Float the Inspector

This topic came up a few years ago in the Paleolithic (Scrivener 2). I’d like to revive it!

It would be cool to pull the Inspector (and even the Binder) off Scrivener and float it. We can float QRs, Bookmarks and Project Notes and in Composition mode. My normal work mode is to select a folder in the Binder to show in the Outline. Then I hide the Binder with CMD-OPT-B. That leaves the Outline left and the Editor right.

Still, I make heavy use of the Inspector (Bookmarks, Notes, Keywords and sometimes Comments). So, in order for my Outline + Editor view to work in enough space, I move in and out of the Inspector with CMD-OPT-I.

But you can appreciate that floating the entire Inspector would be a wonderful help given how busy Scrivener can get.

Have you tried using Full Screen mode? It does come with the significant downside of isolating the software on its own virtual desktop which nothing else can interact with, but if you’re mainly in Scrivener, and looking to increase use of screen space, it’s worth a try.

Reason I ask is that by default the binder/inspector sidebars close when you enter full screen, and become fly-outs rather than embedded splits. If you move the mouse to the left or right of the screen, they will appear. They will also appear if you use the keyboard to navigate into them (like ⌃⌥⌘B to focus the Binder, or ⌃⌥⌘N to open the Bookmarks tab in the inspector. Once you move the mouse or keyboard focus back out, they will slide away.


I don’t get that behaviour on my Scrivener setup. Full Screen does not close the Binder and Inspector.

In Composition mode, the Binder and Inspector disappear. But bringing back the Inspector produces a floating pane with one of the Inspector functions on it. Any other has to be selected from the pane menu bar. The Binder and Inspector do not appear by moving the mouse to the left or right edge.

You can set it up in Scrivener > Preferences , in the Appearance pane. (See screenshot below.) I use it and it comes in pretty handy. I can even use it while in Mac split screen mode, so I can still have one other app on screen.

Hello Silverdragon,

That sorta worked. The Binder and Inspector are both tucked away out of site.

But like you (other Wish List today re: QF display %) I have a two monitor setup, so moving the mouse to the left edge for Binder or right edge for Inspector doesn’t work. Using CMD-OPT-B or CMD-OPT-I is faster than anyway.

It’s because of the two monitor setup that a true floating Inspector would be helpful… on the second monitor. Since we’re both on MacBook Air 11" and iPad Air (nice coincidence), you’ll understand the real estate thing.

Sidebar: I have the Mac on a collapsible stand. I rest the iPad on the Mac keyboard, tilting the screen towards me with a pair of binder clips wedged between the iPad body and cover flap. Add bluetooth keyboard and mouse and voila! Portable two monitor office that fits in a small courier bag.

yes, I use the slide- in effect when I’m not using the iPad as monitor. My at- home setup uses an ultra-wide monitor, which gives me plenty of screen real estate without bringing either the iPad or even the MBA screen into it.

When travelling, I schlep the MBA and the iPad with Apple Smart Cover. I don’t often use the iPad as second screen any more, preferring the slide- in panels for most situations. But that varies depending on exactly what I’m doing.


More than a year later… I was still looking for a way to work on in the Editor and from Notes. I go back and forth constantly, referencing, cutting and pasting. Intense stuff, so the fly-outs in Full Screen were too clumsy.

On my two screen (plus Mac) setup, I have two workarounds.

  1. Single document solution — Open the doc I’m working on as a QR, select Notes at the upper right, then expand the Notes window to maximum size, The Editor still reserves a little space at the top, but my Notes are usable. (Keep in mind Shift-Command-> and Shift-Command-< to adjust font size in the QR.)

  2. Multi-document solution — Use case: I’m working on related documents where Notes from Doc #1 might be needed in Doc #3. I create a new document called “Working Notes” and paste all the Notes from the related documents in it. Then I open it as a QR on my second screen and work away.

Both workarounds offer the luxury of Composition Mode on one screen and QRs on the other.