More efficient way to move sets of files

First, many many thanks for such an incredible program; the book I’m currently working on would not be possible without Scrivener - I tried several times over several years and couldn’t find a way to do it. Scrivener is brilliant, has a great community of support, and is affordable. I’m grateful.

There’s one thing I’ve found that would make a really big difference to me. Perhaps there are others who would also find this useful:

The Documents / Move function is great for moving a single file, but it doesn’t work for moving sequences of files in the binder because it rearranges them according to ID. I work on large, complex manuscripts; my current project has about 2500 files. My working style is to gradually bring order to all of the content, so I am constantly moving sets of files from one place in the binder to another. The only way I can find to do this without losing the sequence of the files is to drag and drop them, which is time consuming, tedious, and error prone - if I let go of the mouse button by accident in the wrong place I then have to move them again.

There are a few ways I can think of to improve on this:
(1) Have the Move function keep them in the order they are in the binder
(2) Provide a “cut and paste” option in the binder that lets you cut them from one place and paste them to another
(3) Allow two binders to be displayed at once, and drag and drop from one to the other, so that I don’t have to scroll through the binder to the place I’m moving the files while holding the mouse button down

If there are other ways of accomplishing what I’m trying to do I’d love to hear about them; perhaps I simply haven’t found some feature that would be helpful.

Moving an arbitrary selection of files may not be possible if they’re not adjacent to one another, or start out in separate folders. For instance, I opened the Interactive Tutorial, and selected documents with titles which started with “Step 8”, “Step 9”, “Step 10”, and “Step 15”. The “Step 15” file is in the “Part 3” folder, while the others are in the “Part 2” folder. My trick for moving that selection of files wouldn’t work.

But If I select all the files from the same folder (steps 8, 9, and 11, for instance), then this will work:

Hold down CTRL and use the arrow keys to move them left, up or down, or indent them right under a folder or another file. Once you get the hang of how this method works, it can be easier than dragging files, since the depth of indentation is only adjusted with left or right arrow key-presses.

Another option for selecting and moving files around with the mouse is to split your editor in two and go into outline mode. You can drag selections of files from one outliner to another, from the binder to an outliner, or an outliner to the binder, essentially giving you 3 views of the binder that you can drag multiple selections to and from.

And since this isn’t obvious: you can drag a selection of files from the binder of one project into the binder of another project you have open, which makes a copy of the files and most (all?) of the meta-data associated with the source files.

Hope that helps!

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The Move behaviour you’re describing is a bug; the selection should remain in binder order. I need to do a little more testing with this, but have you tried using the context menu for the Move To command rather than the main menu? Interestingly, I seem to be getting different (correct) results using that compared to going through the main menu. Like I said, I haven’t had a chance to test thoroughly yet so that may not be a complete solution, but worth checking out. Otherwise, I second Robert’s suggestion of using the outliner in the editor and dragging from binder to the target there.

Robert - thanks for the tip on using the outline views. It hadn’t occurred to me that I could use the outlines in the editor windows to drag to and from the binder. For the workflow I was describing in my post, most of the time I have content from different parts of the binder displayed in each of the editor windows, so it won’t solve that problem. But, knowing I can do this will be useful at other times while I’m working, so this is a great tip.

MM - you’re right! Using the context menu works properly. I hadn’t tried that - I had set up an autohotkey macro to open the Move menu to the folder / file list, which greatly speeds up the move process, but the macro uses the main menu. I’ll change it to use the context menu. This was really helpful - thanks so much for looking into it.

BTW, I had initially posted this to the general forum for Windows and got no responses, so I sent it in an email to tech support and got this reply, which is different from your statement that this is a bug:

Hello Tom,

I’m afraid you have correctly identified the behavior. The reason that this happens is indeed because when using the “Move” function, it uses the default order, which is determined by the object id of the documents. That id is sequential, so newer documents have a higher id than older ones, and that is the order you end up with. So yes, your observation that it is the order that the documents were created in is correct.

The only way around this is to drag the files rather than using the “Move” function. The Move function just moves the files individually, without regard to their current relationship, while dragging maintains the relationship.

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Yes, that scrolling and dragging maneuver requires extreme joint flexibility. Easier to designate one folder as “halfway house” for documents in transit, then place a link to that folder in the floating Project Notes window, or make it universally accessible by some other means. So moving begins with a click on that link, and a lateral drag of documents from the binder into the editor pane.

Also, if you’ve determined a target folder in advance, you can alt-drag it from the Binder to create a link in Project Notes, and then scroll and expand the Binder without contortions, or drag from Search Results.

Rgds – Jerome