Limitations of IndexCard ipad app


I am trying to understand the limitations of sycning between IndexCard and Scrivener. I’ve been through the Youtube video that explains how to do it. That works and I am trying to confirm what I’ve learned:

  1. If I import from IndexCard (IC), I lose the colors of the index cards. This is a problem as I do use color to code the cards. Is there a workaround?
  2. The IC ‘stack’ feature is not recognized within Scrivener.
  3. If I write on the back of the card, that text does not appear within the collection cards. Or at least I can’t find it!

Am I wrong about any of these? And what other limitations have you found with sycning from IC to Scrivener, and back again?




There is no workaround, I’m afraid, because the colour systems are very different between programs so there’s no good way to translate them. Index Card has a limited number of set colours; in Scrivener, there’s nothing like that, but instead you can assign named labels to documents with colours attached, and you can assign any colour you want to those labels in the Meta-Data Settings. But you pre-define those colours for your project. So, given that there’s a nearly infinite number of colours you can apply to labels in Scrivener and a limited set in Index Card, there would be no way for Index Card to show many colours assigned in Scrivener. So, because the label systems are so different, there is no logical way to sync them.

Again, this is down to incompatible systems. The sync has to be two-way, so while it might be possible to bring stacks into Scrivener as folders, stacks in Index Card are only one level deep and cannot be nested, so there would be no way to sync Scrivener’s nested folder structure with Index Card. For that reason, a collection is used in Scrivener to sync with Index Card, which is a flat list.

Tick “Sync main text with index card notes” in the Index Card sync sheet (the one that appears when you choose Sync > with Index Card for iPad…). The notes on the back of cards will then be synced with the main text of your documents.

Only the third, as I say. The only other main limitation is rich text - iPad is plain text but Scrivener’s main text is rich text, so you may lose some formatting if you sync the main text in Scrivener with back-of-card notes in Index Card (although only edited paragraphs will lose their formatting).

What you have to remember is that, despite superficial similarities, these are very different programs under the hood with some fundamentally different ways of working - these things considered, syncing works incredibly well. :slight_smile: The main two limitations are the ones you have discovered - colours and stacks are not supported.

Hope that helps!

All the best,


That is most helpful. I appreciate the depth of your response as well as it timely manner.

Very impressive and thank you!


Let me begin by saying that I’m new to Scrivener, but am loving the program. I, too, am having the same issue with index card syncing. I certainly understand the limitations of the different color schemes and the difficulties of dealing with separate systems, but since IndexCard has a limited set of colors available, why not just interpret those colors when the collections are sync’d?

I, too, color code my index cards to indicate different aspects of the novel, i.e., romance, danger, escalating plot, etc. Because the label and keyword colors won’t transfer over to IC, why not just let sync’d cards overwrite any label colors, which could then be renamed in the keyword inspector? Another possible solution would be to create a mode of “use IndexCard colors” which would limit us to the colors in IC. I’d gladly give up the unlimited number of colors to have my cards use the same color scheme in both programs.


Welcome aboard, and thanks for the kind words.

It wouldn’t really make sense to start adding complicated limiting options just for the sake of syncing with another app, which is really a side feature. And there’s no way of just “interpreting” the colours because it would have to be two way, unless Scrivener started adding colours for you to the labels, which is a bit presumptuous and I don’t really like the idea.


All the best,