Outliner Columns/Custom Meta-data needs easier implementation/syncing

I find Custom meta-data invaluable and and thus have added 20+ items to view in inspector but particularly in Outliner columns view. I would use more if there there was a more efficient way to add/subtract, reorder, resize column width meta data.

When you tick to add any metadata column (or untick off only to tick again on) the column reveals itself all the way to the back with some standard small width. Thus you have to reorder and resize every time. The tick/untick process alone is tedious as after ticking the menu goes away only to have to reopen scroll down and perform another ticking action. What’s more, since I usually want, the other editor to match it’s column set up, I have to do the same on the other editor, painstaking to reorder and impossible to match column widths. That said there is an advantage to having the 2 editors columns “not synced” (in fact I’m trying to use it to handle some of my layout problems) but there should be an option to sync or not. After sync you can choose to not sync and perform customization in other editor. And at the very list if you tick column on it should stick to the order you created it in project settings.

This may sound like a job for Layouts, but Layouts are difficult enough to deal with on their own constantly having to resize one of the splits or sidebars for various stages of projects or switching to/from big screen monitors. I’ve started the long process of creating a few Layout defaults complete with their preserved Outliner metadata columns, but it’s tedious and still doesn’t answer some problems.

Then there’s some things I just cannot get around with Layouts at all - mainly regarding the option to Wrap or Not, the custom metadata text when choosing to “Show/Hide Synopsis” and to some extend using “Fixed Width Rows”. This problems asserts itself with 2 of my favorite Scrivener Layouts: 1) Outliner as Binder with Synopsis turned off, this makes Editor look like Binder, but with my metadata wrapped it defeats the purpose creating rows larger than one line. 2) Normal Outliner: showing Synopsis with metadata unwrapped I lose valuable visual info when I use more common Show Synopsis I’m left with a bunch of empty space that the Synopsis takes up. Outliner as Vertical “Indented” Index Card Tree: this is great overview that depends on showing synopsis and fixed width, and I can through compromise get there using this layout, but not ideal. Although I could improve it if I could resize the Fixed width rows.

Outliner vary spartanly with no synopsis and only a handful of custom meta-data column. Here is where I have a few custom meta data columns set to Wrap as I want to see it all - it isn’t a problem in my next phase when I treat Outliner like Big indented index cards using fixed width and Synopsis. Showing the synopsis now renders the “wrap” moot as the synopsis usually extends column down far more than any wrapped custom meta data would. IN this case I would propose a way to at least Batch change some of those standard settings like Wrap Text.

In some I’dl like a much easier way to tick/untick Outliner columns, maintain their order and size, option to sync all that criteria with other editor, also maybe a way to batch change custom metadata settings (i.e. wrap text) or set up groups, so you can group text or presets. And adjust Fixed width Outliner rows so you adjust one they all follow.

I can see how many of these you might answer with Layouts. And I’ve already started that process, by creating my own Default layouts focusing mainly on what Outliner columns are allowed - this is not easy. And when trying to get a nice workout flow often “swapping editors” to get me what I want to see this problem rears it head. I know these suggestions might seem tedious to people who don’t use much custom meta data (and I know custom meta data should be as “short” as possible) but since it is not fundemental Scrivener behavior I know at least it doesn’t break any sort of logic/rules so implementing wouldn’t go against that.



First of all, there is indeed already a much better way to make bulk changes to column visibility than choosing each one individually from the menu. Refer to §8.3.1, Managing Columns for details on that, in particular figure 8.24.

As for how columns get added to the view way off to the side and narrow—yeah it would be nice if that could be optimised, but I think all of that is down to how the table view itself works, and it isn’t very easy for us to change that.

I’m not sure what you are referring to by “fixed width columns”. Do you mean the “Use fixed row height” setting?

We certainly aren’t opposed to a better system of “preset” outliner setups that perhaps operate more like a very specific Layout that only affects the active outliner view. It isn’t something we’ve given a lot of thought yet though. I can say for my own usage, a better system would be folder/collection specific outliner setups than a set of presets you have to switch between constantly, but it sounds like you would disagree with that. So there are things like that divergence in the use of such a capability that need to be thought about.

Try temporarily using horizontal splits, and when you drag the column divider, while dragging move the mouse all the way down/up to the other editor so that it perfectly matches the width of the column from the other split. This kind of way-off-target dragging can be a useful trick for a number of things, like table columns in the editor and tab stops.

Sorry it took so long to reply, I do appreciate some of your workarounds.

I found this bulk change feature of column checking boxes on right dropdown arrow in Outliner and it is exactly what I was looking for.

This is bar far my biggest concern. It takes enough disruptive time to go back reorder and size columns that were either added/subtracted that I had to add 4 more layouts rather than go back and reconfigure columns. But I desperately need to pair down my layouts as that itself is confusing and time consuming knowing which is the right/best one during the writing process. But if it’s difficult to do, that is good to know, and will look for a compromise or workaround.

Yes I mean fixed row height, here. It would be huge to be able to resize the height when in this view - meaning slide height on one slides same on all.

I would def. welcome a better system of “preset” outliner setups that act as specific layouts that only affects current outliner view. That also seems feasible. Let me know if that is future possibility.

This is pretty decent idea; but does it work only manually, i.e. given a certain “container” you must recall and load the Layout (outliner/columns etc) designed/best suited for that container or is there a way for Scrivener to load that designated Layout for you?

The last minor issue I mentioned was regarding wrapping custom metadata. When in basic outline mode, it is near impossible to show custom meta data when you don’t show Synopsis as meta data often exceeds the column width and if it wraps then you’ll be stuck with mixed row heights defeating one of the purposes of not showing synopsis. Just wondered if there was a way to bulk change Custom Meta data field wrapping?



My solution: I don’t try to force it. If I need 6 + 4 columns in both splits then I live with 10 columns instead of manually adding four and removing four and toggling these on and that off, multiple times a day. It’s just a matter of what is more efficient: spending time messing with columns or just flicking my finger to the right on the trackpad to see the rest of them. To my mind that even serves as “modal”, if I keep set A in the primary scroll area and set B out of view. Almost all of my projects have “auxiliary” columns like that which are out of scroll view.

I do the same exact thing in Finder—even though Finder does have folder-specific view settings—simply because for most tasks it is often the most efficient to scroll 100 pixels, than to open up settings panels and configure views.

That’s kind of what I was saying, although without the complicated mixture of using Layouts for any of this at all. There would be some kind of toggle—or maybe even extending the definition of what the existing “Lock Group View Mode” toggle does, so that any column settings you make to that container stick. There would be no need to create and apply a Layout to ever set that folder again.

Using Layouts to set columns is not ideal to begin with, as you are well aware, so I don’t think that specifically should be a part of such a hypothetical feature set.

And to that, we’re just fantasising here, to be clear. This stuff may never be a thing. :slight_smile:

Not all at once, but you will note that in the Custom Metadata setup pane, using the arrow keys to switch between metadata fields means you can leave your mouse over the “Wrap text” checkbox and thus alternate between Down Arrow and Left Click.