Finding Folders Quickly

I work on academic papers in Scrivener and the way I have structured my project is that I have many text files that are distributed over a large number of folders and subfolders. I frequently find myself with a quotation from a source which is filed under a certain folder, but I know I need to move it in a different folder. The problem is I cannot easily find the folder without losing the text I need to move. If anyone can recommend a way to go about this, I will really appreciate it.

I do similar things quite often in my projects, and I’ve settled on two different ways to work.

  1. There is a special search tool, Edit/Find/Find Synopsis… (or Ctrl-Cmd-G) which strictly searches by title and index card content. The neat trick with the search result list is that dragging items from that window is identical to dragging something around in the binder, or from a corkboard to another split. You can thus use this tool solely to quickly locate an item and then drag and drop it into the folder you want.
  2. The next is one I tangentially mentioned above: splitting the editor so that you’re working in two (three if you count the binder) places at once can really make this kind of “filing” work easy. Drag items between corkboards, or between the editors and the binder.

Thanks AmberV,

These tricks are neat but do not exactly what I need. I usually have spit screen, but finding the folder and then dragging the text I am working with is still something I cannot do easily. In the top split screen, I can see the text I am working with, and in the binder I can see where I am. It typically the base folder which I am processing at the moment. When I go to the second screen and look for the folder I have in mind, I can find displayed in the binder area, but I am not allowed to drag the text I am working with. When I click on the text icon at the top left-hand corner, I can see a bunch of options but none do what I need: Reveal in Binder, Path, Go To, Bookmarks, etc. So at this point I am quite stuck because I lost where I

The special search tool found the folder but I could not drag the text I was working with. It made the folder into a text, and I want an item to be filed in the folder.

If anyone has other suggestions, I will appreciate it. May be this is a feature that could be improved on in Scrivener.

As a sidenote, I wanted to add that what I imagine would help me is to have another window showing the binder, so I can see the folder I am working in in the first view of the binder and the second binder, may be as a floating window, can help me see, and find, the folder I am looking for.

I looked into Window> Float Window and Float Quick Reference Panels, but I do not understand how they function because nothing change on my screen.

You want to move a block of typed text? Or an actual file?

If you want to move a file, if you split the screen to have the editor in one split and an outliner in the other, you can see your place in the binder and then make the adjustment in the outliner, or vice versa.

Does that do what you want?

QR reference panels are just individual files loaded into their own windows. The “Float Quick Reference Panels” option keeps those windows from going behind the main scrivener window when you click on it; they “float” above it. They won’t give you another view on the binder.

Have you looked at the Documents->Move->To menu? That will take whatever files you have selected in the binder and move them to the designated folder.

Ah, that will be better in the future, no worries.

For right now though, if you’re looking at the document you want to move, the easiest way to do so is to hit the Ctrl-Cmd-R shortcut (View/Go To/Enclosing Group). This respects your current view settings, so if you use Scrivenings in that split you’ll temporarily need to use corkboard or outliner. Now you can drag the item from this split into the folder in the other split, or into the binder, and hit the back button in the header bar (Cmd-[) to return to the text. It’s not quite as seamless, but I do that all of the time as well (unless I’m using the test build with draggable header bar icons).

The shortcut to go “up” comes in handy for a lot of things—it’s nice in Scrivenings too, as it lets you go from working on one section to seeing that section in context with the text around it.

Briar, I want to move text files and I use spit screen: the upper one is either in outline or cork board mode while the lower one reveals the text in the text file. So both of these screens are occupied and allow me to see the big picture and to focus on the details.

When I start searching, the binder totally changes because after a search I see a list of the text files while I would rather the see folders the way I have organized them.

When I am in Float Window, I do not see an extra float window that appears. The only difference is that my main screen of the file I have opened is always on top of Safari or Adobe if I have them open. I do not see how I can open another screen in Scrivener in order to make it float.

Documents/ Move/To menu is not the option I want because it is not fast. I can find the folder for sure. The issue is finding it fast without losing my flow.

