Layouts Should Be Expected to Remain Constant, Should They Not?

I use one layout only. I do not want it full-screen. I may modify it and resave it from time to time, but I want that saved layout to be what I expect whenever I open a project in which I have chosen this layout. That seems to me like a perfectly-reasonable expectation.

If I do resave it in ‘Manage Layouts’, I expect any projects that had the original version of that named layout invoked, to also update to that resaved layout when opened since the name of that layout now reflects a resave.

But am I wrong? Quite often, if I close Scrivener entirely and open it again, projects saved with the updated layout invoked do not conform to the layout I configured for them, whether I configured it in a different project or directly within that project.

It would seem to me that whatever layout was last invoked in a project should remain permanent until I resave it with a different change to the configuration of that layout. That seems like a no-brainer. That layout being invoked should survive closing and opening the project, and it should survive a quit and restart of Scrivener, should it not?

For that not to happen would be as ludicrous as writing in New Times Roman and discovering on reopening the project that it had inexplicably reverted to Comic Sans.

But often the layout that appears to be there is not that layout. It is either some other layout or some permutation of that layout that was long ago abandoned and trashed. This is not evident in The Editor, but columns are missing or reshuffled in The Outliner (I don’t use the corkboard, so I don’t know if that is affected). I also am careful to make sure that these projects have the same options set in ‘View > Outliner Options’, so one would expect that Scrivener would display all projects using this saved or resaved layout in exactly the same manner.

It doesn’t.

If I move a column position, is that permanent? Does that not update the layout when I save the project? Maybe not. I would think it should, but whether it does or not is beside the point. If a different project reflects the column position saved in the layout, that’s fine. If I want that project to reflect the new column position, it seems resaving the layout once the column move is done would take care of this.

It doesn’t.

What am I doing wrong? How can this be fixed? Am I not doing something properly? Or is this just a bug?

Perhaps not that wrong in your wish for it work like that, but otherwise yes, wrong about it :
Scrivener doesn’t check and refresh to the layout when opening a project.
If it did, it’d simply cause a different problem. (One that in this case couldn’t be after the fact fixed.)

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I understand that. I am not expecting Scrivener to necessarily do that. But I do expect the layout invoked in a particular project to be there whenever I open that project.

It isn’t.

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You should see the layout you saved as a “starting point”.
Just because you tweaked it for a project, doesn’t mean you’ll want it for your other projects as well.
Scrivener reopens a project as it was last displayed. Which seems perfectly logical to me.

There was a thread not too long ago discussing the wish for a project level option, allowing to have a project load a different layout depending on the computer it is opened on.

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That’s not the issue. I tried to represent the issue comprehensively, but the issue is simply this:

If I create a layout in a project and invoke that layout, when I close the project or quit Scrivener or restart or crash or whatever (the project would be saved in 4 seconds anyway), I think it should open using that same layout.

It doesn’t.

That, yes, it should. (It should look as it last did.)

But if you meant in the layouts manager’s list, no.
A project is not on a layout. The layout is just a recall of settings. Once done the layout as no further involvement.

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Well, just to complicate the issue, I just created a new layout in ‘Project A’. I invoked it by clicking the ‘Use’ button.

Then I opened ‘Project B’. When I attempted to invoke the new layout by clicking the ‘Use’ button, it reverted to some layout that no longer exists. I have 3 layouts currently in the "Manage Layouts’ menu, and none of them are reflected in ‘Project B’ when I select them and click that button.

Projects A and B are set up almost exactly the same, if not exactly, as they are the first two volumes of a trilogy.

Any layout you create, name and save should be available across all of your projects on a single computer.
They are not project-related.

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That’s my point, exactly, and the other point is it should not spontaneously change to something else when I reopen that project.

It does.

Definitely a bug.
You should specify the OS.

MacOS Ventura v13.1.1 M1 MBP (but this problem existed all the way back to Catalina, and to a 2011 MBA, so probably as far back as Scrivener v3.2.0)

I can understand that Scrivener may be configured to not make layouts universal between projects, and that may be why there is an option to export and import them, but if they appear as choices in the Manage Layouts menu, one would think that selecting a layout in one project that may have been created while a different project was being edited, would apply that layout to the project currently open.

It doesn’t.

Think of all the potential issues where you’d lose the way one project was displayed before.
It supersedes all else.

You have to do it. That is the only safe way. Scrivener can’t guess, and so does nothing.

Why would that be a problem?

Let’s say you edit a layout and resave it under the same name, then click ‘Use’ in that project. That should not affect a different project unless you want it to. It should remain fat and happy with the previous version of that layout until you open the ‘Manage Layouts’ window, select that new option, and click the ‘Use’ button.

IOW, you have the choice of whether you wish the new layout to be invoked in the other project or not.

Ok. So… we’re actually saying the same thing.

I think so, and I appreciate your thoughts.

But what I just did is exactly what I described in the post just above.

And it did not invoke the new layout in the second project.

I guess I could try export/import. Maybe that is what is needed. But one would think that if a layout appears in the menu, it would be available in whatever project you are currently working in.

It isn’t.

You mean it is not in the layouts list?

No, that’s just it. It IS in the list. But attempting to invoke it does nothing when in the second project.

I just tried exporting the layout in the first project then importing it into the second project.

Invoking that also does nothing.

Just to eliminate possible corruption in the layouts, I went to Application Support and deleted all of them.

Then I went back to Project A and created a layout based on the current project settings, including checking ‘save outliner and corkboard settings’ and ‘preserve all metadata appearance options’.

Then I went to Project B and attempted to invoke that layout.


So I closed that project and quit Scrivener. On reopening Scrivener and Project A, this time it reflects the current layout. So I opened Project B. It does not. Selecting that layout still does nothing.

Sounds like a bug. I’ve updated this thread to specify MacOS.

Just for the record, I think some (most?) of the concepts discussed here were already gone over in this thread, a few weeks ago. I see some time being spent going over concepts that were already discussed there, unfortunately.

As I requested in the other thread, I think a lot of confusion is being generated over terminology, and expectations that have nothing to do with how the software is programmed to work.

It would be a lot more effective for you to produce a detailed checklist, starting from a new “Blank” project, that demonstrates the problem you are having, and what you are expecting to have happen instead.

If you could also please describe how this is a different report from the previous one, that would help. If there is no difference, I will merge the threads together so as to save future people the time of rewriting answers to questions already answered. If not, that’s fine! I’m probably confused is all, by how the fundamental problem seems to be a deep misunderstanding of what a Layout (the feature) is, and how very little that has to do with the typical project’s disposition—in the same way we would not expect a cookie cutter in the kitchen drawer to be influencing the disposition of baked cookies throughout the house, were we to ding the shape of one.