Multiple notes in documents

I’ve been using the current beta of Ulysses as well as Scrivener, and so far Scrivener is my favourite by a mile-and-a-half.
One thing I REALLY miss in Scivener is the multiple notes in each document - a function found in Ulysses.

I do mostly translation work, and need to look up words every now and then. In Ulysses I can make a new note, and cut-n-paste the note into the document, and refer to all the variations in meaning of a singe word. Great for variation. Of course this function is not available in fullscreen mode, so when “in the zone” it is of less use.

But the Scrivener inspector can be shown in fullscreen mode, and I thought “this is it! Multiple notes in the inspector.” Until I realized it was keywords and not the ability to create a list of linked notes where I can click on the notes title (where the keywords are), and the note will pop up in the notes-field.

A thought? Maybe also the option to have project-wide notes accessible wherever you are (when in fullscreen mode).

I love Scrivener’s fullscreen mode, and this function would really make Scrivener my favourite writing app.

That note clip feature is quite nice, but in the end I find Scrivener’s similar functions just a bit more enticing. As you already noted, you can use notes in full screen, which right there is a huge plus. There are two things about S that kind of make up for the lack of global notes and multi-notes for me. One it looks like you already spotted: References. It is basically a clipboard for as many notes as you’d like, and if you have your preferences set up to load links in the alternate split (see Navigation tab in preferences), you can keep your reference split on one side and your work on the other. It’s a full sized editor multi-clipboard that is slightly less easy to make new notes with. The second feature is not in Ulysses in any way because it is one area where the two different completely in philosophy: That is the ability to have note files in the draft, without exporting them as part of the draft. These can be placed in contextually relevant locations, linked in References if you want, and again full sized – not limited to a note pane.

So it is a slightly different way of working to get roughly the same capability. The one area where Ulysses shines over Scrivener is being able to drag-and-drop text into an empty area of the note-clipboard and having a new note spring into existence – BUT with Beta 5, Scrivener even comes pretty close to that ability too. You can grab a selection of text, drag it into the Binder, and “poof” a new document into existence with the selected text as its content. Just un-check the export flag and you are good to go.

To summarise, with Ulysses you get a very tidy “rolodex” type note area in a pane, with Scrivener you get a more free-form “Document network” philosophy. As of now, I’m liking the latter because it is a full document which can be full-screened, exported on a per-note basis (with Ulysses exporting with notes is all or nothing), and can be contextually linked to the text itself.

And this last one is something is a work-around to what you are wanting (I offer this because Scrivener is currently at a feature freeze, so new features are quite unlikely at this point). You needn’t only use the Reference list to hold cross-links. Just select some text in the main document, right-click, and choose “Insert Scrivener Link…” to see what I mean. This is one form of cross-referencing that is available in full screen. :slight_smile: This means you can have a document be easily referenced and available in full-screen by as many documents as you like. It isn’t quite a “global” tab in the notes inspector, but it gets the job done.

The multi-note pane thing is knd of unique to Ulysses. It is very nice, but if I implemented it, I can imagine the Ulysses guys’ (understandable) reaction. :slight_smile: It was really developed from their own Stapler app. It is pretty nice, but I prefer having freeform notes myself, as it makes things a little easier to find. Anyway, I don’t really want to rip Ulysses off in this regard - although some aspects of Ulysses have definitely influenced Scrivener, they are very different apps and differ in numerous ways, of which this is just one. Amber has really covered everything else - thank you, Amber! :slight_smile:
All the best,

Another idea that might help: keeping your documents in one pane and your notes in the other. This way you can cmd-opt-[ and cmd-opt-] to scroll through the documents (notes) you have in the secondary pane. I find this a very handy way to page through project-wide notes without the trouble of mousing to the references or the binder or whatever. Since Scrivener remembers the histories from session to session, I only have to open the ten or so documents of notes once. :slight_smile:

An addenda to that last hint: Loading up the “history” with a batch of notes is very easy to do. Just select everything you wish to have available, in the Binder, and drag the entire selection into the header bar. All of the documents will be loaded (and any prior history entries dismissed). Loading several documents into Full Screen is a similar process. Select them in the Binder, press Cmd-Opt-F, and that is it. There is not title feedback in full screen, but generally that doesn’t bother since I know my material, and after a few times – how many history keystrokes away anything is. A possible simplified full screen usage would be to select your intended edit document and your global notes document, then you just have to two to keep track of which you can switch back and forth – plus the document notes in the Inspector HUD.

Great advices. javascript:emoticon(‘8)’)
I completely understand the reluctance to “rip off” Ulysses in all aspects, and the “workaround” might be just as good.

