Can I export all custom metadata and import that into another project?

I have a trilogy where all three volumes have separate projects. But I wish them to all be the same as far as how they are designed, and I wish them to present as the same so that working on one would be similar to working on another.

If I do something to change or add to the custom metadata on one, it would be very handy to be able to export those settings to the other two projects rather than going in and painstakingly recreating it from scratch. Twice.

IOW, I would like how one project is configured to be available as a template for reconfiguring multiple other projects, and if I change the config for one project, I’d like to be able to use that as a template to update the config on the other projects.

Is there a way to do that? If it’s in the manual, it’s buried where I have not been able to find it.

The documentation for copying project settings between projects, which includes metadata fields, is found in Appendix C.1. I will add a cross-reference to this point from a few other areas of the manual, like where exporting metadata is brought up in the main section regarding it (§10.4).

IOW, I would like how one project is configured to be available as a template for reconfiguring multiple other projects, and if I change the config for one project, I’d like to be able to use that as a template to update the config on the other projects.

That part would be accomplished with your own custom project template (File ▸ Save As Template...). I keep a “master” template with all of my preferred settings and common metadata. I typically start all new projects from that, so copying settings isn’t often necessary, but if I do ever need to it’s a simple matter of creating a throw-away project with that template so that I can then do so.

Thanks for the prompt reply. I will now devour that part of the manual!

It doesn’t appear that this may answer one of my key questions (although I may be wrong) which is while it makes sense to create a template and invoke that for projects that you wish to be set up in a certain way, what happens if you change your mind and want the project to evolve, to have new metadata categories, for instance?

I was not clever enough as a beginning writer to understand all the powers that Scrivener has and know how I would want to implement them years later into the journey of writing a trilogy.

For a single project, I assume you just change what you need to in that project whenever the fancy strikes you, and if you predict similar new projects, create a template from it that you can use for upcoming projects. That’s a terrific feature. But how do you export those changes into other already-existing projects?

That’s the thorny question.

I’d hoped that manipulating layouts might be the answer. But it appears that metadata is individualized per project, and that invoking a layout does not bring with it the metadata that might have been resident in the original project. (now that would be a REALLY TERRIFIC feature!)

Again, I am working with 3 exceptionally-similar projects that represent the 3 novels in a single-story trilogy. It appears that if I alter project ‘Book 1’ and create a template from that, that it’s only use as a tool is to create new projects, and not to reconfigure projects (Books 2 and 3) that I have been working on for over 5 years, which is the actual goal here.

That’s a terrific feature. But how do you export those changes into other already-existing projects?

How you manage that side of the problem is up to personal preference. For myself I have too many ongoing projects to bother spending my time going around and keeping them all up to date with my current preferences. So my approach is more fix-it-when-you-see-it.

Let’s say I change my mind about how a particular style should look. It made sense to me at some point, but now I find it jarring. So I change how it looks, quickly pop open copy from my main template, import the style settings into it, save as template, and then get back to work in the main project. That’s it for that. The template is my “communicator”, and it’s up to date. That’s all that matters to me in that moment.

Now, you’re asking about how the other direction works. I could go around and update dozens of projects, but I have better things to do. I’ll get around to it eventually, when I’m in that project and I spot the thing I now find jarring. For that I do the opposite of the above: spawn a project copy from the template, import the style (or whatever) from there, and get back to work (no need to save the template since I’m just using it to update my settings in an existing project at that point).

So the template becomes a functional bridge between projects, past, present and future. It’s primary purpose to make new projects, in how the documentation is written, but that purpose makes it really convenient for storing and retrieving common settings, too. I always keep it up to date, and that’s the only one I worry about when changing my mind about something.

All around I think this is the best approach to the problem from the feature set side of things (how we use them is another matter more diverse): provide one with the ability to easily transfer things piecemeal, so that you can choose exactly how much to copy and when.

It seems you’re asking for something that would nuke the entirety of a project’s metadata and replace it with something else. I don’t think there would be a lot of need for something like that. You describe a very specific scenario toward the end—but honestly I’m looking at that and wondering why you have three projects to begin with. That sounds like one project split up into three, to me. Would they not also benefit from a common background and research pool as well, not just metadata? If it’s one story long story, would it not be incredibly helpful to be able to cross-reference different parts of that story right in the same project?

Well—there is no one right answer to that either, obviously. Just know Scrivener has a bunch of feature set for solving that particular problem, of having multi-volume works in one project, whereas it has less of a feature set for synchronising settings between projects in a bulk fashion. That should say something about our inclination at any rate. We think of projects as being containers for works, whatever that entails. Commonly it might be a paper, or even as small as an article, or a book. But it can be a trilogy, or even an entire five season television show, with every episode in one project.

Oh my God! It worked! I spoke too soon!

You folks are just beyond brilliant. Scrivener is a godsend. I want to carve you and Keith into Mount Rushmore.

A while back I abandoned my giant 3-monitor setup to go to a single 13" MBP. I had no idea you could have Project Settings open in two projects at the same time and drag things between them.

Thank you so much. This removes a really difficult stumbling block for me.

I like your implementation. In my case, rather than having a master template I keep up to date, I think I’ll use ‘Book 1’ as my template, and refer to it as my ‘functional bridge’ when working on 2 and 3.

The choice to have 3 projects for a single trilogy was made way, way back when the earth’s crust was still cooling, back in the days of Scrivener 2 and with a platform of a 2011 MBA. Not much power.

My trilogy is sort of long. Having the entire thing in a single project at that time would have been cumbersome to move around in. When I first began using Scrivener, the entire story was about 100,000 words long, and I have this thing I like to do where I compile regularly so I can review the results in iBooks. I jump back and forth between the Scrivener Editor, Comp mode, and iBooks constantly (different fonts, different formatting allow me to regard things in a fresher way than just Editor/Comp modes).

In 2018, it might take a very long time to compile, unless I also took the time to only compile parts at a time, which was also a cumbersome thing. I could walk the dog, make a sandwich, have a smoke, go out on my deck and regard the skyline, and then maybe the compiling would finish. So separate projects made sense. (no dog, no smoking, but you get the idea).

When you are using trial and error to learn compiling, that’s a lot of sandwiches.

But that was then and this is now. Scrivener 3.23 and Apple Silicon do that compile in seconds.

But I still want the volumes to compile separately, even today, so separate projects still makes sense.

Yeah, using one of the key projects as a “master” makes sense if it isn’t really something template-worthy.

Well that part Scrivener handles fairly well, even to the point of being able to automatically select front and back matter based on which volume you’re currently compiling. Refer to Linking Front/Back Matter to Compile Groups, in §23.4.1.

The basic idea itself is to put all three into the Draft folder as top-level folders, adjust your Section Types down a level to compensate, and then use the Contents tab in the compile window to select which volume to work with. This by default also adjusts the statistics functions so that only the one volume is being counted.

Performance is another matter though, along with preference! Do what works best, just know there is feature set for multi-volume projects should you want to experiment with the idea on a copy of the project(s).

Thanks. Definitely worth looking into.