Moving Research index cards into the Draft

I shouldn’t feel as clueless as I do, but come on bended knee after reading the manual and the tutorial.

I’ve created fifty index cards in the research folder. Each has a short line as the title/summary and then up to three paragraphs of text.

I want to put the cards in order, drag them into the Draft folder and voila, be able to compile them into a first draft of my book.

What am I missing?


Maybe a bit of clarification would be helpful… What part of the process above are you having trouble with? (Dragging index cards to Draft folder/Compile settings/…?)

Also, a couple of tips:

  1. While you can compile the index card text (aka: Synopsis), the typical use case is to use the Synopsis to remind yourself what you are going to write/have written in the text portion of the document associated with the Synopsis. I believe there is an easy way to copy the index card text into the document, but it’s usually done the other way around.
  2. …but the intended purpose of the index cards is not to contain the text of your manuscript, however you decide to use that part of the interface. The document’s main text area is where your draft is intended to be written.
  3. The research folder is typically for… research materials. In the future, you may find things a tad easier if you just start in the Draft folder when drafting your writing, and leave the research folder for pictures that inspire/inform, web archives, pdf articles, etc…

Note that, perhaps with the exception of using the index cards as the “location” of your draft’s words, there should be no reason that you must use the Draft & research folders the way I present them. It’s just the typical way to use them.

Thanks for the swift reply. It may very well be that I’m using it ‘wrong’, though the use case I’m imagining makes sense to me:

a. write down a snippet, a thought or a notion on an index card.
b. end up with dozens of index cards. Expand on each one.
c. arrange them into a coherent argument.
d. bring them into draft, write an essay/book.

To do it the other way, starting with the draft, is basically what I can already do with Nisus. I can always use a footnote if I need to include a link or source, but if I need to be linear, I’m not sure why Scrivener is the software of choice.

To my question: now that I’ve got all these cards, how come I can’t drag them into the Draft folder? It lets me drag, it gives me the little green + sign, but then… nothing.

The Draft folder can only contain text documents, so the first thing I’d check is that your selection doesn’t include any media documents, etc. and that you haven’t accidentally selected the Research folder itself as well.

Thanks Jennifer

Sorry to belabor this. Every index card was made in Scrivener, not imported, and contains only text.

I drag it over to the draft, I can see it there. I hit compile, but the only text that appears in the RTF I create is the text of the page I built in Draft, none from the index cards I dragged over.

If this dog won’t hunt, that’s okay, I’ll happily go back to my other apps, but I figured I was doing something wrong and dumb.

Oh, no, I think I just didn’t understand your problem. I thought you couldn’t actually move the documents into the Draft folder, but the issue is about the compile.

If the text you want to compile is the text on the index cards themselves, then you need to make sure that you’ve set the synopses to be included in compile. Open the Compile dialogue and choose the “All Options” tab, then click on Formatting and then check the box for “synopses” in all the appropriate file types and levels. (If you’re not sure, you can probably just check them all–hold the Option key while you click and all the boxes in the column will be ticked.) The synopsis is separate from the main text of the document, and for most preset compile options it’s not included by default.

Just to show this a little more clearly, if you’re looking at the index cards on the corkboard, you can double-click the document icon in the title of any card to open that document in the editor, and that’s where you can type in a rich-text environment. If you like, to add the synopsis text to the main document text, you can select the documents in the binder (or corkboard or outliner) and choose Documents>Append Synopsis to Main Text.

If that’s not the problem, the other thing to check is that your documents are included in the current compile group. In the Compile dialogue, click on Contents in the left column and make sure that all the documents you want are checked for “include”. If you don’t see them listed at all, make sure that you’ve selected the whole Draft folder (or whatever you’ve renamed it) from the drop-down menu at the top.

I will be following this thread, but I will also look for similar threads under Zen. I think I have a similar interest. At this point I am in the process of conducting lots of literature research to include in my writing. Following the basic teaching of using index cards to document research findings, organize, and arrange these cards so that you can begin writing to the points captured on the card, I could not figure out how to use Scrivener to do so. I’m not experienced enough with Scrivener to understand how to use Synopsis and Meta-Data to assist with the initial information collection phase of my work. Others may have the answer. I believe it can be done in Scrivener, but I am not using it for this purpose. I am using another application that replicates this process electronically. I can categorize my notes, save references, color code associations, and other similar Scrivener offerings. I can also make multiple associations with a single note card. The application only offers the ability to conduct my research with note cards and all the things I need to conduct in this phase. I use Scrivener to record more detailed information. Once I have them in the order I will follow to write, I will re-arrange my “scrivenings” to follow the same order.

All that said, someone in this forum may have offered an explanation on how to use Scrivener for both purposes. I will probably find the answer in Zen. If I do, I will post a reply here. In the meantime, I will also be following the threads here.

It worked!

it’s buried deep inside the compile dialogue box

bad UI, good solution

thanks so much