Better tables would really be useful for research.

What specifically are you looking for with tables? There are several ten thousand features in between Word and Excel. :slight_smile: I can say that in general tables in Scrivener are meant to be places where you can dump data into cells for later formatting after compile. For design minimalist tables they are probably good enough without that, but heading toward presentation is a bit out of scope for what this software is all about. Presentation should be handled by pro desktop publishing tools, not a writing program—at least that is our contention, and much of the philosophy of this software’s design.

That’s perfectly fine to do if you wish, it sounds like you are used to working in a system where outlining is done entirely in text files? It’s the same idea here, but the implementation is more biased toward writers, in my opinion. I extensively outline within what one might refer to as a “document”. It’s just that in Scrivener, a document can be a thousand different pieces of text arranged into an outline. You don’t have to stop at chapters, or sections, is what I’m saying—if the section you are working on needs more outline, then break it up and outline it. Some people around here have things broken down to paragraphs. :slight_smile: It’s a totally different system than in a word processor, where the outline is embedded directly into the text as a special function of the text itself. Scrivener deliberately is not that, because it acknowledges that what an author needs for an outline often has nothing or very little to do with what is visible as text—particularly for the reader. That is nothing new of course, any author with boxes of index cards can attest to that—we’re just trying to bridge that box of index cards with the manuscript directly (and a little less messily).

Another thing to consider is that there is no stipulation that elements in the Binder must be “documents” in the traditional sense. They can merely just be entries in the Binder, outline rows if you will (if you’ve ever used a dedicated outlining program, that’s a better comparison to how Scrivener works than something like Word or even Win Explorer).

What does that mean in practice? Since everything in Scrivener is a container, that means every section of text in your book can be its own playground for outlining and forming ideas. Just hit Ctrl–3 while writing, and you’ve got an empty outline to work with, build out your idea (note that adding rows is as easy as hitting the Enter key, just like a traditional outliner—if not check the Navigation settings tab), and then Ctrl–3 back to the text. You’re just switching Outliner view on and off for the text file you are editing, nothing mysterious, and the result of your outline will be in the Binder beneath that text file. You could write into these nodes to flesh out the section, or just use it as a place to think about the bulk of the text in a more abstract sense.

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