Creating a Master Project List??


My first post, and as a preface I want to say that I’ve been using Scrivener I think for about two years now and I’ve never been so in love with a piece of software. My gushing to others is down right embarrassing.

My questions is: I have a lot of separate projects, some small, some huge, and I would like to create something like a narrow-columned list of all of them, sort of a text-file outline like:

Short Stories

Each of those having indents, which are links to the various project files I have. I could keep that column up on one side of my screen, and navigate to the files I want quickly.

I’ve fooled around with Add Link and Scrivener Link and reference links, and can’t seem to get anything to do what I want.

Any suggestions from anyone?



Well, if you don’t need the links to actually open the project file, you could use a file-system URL in conjunction with the Text/Add Link... menu command. In case you are not familiar, a file URL looks something like this: “file://localhost/Users/yourname/Documents/one.scriv”.

But you might just want to use References for this, since references let you double-click to open the original resource.

Thanks for that AmberV, the ‘references’ hint cleared up a long standing issue for me. (for scientific papers, I always thought it would be great to have some sort of link to the data sheet which I used for the analysis)

Glad to hear it. :slight_smile:

References are very handy when you need your project to network out to the rest of your disk, and the Internet, without actually moving those items or archiving them in the project. They are also very useful for establishing networks within the project file itself.

Thanks Amber. I’ll try to set up the references and see how it works. Michael

Do you mean something like that?

In (free) Notational velocity, you just drop a file to create a link. A clic will open the folder and select the file, though, it won’t open the file directly. Then a double clic or a Cmd+O will open the file.

I maintain a Master List as a Scrivener File, where I have one document for every novel or story I have written or intend to write one day.

I have folders like “published”, “about to be published” (= manuscript is finished and in the production pipeline), “actual project” (here I usually have only 1 item at a time), “next projects” and “ideas” (the latter divided into subfolders where I try to group my ideas, but I change the category system every three weeks or so …).

I use labels like “needs research”, “only basic idea yet”, “ready to write”, “concept has still holes” etc. along with colours that shall give me an overall impression of how “ripe” an idea is.

I collect ideas about settings, characters, main plot points etc. first in these documents; only when it starts to become too much material to be handled in one document, I create a folder for the project in my “writing projects” folder and some files (sometimes a Scrivener file, sometimes others) where I put all the material collected so far. I empty the document in the main list to serve as a kind of “progress log” from that time on, and I put links to all project files in the link area. This way, I can go from the overall view of my projects into any specific project with a click of the mouse.

That’s an excellent usage scenario, Andreas, thanks for sharing it.

Yes that’s a great idea - I think I’m going to try that one!


Andreas - would it be possible to see a screenshot of your master file so I can get an idea of the difference between a master document, a project that exists as a bunch of documents in a folder, and a project that links to external files? I’d like to try your system and seeing how it’s laid out would help to clarify.


:confused: Please understand that I hesitate to put a screen shot of the master plan for the rest of my writing life online …

But maybe I’ll try and create a template until christmas. Would that help?

Andreas: I do the same! I call mine “Snippets” although some do grow up to be novels!

And… you are forgiven. I would NEVER show my snippets files to anyone. It would be worse than allowing someone to snoop around in my dirty laundry pile.

Note that in mine, I also include an xls file in the research section where I track submissions. I have a mock-up of that spreadsheet if anyone wants to use/modify it. I made it a couple of years ago so the examples are dated. … dAlpha.xls


Andreas: A template would be very helpful - thanks.

Yes, a master template please would be great. I want to use Scrivener but I need to keep track of a zillion projects.


Here is a template I created, based on my original master project list (same label colours etc.), but in English.

The basic idea is to have a document per project and a link to the file (Scrivener or other) where you actually write or develop the thing. So, don’t be disappointed, it’s not rocket science - it’s just the way I manage my project since I switched to Mac & Scrivener. (92.6 KB)

Just to confirm that this project can be opened by Windows Beta 1.4.

It looks very interesting and I think I could use a similar approach myself eliminating the need for an access database. Using Document references could be very handy.

Thanks for sharing AndreasE

Thanks for sharing! I always like seeing (especially with pictures) how someone else is getting organized. It helps me procrastinate perfect my system…! :slight_smile: Great ideas here. I have a similar set up for short story ideas, but I never broadened it to a master project for everything though I now think that’s clearly what I should do, rather than having a ton of practically empty projects still in nascent stages. So thank you for the tip! I’m going to go procrastiate get organized.

Thanks Andreas, This is just what I was looking for. H

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this, Andreas.

My inner sheep will work to perfect my system, too. :mrgreen:

A kindred spirit!