Don't Understand Binder Icons

I’m baffled by all the icons in the binder. I think this probably makes more sense to Mac users. I have read the manual and the tutorial but I don’t recall pictures of the various icons. Some of my parts have different icons than other parts and I don’t know why and some of my chapters have different icons than other chapters but I thought I created them the same way. I would really like to know what each icon means. I think that will require pictures of the icons, not verbal descriptions. For example, to the right of this window as I’m typing this I see a color pane showing all the smilies I could use if I wanted to. Is there a similar pane showing all the binder icons?


First things first. Any file in the binder can contain text or be empty (Icons in the binder will change slightly depending on whether they contain any text).

A file can be either a Document or a Folder. There is no real difference between the two types except that you can use the distinctions to help you:

  • apply different formatting when you compile
  • do different things between documents (eg new page, blank line) when you compile
  • they have different icons.

There is also a third type of file in the binder, which is basically a document which is a parent document for other files. Again, you can use this to apply different formatting when you come to compile.

Here is a picture of these different types in action in the binder:
Let me know if any others are causing confusion.

Note, you can change a folder to a document (and vice versa) at any time by right clicking on the item in the binder and selecting the appropriate command in the pop-up menu.

There are a few additional file icons that you might see in other parts of your binder (ie outside the main Draft / Manuscript), which indicate whether a file is an image file, and imported PDF, an embedded webpage etc… You’ll get the hang of all of these, but here are a couple so you know what you’re looking for:

It’s not a Mac thing, it’s a scrivener thing, so it’s no more or less confusing to people on either platform. The various icons tell you whether you have text in a document (a folder can have it’s own text, just like a non-folder document) and/or a synopsis.

The documents that have neither text nor synopsis will look like a blank page, or a blue folder, opened side-ways.
If they have a synopsis, but no text, they will look like an index card, or a blue folder with a small index card overlapping it.
If there is text in the document, the icon will look like a page with little dashes (representing words), or a blue folder with a smaller version of that representation overlapping it.

If you have taken a snapshot of the text in a document, a corner of the text page will be dog-eared.

Other icons include the Manuscript/draft folder, which looks like a stack of pages, the Research folder which is a red-outlined open book, and the trash folder, which looks like a trash can. If you stack non-folder documents, the parent document’s icon will become a stacked version of it’s previous icon.

And for the more visually oriented, here’s my explanation in the equivalent of 1000 words:
Standard Binder icons-Windows.jpg

And Pigfender beats me to it with an even better visual example and more thorough explanation. 8)

Good extra stuff in there about the snapshots and synopsis, RDG. I’ve attached a pic below with the extra icons in it for visual representation.

Ah, you beat me! Oh well. I’ve done it now might as well leave it there.

We’re tripping over each other to be helpful. :unamused: I think your images and explanation are clearer.

See, the world is a lovely place filled with nice people after all! :smiley:

Thanks to Pigfender and RobertDGuthrie. You guys are the best.
You both went way beyond the call of duty here. I owe you big time.

A section explaining icons including a table with most of the variations has been added to the latest (Windows and soon Mac) version of the user manual (§8.2, with a table on the following page).