Jottings?

I’ve only just discovered Scrivener, and think it’s great. I’ve been using MacJournal a bit for writing (I’m an academic) but Scrivener looks more like what I need. Except for one thing: jotting down project notes when I’m doing something else (MacJ has a small note window for same). This feature is really useful - I’m always thinking of ideas for a writing project when I’m in the middle of something else unrelated, and don’t want to open an app, find the correct folder, open a new file and then type my idea. As far as I can see, I can’t jot down notes this easily in Scrivener (?).

What I’d like: a folder similar to the Clippings folder called Jottings. A keystroke or service that opens a pre-determined S doc (or better, a window into that doc) with a new file in the Jottings folder all ready for me to type into. Possibly a way to change/choose S docs and/or folders (icing on the cake). With “set selection to title” in the note window (a really nice feature I wish MacJ had).

Or some variation of the same - any way to take quick notes and have them together with my S doc.

[quote=“juniverse”]
I’ve only just discovered Scrivener, and think it’s great. I’ve been using MacJournal a bit for writing (I’m an academic) but Scrivener looks more like what I need. Except for one thing: jotting down project notes when I’m doing something else (MacJ has a small note window for same). This feature is really useful - I’m always thinking of ideas for a writing project when I’m in the middle of something else unrelated, and don’t want to open an app, find the correct folder, open a new file and then type my idea. As far as I can see, I can’t jot down notes this easily in Scrivener (?).

Curiously, I was just thinking about this very thing. While editing something or reading the online newspaper or working on another project, an idea might come related to the primary project–how to twist a character’s identity, or an entertaining new way to ruin her life–and I’d like some sort of quickly available jotpad to capture these for later insertion into Scrivener. Right now I go to Mori for this, but because I use this for lots of things besides the main writing project, it’s neither particularly effortless to capture the fleeting thought–which by its fleeting nature means it either gets mangled or outright dies in the process–nor to retrieve them, as they inevitably get buried in Mori along with whole crowds of other stern self-admonitions to do this, that, or t’other.

Any chance, somewhere down the road in v2.0land, of a quick Scivenery jotpad lingering helpfully somewhere near the Dock? I doubt the OP and I are the only writers who would find this useful.

This is all veering well into Scrivener 2.0 discussion, but an ideal implementation of this would actually be divorced from any specific project initially. What I am seeing is some sort of background process that runs separate from Scrivener (let us call it the Scrivener Agent), that functions as a pasteboard of sorts where you can collect hand-typed notes, as well as clippings from other sources. As you do this, a little notification would appear for a second, confirming their addition and nothing else would happen. This could be Growl linked, or using the system “large text” facility.

When clicking on the Scrivener Agent icon in the dock, a simple window would show up with a list of all these “jots” in it. There could be a ‘+’ button that would allow you to manually add an entry, and a ‘-’ button to delete the selected entry. Finally, two buttons where you could elect to send the selected jot(s) to the current Scrivener project, where they would appear in the Clippings folder; and a second button which would be populated by a list of recent projects. When using the latter, these entries would be added silently if possible. In other words, the project would not actually be opened, just modified on the disk. In addition to this, one could drag and drop entries from the S.Agent to an open Scrivener project’s Binder. When using this method, it would become a proper document just as dragging a selection of text from another application currently works. If the selection were dropped into the text area of an open document, it would be added likewise.

It might seem that a button which adds “jots” to the current project’s Clipping folder would be redundant in light of that feature already existing, there is an important difference which allows it to live along-side the existing feature. It allows you to defer your decision of final project placement, until later. Currently, you need the project open – and active – which is great if you are working on that project anyway, but what this workflow does not address is precisely the situation you highlighted. You are doing something else entirely, and come across something inspiring for a certain project that is not open. There would still be a place for the current clipping service, which would skip the intermediate step and just place the text right into the current project. This is also a valid need.

After taking any of these actions, the “jot” would be automatically removed from the S.Agent list.

All of this said, there are slightly less slick ways that you could do this right now, using external tools. There is a clipboard manager called PTHPasteboard which has a free version of it. It saves everything that you copy into a list, allowing you to access this in a non-linear fashion whenever you please. Once you become accustomed to using a tool like this, copy and paste becomes much less of a hassle. You can just repeatedly copy bits of information from sources, and then bulk paste them into the target application later.

The paid version of PTHPasteboard has some interesting features that might be of additional use in this particular request. You can have multiple, named buffers. So for example, I could have a buffer named Scrivener Jottings (which is wonderfully semi-redundant), that does not interfere with the main system clipboard. I have not played with that part of the program, though. I wish you could set it to automatically delete an entry once pasted, too.

There are certainly other clipboard extenders that could be used likewise. I just happen to have that one on hand. iClip is another popular alternative – but I never liked it too much because its presentation of data highly restricted how much data could be visible at once.

These are, I think anyway, a lot easier than using an intermediate program such as Mori, as their usage is a lot more transparent. While you cannot specifically add things to PTH’s main buffer, you can essentially do just that very easily. Type something anywhere and then select it and press Cmd-X. It leaves the temporary application you typed it in, and goes into the PTH memory. You could even leave a little TextEdit window open in the corner of your screen that is dedicated to this purpose – emulating the “mini-window” feature that you are referring to as available in other applications.


Correction: It seems the multi-buffer capability is part of PTHPasteboard’s free feature set. Automatic filtering and text cleaning of clipboard contents upon paste; and syncing pasteboards between machines are “pro” features.

