Corkboard/outline features


I’ve just started using Scrivener, having previously used SuperNotecard for my outlining. I think Scrivener is a much better combined outliner and drafting tool than SNC, but there’s one SNC feature I really miss, and another I’d like to see in any planning tool:

  1. SNC has a “flatten” function for its Corkboard equivalent, which allows you to instantly flatten the hierarchy to a view of all your bottom level items - very useful if you’ve organised your scenes into chapter folders and want to get a quick bird’s eye view (I know you can open all the folders in Outline View, but it takes a lot of mouse-clicks!). As a programmer myself, it seems like a fairly straightforward feature to implement, and not exactly bloaty :slight_smile:

  2. A lot of fiction markets work to a definite word-count limit, so planning one’s work within those limits is vital. I’ve put my planned approx word count totals in scene, chapter and act titles so I can see them at a glance, but it would be nice to have a field, say under General, that can hold word targets and add them up. If you don’t want to add something that specific, then an extra configurable column under General (in addition to the pin colour and stamp) would be a useful alternative. Background colour for cards, maybe?

Of course, something like these (or a usable workaround) could be lurking in Scrivener already, but I’ve searched the forums and found nothing so far.


  1. There has definitely been discussion on the concept in the past. The problem is less about technical feasibility and more about visual presentation. The method that SNC uses to visually describe hierarchy would probably not work well with Scrivener. I think everyone likes the idea, but nobody had any good ideas on how to display the idea in a level of sophistication that the rest of the application has. Card size, colour, placement, stacking, and outlining (aperture style), have all been discussed.

Oh, and incidentally, there is a trick in Outliner that makes opening up the whole draft extremely simple. Just Cmd-A to select all, and then use the right arrow to open up everything that can be opened. If you wish to open up the entire thing, all the way down to the last element, then hold down the Option key while pressing the right arrow.

So there is a good way of getting your entire outline visible in one window, just not with the Corkboard.

  1. While certainly not automated, you could put a word count status as the first word in your Synopsis. Perhaps just type in [DONE], [HALF], [30%] or something like that. There has been discussion of a third axis for top-level meta-data in addition to labels/pins and status/stamps, but nothing has come of it yet. Of course, keywords and notes are available, but not visible at the top level. Synopsis is the only free-form meta-data field that is visible in nearly the entire application.

And don’t forget that you can view any or all cards on the corkboard simultaneously by doing a multiple selection – using drag select, select all, shift select of contiguous cards or command select of discontiguous ones, find and select etc etc.
I do this all the time in one split -which I lock - while using the other split to navigate around text fields. Not as automatic as flatten, but just as effective.


That is true, but it lacks any sort of hierarchy cue. The “flatten” feature in SNC lets you know from what stack the sub-cards come from (which top level stack, at any rate). By looking at the index card shape, and seeing which ones have “stacks of cards” beneath them, you can somewhat discern order.

Thanks for the tips, guys! I guess I just need a bit more time to get used to Scrivener and adapt its features to the way I’m used to working.

Right now I’m thinking of using the Status field to show word count targets (1000, 2000, 3000 or whatever - they’re only ball-park figures, so I only need a handful). Then I can use keywords for draft status and do a rapid search on what needs working on. Not quite as slick as having a third General field, but it’ll do the job :smiley:

A third general field would indeed be slick. Personally I would use it to rate the importance/quality of notes; which could then be sorted while working on a text.

It occurs to me that many users might also find it useful to have an equivalent of the flatten command for the binder- yes, without the visual cues to hierarchy - that would essentially perform a find for all the cards. I currently do this by searching for a space, which works fine but there’s no guarantee that every single card will be found and the fact that all the spaces are highlighted is both distracting and wasteful.

Why Bother? For one thing it’s useful to be able to quickly see, find, edit and sort on the label or status field for all your cards- and this works best with the find display at the moment.

I bet a lot of users would make good use of a single button/command that would do this. It would be a cinch to program as all the processes involved are already there.

An alternate, perhaps more elegant, way of doing this would be to have all notes appear in the binder found set the moment you clicked in the find field -showing a complete list that would only be filtered once you started typing in the field.