Option so index cards could be used for idea mapping

I teach young scientists how to write research reports, and I am always looking for better workflows for them to use. Now that Scrivener is multi-platform I want to utilise it as much as possible, because it has the greatest potential of any single program for this purpose.

There’s one component of the workflow that it can nearly cope with but not quite: visual argument mapping. At the moment I get students to map out the main arguments of the Discussion section of a paper using Freemind, then export the text as an outline, and then flesh it out from there. Scrivener’s freeform corkboard, especially with its “commit order” option, is actually pretty darn good for argument mapping except for one feature: the body texts of the index cards (ie synopses) do not make it into the main document, nor do there seem to be any export or compile options that allow one to aggregate the text. So one is left with copying and pasting from individual synopses. The headings of index cards do make it to the main document of course, but the headings only allow one to see a limited amount of text, and, for better or worse, sentences in science tend to be fairly long.

I know that these features of index cards are by design, and I know that Scrivener has no ambitions to be a visual idea mapper, but it is so close to being a usable system! I imagine that there would also be other usage scenarios that would benefit from the option to utilise the synopsis texts en bloc.



Actually, you can in fact aggregate synopsis in several ways. Easiest is to probably use Outliner print. Just switch to outliner mode and Cmd-P. You can set up options for how that works in File/Page Setup. More involved, but also more powerful, would be the compiler—and that’s what you would want to use in any case if you wished to get a file result rather than a printout. Specifically, play around with the options in the Formatting pane. You should find some good ways of exporting a “Synopses Document”.

Ah excellent!!

I had looked at the Formatting options in Compile but somehow missed that synopsis tick-box.

many thanks