Beta1 Question - separate document editor/window?


I apologize if this belongs in the beta forum. I wasn’t sure where to post.

I want to know if we can open a document in a separate window or editor, as in SG. I didn’t see how to perform this but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

I often use more than two views (sometimes two text sections in three views or three different text sections), believe it or not.



Hi. I asked the same question on this thread and you can read the answers here. As of now, the short answer is ‘no’ to separate file views. The thread goes into more details.


As Alexwein points out, Scrivener is a different beast to SG. I said long ago on the SG forums that Scrivener would drop support for multiple windows, and so it has. It is not something I plan to bring back any time soon, if ever - sorry. :slight_smile: Probably best to think of SG and Scrivener as separate programs. Scrivener is a single-window app like Ulysses and Copywrite, not a multi-window one like Mori and DevonThink.

Thanks for the replies.

What about the possibility to split each split window a second time, al la JeditX (and to set either horizontal or vertical splits independently)?

That would allow those of us so inclined to have multiple documents opened at the same time.


Unlikely anytime soon, simply because things work differently in Scrivener. For instance, you have options such as “Open link in other view”, and the fact that double-clicking on a reference in the inspector will open it in the other split. That behaviour wouldn’t work if you had more than two views, as you would never know where to expect a link to get opened.

Moreover, Scrivener has header and footer views - split views in Cocoa are notoriously difficult to manage, and taking the header and footers into consideration too would mean that any more than two splits gets complicated and there wouldn’t be much room for them.

Out of interest, in what circumstances do you need more than two documents open where the notes field or Edit Scrivenings isn’t sufficient to manage it? Can’t you use the navigation features of the other document view? For instance, by clearing the document history of your reference view (via the “Go” menu) and then dragging all the documents you want to reference into the header bar. After that, you can just navigate between the various documents using header view. Actually, come to think of it, I should add keyboard shortcuts for navigating between documents in the other view…


Sorry for the late reply.

I may have a long document that I will split in order to view different sections. After viewing the section/information that I want, I may copy and paste text into a third window (second document).

Some sections may have similar information and, in a longer document, it can be useful to view both sections simultaneously.

I know I can witch back and forth between sections but I’ve gotten used to using multiple splits in apps like JeditX and TAO (and even Word).

The need is really due to my personal work style, which is not the most efficient. :wink:

I will try using the header view navigation and see if it works for me. I suspect I would need to split my document into smaller sections for this to work efficiently (to avoid scrolling through each document view each time I navigate to and fro, etc).

thank you again


I have been making the same transition myself. I’ve always kept chapters in their own files, but have never broken it down further than that, because it makes editing so difficult in most applications. Edit Scrivenings is changing all of that for me. I’m finding it easy to break down a chapter with Cmd-K, so that things are now organised by scene instead of chapters. Getting to individual scenes is simple with the Binder (and soon, it will be easy from Corkboard/Outliner, too), and combining everything together back into a chapter is so painless it is actually fun to do. I know of only one other application that does easy, preview joins like that: Ulysses. But, it does not allow editing in that form, putting Scrivener in another class altogether. It is simply loaded in a tiny preview window, instead.

The real beauty of it, is that I can stitch together scenes out of the narrative sequence, and analyse continuity just as easily by doing a quick keyword search and then Edit Scrivenings the results. If I do it a lot, I can save the search and now this sort of view is always available for one mouse click and a keyboard command. Previously, the only tool I had available which could quickly accomplish this type of action is Tinderbox, and I have never found Tinderbox to be very good for creative work.

So, smaller parcels does help in reducing how many splits you need, in some situations. I am still waiting to see how it goes for me. I know from my own work style in Tinderbox, when I am editing I like to have quite a lot of scenes open at once – more than would be appropriate with splits, honestly. It might be that the navigation trick could fill in for that, however. I just tried it, and it is actually a bit like tabs without the tabs. Given that I am used to editing with tabs in Ulysses, it works pretty good, the only thing it lacks is direct access to any document in the history stack. Nice touch allowing multiple scrivenings drags into the header bar at once, K! I can load six documents up there in one drag.

Oh, I just had an idea, but I better post it in the wish list. :slight_smile:

This is one of the (many) places where SCR really shines, IMHO. I have always organized my technical writing—mostly scientific papers—at the paragraph level, first deciding on a subejct for each paragraph (synopsis), then organizing them (outliner) then stocking each partagraph idea with info (notes) and references (meta-data), before I actually begin writing. SCR now lets me stitch this all together seamlessly for editing once the first draft is done, and as Amber points out, really not needing to have multiple windows for editing when the document is broken up at this level. BTW see the excellent books by O’Coonor and Woodward if you are interested in this approach to writing.

I am interested. Will you share a few titles with us?

I also do scientific writing. I have never broken down my writing by paragraph but it would likely provide additional focus and clarity to both my thought and writings.

Interesting thread. Amber, your comments were very helpful. It would apply for me not only with fiction but my non-fiction writing which I usually split up into sections and move around quite often, rework, etc. It’s quite fluid. I have both fiction and non-fiction projects waiting for me as soon as this dissertation is done (about two months or less). Wow. This really re-frames the way I see myself working into something much more alive and organic, which is the way I tend to write anyway. I can’t wait to start experimenting with this!

