Binder Panel

Hi Keith,

I have been reflecting again on the Binder panel on the left side of the screen. It seems to me that different people might have useful contributions to make regarding some folders that could be equivalent to the RESEARCH folder in function.

I am well aware that currently you visualise ALL the stuff related to a story going into the RESEARCH folder. However, I find I am adopting AmberV’s excellent suggestion of a locked setup, that I open up, copy, and lock again, in which I then build my story. The point for me is that I find I need to regularly use other folders that I do not want all my research in and which I want to be in full view in the Binder panel.

I use the following folders all the time:
Master Plot
Story Outline
Story World
Related Events
Industry Contacts
Key People

For example In Industry Contacts I try to keep a data base of all the contacts I have in the business, Publishers, Producers, Industry organisations and so on.

In Key People I keep file notes and references for people I might want to interview for a story, people who can get me access to sites and so on.

I pinched these ideas straight from Montage, where, for example, Contacts has a real data base built in.

I am suggesting that perhaps, repeat perhaps, somewhere down the line, folders such as these, loosely based on the Montage model, would be a very valuable addition to Scrivener. I am sure other users will have suggestions that might also be added. For example those using Scrivener for academic research or Journalism would be able to suggest useful folders that might be permanently in the binder.


If you are suggesting that there be a selection of default folders one could choose, then perhaps I could find this useful. But most of the folders you suggested would not be something I’d want to use. So I’m not sure in what way you would have Scrivener integrate these, since different users will surely have different requirements.

I would suggest perhaps you could create a template set-up with the folders you use most often and save that as something you could duplicate easily? Just a thought.

What I would do is add all of the types of ancillary folders I’d ever want for all the different types of writing projects I do, and group them together by task. Put them all straight into your locked template file. Then, when you start a new project, it is a simple matter of deleting all of the folders you do not need. If you arrange it all like this:

Support Folders: Novels Characters Locations . . . Short Stories Scenes Characters . . . Essays Bibliographies Web Research Original Research . . .

Then you could just grab the contents of the group you need, drag it out to the top, and simple delete the entire “Support Folders:” group.

Cool idea. Or you could create a couple or so of different templates, if you, like me, write different kinds of projects, such as monographs, books, fiction, non-fiction, etc.

I’m a big template fan.

It would be super nice to have this automated in some way (so you select which project template you wish to use when creating a new project) but the manual way works well so it’s not a big deal for me.

For what it’s worth, I would hate to see more folders hard coded in the binder - it would just be annoying since there’s no way to please everyone :slight_smile:

Right, that is the main problem with any kind of pre-fabs. They are never going to work for everyone, so they will require modification anyway. Avenir has a pretty decent set of default sections for novel writing, but even so I find myself adding and deleting sections constantly – and Scrivener aspires to be much more than just a novel writing application.

Thanks AmberV, I really like that idea.

Now here is a little puzzle for you.

In Contacts I would really like to have a pop up data base that captured my contacts like you can in Montage. Similarly, in Locations I would like to have a data base, similar to that in Montage that would allow me to store details of locations in a consistent style.

Is there a way of creating little data bases in these folders appropriate to each task?


Hmm. Here is a quick idea. Of course, there is no way to have a real database going on, but you could emulate a flexible field form that would act more like a spreadsheet. Here is how it would work. Create a group called Characters, and beneath that group, create a document for each field in the “database.” So you might have a list of documents like: Name, Age, Plot Anchor, and so forth.

Now, select the Group and hit Cmd-Opt-1 to Edit Scrivenings. Using the ruler’s list feature, start entering data for the first character, creating a new list in each document. You should have a bunch of documents with "1. ". When you want to create a second character, you can just press enter to make a line two in each of the “field documents.”

The advantages are being able to add and delete characters and their corresponding data, while keeping all of the numbering synchronised. Fields can be added or re-arranged by moving documents around in the Binder.

The disadvantages are that long lists will get a little unwieldy, because there is no way to filter down the documents to just show a common row. One alternative is to use the custom list prefix feature to create a unique signature for each “database.” For example, “char-1.” Instead of just “1.”. Then you could use the Quick Search capability to isolate the relevant documents by searching for “char-18.”, select all search results, Edit Scrivenings, and the matching row numbers would be highlighted in each document for quicker eye recognition.

It sounds more complicated than I think it would work in practice.

A much simpler way of going about this would be to simply create a table in a single document. Of course, you are then limited to keeping your definitions pretty short, though.

As far as template folders and such goes: please, wait for beta 4, and see what you make of it. I say no more for now. :slight_smile:

You two are amazing!

Thanks Keith, thanks AmberV.

I always leave this forum feeling like I just had a vitamin pill, bouyant and full of good cheer.


Oh, and as far as databases go: whilst you can’t so much create proper databases like you can in Montage, you can always just use a table (Text > Tables…).