Method of using the software

Hello forum!

Can I get some help on a way I’d like to use the software?

The way I like to work on my books is to have three sheets of paper.

The first (“Sheet A”), usually on my left, is an outline of the structure of the entire book. The next (“Sheet B”) is a sketch of the structure and notes of the particular section I’m working on. The third and final sheet (“Sheet C”) is the actual draft of the section I’m working on.

Is there a way I can set up this method in Scrivener?

Ideally I’d like to be able to click on any of the “C” (draft) sheets and have their corresponding “Sheet B” (notes) sheets pop up next to them automatically, but I don’t know if this is stretching things too far!

Thank you!


This should be quite straightforward - each document in Scrivener has a notes area attached - just open the inspector and there it is. So your “B” would be the notes, which are automatically attached to “C” (the draft).

Hope that helps.

All the best,

Thanks for your extremely prompt help! That method seems very good: I can use the “binder” as my “Sheet A” overall structure, a central document as my actual draft (“Sheet C”) and the ‘document notes’ panel as my “Sheet B”.

Just one more question if I may.

I created folders in the binder (as ‘sections’ of the book); the documents inside them correspond to chapters. That’s a very handy feature. I entered some notes (in the ‘document notes’ panel) for each folder/section, but I notice that these disappear from view when I click on an actual chapter within a folder/section. I can see that these document notes are tied to the specific document I’m working on - which is obviously a reasonable way of doing things, but is there any way to have some sort of ‘notes’ panel that is tied to a folder/section, which will always be viewable, whichever actual document in the folder/section I’m working on?

Hope that makes sense!


Not at the moment, although this is on my long-list - some way of viewing the parent folder notes too. The trouble is that if the hierarchy is deep, there may be many parent folders - parents and grandparents and great-grandparents and so on - which could clutter up the list of notes available (unless it were limited just to the immediate parent).

However, you can use project notes for this. If you click on where it says “Document Notes” in the inspector, a menu will appear that will allow you to choose the project notes instead. These are viewable from any document in the project. You can have multiple project notes, too - go to Window > Project Notes and there you can create other project note tabs which will be selectable from the inspector.

Hope that helps!

All the best,

This will be obvious once you open Window>Project Notes, but it’s also possible to have the project notes open as a separate window, not in the inspector, so you could view those in addition to the document notes for the specific draft page you’re working on. (It’s not possible to float that window yet, though that feature will be coming; if you happen to have Afloat installed already, that will let you do it.)

Another option might be to write the notes for those folders directly in the document–folders in Scrivener can be both documents and containers, so with the split editor you’d be able to view the folder document in one editor and then the subdocument you’re working on in the other, with the inspector notes for whichever editor split is in focus.

Thank you both for your suggestions.

I’ve worked out how the ‘Project Notes’ work, and I can see that they’re always visible.

I think I’ll have to stick to using that for the time being, though it means having to constantly change between ‘Project Notes’ and ‘Document Notes’.

I don’t really want the software to get in front of my writing, so the ideal as far as I can see is to have everything you want to see there in front of you in different panes, as much as possible, without having to keep switching back and forth.

I see that you wouldn’t want too much clutter, but it would be nice if the ‘document notes’ panel could be configurable, at least optionally, so that the folder/section notes appear at the top and the ‘Document Notes’ appear at the bottom.

On my large screen it may also help if the Project/Document Notes panel could be pulled more to the left, to make it wider; at the moment it seems to have a limit on that.

Thanks again.

Another solution, which might work better than using notes, is to keep your chapter notes inside the main text of the chapter folder. Remember that folders are just special types of text document. So, select your chapter folder and then turn off the corkboard, or outliner, or whatever is shown, to get to the text document underneath. Then type your notes into the text of the folder. You can then split the editor vertically or horizontally and have the chapter notes in one pane while viewing your documents in the other:

And of course, if the text of folders isn’t set to be included in Compile (which it’s not for the novel templates and many formats - only the title gets included), this has no effect on your final document - it’s just another, very convenient, way of storing notes associated with the chapter folder and viewing them alongside the scenes.

(Also remember that QuickReference panels are available if you need to refer to other material, too.)

Hope that helps.

All the best,

Keith, that method seems perfect for me. I can view the binder structure, the draft, the overall notes and the specific document notes, all at once.

Perhaps that was what MimeticMouton was trying to tell me!

Thanks very much for taking the time to show me that method so clearly.

Brilliant software and fantastic support! Thanks again!

Heh, it was, but I was in a hurry and didn’t explain it well at all. Huzzah for Keith and the excellent instructions complete with screenshots!

Another nice thing about this method is that you can view notes interleaved with your text if you desire, using Scrivenings view. Click on the chapter folder, then switch to Scrivenings mode, and your chapter notes will be at the top with the contents of each scene following. I recommend creating a formatting preset for yourself that uses a special font just for notes such as these. That way it’s easy to see what is notes and what is book material in the Scrivenings session.

Just to update, I have to say that I’m not getting on very well with the “solution” suggested above.

If I place my notes inside the draft folder (to enable the split-view method), then they are at the top in the composite view, which isn’t really the best way. Also, they’re titled as per my binder-folder, so it’s not intuitive that they’re notes.

If I place them in the document notes, then as mentioned above, they disappear when selecting a different document, either in the binder or in the composite view.

I think Scrivener would be a great deal better if the binder-folder notes could appear above the document notes, so that everything is in view simultaneously as I write.

It’s just too fiddly otherwise, and I’m “eating the menu” - spending too much time on the software and not on my writing.

  • JR

Have you tried opening your notes document in a Quick Reference window? You can set the preferences so that tapping the space bar on the selected document in the binder, corkboard, or outliner opens it in a QR window (I believe that’s the default), and you can have QR windows hovering above your others so that you can move them around, resize them, etc. With 2.1 it’s possible to make these windows appear in the same style as your editor (instead of the black HUD look from earlier versions) and you can set preferences to reopen QR windows when you open a project.

With this method you could also just have a separate “Notes” document anywhere in your folder (that would display in your outliner split when you select the top level from the binder) so you could title it anything you want; you can set it to not be included in compile and use a label color to distinguish it from your “real” scenes.