The problem is that before this step, there are a bunch of other steps that I am missing. I need to find the folder where I want to place the text, but I do not know how to do this efficiently. I tried the shortcut you suggested, and it lets me see the folder in which my current text file is placed. That can be useful but not in this case because I already know where I am. What I need is to find that other folder without losing where I am. I can find the folder, but I definitely lose my earlier setup and I end up disrupting my flow.

If you want a Quick Reference panel, just think like Quick Look in Finder. Select something in the Binder and hit the spacebar. Whether all of those panels float is governed by the related menu command. It just keeps the QR panels above your project window so they don’t get lost underneath it. I tend to toggle floating on and off depending on what I’m doing and how big the screen is.

To go back to an earlier comment:

That’s all I was replying to with the Ctrl-Cmd-R shortcut. You were trying to drag the icon in the header bar, and that doesn’t work, but you can drag the item once you can see it in the same split you were editing it in, and that’s what that shortcut does for you.

Where you drag it is up to you. How you locate the folder doesn’t really matter to that particular aspect of the process, nor does whether you drag it to the binder or the other split. That trick is just a small addition to what you are trying to do as a larger whole, but it does not open windows, locate folders, etc. It just makes the file you are editing draggable. It’s an ingredient, not the recipe (you’ll find that a common motif in Scrivener, we do things with lots of little tools rather than very specific hard-coded features).

You can drag the folder from the search tool into the header bar of one of the splits to load it there, and now you can drag the file into the split where it should go. As to the second sentence, I don’t know what you were doing there to achieve that effect. You can of course convert a folder to a text file by right-clicking on it and selecting the relevant option, but it sounds like you’re describing something other than that.

So we get down to this question, which I need more clarification on to understand:

Firstly, keeping in mind that there is an extensive history feature in Scrivener, losing your place is pretty difficult. Even if you navigate through folders for ten minutes, you should be able to return to where you started before going on the tangent to find the folder. As with a browser, you can right-click on the back button and jump back an arbitrary number of steps in the history queue instead of just clicking through one by one. Each split has its own history, so they do not interfere with each other, meaning you can do two things at once and easily return to where you were in both when you’re done.

Now if by losing your place you are talking about the binder (that’s how I read it initially), that is where the Find Synopsis trick comes in, and why I mentioned it initially. You don’t need the binder for that, you search for your folder by name, drag it into the header bar of the split you wish to use and go from there.

So to condense this down to bullets:

  • You can avoid changing the binder by using the Find Synopsis tool to load folders into editor splits, or even drag text files into folders.
  • You can use either split to explore, with the knowledge that you can always return to where you were before using the history buttons.
  • If the file you want to drag is already in the editor, you can reveal it as a “card” on the corkboard, making it a draggable object, with the Ctrl-Cmd-R tool.
  • Quick Reference panels let you load more than two documents at once. They aren’t going to help you move things around though, because they are just—again a bit like Quick Look in Finder, except that you can have many of them instead of just one at a time.

None of these are necessary, but all might be useful depending upon the circumstances. You just have to choose which approach is best depending upon the context. If the folder you wish to drag the text file to is loaded in the other split, then revealing the text file on its corkboard and dragging it into the folder in the other split is the best move. If the folder is not selected nor visible in the binder, then the Find Synopsis trick can locate the folder quickly and let you load it in the editor so you can do the above. Or you can just manually click on things in the binder and drag things around and then use history to get back to where you were.

I use these methods, all of them, again depending which is best at the moment.

One more tool: locking the editor. You’ll find it in that same header bar icon menu you were trying to drag around before. Locking the editor means clicking in the binder won’t change it. This lets you freely poke around in the binder looking for a place to drag the file without losing your place. The shortcut for that is Opt-Cmd-L.

AmberV!!! Can I give you a million stars for the helpful and patient answer!?!? I have a list now of all short cuts that you suggested, and I feel that I can make this work. The lock editor, the space bar command, the search synopsis, and all others are contributing to my sanity. Thanks again!

You’re welcome!