Fighting with Panes

Hi everyone,

I’m still new to Scrivener (still have 21 days left on my trial) so there may be a feature I am missing, but I wanted to share my feedback on the split document panes.

So far, managing them has been really frustrating! It seems like every time I click on something in the binder, I have the wrong focus so the wrong document gets replaced. I came to the forums in search of a better way to use the interface and learned about Binder Affects and locking the pane. These are kind of an improvement but neither really works for how I am using the program.

Generally, when I am writing, I have multiple research documents and multiple parts of the manuscript. What I want to do is have the top pane always be the research document that I am referencing and the bottom be the section I am editing. Because I flit around a lot, this means that I’m often doing the following things:

  1. -Scrolling through a research document, realizing the reference I want is in another and then clicking on that one.
  2. -Editing a section and realizing I need a reference in a research document and clicking on it.
  3. -Editing a section, finishing it and clicking on the next section.
  4. -Scrolling through a research document and deciding to start work on a new section.

The problem with Binder Affects is that each of the 4 behaviours breaks (for my purposes) in one of the above cases. Affects Bottom only works if I never want to change research documents. Affects Top only works if I never want to change sections. Affects Current only works if I never want to do case 2 and 4 and Affects Alternate only works if I never want to do case 1 and 3.

The problem with locking a pane is that while it protects me from accidental clicks, it also protects me from intentional changes. Because I want to change top and bottom panes often, this isn’t ideal. In addition, it doesn’t really make sense to me that if I click on a binder object while a pane is locked that NOTHING happens. I clicked on the binder for a reason, why can’t the change happen in the unlocked pane?

What I want is a “Folder Affects” setting. I would love to make it so that my Research folder always opened in the top pane and my Drafts folder always opened in the bottom (or whatever).

Other, more minor, wishes:
I’d also love to be able to view panes side by side (I have a laptop so way more horizontal space than vertical space).

And it’d be great if i could drag documents into panes to view them instead of having it insert a link.

That one’s easy … hold down Opt while you click on the split button … you’ll get a vertical split. I use them all the time.




As Mark says, you can already split vertically by holding down the Option key when clicking on the split button (or via View > Layout > Split Vertically).

You can also change documents by dragging a document from the binder into the header bar above the editor. This is generally what I do when I want particular documents in one pane. I change Binder Affects to affect only my main pane. Then I just drag documents from the binder into the header view of the other pane when I want to change the document there.

Hope that helps.
All the best,

Hi! After nearly a year of veery-slooowly running down the trial clock, I’ve taken the plunge and bought a license. This Binder-Affects business continues to bother me, but everything else is so great and I can live with it as-is.

Would it be possible to have a keyboard shortcut for switching between Binder Affects modes or (even better) to have a visible toolbar item that let me better keep a handle on what pane the clicked-on doc would adjust?

Or is it possible to turn off one-click binder pane-changing and make it so that I have to drag the doc into the right toolbar every time?


Thanks for buying! As for keyboard shortcuts, it’s difficult for me to provide shortcuts for every command without creating wild combinations that require finger contortions. Fortunately, however, you can assign your own and override any that you don’t use so much.

Go to System Preferences > Keyboard and Mouse > Keyboard Shortcuts. Then click on the “+” button at the bottom and choose Scrivener as the application. Enter the name of the menu item (which will be “Current Editor” “Bottom Editor” etc - you may need to enter the same shortcut twice for “Top Editor” and “Right Editor”) and then add the keyboard shortcut you want.

There’s no way to turn off one-click pane changing, I’m afraid, and I can foresee something like this causing more confusion to most users (I can imagine lots of support for users who have accidentally turned it off and wonder why the binder no longer works). However, I would still suggest just using Binder Affects > Bottom Editor (or Left/Right Editor if you have a vertical split) so that the binder only ever affects one editor. That way, once you are used to it, you know that the binder is only ever going to affect that editor. Then you just drag documents to the header bar of the other editor to change the document there. This is what I do sometimes when I need to refer to different research documents in one editor, and I find it works well for me at least.

All the best,

Thanks for the reply! I think I will take your advice and just stick with one behaviour and some to get used to it.

I continue to hope for a “Drafts Affect” and “Research Affects” setting. :slight_smile:

Why does choosing “Binder affects / Top” automatically imply “Binder affects /Right” (and vice versa)? I sometimes split horizontally, sometimes vertically. In either case, I want the pane “closer” to the Binder to be the one affected (since binder content starts at the top of the binder pane, this would be the “Top” pane in case of a horizontal split).

So, would it make sense to either:

  • Have “Top” correspond to “Left”, or
  • Allow setting the preferred pane independently for vertical vs. horizontal split?


You have a good point there. The reason it was set up this way was simply because in the internals of Scrivener, the bottom editor becomes the left editor when the panes are switched, so it just worked this way by default. However, you are right that it does make more sense for top and left to be synonymous rather than top and right. I have just gone through the code and changed this behaviour for 2.0.
All the best,