Is there a quick way to visually ascertain if items in the Binder are Documents or Folders?

It’s a recurrent issue when I want to prepare a project for Export
thanks in advance for your time and help

Their icons are different, unless you’ve changed them.

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thanks very much. I will stop playing around with icons.

No problem with icons if you use that or those option(s).
(Windows screenshots)




I just noticed an inconsistency, in the sense that everywhere else (or almost?) the term used is “File group”


Where in the options, for the very same project element, it is rather “Document Groups”.
No big deal, but it caught my eye as an unnecessary source of potential confusion to new users…

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thank you @Vincent_Vincent and @drmajorbob for your comments

1- icons
If the icon was previously changed, it will no longer change to the typical folder icon after converting to folder. The only way to recover the folder icon is to right click >icon>reset to default icon.
This is unfortunate because if I do so, I lose my classification system based on icons which is easier to see than keyboards. IMO background binder colors become overwhelming.

2- appearance bold
if I want to identify folders, I have to uncheck File Groups Bold in settings, which is a bit unfortunate because they no longer stand out. File Groups can still be be identified by NOT being bold and having an expansion arrow (as opposed to folders which are bold with an expansion arrow).

Have you considered adding the Section Type column to the Outliner? In most cases the distinction between these two icons doesn’t matter too much, save for that.

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Here is a file (doc) and folder in outline view. Arrows point to the section type column.
thank you for your post

All right, well if you aren’t using them for different structural purposes, what are you looking for from the distinction elsewhere?


My problem is that when I finish projects, I have to export them into Finder. The export process does not handle file groups well, so I have to convert to folders. As I add information, I want to be able to differentiate file groups from folders.
My solution:

  • stick to default icons
  • turn off bold for file groups

Hmmm ??

On another note: do you have this option checked or not ?

@AmberV @Vincent_Vincent

my apologies, I was wrong. I thought that the export process ignored the fact that in Scrivener the parent document which serves as folder contains information.

I did not and now thanks to you I do

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if you have the patience could you direct me to where in the manual you discuss the difference between file groups and folders, and we can close the discussion. thanks very much.

The difference is when you intend to compile using section types automatically assigned per binder structure.


See how file groups and folders end up with a different section type.

Other than that, I can’t currently think of a single other way that could make any difference.
→ Beside the way they look in the binder and in the outliner, but that has already been discussed.
And that:
(with the option to treat file groups as folders unchecked, I would presume.)

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OK. thanks very much for your explanations and very useful illustrations !

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Section 7.3, but I believe this thread has already covered the important bits. :+1:


thank you very much for looking it up

The trick to using color classification in the Binder is to set it to tint the binder icons only – This setting even has a fade option to decide how saturated the color tinting is to suit what is aesthetically pleasing to your eye.

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thank you for your suggestion.
Both in Pref and in the View Menu, this is the only configuration I could find and it is not icon related.

Where is the tint binder icon option ?