Corkboard suggestions

Loving the Windows version of Scrivener!

A few minor suggestions:

  1. Allow the ability to expand or contract the size of individual index cards on the corkboard. There are times I need to see all the info on a card, not just the few lines provided. Other times I just need to see the title.

  2. Allow the ability to drag-&-drop the cards anywhere on the board, so cards can be set in both columns and rows anywhere without being locked into a grid of horizontal rows like they are now.

  3. When a card is double-clicked on and the text automatically highlights, expand the entire card so all the highlighted text can be read without having to scroll.

  4. Allow drag-and-drop to rearrange cards in any order. Right now the only way to drag-and-drop rearrange is to move cards to the end one at a time and work backwards to re-order them. This seems redundant when rearranging cards can be done in the binder, however it’s infinitely annoying to have to switch focus from the board to the binder just to switch a card or two.

*If there are ways to do these things already, I apologize for not finding them. I spent nearly the entire day playing with the corkboard trying to discover how to do these things.

I think some of the things you mentioned at least are already in the Mac version (see freeform corkboard) and will eventually make their way onto our windows versions. The biggest thing is for us to have some patience as the developers get the Windows versions up to par with the Mac’s. It’s frustrating, I know (I can’t wait for the freeform corkboard features, quick reference panels, customizable meta-data, and eve the ability to set a background image in full-screen mode, DOH!).

As MrDithers says, a freeform mode is already on the agenda, so that should answer your number 3. For the first, although you can’t arbitrarily size individual index cards, you can resize all of them via the options panel by clicking the icon of the four rectangles in the right of the editor footer. You can also set the font size (and an option for “small font”) in corkboard fonts under the Appearance tab of Tools>Options…

As for #4, you can do this already, so I’m not sure what you’re seeing in the editor preventing it. You cannot rearrange cards when there’s a “multiple selection” (it will be so-called in the header), meaning you’ve selected arbitrary documents from the binder to display on the corkboard, but you shouldn’t be able to reorder them at all in that mode. This is because, since it’s an arbitrary collection, Scrivener has no context for the placement of the cards, thus reordering would be meaningless since you may not have included the cards surrounding the ones you’re moving. If you’re viewing a set of cards by clicking on their container, however, you should be able to drag and drop them into any order; a blue line appears between the cards when you’re dragging to indicate a drop point:

I think it could be good to allow the possibly to use color fonts/bold/etc. on cards in the corkboard. The corkboard is really useful to have a global view of the project or of a part of it, and sometimes you need to put in evidence notes. Don’t know if that exist on the Mac version. Modify the size of an individual card would be really useful as well.

Synopses are plain-text in both Mac and Windows for function reasons–they appear in a lot of places throughout the interface, and not all these text fields can display rich text. Try using a simple style of mark up in place of italics, highlight, etc.–e.g. emphasize with asterisks.

I did notice this ability, but it is somewhat difficult to use. There is so much real estate for dropping the card onto (well, under) another card, and very little room for error for dragging it between another card. I’d like the option to turn off the dragging of cards under other cards so when I’m reordering I don’t accidentally create a new level of the hierarchy. Alternatively, at least making the space to drop onto another card smaller would be helpful. Right now there’s a [size=150]LOT[/size] of room to drop onto and a [size=50]BIT[/size] of room to drop between.

Under Tools -> Options -> Corkboard make sure “Allow dropping dragged items onto cards” is unticked. That should take care of the problem of making items subdocuments.

You can also click the icon of the four rectangles in the right of the editor footer to pop up some corkboard options, among which is a slider to adjust the spacing between cards.

Hmm, I like the visual spacing between the cards close together as they are. The unchecking of the “Allow dropping dragged items onto cards” seems to be what I need, but it’s not working. Perhaps it’s because I’m using the NaNoWriMo trial version. That version is labeled as 0.0.46. Hopefully it will work when I buy the released version.

Ah, yeah, that’s probably it. Something broke with this right in the last couple betas and it was fixed but it may still be in the NaNo version. Whoops! You’re welcome to switch over to the standard 1.0 trial if you want; backup your projects and uninstall the NaNo version first and then you can get the 1.0 trial from here.

Excellent. It works perfectly in 1.0.2. I’ll be buying as soon as I win NaNo! It was a great incentive and I actually won this year!

Great, glad that sorted it. And thanks for supporting Scrivener.

And way to go, you’ve already hit 50K? I need to go catch up on word count! :slight_smile:

I’d really like to echo the views of the original poster.

It would be great if the drag and drop of index cards was free-form, so that I could for example organise the characters in family tree form, or by nationality, alliance, hair colour or whatever.

And taking it one step further if there were separate corkboard views which could be recalled, that would be great.

Also, (I assume other people’s novels have characters too) … is there a button on the tool bar for bringing up the character corkboard? Currently I’m selecting the character folder from the left hand menu and then clicking the corkboard option. It’s pretty tiresome, given how bad I am at remembering all my characters’ names.

