Inspector as floating window, normal mode

I’ve been experimenting with the way I deploy notes for the individual chapters of my non-fiction books.

I like to have my main work open in the Editor and my notes as a floating panel off to one side.

To do this at present, I usually have any notes as a separate file “underneath” each chapter in the Binder. So in my Binder’s main text folder, it’s chapter 1, then chapter 1 notes, chapter 2, chapter 2 notes, etc. So when I’m working on chapter 1 in the editor, I have chapter 1’s notes open as a quick ref panel off to the side of that window. For me … nice.

I don’t usually have the Inspector open as I haven’t found much use for it, other than it popping open occasionally when I put in a footnote. But I’m wondering about the Inspector’s Notes facility. As it stands, though, I find the thin strip of the Inspector too narrow to work visually with notes, and with the amount of notes I often have, it takes a lot of scrolling to find what I want. I know I can make the Inspector (somewhat) wider, but it all begins to look and feel a bit ungainly.

My question: is it possible to open the Inspector as a floating panel, quick-ref style? I know it can be done in Composition mode, but I don’t like that mode. How about in normal mode?

I get a feeling the answer is cannot-do, as I’ve checked all the obvious sources of info without luck. But to me at least, this would be very helpful. And it might even lead me to use some of the other facilities of the Inspector.

Do your “obvious sources” include a search of the forum? I seem to recall that this question has been answered previously - although, of course, circumstances may have since changed.

Hugh, yes, I did search the forum as thoroughly as I could, without luck, but if you can point me at something I missed I’d be grateful.

Can anyone help with this?

To answer your main question: there is no way to remove the Inspector from the project window as a palette nor any plans to ever make it possible. On the underlying question, as you have deduced, the Document Notes feature is designed more around quick and simple notes, kind of like an individual scratchpad or post-it note for every document in the Binder—something you’d want quickly accessible beside the file in question. For extensive notes we do recommend the approach you are taking: use “notes” documents in the main Binder so you can use QuickRef, split view and other tools on them.

Something that might make things a little easier: try putting your chapter notes right in the folder itself rather than as a nested subdocument. In the Formatting compile option pane you can disable the “Text” checkbox for any type of icon, meaning you can effectively use some types of documents purely for notes without even having to bother with making sure the “Include in Compile” checkbox is off. There are two other advantages to doing things that way:

  1. You can click on the folder in the Binder to load its subdocuments in the main editor using your preferred view mode and then hit Spacebar to load the folder in a QuickReference panel, which itself is only capable of viewing text to begin with.
  2. When using Scrivenings mode your notes will still be at the top of the session, above individual subdocuments (scenes, whatever the case may be) since by default folder text is included in Scrivenings.

By the way you can get to folder text in the main editor by turning off the view mode you are currently using. E.g. you are using Corkboard mode, so you click on a folder and then click the highlighted Corkboard button in the toolbar to disable it, or use the View/Corkboard menu command. This preference will be remembered, just like when switching from Corkboard to Outliner. So you can work on some chapter notes and then switch back to Corkboard to work with cards, when you’re done.

Thanks Amber, there’s some interesting thoughts there about working methods. I’m going to give some of them a try, at least, and I’ll report back. One question for now: are you assuming each chapter’s files are in a separate folder, and that that’s the folder into which notes should/could directly go?

Yes, sorry of that assumption was incorrect, I was basing it off of the description of having the notes beneath the chapter, but if you’re using one single file for the chapter with the notes nested underneath, then I think what you are doing is best. Something you could do in that scenario is use the Cmd–1 shortcut to toggle Scrivenings mode on and off. Since your notes are a subfile, they will show up after the chapter text in the main editor (the up/down arrow buttons in the editor header bar next to the split button will jump between documents in a Scrivenings session). I’m not sure if that is what you are looking though since it sounds like you prefer a panel in a separate window.

What I’m doing at present is just a stack of files at the same hierarchical level in my ‘main text’ folder, so chapter 1, then notes 1, then chapter 2, then notes 2, and so on. Not nested, but all at the same level. If I want to look at the chapter text in scrivenings mode, I can select just those. I’m still not quite sure if we’re thinking along similar lines …

That works as well! I can’t think of anything fancy to augment that layout though. :slight_smile:

By the way on that point there is a shortcut that works off the the “Include in Compile” checkbox in the Inspector: Option-clicking on a folder will select all subdocuments that have that checkbox ticked. The effect is identical to holding down Command and manually clicking on chapter documents, and thus can be used with any of the group view modes, including Scrivenings.

