INDEX CARDS as Index Cards Mode, Plz?

Congrats and thanks to the developer crew on Windows v1.01.
However, can’t get used to writing without free-standing index cards, and so keep sneaking back to SUPER INDEX CARDS and LIQUID STORY BINDER…Bet there are plenty of Windows writers like me, who desperately and absolutely need their heaving lifting writing utility to have a stand alone index-cards-as-index-cards mode. Can we please have something that is a straightforward mode toggle switch in the Preferences menu or somewhere giving us starts-with-index-card enflamed million or so the option to unplug index cards from document/chapter/scene and just go nekkid?

Can’t get into wiggy multi-step workarounds, like substituting photos or images + labels, or substituting Synopsis, because that kind of workaround aggro makes the writing stop. Betting Win side sales would rocket if nekkid index card mode were added. Have I just gifted you with the $100K post NaNoWriMo sales campaign? Embrace the naked card light, dear Scrivealots, for it is legion, and the source of its emanation heavy with grateful Win side dollars, francs, sterling.

Read several posts on card options, but couldn’t find a feature request in 2011-2010. So I’m shouting out. Love the card watermark stamp, btw. Thanks again.


Being somewhat unaware with what “nekkid index cards” means, could you expound a bit on that further?

Seriously dude. WTF? I’ve written my fair share of obscure requests thinly-veiled as comedy in my time, but for sheer opacity, this is a doozy.

View >> Corkboard

The index card view is Icon + Title + Synopsis (or photo) + optional Label + optional Status.

If for some non-Scriv reason you want to play with Index Cards (and not do any actual writing in those docs - ie keep your text entirely separate (WHY???)) then just create a new folder outside the Draft to play nekkid with your cards (or duplicate the project folder when you’re happy with your Index cards and then write from that one).

You could buy some Post-It notes and just stick them on your screen. :slight_smile:

I’m kind of scared that I understood what the OP was asking for. (I think, anyway).

OP: you want to use notecards as separate from the binder documents, such as to produce a timeline, or an outline of events/arcs that may or may not directly relate to scenes, yes? Such as “Here’s the overall list of plot events in the order that they chronologically happen.” Since the Notecard function inside Scrivener focuses on the individual pieces of text, it isn’t the same thing.

If you want to stay in Scriv, then the best bet would be to do a folder (Inside the Research section or on its own), and use blank documents as the placeholders for the notecards you will actually be playing with.

If this still isn’t your thing, then use the tools that you do like, whether another program or post-it notes or actual paper index cards (which you can also get as handy post-it varieties!) Because since Scriveners internal workings are linked together by design, getting an internal unlinked version is highly unlikely (especially from what developer notes on the matter I’ve read have stated).


If the OP means placement freedom that is something on the long-term implementation list. A way to have a big board of cards (which can come from all over the binder, and be displayed together in a collection) that you can arrange however you like with no need to their underlying order. Yes, there are plans for that.

Internal data de-coupling would be largely pointless however. You don’t have to use the text editor, as jenb points out. In fact items like this that are just title and synopsis even get their own icon. No RTF files are created on disk, they are just nodes in an XML tree by and large.

Thank you for workaround details that might enable use of Scrivener’s index card feature more like index cards [aka nekkid index cards].

As, well, a fiction writer and journalist, I prefer to use writing software as creating software, which, for me, means including an integral index card feature that can be toggled on for notes, rather than exclusively subject to pre-filled extracts from extant narrative --without resorting to a complex work-around-- and then moved as I need to change the order of scenes, passages.

As a Win user, I was looking to Scrivener [the name and GUI I really like, btw] as a replacement for LSB, which has significant backup issues in my experience, but which I’ve tolerated because it does have pretty great index card, outlining, and timelining features.

Returning to read these comments after getting out of hospital for bad respiratory flu, which tends to put a lot of things into sharper focus, I have to say, seems like if a writer using a writing software asking for an index card feature to behave more like index cards becomes a scary or ridiculous concept to developers or community, something is out of balance in this eco-system.

Huh? I’m confused.

I agree completely, but I’m confused because you’ve described pretty much exactly how I use Scrivener’s index card feature. So I don’t see the problem.

Create index cards. Type on them. Move around as needed. Type more. Shuffle more. Oops, half of what’s on that card belongs here, but half belongs over there. Split. More shuffling, more typing.

Yes, Scrivener’s index cards include a “synopsis,” and are tied to “documents,” which can also have associated “document notes.” But those are just names because those elements had to be called something. If you want to fill the synopsis area with events from a character’s life, you can. If you want to create a card for each character and use the associated document for a character sketch, you can.

Before you decide that Scrivener-as-it-is can’t do what you want, you might have a look at the Usage Scenarios section of the forum. People have applied it to an enormous range of projects and work methods.


As Katherine says, the index cards don’t have to be based on pre-existent document text–in fact I’d venture to say most people don’t just use the document text as the synopsis. You can just double-click into an index card on the corkboard and type whatever you want there, and reorder them as you see fit. Once you’re ready to start working in the document proper, the notes you made on the index card are visible in the inspector as a prompt for your writing (or however else you might use them) and don’t change at all based on the text you write in the document, so you’ll still have these notes for when you go back to working on the corkboard.

It’s also possible to just create a folder in the binder for scratch notes and bang out ideas on new index cards there as you come up with them and never bother to flesh out the actual document associated with the index card–nothing says that you have to. I sometimes just have “index card-only” items in my draft just as markers to remind me of what’s going on behind the scenes at various points–these never get a document, since they’re not really scenes in my project, just notes to myself so that I don’t forget what was going on at that point in the story. You can also easily move cards around from one folder in the binder to another, so perhaps if you start with a loose “notes” folder where you create new cards and jot ideas on them and then later decide some of those cards are going to inspire longer texts that you want to keep associated with the original index card synopsis, you can drag that card out of the “notes” folder and up to your Draft to work on it further.

All in all, I don’t think we’re rejecting your ideas; we’re just unclear what you’re looking for that isn’t already offered by Scrivener.

Let’s say you create a folder in the binder, select it, and then toggle the cork board view. Hit ENTER to create a card, type in the title, hit TAB to move to the synopsis area, where you can type whatever you want on the card. Hit ENTER, and your edits are done.

Rinse and repeat as needed. Drag the cards around as needed. There is zero requirement for you to enter text in the attached document, which you don’t even need to look at if you remain in the cork board view.

Now, to help us understand your issue… What does the above “work around” lack?

I’m not quite certain what the OP wanted, but I think that a mode in which the “synopsis” and “document” automatically mirrored each other would be very useful. That is, any edits in either pane would be reflected automatically in the other. I am certain that this sounds like a simple change only to those of us who are not programmers, but it would make the program feel more like handling “real” note cards, for those of us who don’t always care for the extra layer beneath the card, as useful as this is in many cases. It would be nice if the user had the option to select the mirroring either card-by-card, folder-by-folder, or for the project as a whole. Perhaps that’s the kind of thing that the OP was after. If so, I concur. But I am a researcher, not a novelist.


Hi Kraml,

The whole point of the index cards in Scrivener is that they are synopses of the main text, not the text itself. Your suggestion would change a core concept of Scrivener, so I’m afraid that one’s a definite “no” (also, it would be impossible for changes in the index card to really be reflected in the main document since the index card is plain text and the main document is rich text, so there would be formatting problems; that’s a side issue, though, as the main reason is that this isn’t the purpose of index cards in Scriv).

All the best,