Collections Names don't stick even in Layouts, Mac

I’ve made two collections, Lily and Maddy. There are two problems. No matter how many times I change the name of the collection, usually from Maddy, to Lily, it changes back. I tried to solve this by creating a Maddy & Lily layout, but even that doens’t work.

I’m a bit confused… you have two collections, “Lily” and “Maddy”? And you want to rename “Maddy” as “Lily”? When you do that, what about the existing “Lily” collection? Do you want both collections to be named “Lily”? I hardly use collections, so I don’t know if it is possible to have two collections with the same name.

If I’ve understood you correctly, try changing “Lily” to something else, then change “Maddy” to “Lily”.

Or are you wanting to merge the two collections to create a “Lily and Maddy” collection?


Creating a saved layout isn’t going to affect the names of Collections. That’s strictly a way to preserve a particular interface arrangement.

To change the name of a Collection, (Mac) double-click on its name in the Binder and simply type the new name. Scrivener will even let you give two Collections the same name, however misguided that idea might be.

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I made two separate collections: Lily and Maddy. I inadvertently named “Lily” “Maddy”, I guess. I’ve changed the name in the binder many times, the system just changes it back. I want two collections, one named Maddy and one named Lily.

I’ve done that many times. I also tried changing the name of the collection in the top of the editor. Right now I’m looking at a layout that has both collections in the editor, both named Maddy, but one is a collection of the documents “Lily.”, again!

Seems silly to ask, but when you have typed in the new name do you press the return key immediately before doing anything else? I tried on my testing.scriv and name changes stuck without problem.


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Rename the collections Old-Lily-Maddy and Old-Maddy-Lily. The new names should stick. Then rename them Maddy and Lily for the appropriate characters.
There’s no reason why this approach shouldn’t work–names mean nothing to a machine, but duplicate names can lead to horrible errors.

I tried inverting the names. The new names are: 9 Maddy and 9 Lily. I loaded them into the 2 screen editors. Maddy was showing correctly, but Lily’s editor showed Maddy’s documents. So I reloaded it and then changed the names in the binder collection and the editor to 9 Lily and 9 Maddy again. When I hit enter, the system changed the name of both collections to 9 Maddy.

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I’m going to have to leave you to one of the experts. My use of collections has been extremely limited and straightforward, and I have no problem renaming such collections as I’ve tried.

That said, one question comes to mind: are the collections dynamic on the basis of keywords on documents or other metadata/search criteria? If so, the contents will remain the same irrespective of how the collection is renamed.


Delete your two collections (using the Remove Collection minus symbol). It does nothing to the documents in the collection, as it’s simply a view of what you organised under a particular collection name. Then build each collection again. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, if that long, depending on how you add documents to a collection, i.e. one at a time vs in bulk.

If need be, in case you’re uncertain that this is sensible advice, simply make two new collections first called Maddy101 and Lily101 and start populating them. Start by adding one document to each collection to give you the assurance that you’re on the right track. If happy, build them further from there. When they’re fully built, remove the old collections only then, as I indicated above in this post.

You could probably even skip the process of manually rebuilding them. When a new collection is created, it uses the existing sidebar selection to do so (be that from the binder, a portion of search results or another collection). Thus pressing Ctrl+A / ⌘A in the currently “weird” collection’s sidebar, then clicking the + button at the top should make a fresh new one with the same list, in the same order.

That said, I would myself be a little concerned if I renamed a collection and got something I didn’t type in as a result, as well as another collection using that same name. That speaks to some internal issue with the project that may be worth sorting out with tech support (sending us a copy of the project) rather than using the user interface. Who knows if it will even delete correctly, or cause deeper problems if you try.

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Arrgh. How do I send you the project? I just researched and saved both collections, naming them Lily 9 and Maddy 9 (it’s 9th draft of the entire thing), loaded them in the editor, locked both editors and then, merged two of Maddy 9’s subdocuments. That’s when the editor switched to Lily 9. Arrgh x2.

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To let me check the project’s state, do this:

  1. Use File ▸ Show Project in Finder.
  2. In the Finder window that opens, right-click and “Show Package Contents”.
  3. Back in your browser, click on my avatar, and then the big Message button.
  4. From the Finder window that opened and is showing the internal files and folders of your project, drag and drop the gold .scrivx file into the message window.

I’ll just be looking for signs of damage, like two separate collections that somehow ended up with the same internal ID number; that sort of thing.

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All right, thanks for letting me check that. The project looks fine! I found the two collections you are referring to, and they are distinct with their own IDs, and they each have their own unique lists of binder items in them. So there isn’t anything weird going on at that level at least, and you should feel free to delete and remake them if you want (though I don’t know if that would actually help anything).

If you do want to try that though, the best way is to load one collection the binder sidebar, select everything in it, and then click the + button at the top of the collection tab view to clone its list into a new collection. Give it a name like “Maddy 9 New”, and then delete the old “Maddy 9”. The same would go for the other.

But like I say, I don’t think that’s really going to change anything. My guess is there is some kind of procedural issue going on. Perhaps in how the sidebar can be showing one collection, while the editor can in fact be showing another, depending on how you load them into each. The tabs at the top of the binder switch the sidebar naturally, and the little “hook” button next to the close collection button, below the tabs, will load that list into the editor. You can of course also right-click in the editor header bar and load another list there, which is how the two wouldn’t match. It’s just a thought, but I’d try sticking with one approach or another until you get it sorted, to avoid wires getting crossed between things.

Thank you and I’m having trouble understanding your last paragraph above. I load the collection as in your second paragraph. Right now, Johnson 9 is loaded in the binder-collection. Johnson 9 is loaded on one editor, and Maddy’s cards are loaded in the other editor, but when started working on Maddy’s cards, the name of that editor switched to Johnson 9! I thought I had it locked. It doesn’t seem to effect what I’m writing, but I it is disturbing, especially since I really thought I had the editor locked.

What color is the the header bar you thought was locked - the one with the title of the document/s you are viewing?

When locked, it will change color (I think pink is the default if you are not using a theme).

Also check “binder selection affects…” to make sure that is set for what you want.

Unfortunately for Mac users, Locked is either grey, or a slightly different grey, with a tiny icon in the corner, and themes only change Appearance settings.

I think a much more detailed assessment of each action taken, is necessary. I’m talking about the buttons you are clicking on, where you move the mouse and when you type, what menu commands you use and all in the precise order you did them. The problem is, none of us knows what “working with Maddy’s cards” means. That could be everything from sitting and staring at the screen, thinking about them, to throwing them all in the trash and then clicking the Back button.


Here it is:

preferences, navigation: binder selection effects nothing when editor is focussed (locked)
Collections: Johnson, editor binder folder: Character desc 8&9
Layouts: choosing 3 pane, loads character des
View: collections
binder: johnson, load johnson, lock editor
Load Lily into collections, but Lily 9 into collections but it shows Maddy’s doc’s!
Rename Lily 9, again
Click thru collections looking for Lily
Lily’s doc’s load in collections, but name shows Johnson 9A, Johnson 9A docs still in editor, other editor shows Maddy 9 Q2!
Give up.

Right now what I want is is three editor panes showing three collections: Johnson 9A, Lily 9 (which has disappeared, again) and Maddy 9. Being able to float LED 9 would help a lot, but right now I’d be really happy if my collections would stop disappearing.

I started this morning by deleting all my character collections (I also have Quarter collections.) when I go to Maddy 9, Scrivener quit!