Managing multiple projects in the same window

If would be nice to be able to switch quickly between multiple projects in the same window. It’s fairly common for people to be working on more than one thing at once, and to have to open multiple windows can get complicated. Instead, it would be nice if there was a way to switch projects in the same window, and flip back and forth as needed.

Not sure I understand this, sorry.

The quickest possible way to switch between two open projects is a single keyboard shortcut. That’s true whether the separate projects are visible alternately using one project window (as I think you’re asking for) or they’re in two open project windows (the current situation).

As there is a in-built Mac-wide keyboard for switching between two project windows (cmd-`), then I don’t really understand what you’d be gaining in speed by having the two projects alternating in one window, and you’d be losing the ability to see both projects at once side by side or overlapped.

Am I missing something in your request?

You assume that the second project is open at that moment in a separate window. If I have a few projects I’m working on, and I decide to work on a different project right then, I need to open that project, arrange the window to my liking, and then I can use that shortcut to switch to the other project. Managing multiple windows is a pain. I have enough problems arranging windows between all the other apps I have running. There’s a reason web browsers have mostly switched to using tabs instead of having multiple windows.

OK… for me the disadvantages of that (not being able to see both projects at once) outweighs any advantages: just wondered if you knew about the shortcut.

Tabs are OK in certain circumstances (views on independent sets of information). They’re not suitable in others – Finder strikes me as a program where they’ve been introduced for the sake of fashion rather than any real use. Tinderbox 6 originally also lost a useful bit of functionality when it played down windows in favour of tabs although it’s improved since.

None of which is intended to criticise your request for a tab-like feature in Scrivener… As a workaround, have you used the ‘Layouts’ feature (Windows > Layout > Manage Layouts)? That will at least cut down the faffing with the arrangements when you do open the other project because you can also attach shortcuts to layouts.

Scrivener follows standard Mac practices here. Each project is its own window. Most of my projects have very different window layouts at any one time because I’m doing different things in them, so it would be a severe disadvantage to have them all switching around in the same window. It would also require a completely different underlying architecture that did not use standard Cocoa class conventions, so I’m afraid this one isn’t something that is likely to happen unless Apple changes its document architecture, which I doubt.

All the best,

If you often find yourself having to switch between multiple projects, maybe it would be worthwhile to think about how you define your projects?

Obviously working methods vary, but for me a “different project” means a different client, a totally different topic, a totally different kind of final product (an article vs. a book, for instance). And so I’ll typically be focused on one project for many hours, days, or even weeks at a time.

Maybe, instead of switching between them, you might want to consider merging Project A and Project B?


Alternatively, having some sort of dashboard where to open my Scrivener projects from, would be quite useful. I’m trying to have that through a Devonthink Database, with links to my Scrivener projects, but syncing across multiple devices doesn’t work well. Nevertheless it allows a quick view and access to my projects that are stored in different places in my Mac. Having a native Scrivener solution would be even better.


Not exactly what you’re looking for, but the File → Find All Projects in Spotlight and File → Recent Projects commands may be helpful.


Thanks for the tip, Katherine. Well, what I’m looking for: something like a launchpad for Scrivener Projects, that I could organize the way I like. After all, I’m a visual type and I like visual interfaces. But I also have something like 30 Scrivener Projects. Believe it or not (this is my way to use it, not saying everyone should do the same), Scrivener is my main productivity tool: I use it for my books or articles, teachings, seminars, reports, translations. Some of them are worked on in parallel. I may have forgotten something in the list, but all this made me wonder how to have my Scrivener projects gathered and organized visually in one place (not in one single folder of my computer, obviously).

Thinking about this some more… How about Scrivener?

Create a master “organizer” project, with a document or folder for each major project you’re working on. Use the Document References pane to assign the associated Scrivener project to each item. Besides providing a visual organizer (via the Corkboard), you can use metadata to track status, due dates, payment status, and so on.

I’ve experimented with this idea, but only on a very limited scale, so I can’t say how well it would work for the number of projects you have.


I’m just giving your idea a try. Well, with a couple of workarounds, and a good organization, it can work, although sorting projects and linking has to be done manually, and with more clicks than in a launcher I guess.
I don’t know if having cards linking directly to documents (one click on a card–>opening a given document) would be a possible feature in Scrivener. It’d look like a sort of hypercard system maybe, where e.g. a click on a stack of cards would display all the cards contained in it, and clicking on a card (or card item) would direct to another chosen item…

I have a frequent need to source information in one project, so its details are in another project.

I believe this could be possible if more than one project could be active at a time. A Copy & Paste feature would save a lot of time, and reduce errors. Think about how more than one Word document can be open and how quick and easy it is to copy from one document to the other.

Using Word with Scrivner to move information is painfully slow, tedious, and error prone. Errors happen because of the need to first create a folder and a page from notes instead of the source being visible on the same screen doesn’t happen perfectly all the time.

Think of me dreaming and hoping the accumulation of multiple votes for these features will lead to it happening.

But more than one Scrivener project can be open at one time.

This is good news. When I last tried to open more than one project before I didn’t succeed. This morning when I tried it again, two instances of Scrivner appeared on the screen. Thank you for the heads-up.

I also just searched around Scrivner in an attempt to see if a Copy, Cut & Paste ability appeared in the “” update, but I didn’t succeed.

Do you know if the features of Copy, Cut & Paste will be an ability appearing soon?

For the more visually oriented, wouldn’t Scapple be a useful tool for keeping up with your projects? You could create links to the project (the .scrivx file for Windows users, now that it reflects the project name), add notes around them to describe the project, connect notes and project with lines and arrows, drag them around, zoom out quickly for the big picture, draw shapes around related projects…

What exactly are you trying to copy and paste? These fundamental features have been present since the earliest versions of Scrivener.


Large projects for complex systems need to be broken down into segments for individual manuals. When a process in a different process is dependent upon information in a different segment, some information needs to be made available in enough detail to be adequately informative in the new manual.

Moving that information without an ability to copy folder and text items is tedious. Moving needs a task list to prevent errors. List provide an easy destination checklist resource for creating the exact names of folders and text pages. When the new folders and pages are available, it is careful copy and paste.

If projects were in a Help Authoring environment, references to other help files topics could easily be accomplished by Help topic active links.

Cut, Copy & Paste of text pages within a project folder to another folder group would be very useful. Cork board is great for adjusting flow within a folder, but not across folders.

I’m hoping that complex technical publications can be made easier to create in Scrivner. Right now it takes a lot of time. Even moving text from one folder to another isn’t a simple cut and paste.

Help Authoring and Word software provide Arrows to move items. Left-right arrows can change subordination locations. Up-Down Arrows could easily move text and folders up and down within a binder list.

Thank you for the interest.

While the “Cut, Copy and Paste” menu items don’t work on Scrivener documents in the binder so much, there are tools that can manage a similar workflow.

First there’s the menu Documents->Duplicate, which lets you create copies of a file or entire file structure. Then there’s the Documents->Move menu which lets you move a file or files either using the menu, or the keyboard shortcuts displayed next to each menu item.

With those two alone, you could easily move things around, but there’s also the option to split your editor into two editors (both set to outline mode). Then you select the source location that contains files you want to copy in one editor, and the destination in the other editor. Duplicate documents in the first editor, and then drag to the other editor. Or to the Binder, for that matter.

I’m not sure if that addresses all of your concerns, and it’s certainly a little different than CTRL-C and CTRL-V, but it’s workable.

Also of interest: You can drag from the binder of one project into the binder of another project to create copies of the source documents.