Keep up the great work on Scrivener!


Cool. This is much easier than the doc-by-doc way I was doing it.


Keith, I agree when it comes to multi-notes (even though it would be nice :wink: ) But on global notes, Uly wasn’t the first to implement this - as far as I can tell it was CW. And it may be a way of solving Sakka’s issue as well as being quite useful. Of course, it should go without saying that I’m not urging it for 1.0 :slight_smile:

I didn’t even know Ulysses had global notes. At any rates, the reason I didn’t implement global notes in Scrivener is that Scrivener - along amongst all of the competition, I might add - allows you to view more than one document at once (and I give it about three months before other apps implement this, because it is, frankly, crazy that they don’t allow this already). Thus, in all of the competition, you need an area for global notes, because without it, you have nowhere to jot down general ideas that you can view alongside any given document. In Scrivener, however, the diea is that you would take global notes in a separate document. You might place that above the Draft folder. You can then view it in a split alongside any document you want - this is much more flexible that a set global notes area, as in Scrivener, you can have as many global notes documents as you want. :slight_smile:


As it is now, it is usable, albeit a bit clunky. I do like the option to keep a split open with notes, but this also means that it is pretty useless in full screen mode.
Actually, a floating window (like the notes/keyword) where one could have open a second document would solve most of the problems. In other words - have a “split” where the 2nd document is in a HUD, with some way of navigating between documents in the HUD.

Also, any posibility to get a floating inspector instead of a split-type? Or at least a spil-type not screwing up the setup when close the inspector? Now I have to resize the split when using a vertical split every time I open the inspector. Why not automatically resize the splits to previous state when closing the inspector?


You have clearly never tried programming split views in Cocoa. :slight_smile:

No. Essentially you are asking me if there is any possibility of redesigning the main interface - there is not, I spent a long time designing it and I am very happy with it, as are most users.

I disagree. Scrivener allows for much more flexibility than most other apps. And saying it is useless in full screen mode… Well, try the other apps with full screen modes - they don’t even allow notes, let alone global notes or other splits. Full screen is meant for focussed work on a single document. The main window is for everything else.


You’re right - never tried to program in Cocoa. Haven’t programmed anything since the mid 80’s, and then in Pascal. :laughing:

With clunky I mean having to manualy resize the vertical split beween two documents each time I use the Inspector to add or change a synopsis to one of them. With automatic resize (to previous state) there would be no need for a floating inspector.

I don’t ask you to redesign the main interface - what I’m suggesting is the option to have a floating inspector. For no-split window, (one document open) the inspector-split works great.

As for full screen - that’s excactly why I would like to have a floating window where I can access other documents in my projecet, so I don’t have to leave it. I love full screen mode, and the solution you have found is miles above the other solutions I’ve tired. Now I’m jumping back and forth between normal and full screen quite often. Good thing I have a key toggle for it.

Other than that, it works beautifully. Love it. You’re the best. :smiley:


The state-saving split size things has been brought up a number of times before. It isn’t that it is a bad idea, its just that pulling it off is from what I gather, extremely difficult.

There is something you can try. This is what I do to reset split sizes when the occasion arises. I prefer for them to be evenly split between the two documents, and when you make a new split that is how it defaults, so resetting the size is as simple as removing and then adding it again. The keyboard shortcut makes this easy to do. Just tap Cmd-’ to close the current split, and then Cmd-Shift-’ (or Cmd-") to open a new vertical split. It should be perfectly centred again. Since Cmd-= makes a new horizontal split, you can remember them that way. Two vertical lines (") for vertical, two horizontal lines (=) for horizontal split, and one vertical (’) for one window.

That said, have you tried just keeping the Inspector open? That is generally what I do. I actually usually keep everything open. The Binder, a vertical split, and the Inspector. That way I never have to bother, but I have a larger screen so it is not an issue. If you are on a laptop, I can see wanting to only use the Inspector when needed.

I often use my laptop monitor (12" iBook) and always have the inspector open without issue. I still have plenty of space. I use horizontal splits more often on that monitor, so that might make a difference.

I do use a laptop, and when only working with one document open (no vertical split) I also have the inspector open all the time.
But when using a split with the right-most split as an “summary-note-reference-pane” I find I like to make it as narrow as possible, to get at much writing-space as possible on the (then) center or left split- thus no inspector open.
When translating I often grab stuff from the net to include in my references, and also make summaries of the info in several folders in the research-binder. So, I nead to make a summary quite often for newly gathered stuff.
And since the screen is wider than tall, I prefer to keep stuff lined up from left to right, and not top to bottom.

thanks for the suggestions. I think I’ll just have to add a couple of clicks to my workflow.