FreeForm Corkboard with Open All Subdocuments as Flat List?

I would like to take more advantage of the freeform corkboard option. For example, I might want to arrange the scenes in a Act 1, Act 2, Act 3 format, like this:

However, it seems that if I have chapter folders or an arrangement like this:

I cannot. That is, once I choose Open/With All Subdocuments as Flat List, the freeform option is no longer available.

Is that correct? If so, is there any workaround?


I wasn’t able to find a solution to this. As a workaround, I made a temporary copy of the project, and in that copy, I ungrouped all the documents, That let me move them around as desired:

But that’s only a snapshot of the project at one point in time.

AFAIK, the free form corkboard only works for cases where all the cards are at the same level.

I prefer to use stacked corkboards, which involve choosing two or more containers at the same level (like three acts :smiley: ) If you haven’t tried them, here’s an example:

These work pretty well, if all the things you want to see are at the selected level +1. You can drag cards from one stack to another, and rearrange them within each stack. If my structure is deeper (as in this example) I find it useful to have my major turning points in a different colour and then temporarily ungroup the +2 level to the +1 level like this:

Stacked corkboards are found in the manual at Section 8.2.8, p. 180. I hope this helps; of course, you may already have looked at this and decided it doesn’t work for you, in which case, never mind… :blush:

Thanks! That’s a neat feature I’ve never used.

When you “temporarily ungroup,” how do you regroup things (manually?)?

Yes, I regroup manually by selecting in the Binder and using the toolbar arrow (move) buttons, which I added to the toolbar. The same commands are available from the Edit > Move menu with, I see, keyboard shortcuts. (I am a toolbar and menu items woman, myself, but I have seen in your posts that you seem to prefer keyboard shortcuts and automation. Enjoy!)

To explain this technically: a Multiple Selection in the editor describes a temporary condition or a state, not a thing. This is opposed to when you click on a folder, or view a collection, where in that case the editor header bar states the name of that thing. If you have a thing, then you can do cool stuff like store metadata in it, such as whether it should show itself as a Freeform corkboard, and you can store where each card is located on the grid.

But if you have no thing, if all you have is a state in the editor, then there is no place to save card positions, and a freeform corkboard mode that forgets every card placement the moment you navigate away would not be of much use, and of considerable frustration to the majority.

My move would be to create a new collection, and then Option-drag the container whose subdocuments I wish to work with flat. With the collection loaded in the sidebar, click the hook arrow button to load it into the main editor and set up Freeform mode.

  • Since Collections are things we can save metadata and card coordinates into it persistently.
  • A collection presents all levels flattened, which means you get the “With All Subdocuments as Flat List” behaviour for free.
  • The manipulation of items on a collection’s corkboard will not impact the original structure, only the structure of the collection list itself—and of course with Freeform, not even that unless you click the commit button.

It may not be 100% ideal for what you want, but it strikes me as more efficient, with less overhead, than working off of duplicate project forks. There is certainly merit in doing that for some things, I just don’t think this case really needs it.

Thanks, Amber. So, essentially I’d be making a copy of all the documents for playing with as a flat list?

Documents in collections aren’t copies of docs, they’re pointers to docs. The real doc still resides in the binder.

I’ll describe my solution to this, in case someone else is evaluating his/her options.

  1. Once I had put all the scenes in their correct places in the three-level outline, I recorded the arrangement and did a backup (note the first line in the notes for the selected scene below).

  2. I ungrouped all the folders/scenes.

  3. I copied the headings to a separate folder

  4. Now I could work with the freeform layout of the scenes. I’ll add the chapters after I finish the book.