Yes, another good idea, Amber.

And while I’m on, I just wanted to say I appreciate your help this year, not only through the few queries I’ve posted, but also what I’ve read in replies to other queries.

I find the best reading here, for me, comes from things that concern working methods (although I realise, of course, that the main point here is to answer specific problems and, generally, to solve them).

I love Scrivener, which I use every day in my job as a technical author, but like most reasonably complex programs, Scriv has, I know, lots lurking under the hood that I either know nothing of or haven’t quite got to yet.

Obviously, there is that golden rule that what works, works. But it’s always good to have a little lightbulb moment when a new, helpful way of working hoves into view. And very often it’s here in the forum that, for me, things get illuminated in that way. The offical manual I find a little overwhelming, and the Dummies book I have is OK but deals more with what’s where rather than what you might want to do with it.

So, especially to Amber, but also all the other wise owls around here, thanks for all the stuff in 2015, and here’s looking forward to 2016.

I’d like to come back to the original question: can I open the inspector as a floating panel?

‘Well, no, but, yes, but sort of’ would be my answer.

It is true that the inspector will not float, so document notes are forever trapped in the inspector. However, Project notes can be viewed either in the inspector, or in a floating panel (command: Project>Project notes). You can have lots of different project notes, so you could use individual project notes for chapter notes.

That may sound a bit weird in terminology (project-based document notes has a hint of oxymoron about it), but it would give you the floating window for your notes you wanted to begin with. It would also avoid cluttering the binder with the notes documents.

Another good suggestion, McGruff, and another good example of what I was talking about in the previous post.Thanks.

Thanks, django, I’m happy to have been of help! And I’m working on making that user manual have a bit less of a brick wall to it. Of course there is the argument that a manual should merely and dryly reference the features, but I did stray from that quite a bit in the existing manual, with expositions on usage and design explanations behind why things are the way they are—but it was a bit scattered (mostly from having accumulated over the years), and the quick tour chapter aside, very little by way of just entry level introduction to the software. We’ll see how round two goes. :slight_smile:

Thanks, Amber. Good luck with the new manual!

Been trying McGruff’s suggestion about Project Notes, which is quite useful. However, my regular 12pt font looks very small in Project Notes, and I can’t see a way to zoom it. Is there a way?

I can change the font from the Tools menu: Tools → Options → Appearance-> fonts → general → Project Notes

In Windows, the font change only seems to apply to new notes.

On the mac go open the Preferences dialogue: the font setting for project notes is halfway down the Formatting tab. As Scokar noted, the change in font will only be applied to new notes.

You can apply a font to an existing note: select the text then Cmd+T to bring up the Font dialogue.

Thanks McGruff and scokar. Actually, I was rather hoping I could zoom the Project Notes, as you can with most other things, but for Project Notes the zoom function is, for some reason, greyed out in the View/Zoom menu entry. Looks like I’ll just have to up my notes font to 14pt for my poor ageing eyes.

So, my conclusion is that I can’t zoom Project Notes. Is that right?

That will not always be a limitation, but yes, for now just choose a font and font size that is comfortable for you. The idea behind a zoom is that what prints well doesn’t always look good on a screen. So in programs designed to handle text that may be printed, zooming keeps things readable while adhering to strict underlying formatting. Zoom comes at a cost though. It is expensive in terms of performance and introduces fragility in the form of bugs and quirks while using it. Now, in Scrivener one needn’t even be that strict, you can use 18pt Arial in the main editor if you want and still print to 12pt TNR. This is even less of an issue inside of a scratch pad though. Use whatever font you want. :slight_smile:

Thanks, Amber, and as I suspected.

I’m intrigued by the “will not always be a limitation” teaser, of course.

But the thing is I tend to chop and copy and shift and generally chuck stuff about between the editor and my various note holders. So with my favoured working font and size at Palatino Linotype 12pt (and 175 percent view), it’ll be a pain to have one of the elements in 14pt or 16pt or whatever, consistency-wise.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that I’ll probably resume my original scheme, which was just to have a notes file under each relevant chapter etc in the binder. But, as usual, it’s been fun finding out.