Corkboard behavior

I’m sorry for what seems to be a very basic question:

If I’m writing a novel, and I have chapter folders with scenes in them, is there any way to view/rearrange/add/edit all the scenes in the novel at once, on a single corkboard?


I don’t think so – I think the idea is that it operates on discrete levels so you can move Chapters around as units.

If you want to see all the documents (index cards text) at once in an editable / rearrangeable view, then you can use Outline Mode (cmd-3) on the top level folder (usually Manuscript or Draft depending on the template you’re using).

Cmd-9 (View > Outliner > Expand All) will show you every document. View > Outliner Columns > And Synopsis will show you the index card text. You can drag and drop to change the order of files and you can edit individual synopses, so it’s functionally the same as the Corkboard, but without the card metaphor.

If you really want to see all documents in the cork board, the only way I can think of is to duplicate the top level folder and in the copy, drag every document to the first level. But you’d have to replicate any changes back to the original afterwards, so I’m not sure this a useful approach in many cases.


You can select the top level container (the Draft, presumably) and choose Documents > Open > With All Subdocuments as Flat List in order to visually flatten the binder hierarchy and see the full contents on the corkboard. This can give you a visual overview, if that’s what you’re after, but because it’s had to flatten the hierarchy, it’s not possible to move cards around while in this view.

What might work for you though is the stacks view, which you’ll get if you select multiple containers in the binder to view on the corkboard. In this case, Cmd-click each of your chapter folders and with the editor in corkboard mode, you’ll see each chapter’s subdocuments grouped in rows or columns on the board, with the background shaded to separate each container. It still will only show you one level deep, but if you’re working with your scenes all as documents directly within their chapter container, this should be perfect for you. Since it preserves the hierarchy, you can rearrange the cards within their chapter folders or move them to other chapters by dragging them into the appropriate row or column.

Thanks. I’ll look into all that.

It seems a real limitation not to be able to see both all the scenes AND which chapters they’re in, in an overall view of the whole book.

How would that work, exactly? You can do this in the outline view, which is able to display the hierarchy. The corkboard is, by definition of a corkboard, a flat list of documents. It is not philosophically or technically possible to display a hierarchical list as a flat list and to allow dragging and dropping within that list in such a way as it still has any meaning. Drag and drop in a flat list is simple: the document is dropped before or after another document. Dragging and dropping in a hierarchical list is entirely different, as a document can be moved not only before or after but also as a child of another document. It also has to ensure that you don’t drag a parent into being a child of itself and so on. It is possible to display a hierarchical list as a flat list, but to allow dragging and dropping in its flattened state would wreak havoc. To see what I mean, try drawing a complicated hierarchical structure, such as you could create in the binder, with parent documents with subdocuments and subdocuments of subdocuments. Then try writing it all out as a flat list, and experiment with moving things around in that list, and try to figure out where that would involve them being moved in the original hierarchy… You’ll soon see that this is not a “limitation” of the program so much as a fundamental limitation of moving between a hierarchical list and a flat list.

All the best,

P.S. But as Jennifer says, you can view all documents on the corkboard as a flat list with drag-and-drop disabled, or you can select multiple folders to view their contents - so Scrivener allows for everything that is possible.

Just to say: THANK YOU Keith and Jennifer for this lucid and useful explanation — and for the superb software design that allows the user to do, as you say, everything that is ontologically possible (or anyway practicable). My questions answered, my problem solved. You guys rock.