Help working with tables? (e.g. the Documentary template)

I’m trying to use the Documentary template but I’m running into an issue. Maybe someone can tell me if I’m just doing things wrong.

I’ve broken up my Documentary into major scenes that I can reorder by dragging and dropping the associated card. So far so good. But within a scene I’m using each row of a table to represent one shot. The problem comes when I need to reorder shots within a scene. Here’s what I’m trying that’s not working:

  1. Reordering rows. There doesn’t seem to be any way to drag-and-drop a row, or select “Move row up” or “Move row down” from a menu at all. This simply seems to be unsupported by Scrivener. Am I wrong?

  2. Cut and paste a row. Well, this also seems unsupported. I can’t select an entire row as a row of cells, just as a continuous string of text. So if I highlight a row of text and paste it into a blank row, it all gets dropped into a single cell.

This leaves me with:

  1. Manually copy-and-paste each individual cell into a new row’s empty cells, then go back and delete the cell I copied from. But this is terribly tedious way to write a documentary script, where things need to be constantly shuffled around, and could easily lead to mistakes.

I love so many of Scrivener’s features, and I use it for other kinds of writing. I hate to think I’ll need to use another piece of software for Documentaries. Please tell me I’m missing something that can make this easier!


Why not split the project further, so each shot has its own sub-document?


I could do that, but it’s somewhat analogous to asking a novelist to put every paragraph in its own sub-document. It’s possible, and it would solve the problem, but it’s a tedious enough solution that it might overshadow the benefits of using Scrivener.

Also, while it would compile properly as one large table (I just tested it, and the output looks great), it would be difficult to work with. The only way to make it look/feel like I’m working in a proper 3-column table is to view in Scrivenings group mode, but there’s so much space around and between each row in that view that it’s a little tough. It doesn’t look or function like a normal table. (Is it possible to customize this view further?)

Maybe I’ll try it for my upcoming project and see how it works out.

Remember that you can merge and split documents at will. So you could merge the shots back into a single document as soon as you think you have the order you want, then split them again if necessary.

You can also minimize the space between items in Scrivenings View. In the Scrivener -> Preferences -> Formatting pane, check the box to “Separate scrivenings with single line breaks.”


Hmm. That’s an interesting idea. But it looks like formatting gets messed up when I split a table. It doesn’t create a whole new row (like I’d hope); it just makes a new document with a single cell. But I’ll play around with it and see if I can make it work.

Thanks for the tips.


Your replies were helpful, but didn’t address the real question.

I’m new to Scrivener and am building a reference document, as my first project, that is so far turning into a large collection of tables. The lack of support for the manipulating of table contents is what brought me to this forum this morning. I was looking to see if I was missing some tricks related to table editing.

The current table implementation is quite good and works cleanly. However, being able to select table segments and cut/paste them would be something nice to put on the future product wish list. David pretty well described what I was looking for.

That said, I guess my next task is to research Scrivener/Spreadsheet integration, as I will most likely move my current document tables to a spreadsheet during the development stage. (At least until I can settle on a standard number of columns and the information format.)


We are looking for a consultant or help from someone who has used Scrivener in their PhD theses or research. My need is for business writing, but my wife is in the process of writing her thesis for her doctorate in Spirituality and Wholistic Health. Alice needs help immediately, and I will need some next year.

If you can help please call or email me. Thank you.

Jerry Rost