Create scrivenings from custom metadata sort order

I’m using the custom metadata field to associate a date time stamp with text entries. In outliner, I can sort my entries by my custom metadata date time stamp. However, I can’t figure out how to

  • reorder the text entries in my drafts folder based on this custom metadata sort
  • create a scrivenings ordered by my custom metadata date time stamp.


I don’t know if there’s a more elegant way to do this, but you can sort the folder in the outliner, then select all the documents in the folder and use “move to” to replace them in the folder they came from. So for example, you select the “January Entries” folder in the binder, view it in outliner and sort it according to your meta-data so that it appears how you want it in the outliner; then select all in the outliner and right click and choose “Move To” (or go Documents>Move>To) and then go through the menu to choose “January Entries.” This will reorder them in the binder.

Once they’re reordered in the binder, you can use the binder selection to create your Scrivenings session and they’ll appear according to that order. For a temporary sorted Scrivenings session, split the editor, sort your documents in the outliner in one pane and in the footer click the double-arrow button so that it turns blue, linking the two editors. Then in the outliner, select the documents you want in the Scrivenings session, and they’ll open in the sorted order in the second window.

  1. Drag and drop is the way to take any arbitrary or ordered listing of items and request that the binder collect and reorganise the outline order in accordance with that custom ordering. So to take a custom sort order from the outliner, select all of the items from that folder (but not the folder, if visible), and then drag the items back into the folder in the binder—they should re-order according to the temporary sort in the outliner. This trick can also be used from a collection. Just select the contents of the collection and drag them back to the binder tab (pausing to let it switch), and drop the items back into the folder they came from—so you can commit arbitrary ordering as well (though freeform corkboard is the easiest way to do this, since you don’t need to create a secondary collection just to move things around freely). Note this will also gather items—which is potentially very powerful and something not many outliners do anymore these days. You can use a search collection to “mark” items and then gather them by dragging them back to the binder and dumping them in a spot. If they were not already in that folder to begin with, they will be moved there.

  2. Easiest way to view a scrivenings session in a custom sort order is to use splits. Open up a split and set it to scrivenings mode, now set the outliner to “auto-load” by clicking the inverted arrows icon in the footer bar. It should turn blue. Now whatever you click on in the outliner will automatically be loaded in scrivenings. To edit the whole outliner session in sort order; press Cmd-A.

The second method for this would be to create a temporary collection using that sort order. Any selected items will be added to a collection in the order that they appear, so selecting the outliner contents and pressing the + button with the collection interface open will create a new collection with those items in the sorted order. Now just click on the collection header bar (the coloured one below the tab interface) and change the view to scrivenings. This method is okay if you don’t mind creating intermediary collections.

Yeah, double-answer!: Drag and drop or Move To work identically in the first scenario. Move To will work better if you don’t want to disturb the existing binder disclosure state.

Also maybe worth pointing out that this only works per folder. Subdocuments in a subfolder appear sorted in the outliner but their sorted order doesn’t copy over to the binder when you Move To or drag and drop.

Drag and Drop worked like a charm. Thank you both!

Yes, good point—the outliner should be “hoisted” to the folder you intend to re-organise. Only ad hoc collections allow for multi-source flat-list sorting and gathering from many locations into one target spot.

Thank you!!!