Try splitting your editor and viewing the characters either in cork board mode, or in the more space-efficient outline mode. Click on the icon on the header bar for your character view, and select “Lock in Place”, this will keep that list of characters from going anywhere, but you can still rearrange them, add new character documents, etc. I use that kind of view (using the outliner in one editor), and it works really well.

A freeform corkboard is on the agenda. The view modes aren’t remembered per specific container; rather, folders will all use the last mode you viewed. If you last used corkboard mode when viewing a folder’s contents, the next folder you click on (or if you click on a single document and then return to the folder) will remember the corkboard view. Document groups will use this same behavior (sharing the view mode preference with folders) if you have the option set in Navigation to treat all documents with subdocuments as folders.

I don’t want to lock them in place, I just want to recall the corkboad without having to track it down in a very long list in the left pane.

One of the thing that disappoints about Scrivener is that lack of navigational intuition. Take the example you give, open the character corkboard in a split window, that’s fine. Go to chapter full window, and then back to split window, and instead of seeing the character corkboard, we just see two versions of the same chapter. Is that useful? No.

And what’s with the left and right triangles (top left of edit window)? I’d expect the left arrow to show the previously viewed item (and similarly for forward), but no, I’m still trying to figure out what order these windows are appearing in.

I’m not asking for much, only that the navigation is in better tune with a user’s work process. Scrivener needs to save the user these unnecessary navigation and clicks. Not having the convenience of tabbed windows is a real weakness, even compared to other novel writing software.

But to put it in perspective, most of Scrivener’s competition is pretty weak (and ugly!), and Scrivener is easily the best in terms of look and feel. With a couple more years of development based on user feedback, Scrivener should become the industry standard.

Fair enough. You might consider keywords (one for each character) for tracking where they appear through your project. There is (or will be) a keyboard shortcut to bring up your list of keywords, which could easily be used simply as a list of character names.

Perhaps not useful to you, but sometimes I do need to compare my wording at the beginning of a long passage to what I was writing at the end (trying to book end the passage with a recurring theme), and having the same document in both splits is useful then. But you do have a good point, and an enhancement request for split panes remembering the last set of documents viewed in it would likely be more useful.

Now that sounds like a bug. The left arrow should take you to the last document that you viewed in that pane, and likewise, the right arrow should take you to the “next” document viewed after the current one. It should act as a stack, going down (left) in the stack, or up toward the top (right) of the stack.

These are also per-split, so each split will remember the order of documents viewed in it. (Thus in answer to one of your earlier points, when you create a new split you can use the back button to view the previous document in that split and get back to your corkboard that way.)

Every user has his or her own workflow, though, so the way you navigate through your documents is not necessarily the same way another user does. Scrivener has a myriad of options for navigating to accomodate for multiple work styles: you can load documents via the binder (and choose which editor to affect with binder clicks, or whether to lock the editor so it is unaffected), you can use the Go To menu, you can use shortcuts or buttons for viewing the editor history, you can do the same for viewing the next or previous document in the binder list, you can load documents via Scrivener Links, etc. I’m not quite sure what weakness you’re describing by not having tabbed windows–what precisely would the tabs be doing?

I’m not out to argue with you–obviously you haven’t found a smooth way yet for working in a Scrivener project and moving from one document to another, and that’s something that may just need to come with a little more time spent discovering the Scrivener interface, or maybe it turns out that Scrivener’s methods aren’t for you–but Scrivener has been built over the years in its Mac life with the influence of user feedback and Windows has had the benefit of the Mac version’s experience for its current incarnation, so it does have some notion of what works and what doesn’t under its belt, if you will. Naturally it’s open to further refinements, but there are a lot of possibilities already there which perhaps you just haven’t found, or perhaps you’ve hit a bug that needs to be worked out (since document history doesn’t seem to be working in each editor for you). Ultimately, I’m just not clear what you’re asking for when you request that the navigation be “better in tune with a user’s work process” since each user’s work process is unique. Maybe if you could describe yours, we’d be able to offer some ideas.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Perhaps you can consider the following example, something that I’m still struggling with.

I have a chapter open, I forget somebody’s name or details and want to quickly refer to my character (folder) corkboard. Surely this is quite a common scenario?

In my opinion, the character list/corkboard should always be a click away but it isn’t…
Firstly because the ‘last document viewed’ button doesn’t work consistently. (Win 1.0.2 that’s a bug I assume)
Secondly, because the split pane doesn’t reuse the last split item. If you say that users prefer to see a duplicate view of the same document then I have to take your word for it, but my expectation if I moved from split to whole the back to split a moment later, that the split would be the same as it was a moment earlier. (perhaps this could be a settings option?)

Thirdly because the character folder may not be in the current view in the left hand folders window. I may need to scroll up or down to locate it. Ideally the characters folder/list/corkboard should be available to me on the main toolbar. as this is where one expects to find the regularly used stuff in any program. In fact it would be great if a user could specify any folders or files they’d like to place on the toolbar. Mine has acres of space up there currently.

I’d better stop before I really annoy you. Hope this all makes sense.

I tried Scrivener in beta, liked it, and have now come back as a registered user of the Windows version.
There is one small refinement I’d love to see – the ability to set different colours for the corkboard depending whether I am in the writing or the research section.