'Losing' Document Notes as I outline

After all these years, I’m trying to use Scrivener for outlining. I’m just starting to fill in the ‘outline template’ I’ve created, but key pieces seem to immediately go missing.

In Document Notes, I’ve added all my story structure knowledge and research so that I can apply it as I work on my outline. BUT, it keeps going missing as I work. I’ll add it again (thinking I’ve gone crazy), but then it goes missing again.

Am I doing something wrong? Searching for something wrong? Looking at something wrong. I’ve attached a screenshot of the way I set it up and then the way the Document Notes are disappearing. You’ll see that
in “Plot Points 9-12” the notes are there. In “Plot Points 1-3” they are missing.

And advice? What am I doing wrong here?

It seems like as soon as I start filling things in, the document notes disappear. Here’s a shot of the attachment above. Now the notes are missing.


The Document Notes pane will match the selected document. In the last screenshot, for example, that’s “Principal takes the Microphone,” not the “Plot points 9-12” folder.

This is the kind of situation where the split pane view may come in handy. You can use one pane to review the Document Notes for the folder, and the other to work on the index cards within that folder. See the View -> Layout submenu for appropriate commands.


Alternatively, you could use the project notes for this, rather than document notes. They display in the same place in the inspector, but whereas the document notes are per document, so will switch to display the specific notes for each document you select in the editor, the project notes will remain visible no matter what’s in the editor.

To do this, select one of the documents where you have all your notes written out, then select all and copy in the document notes. Click into the “Document Notes” header and select “Project Notes (General)” from the menu. Then paste your notes there. As long as you leave this notes area set to “Project Notes”, the notes will be visible in the inspector while you’re clicking around filling out different index cards.

You can also open the project notes as a separate window, via Project > Project Notes, or by selecting “Manage Project Notes…” from the notes header menu in the inspector. From the separate window, you can create new project note tabs, which will then be selectable in the inspector also (from the header menu), so you could create a separate notepad for each of your acts, or however you’ve broken down the outline.

What she said. In the past few years Project Notes have gone from Wonder what that does to my most used (possibly over-used) feature. It’s available virtually everywhere, from every screen, even in Compose view. It has its own window, it’s in the Inspector, it’s a floating window that stays visible or hides. Character notes, location notes, overall project to-dos, document-specific to-dos. The prizes just keep on coming.