Help with doing a recursive sort of documents?

I’m trying to figure out how to sort folders and documents recursively. As far as I know, each folder in Scrivener has to be sorted individually. I’d like to do it at the manuscript level–the top level, and have EVERYTHING below that level sorted in ascending order. Otherwise it has be done (for some of my documents) 20-30 times to get all the documents sorted.

If you know how to do that …

Thank you.

View the entire project in Outline mode. Put your cursor somewhere in that pane.

View -> Outline -> Expand all.

Then click the column you want to sort.

This preserves the outline hierarchy: All documents in Folder A will come before all files in Folder B, but both folders will be sorted internally.

If you don’t care about the hierarchy, but want a flat list, you can create a Collection containing the entire project and sort that.

Note that neither sort will affect the Binder order.


Section 11.2.3 (pg 141) of the user manual is on sorting the outliner by columns and describes the process of imposing sorted results back onto the Binder. The downside for you is that while you will have sorted and subsorted your whole hierarchy in the Outliner view (using Katherine’s tip above), the imposition back to the Binder still works only on a folder by folder basis. The end of the instruction paragraph on page 141 makes this clear.

It all sounds like the sort of moves you would want to be real careful about executing!


Thank you very much, Katherine and GR. The instructions sound simple enough, with some possible danger involved (per GR). I think I’ll create a test project and try sorting it before I try that on one of my larger, non-test projects.


Katherine and GR, I did a test and your instructions are great. There isn’t really anything ‘dangerous’ about doing this kind of sort, I discovered. I just misinterpreted your comments, GR.

But MAN how I wish the Binder itself could be sorted recursively.


That would defeat one of the great strengths of Scrivener - the freedom to move documents, folders, scenes, around as you work and as your ideas change. The sequence of documents, folders, and everything in the Binder is completely under user control on an ad hoc basis.

Put another way, the Binder is not intended to be a file manager. Scrivener’s working assumption is that you put documents in a specific order for a specific reason, and the number of cases where you would like to override that with a purely mechanical sort is extremely small.