create new clipping from selection.

This may be what you’re looking for.


Gave it a shot, and that’s not quite what I want (doing Create Clipping… creates a new file with the name “Clipping” + Date & Time. I like the way Jer’s allows you to do create a new entry for the Character database on the fly. Oh well. Taking a sec to create a new file named “Fred” before appending “has grey eyes” to it is not a major problem.

A very nice feature indeed, which however could be made even better.

Very handy would be an optional addition of the name of the source document to the appended selection. In certain circumstances, it is important to know where an appended text comes from.

And it would be heaven on earth if it were possible to append a selection to a document in another Scrivener project. But I know I’m asking too much …

I use this feature when I have a big mess of draft and I can send chunks around to their proper places.

Now, if only Keith would let me Append Selection from my brain to my current project…

This may be what you’re looking for:

• Highlight text
• Drag it to the Binder and it will create a new document
• You can either drop it between two documents, or as a daughter to the selected one

Keith, I wonder if you would consider a way to drag highlighted text to the binder and have it append to the selected document (as an addition to the existing way of creating a new document) - perhaps something as simple as opt + drag? I would use this feature all the time.