folders vs. file groups


I’m new to Scrivener, actually I’m still in the trial phase, but I like it, and it seems very likely that I’ll choose to continue it and buy it.

I was wondering what the difference were between folders and file groups in the binder?
After all, you can add text to the folder item as well, and you can leave the top document of a file group empty. The only thing that seems to be different between a folder with attached text and a file group is the icon, also between a plain folder and a file group with an empty document as root.

The only real difference I saw was that you cannot add a word-count target to a folder, but can do so to a root document of a file group.

What am I missing? Why are there these two concepts? What’s the best way to mine all the capabilities and possibilities of these two item types in the binder? How do you use them?



Essentially, there is no difference (and you should be able to add a target to a folder too - if not, it’s a bug). The only differences are really unimportant:

  1. The icon.

  2. Clicking on a folder will automatically open it in “group mode” (whichever group mode was last selected for a folder - e.g. corkboard or outliner mode); clicking on a file group will always open it as text (or whatever the file type is).

The main point is that you shouldn’t have to worry about these things - you can freely convert between folders and files or file groups using the Documents > Convert > to File / to Folder feature. So, if you find yourself grouping items inside another item that you later feel would work better as a folder, you can just convert it, and vice versa. It’s set up to be as flexible as possible so that in the early stages of a project you don’t really have to make any decisions about whether this should be a folder or that should be a file and so on.

Hope that helps!

All the best,

Thanks for the clarification, Keith, that’s good support! I can put my mind to rest now :wink:

I’ll check again: concerning the target, I might have been mistaken.

I didn’t find the “Documents > Convert > to File / to Folder” feature myself, though I was looking for one :slight_smile: – at some point the flexibility of Scrivener can really overwhelm a newcomer, I guess.

One other difference: if you have a folder and the top document in a document stack on the same level in the binder, you can make the compile settings format their associated text, titles, etc… differently. I can’t think of a use case for that kind of arrangement, but it’s there if you find a use for it.

One use case: if you want to produce a book with numbered chapters and unnumbered bits at the same level in the hierarchy – appendices, for example. You can use folders for one and files for the other and set up the compile settings differently for each.