Dockable Scratchpad

Still pretty new to Scrivener, so I’m still discovery everything. Today I’ve come across the scratchpad, and overall really enjoy using it. However since it’s an always on top floating window it’s not as useful as it would be if I could have it docked in the main interface.

I would recommend that you rather use a normal document(s), placed outside of your draft folder in the binder (say, in the research folder), and that you put this one “scratchpad” document as a project bookmark.
That’d be functionnal.
As a matter of fact, that’s how I do it.

An alternative is to fix the screen space Scrivener uses yourself.
You can then save this as a layout. And position the scratchpad in the remainder of the screen, side by side with Scrivener.
Window/Layouts/Manage Layouts

. . . . . . . .
For what it’s worth, there are so many other ways the equivalent can be achieved, that I sincerely doubt that the scratchpad will ever be integrated.
Scrivener in itself is already a gigantic scratchpad…

You could even create a whole project set apart. Name it “ScratchPad” and voilà. No more who’s on top issues.

This one wouldn’t work because the whole idea, is that I don’t want separate windows. I want my writing, and my scratchpad notes to be in the same window both visible at the same time.

I’ll look into the layout version, since I do seem to recall having come across an option for a split layout somewhere… Though that seems like it’ll be much more space inefficient than if the scratchpad was dockable in a sidebar.

Yeah, I feel there are adequate note taking tools in the project window itself. The scratch pad is a special tool that has two unique characteristics, neither of which are compatible with this idea:

  • It has nothing to do with any projects, and can even be used while no projects are currently open. So docking it into a project would be a bit odd given that.
  • The reason you give for it being less useful is precisely why it exists in the first place: to have a window that is omnipresent and impossible to lose, to facilitate easy note-taking while using other programs, even those that fill the whole screen. So again making it something that you have to Alt-Tab around to find again would defeat its purpose, and if that is all you want there are better tools in the project itself.

Though that seems like it’ll be much more space inefficient than if the scratchpad was dockable in a sidebar.

With the exception of the project agnostic bit, you are in essence describing how Project Bookmarks work, when worked with in the Inspector. Refer to §10.3.2, The Inspector’s Bookmarks Tab, in the user manual PDF for further information on how to use it. As you’ll note from the text around that section, bookmarks are quite versatile, so you do have the option to open them up in a separate window if you do want to now and then.

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Yes, that’s why I like it and would like to dock it. So that I could have an omnipresent scratchpad/notepad always accessible in all projects.

I have just played with the bookmarks, and they do seem to work well for a single project. However they don’t seem to be easily transported to other projects.

Sorry, I didn’t mean the bookmarks where inefficient size wise. I hadn’t looked into them when I said that. I’m wanting a project independent system as noted above, so I thought part of your other answer was to have another project opened in split screen in the same window, which would seem space inefficient.

It was, but

  1. It doesn’t have to be a 50/50 split.

  2. They can even overlap, and clicking in one brings it to top, displaying it in full

  3. You can hide anything from any project. So you could make the “scratchpad” project display only what you want/need it to, and make it narrow to the right or the left.

Very interesting. I’m having a hard time finding the option to have two projects open at once in the same window / split-screen. [I’m visually impaired so it’s easy for me to miss things]

Any chance you could nudge me in the right direction for the options?

It’s very important that everything is in a single window for me. I use hotkeys to navigate my system with screen readers and it gets troublesome to have more than one working window at a time for very long.

They are not in the same window.
But if you mean “screen”, under windows all you have to do is drag an app by the title bar all the way to the left or to the right, then drag left or right where they meet.

I do feel it should be noted that I’m as concerned with screen space as I am, because I need to be able to see two things on screen at the same time at 200% windows magnification, and I can only see about 8"x5" section of my screen comfortably.

On that, note the Documents ▸ Copy to Project ▸ submenu which will let you target any other open project and place the item where desired into its binder. Since bookmarks are ordinary binder items these commands can be used on them.

This does not seem to work very well for keeping notes synced. It doesn’t have any conflict handling it just creates new versions followed with a number.


It also doesn’t keep the bookmark status.

Which would be quite a lot of work load to delete the old, copy over the new, and re-bookmark everything.

I remember seeing a sync option somewhere… Is it possible to keep some documents synced between multiple projects?

Okay, I was answering a question about copying data between projects. I did not note that you would not actually want a copy at all, but something like one binder item that multiple projects share. There isn’t anything like that; with external document links being the closest thing to it. It’s more like a URL to a specific thing in another project though.

!! This is so close!

An externally linked/bookmarked .txt file is viewable in the bookmark sidebar but not editable.

If you could edit the bookmarked .txt file from within the bookmark sidebar like a normal document bookmark it would be perfect.

I don’t see the value in a dockable Scratchpad.

For starters the Scratchpad is meant to be used for in-project ideas as well as over an infinite number of projects. Docking it to the Inspector would erode its usefulness since each item, whether an interesting one-liner or a topic with lots of underlying information, would then be limited to a little editable preview display pane without context or item listing on a potentially infinite canvas.

Even Microsoft’s Sticky Notes App, which is similar to Scratchpad but has hovering cards that are made available in Outlook (online for now) as a “docked” Feed, OneNote as Feed, on your phone in various apps and elsewhere becomes useless when you’ve written up some 500 and forget most anyway. There’s nothing useful about having it alongside your WIP when you’re required to endlessly scroll to find what you need—and in a smaller font form factor.

It’s for similar reasons I don’t suck tons of research material into Scrivener. I have Research topics with links to external sources that are either bookmarked as Project Bookmarks or Document Bookmarks, dependent on whether they apply to the project or a single scene. This is manageable from bookmarks and links are live in the bookmarks preview pane, so I need never leave my editor unless I set up a new topic document with its first link.

Yes, I do have a Notes document in each project as a little To Do list that I access through a Project Bookmark. But it would be of little value if I pack it with more than 10 items. I’d eventually resent it as a waste of time and ignore it.

What you may find useful instead is to use Comments in the Inspector, which is linked to a specific document, but may all be read if you click on the top folder in the Binder’s hierarchy of folders and documents.