Corkboard & Outliner changes (or not...)


There has been discussion lately about changing the way the corkboard and outliner works so that there will be less blank views. For instance, currently if you are in corkboard mode and you click on a document that has no children, you will be greeted with a blank corkboard. I know some users have found this a little confusing, and it has been proposed that instead, upon clicking on a document with no subdocuments, the document’s parent group should be shown instead with the document highlighted in its group.

This was one of the major things I was going to do for beta 2… But now I’m not so sure. I have been playing with this the past couple of days, and I’m not sure I like it. It feels very odd to see the selection in the outliner change when you change the seleciton in the binder - as though you are controlling it remotely. Moreover, because of the way Scrivener has been built, it is now evident to me that it would take a lot of recoding to get this working properly, and I’m not sure I would even like the result. There are conceptual problems, too, such as how the navigation buttons work in this circumstance: should they reflect every selected index card in the corkboard, or only parent documents that have been changed? And so on and so forth.

On top of this, the “blank” look is more normal for this sort of application (eg. Mori, when clicking on a document with no children, shows a blank table view on the right).

That said, I can understand that users may not appreciate the blank look of the corkboard or outliner when you click on a document that has no subdocuments.

So… What do you think? I would very much like feedback and ideas on this. What do you think should happen when you click on a document that has no subdocuments and you are in corkboard or outliner mode? (One idea might just be to have a message in the middle of the corkboard saying “No subdocuments”).

Thanks for taking the time to give me your feedback,


Not sure how to make the people who might not like the blank corkboard happy, but to be honest, I did not really understand this problem. So, since I have not found it confusing or problematic, so I can’t be of much help.

My vote is emphatically to keep it like it is if it is going to create a lot of work on your part and more problems for us. The way it is now, to be honest, makes more sense to me. If I click on a document with no children, I guess I don’t really expect to see anything. If there was any confusion, it quickly disappeared when I played a little with it and saw how it worked.

I suspect that after thinking this through and getting more feedback, something will click that will be easy to implement and perhaps work better for those folks who find this an issue. You always seem to do that!! So I say let it stay as it is and see what happens, both with users’ experiences and in your own thinking.

Those are my thoughts anyway. Hope it helps!


Thanks for your replies. And actually, your replies are very helpful. It is only natural that I will generally only hear from those who find that they don’t find the current behaviour intuitive; users who see this behaviour as natural won’t think to comment on it (because if they thought about it, then it wouldn’t be very intuitive :slight_smile: ). So it is good to hear that for some users this behaviour seems fine after a little use, as that helps me see that this isn’t a big problem for everybody.

I think this may be one of those things that I will only be able to re-evaluate after I have used it for sometime, to see how it fits with my original vision. In the meantime, the new “lock in place” feature should help.

I have to agree with Maria, alexwein, and also with your comments Keith. Why? Because I have thought about it long and hard. It is a problem. But I still think the problem is not the way you have implemented the corkboard (a perfect solution would emulate the index card app, SuperNotecard), but the difficulty we have of tackling something for which there is no prior learning.

Because Scrivener has no real analogous application, because it is new in so many ways, the beta testers are doing their job with words. When the Help file arrives with pictures of your concepts then the lights will go on for everyone. So I am happy to wait and trust the conceptual view that you had when you got your teeth into this thing. I just think corkboard is a simple communication issue, not a conceptual one.

In any case, I have found Scrivener to be so adaptable to different ways of working I am more and more convinced that its adaptability could be one of its unique selling points when it comes time to market it. I would put great emphasis on the way different writers have found ways of making it work for them. Every part of Scrivener has been bent to the needs of different people. It is all over this forum. Not all writers need corkboard or synopsis, some do. They are brilliant and there if you want them, but you can get by using different approaches. For example, Notes in the Inspector can solve so many writing problems.

So, the three comments above make so much sense. Don’t radically alter corkboard and synopsis until it really becomes necessary. I think that when the Tips and Tricks thread gets going, a lot of this dilemma will prove to be academic.

I understand why people might find it disconcerting, but the current behaviour definitely makes sense. If you did show the enclosing group by default, you wouldn’t be able to select a childless item in the Binder, click to get focus in the Corkboard and then click “Add” in the toolbar to create a child. Which you really should be able to do, I think.

But to throw something out there, nonetheless: the only other solution I can think of would be to introduce (in the left corner) a semi-transparent thumbnail of the card corresponding to the currently selected scrivening, for you to “jump up” a level in the hierarchy – so it’d work kinda like the “up hierarchy” folder icon in a Windows app, but with the focus preserved: you’d potentially be presented with a bunch of cards after clicking, but the correct card would be selected, and Scrivener’s indicator for card focus is veeeery clear, right?

For example:

Hell, maybe that Windows-style “arrow in a folder” icon would be more obvious, if a little Windowsy.

Yes, I have to admit it was a bit confusing at first, only because I was learning to use it fully. And it will be a bit confusing for some people, but changing that will confuse more people. I agree with the above posts and believe that once 1) help is in place, 2) people go through the documentation, 3) come here and ask questions, they will see it is the natural way: no cards to show because there is nothing.

Hope this helps :slight_smile: