Navigation FROM Corkboard, or TO Outline/Corkboard.

I’m on my first few days of the Beta. First off, this is a huge improvement on 1.x. I especially like the preview in Corkboard if I don’t have a synopsis, and the more flexible window handling. But I’m not finding switching to/from the corkboard intuitive.

My Binder looks like this:
Level 1. Draft
Level 2. (Book1)
Level 3. (Book 1 chapters)
Level 2. (Book 2)
Level 1. Research
Level 1. Trash

So, most of the time, I’m at Level 3, in a book chapter. My Level 2 (Book 1) Corkboard is where I want the corkboard to set to.

But when I Ctrl-2 inside a document, it treats that document as the corkboard root. I.e. it shows empty.

Perhaps I’ve been misunderstanding Scrivener for the last eight months, but I use the corkboard / synopsis for chapter summaries, so if I go to Corkboard view, I want a level above the text documents.

On the bright side, I can (see Options below) double-click that bizarrely-empty corkboard to get to the desired one. 8) But it’s not clear why that’s required. And it requires I reach for my mouse; as a writer, I use the keyboard.

Which brings me to the other issue: I sort-of expect to be able to double-click or Ctrl-1 on an item in the corkboard to go to editing that specific text document, much as you would from the binder. I only figured this out just now while writing this up: If I double-click the tiny icon, it does, but otherwise, nothing. The double-click navigation should be easier to get to.

These issues apply to the Outline View Mode (Manual 4.2) also. View - Outline only outlines items below my current level. So if I’m at “(Book 1)” and enter Outline, I get the outline view, which is great. Double-click on an item, to jump to the Chapter. (Be careful to hit the icon; hit the text and you’re editing the title or synopsis.) Ctrl-3 or View - Outline and you get an empty screen, because it’s at the current level.

I’m not sure of the value of Outline or Corkboard on a Document (rather than a Folder) anyhow. So perhaps a setting (File-Option, not Project-Setting) for “Outline and Corkboard always move to this or next up folder” would fix this?

On File - Options, there is one, “Double-Clicking”, “Empty space Double-click will…” which is set to “Open the Parent Corkboard.” This works in the corkboard view, but it would be great (and solve the issues) if it worked in the Document view also.

None of this is to say this isn’t a massive improvement. It is. These are just navigation foibles I think are counter-intuitive.


One thing to keep in mind with Scrivener is that it is foremost an outliner. It doesn’t have any concept of chapters or parts, and even “document” vs “folder” is a bit of a fiction; these are things we bring to the outline ourselves as a concept of usage. From the software’s perspective, you can outline however deep you want, to level 27, why not? What you are describing is something more like a file manager I think, where depth is only a function of folders, and content is only a function of documents. Scrivener is aimed more at the text’s structure being described through hierarchy, where a chapter might have sections, and sections might have subsections, and those might even have breaks that only you see, as an author, sewn together seamlessly into one chunk of text for the reader when you compile.

So with that philosophy of its design in mind, every item in the binder is a corkboard. Whether it has any items on the corkboard is purely a state determined by whether that item has child items within it, or a level beneath it—not of its presumed type. If you did want to develop a chapter with a greater amount of outlining detail, you need merely open its empty corkboard and start developing it right then and there, by adding cards to it with the Enter key. In converse, if you wanted to add text to a folder, you could turn off its corkboard and do so.

In short: a better way to think of view modes is differing ways in which we can view any item in the binder tree. We can click on a group (whether folder or file group) and flip to Scrivenings to treat it as a chunk of text within a book, or to Corkboard to view its immediate child items on a flat panel, or Outliner to explore its 27 levels of depth. So whether something is a “file”—a leaf node in an outline, the termination of any deeper hierarchy—is not something Scrivener itself can make any presumptions upon. It may well be there are no more topically concise expressions of data below that level, this is the end of that branch in the tree. But for all the software knows, you just stopped there because it was time for dinner.

Thus what you are proposing as how it should work would limit one’s ability to to outline. If pressing Ctrl+2 forced the editor’s perspective to go up a level and then open the Corkboard, it would be very difficult to continue outlining to any depth from right in the editor. You’d have to go out to the binder and manually nest items after creating them. And then that raises the question of what happens at that point? Why should Ctrl+2 force an editor navigation event on a leaf node, but not a branch node? Or would it always navigate up?

Fortunately for you, if what you want is indeed to view the corkboard for the parent of the item you are editing, there is a command for that: it is Navigate ▸ Go To ▸ Enclosing Group, or Alt+Shift+LeftArrow by default.

(Ah. I see there is still a very old bug here in that doing so forces Scrivenings mode. Well. It’s supposed to use your preferred view mode when doing so, just like clicking on the item in the binder would. So, this is not following the design correctly just yet, but for now you can switch view modes once you get to the right spot.)

That is a shorthand for doing the same exact thing, one can “walk up” the hierarchy by double-clicking on the background. Normally you would do so from one group to the next, but you can certainly start at a level below that as well.

Except that if the whole card worked that way, it would be more difficult for mouse users to edit the actual text on the card.

An easier way of loading the selected card(s) is to simply hit the spacebar.

(Note: there is a bug in the Outliner where this doesn’t work yet.)

So for now it might be better to form a habit of using the shortcut for Navigate ▸ Open ▸ In Editor command (Ctrl+Shift+Return). It’s pretty much the same thing as spacebar is meant to be, in that context.

Again, as designed. If you want to continue outlining from the current level that is how you would do so. It’s very useful to be able to switch between the text of an item and its deeper outline items. What you are saying it should do otherwise would make it very difficult to work in a top down fashion.

Sometimes I even use that capability to jot down ideas for the text I’m working on. Later I’ll probably discard the outline beneath that level, but if it becomes integral to the structure of what I’m writing, then I’ll dive into it and starting writing the text from within the outline as topically designed—causing it to become another facet in the great tree that is the whole.

Maybe it isn’t for how you use it (and that is fine, to be clear!), but if you took that way from me, it would hardly even be Scrivener any more. :slight_smile: But then I hardly ever use folders. I prefer to use text items for most of my hierarchy, and am constantly switching between Scrivenings, outline and single text view. I reserve folders for higher level large sections, and then mostly because they have a different, easy to spot icon. It makes scrolling through several hundred items easier—which you may have in a chapter if you outline aggressively like I do.

At any rate, I don’t think we need settings here since there are copious commands for navigating around through the hierarchy with the keyboard.

Hopefully this sheds a little light on what kind of tool this is meant to be. One can absolutely use it like a file manager if they want, to reiterate. It works that way in the same sense that a pot can be used to only ever boil water. It doesn’t conflict with the design, but it is only a subset of its design. And, a few beta level snags aside, hopefully you have what you need to better move around in your project, however you design it!

Thank you, Amber, for the detailed response.

Okay, will try to re-adjust my mindset. It still seems wonky to me, but at least I can appreciate that it’s not a “bug” in the new version, just a workflow difference. But even so, if I’m on an item where I can see the synopsis to the right, I kind-of expect to have a quick way to see where this element is in the hierarchy.

I’ll look forward to it. 8)

Not much harder.

Okay, but that is much easier. Thank you.

I don’t think of myself as using it as a file manager. But I haven’t been switching in-and-out of Scrivenings mode intentionally. Up until right now, I hadn’t figured out why I have Scrivenings mode or Document mode, but never both, on the menu. It had been more of a minor annoyance than a feature, for me, because my main goal has been the crafting. (I’d say “writing”, but I seem to spend more time figuring it out, lining it up, coordinating, ensuring consistency etc than actual typing.)

Thank you again. Apparently I am slightly buggy! :mrgreen:

Outliners are a bit niche and unusual to be fair. In their purest form, they were more popular in the ’80s and ’90s, but many of their ideas have filtered into other programs over the years (file managers among them!). Even word processors like Word have a concept of an outline in them, though driven purely by the formatting in that case, largely by the stylesheet. Scrivener is closer to the classic architecture, where you have a tree view of items that you name and put text into somehow. Where it differs from most outliners is that its text view more closely resembles a word processor. It also differs from many in that its outline needn’t conform to the output. You can have more outline than you have structure in the final product, and that is what really sets it apart from outlines such as in Word.

As for this behaviour, nothing has really changed between versions, so I’m not sure what you are seeing different here. In version 1, if you had selected an individual leaf node, or a “text document”, and pressed Ctrl+2 you still would have been faced with an empty corkboard.

There are several ways of doing that:

  • The binder itself, of course. You can see the currently edited item and it will be highlighted with a bar.
  • If you right-click on the item’s icon in the header bar you’ll find a “Path” submenu. From a pure information standpoint you can just look at it to see where you are, but if you select any of its ancestors the editor will jump to that spot. The Alt+Shift+LeftArrow shortcut is thus a way of walking up the elements in that path menu one by one.
  • When in Scrivenings mode, on the right side of the header bar you’ll find a ‘contents’ button, which shows a hierarchical representation of the contents of the Scrivenings session. You can use that to jump around within it, without changing views.