You might have a look at a freeware application called Sidenote:

“Sidenote tries to catch the “Stickies” spirit but in the form of a multi-document drawer that will hide in the corner of your screen (left or right). You can use it to take all your daily notes, include images and easily modify text color and font. Sidenote will automatically expand so that you will be able to drag into it any picture, text clipping or pdf file from the finder or your favorite application. Sporting notes auto-saving, you’ll never have to save your notes. Sidenote will handle that for you. You can also print them or export them to rtf.”

You can get it here:

macupdate.com/info.php/id/17654

Epstein stole my suggestion. :slight_smile: I just finished another post where I mention Sidenote. It’s not dependent on any particular app, you can jot down something quickly without any fuss, then transfer it wherever you want. Or not. It can hold multiple notes. Works well. I use it even with MJ, since I don’t always have it open at the time a thought comes to mind.

I’m going to try SideNote, on the recommend of epstein and alexandria.

A crude but effective method is to keep a TextEdit file on the Dock. Call it Notes, Insights, Revelations, whatever. Fire it up and drop in your pearls of wisdom.

Then when you get time to go over those notes, select the keepers and use the Services menu items for Scrivener: Append Selection or Create New Clipping.

Scrivener launches, creates a Clipping folder, and labels the new clipping with its date of entry.

I’m going to try SideNote, on the recommend of epstein and alexandria. Thanks for the tip.

A crude but effective method of storing notes is to place a TextEdit file on the Dock. Call it Notes, Insights, Revelations, whatever. Fire it up and drop in your jottings.

When you get time to go over those notes, select the keepers and use the Services menu items for Scrivener: Append Selection or Create New Clipping.

Scrivener launches, creates a Clipping folder, and labels the new clipping with its date of entry.

Just to clarify - this is certainly beyond the scope of 1.0. You might want to remind me in a year or so when I start thinking about 2.0. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the useful suggestions, all. But the key part of Jottings would be the latter part of the above - easily putting jots in the right S document the first time, without having to sort or move or fuss with them. If I’m in the middle of something else, I don’t want to deal with the mechanics of jotting; I just wanat to get the idea down before I forget it and then move on.

just wondering if this jot utility could be done as a widget given all the ‘turn this into a widget’ apps floating around

basically, like the jot widget for devonthink, it would require that a book be open in the background and then the widget is called up on the fly and the scrawls added automagically to a group within the project…

Hey! A whole thread about me. Just be careful where you click that mouse.

I use Google Notebook for all my jot-ness. The only downside is that you have to have an internet connection, but as I have four computers that I use during any day (pc & mac), I have the Notebook plugin gozza installed on all of their browsers. It’s all saved in my gmail account and therefore available to all once I save.

Alexandria, you’re the one who turned me on to iClip in these very forums a few weeks back, and I’ve been using it happily ever since! Have you replaced it with Sidenote? If not, how do you use both? If so, why? If you vouch for it, I’m surely gonna give it a try.

Hey Brett, just my 2cents: I use both - but I find myself increasingly preferring iClip, for four main reasons:

  1. iClip seems crisper/faster on the popup/close (even when I set SideNote to zero delay). Also, sometimes Sidenote 1. won’t pop out when I want it to (it sort of hesitates…), and/or 2. it pops out when I don’t want it to. Neither of these two things happen with iclip, which seems more sensitive and precise here.

  2. I like very much the multiple bins of iClip - it’s much more dynamic/flexible, as least in my view.

  3. I love the fact that I can click on an iClip bin to enter a note. I recently corresponded with the developer who reports that iClip in the (near?) future will allow the user to click on the bin to edit text (rather than having to go through the menu…)

  4. Finally, iClip4 (if it ever arrives :slight_smile: ) looks incredibly snazzy. :wink:

Thou art hilarious jot :smiley:

I use iClip too. More for things I want to store more permanently yet access across applications. I use Sidenote for jots–not all jots, just when something hits me or I want to grab it quickly without having to switch around. I have Sidenote set to open only when I hit a hot key, and it opens every time for me and stays completely out of the way when I don’t want it. But iClip houses a lot of stuff that I want quick access to. I use it a lot like the old Scrapbook in pre-X Mac systems.

I have the iClip beta for version 4. I haven’t had a chance to really play with it a lot. The first time I ran it, it blew up my entire system and I had to restart. From the brief glance I got though, it appears to be mostly an interface update – most of the functionality was the same as version 3. I’m sure I’m mistaken though. Some time when I do not have a million things going on and I can spare some reboots, I’ll give it another run.

Thanks, all. Guess I’ll stick with iClip 3.7 for now and maybe give Sidenote a whirl later on. I kinda prefer to use as few apps as feasible, just to reduce mental and computational clutter, so I might stick to Stickies and DevonNote for my jottings. But would be happy to hear more from anyone else about Sidenote.

Gramotki is back as:

macupdate.com/info.php/id/8463

Really worth a look.

There’s an application called Journler which is very useful for capturing notes. It has lots of features and it’s donationware for personal use. http://journler.com/

I used SideNote for a while but I didn’t like the way it would suddenly appear when my cursor strayed too close to the edge of the screen. Okay, I could have set it to trigger at another part of the screen, but to be honest my screen real estate is at a premium now.

You can tell Sidenote to open only with a key combination instead of by screen activation.

I used Journler for a while, but it was very glitchy. I found that still be the case fairly recently.

But Journler may work fine for others, so it’s definitely worth a look. It had some neat features.

Can you elaborate on how Journler was glitchy? I have been using it for several weeks and haven’t noticed anything unusual, but then perhaps I’ve been using it differently than you were.

I should note, also, that I really haven’t been following this thread, so I don’t know how useful Journler would be for the topic at hand (whatever that may be :slight_smile: ), but I have found it very useful for…well…journling.

EDIT: Journling??? Is that a word??? :smiley: