Compiling a collection

In my binder, I have structured my novel with what are essentially scenes that are in folders by story arc. So I have a folder called “The Parlor Game” with some scenes, and another folder called “The Pillow Game” with some other scenes. There are a number of these folders. The binder contains only two levels of hierarchy–the folders at the top, then at level 1, the scenes.

However, I am playing with the ordering of the scenes within the book. I may want to move any random scene to another position in the sequentially compiled book. Yet I really like the binder organization when I am thinking about the action and writing pieces of it.

So it was suggested to me that I could arbitrarily change the order of the scenes by compiling a collection. This works by using the Filter in the compile dialog and selecting the collection. However, the formatting options appear to maintain the hierarchy of the binder, not the collection (which is flat). And, in fact, when I select various levels for my compile options, the yellow highlights come from the Binder, not from the collection that is selected for compile. So there appears to be some inconsistency here–the text documents and the order they are compiled come from the collection to be compiled, but the type of formatting can only be controlled via the hierarchy of those documents in the Binder.

What this results in is that in the compiled book I cannot control the presence or absence of the title of the scene since they are all at the same level in the Binder.

Is there anyway around this, or should I just manually place my titles in the text where I want them and turn off all the titles in compile options?



There are two ways to compile using a Collection. The Filter option you method you mention is best when you basically want the Binder order and outline structure intact, but you want to only use some documents from it, or the inverse, remove some documents from the list dynamically. If you want to do something other than the Binder order, just compile out the flat Collection list, then instead of using filters, select the collection directly from the top of the Contents panel. It sounds like you are looking for something more like that latter option.

Thanks for the quick reply, Amber. I was not aware that I could select the collection for compilation other than by using the filter.

Now I have lots of other questions.

Changing the compile method to select the collection directly as opposed to using a filter didn’t really solve my problem, which was how to have titles compiled in at arbitrary positions in the final book. The only way to do this, I think, is by selecting titles at hierarchical levels.

I did solve this by adding new folders to the collection I am compiling. These new folders are placed immediately before any document that starts a new chapter and I name the folders with my chapter names. Then, in the formatting section of compile I select folders at Level 1+ to have titles. This results in what I want–arbitrary order of what I am compiling relative to the binder order and the ability to customize chapter names and the documents that make up the chapter. It was tedious at first to add and position the new folders, but a Keyboard Maestro macro made this quick and easy.

Along the way I did run into a couple of interesting anomalies. The following is a bit long, and has little to do with the solution to the original problem, so read and comment if you wish.

First, I thought that I could just “Convert to Folder” in the collection to get the same effect with the caveat that the chapter name would then be the document name. This seemed to work when I did one document as an example. However, when I converted multiple folders the document text disappeared–that is, clicking on the converted folder showed no text in the editor and none appeared in the compile. The folder icon still showed text present, but I couldn’t find it. I don’t know why this happened and I was afraid I had lost the text. I did have a backup. However, when I did a “Convert to File” on these folders, the text was back. So, no explanation for this anomaly.

Second, I am pretty confused by the binder and how it represents my collection. This collection was originally created via keyword search. However, since then I have added and deleted documents (and added and deleted folders and converted folders to documents and documents to folders) within the collection. When I deleted folders I moved them to the trash. If I look at the collection itself, all is as I expect it, and it works like I want. However, if I am looking at the Binder and expand the collection (which appears as an item when the binder is shown) I am confused. Only folders are shown, and all the folders are empty. All of these folders are ones that I added for my chapter fix. No documents are shown for the collection when shown in the binder. In addition, because of playing around with this, in come cases I had created folders, then deleted them, and then created them again. The result is that any folder I created is still shown in the binder version, so now there are multiple apparently identical and empty copies of some of the folders. How about that :slight_smile:



On the first “anomaly”, could it be that the folders were opening in outline mode and not editor mode? Folders open in outliner or corkboard modes by default.

On the second point, the binder does not show collections at all. When you add a new document to a collection, Scrivener doesn’t know where to put it, so it creates a folder in the binder (inside the Research folder) with the name of the collection, so that you can find it and move it where you want (Scrivener pops up a message to tell you that this is happening - you can dismiss the message and tell Scrivener not to show it again, so presumably you did so at some point). But that folder in the binder is not the same thing as the collection at all. Collections are entirely separate from the binder - that is their point.

Hope that helps.

All the best,

I suspect that you are right about the first anomaly–I was looking at the wrong view to see anything. Scrivener behaves as you describe and the text really is there, nothing is lost. I suspect user confusion :slight_smile: caused by incorrectly thinking that data was lost.

I’m really liking collections. The more I understand about Scrivener, the more I like it. This forum has helped a lot with understanding how some things work.