Binder questions

I’ve just started using Scrivener and so far I’m blown away. It’s way better than Ulysses.

Anyway, I was playing around with the novel template, I notice there are folders called Manuscript and Research with icons that look like Hypercard stacks (probably I’m showing my age here). Only are they folders? You actually cannot convert these to text or a folder, so what are they exactly?

My other question is how do you rerarrange things in the binder. I created a folder which I wanted to put just before the trash can, but it either wants to go into one folder or into the trash can. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do this.


There are three special folders - Draft, Research and Trash. These can be renamed, but they retain their unique icons and purpose - in the Novel template, for instance, the Draft folder is renamed to become “Manuscript”. It’s actually pretty important you understand how these work, as the Draft folder (renamed Manuscript in that template), especially, is pivotal to the program, as it holds the work that will ultimately be compiled into your final manuscript. If you haven’t already, I strongly recommend you go through the tutorial project (Help > Tutorial), as this will make all of this clear. For further information, see the help file (Help > Scrivener Help), particularly the section on the Binder, which explains all of this in detail.

As for rearranging the binder, just drag and drop.

Thanks for your kind words about Scrivener,
All the best,


Okay that makes sense. They are special-purpose folders. So it’s probably a bad idea to duplicate ‘Manuscript’ because it might confuse Scrivener when it comes time to compile a draft?

Anyway I started with the novel template and pretty much changed everything about it. :slight_smile: I was very confused at first that each chapter is set up as a folder instead of a text document. And then inside each chapter folder is a text file called “scene”. I unerstand this better now. Each chapter would have a scene or several scenes which can then be moved around, even moved over to other chapters, but since I have started my novel already and I am organizing it by chapters and not scenes, I am going to simply use text files for each chapter. The chapters will go into the “Manuscript” folder, so that when I’m ready to compile a draft it will only export the chapters and not the miscellanous support notes. Do you think I have a handle on this program? Am I missing anything important?

It will work the way you plan but it strikes me that you’re still a bit at sea. It would be a really good idea to go through the tutorial again where the nature of the binder and folders is discussed extensively. It took me several times through the tutorial before I got it.

Have fun!


Nah, try it! You’ll get a folder called “Manuscript copy-1” or something, and it will have a regular folder icon, not the special icon which indicates where production text goes.

Just remember that folders and text files are essentially the same thing, and you can use them however you like. Take a look at the article on them in the FAQ for further advice on how they can be used. Don’t worry too much about it! You can always right-click on something and change it from one to the other if your change your mind.

You might find, as you start editing, that you’ll want to cut your chapters up into scenes. Scrivener is exceptionally adept at handling lots of small bits of information, rather than huge chunks of book. Having things cut up means you can be more flexible, your searches will be more relevant, and meta-data can be more precise. The Edit Scrivenings feature means you’ll never have to worry about things getting too broken up to work with.

As Amber says, you can duplicate the Draft/Manuscript folder without any issue. Just bear in mind that when you come to use Compile Draft/Compile Manuscript (the menu item is renamed to match whatever you called the folder), it will only use the contents of the folder with the special pile-of-pages icon.

The Novel template is really only one way of doing it, and Scrivener is designed so that you can - hopefully - use whichever way of organising your work you’re most comfortable with. So, if you want to use single text files for whole chapters because you prefer to work with whole chapters rather than scenes, that’s fine and will work just as well. If you later decide you would rather work with scenes after all, you can always cut up the chapters using the Split at Selection feature.

What you might want to do at this stage is just bring those chapters in, organise them in the binder as you think they should go, and then just try out a Compile Draft to see how it works and check that you get the expected results. It will probably take a little bit of playing around with to get it set up as you want it, but once you have, you can always create a blank project set up as you want and then save that as a template to base future projects on.

All the best,

Interesting discussion of a complex topic. When I first got Scrivener and imported my writing starts from Word, I accidentally put my novel in a “short story” binder. Does it matter? Can I change it?

As always, thanks for your help.

Nope, doesn’t matter :slight_smile: Each ‘project type’ is really just a pre-configured arrangement of the binder and a few default files. You can happily rename the manuscript/draft folder, remove the ‘first chapter’ folder with its preserved formatting, and so on, without doing any harm. For example, while I usually start with the Short Story template, I rename the default manuscript folder (‘Short Story’) to the title of the story I’m writing.