Your work with Scr. is paving the way! Many thanks. And please keep sharing how you do things! :slight_smile: (that applies to everyone on this forum!)


This is, indeed, pretty much how Scrivener is designed. I always work in small blocks and I used to spend ages cutting and pasting and rejigging in Word to see how it would all fit together, and then redoing the whole lot. So the design has always been about starting with small-ish blocks and playing with them and combining them until you have bigger blocks, until you have a whole book. I posted a quote by Hilary Mantel on the blog sometime ago that pretty much explains this method of working, which I like a lot.

Ah, thanks for explaining. No wonder I’m finding myself drawn into this mode of working—it’s the way Scr. was designed! Mellel has moved me in this direction, since I can create a huge outline with as many sections as I like, see them as one ‘gestalt’ visually, move them at will, switch back and forth between them quickly, etc., etc. Definitely a huge step away from having a big blob of a Word file that forces you to isolate things (into separate files) without any way to fit them together as a whole.

But Scr. takes this idea and goes much further with it in the ways you can work with these sections, tag them, mark them, move them around visually, see them as a whole, etc. Okay, so this is what you guys have been doing all along! But for me, this has been a series of revelations! :slight_smile: Revelations that are not only changing the way I’ll work but the way I conceptualize my work in the first place!



This probably belongs under ‘Writer’s Block’ but since bluloo asked here, here are three books that I like about organizing your (technical) writing and getting it done:

[color=green]O’Connor, M. 1992. Writing Successfully in Science. Harper Collins Academic, London, 221 pp.

O’Connor, M. and Woodford, F. P. 1976. Writing Scientific Papers in English. Elsevier, AManuscriptterdam, 108 pp.

Scientific Writing for Graduate Students: A Manual on the Teaching of Scientific Writing by F. Peter Woodford (Paperback - April 1986)

All of them are fairly old but still available on I’d be interested to hear if anyone knows of more recent books that are as good as this lot.

thank you


This thread really is interesting. I usually work chapter by chapter, starting at the beginning and working through to the end (totally linear). After reading the discussion above, I’m beginning to think there might be better ways to go about the process. One example: I started off using the horizontal split and never tried the vertical one. I did just now and it’s a great way to keep an outline of where I’m going alongside the text I’m writing. I’ve “sort of” done that by having Mellel and Omni Outliner open at the same time, but it’s much easier to work within the same program.

Would there be any interest in - or possibility of - having a separate area where people could discuss the ways they’re using Scrivener to meet their writing needs and styles? Until there’s a manual, it might help users learn all the program can do and how best to utilize it.

In the meantime, would anyone be willing to tell me more about the way you’re dividing up a writing project into small units? I assume you’re using lots of groups, with other groups and files beneath them, then using Edit Scrivenings to pull them together when you want to see whole chapters or sections. Is that right? If so, it seems like you’d have to do a lot of collapsing and expanding to go between a higher level view of the project and the area you want to work on at the moment.


You know, I could have sworn there was a Tips & Tricks kind of board here, but I guess not. I second your proposal, it is a good idea because Scrivener is one of those kinds of applications that provides a “palette” of tools, which every unique user can take and use in novel (har har) ways.

As far as actual writing craft goes, there actually is a board for that already, called Writer’s Block. It is down toward the bottom of the forum index.

This is interesting. I always figured that writers who work like this wouldn’t find much use for Scrivener and would rather stick with a word processor such as Word or Mellel. It’s good to know that Scrivener can still be useful.

A very good idea. I’ve added a Tips & Tricks forum as requested.

This is pretty much the way I designed Scrivener to be used - mainly because this is my own workflow. I posted a quote by Hilary Mantel on my blog which really describes this sort of workflow, which you can find here: … art-2.html

As for the collapsing and expanding thing, there are a couple of minor features that should make this easier. For a start, there is “Expand All” and “Collapse All” in the View menu. Even more useful is a trick that is available in all Apple/Cocoa outline views: if you option-click on a disclosure triangle, it will expand or collapse not only the clicked group but also all subgroups. You can also run a search, click the document you want and select “Reveal in Binder” from the search contextual menu.


I’d also like to be able to open documents in an additional window for editing. The need to view an additional document is not nearly as great as the need for an extra window so that I could use another monitor. Within the single window, there’s no good way (that I’ve found) to use the extra screen space. And extra screen space primarily allows more room for each document.

As for the reasons to see additional documents, in a traditional word processor, I like to have open the document I’m working on, the previous chapter for immediate continuity, possibly some much earlier chapter for character/thematic continuity, and a document containing details about all of the characters. Of course, using Scrivener’s note capabilities, this would change somewhat, but seeing more documents on more screens is always better. :slight_smile:

Good reasons indeed, but as stated, it ain’t gonna happen. :slight_smile: Not this side of 2.0, at least.

Actually, I imported a complete first draft into Scrivener, because I saw all the index cards and metadata and ease of (re)organizing as a slick editing tool, not as a first draft writing tool. First draft writing I can do anywhere that the system doesn’t get in my way - and I actually prefer vim for pure writing because the command keys appear to be hardwired into my fingers now.

I can see what you mean, and it is useful for building stories a brick at a time, but don’t dismiss the editing capabilities. The way I see Scrivener, you’d only export for final document formatting before submission - and with export options to make it, say, courier 12 double spaced, it won’t even need much formatting once it’s exported.