Presets of colors for icons in binder

Situation now
In each Scrivener file one can make a list of colors for use on files and folders within the binder. The settings (which colors, number of colors, order of colors) are all made within a certain Scrivener file.

As soon as one drags & drops files and folders to another Scrivener file, their colors usually change automatically (and rather unpredictably). Because in the second Scrivener file the color settings may be different.

Situation wished for
Color settings as presets, just like text styles. So that, for example, a red file or folder keeps its color when dragged across Scrivener files.

Thanks for your time,

What you need to do is set up the labels in the target project first, so that Scrivener has something concrete to work with, otherwise it will generate new labels automatically (with random colours). Full label information cannot be delivered in the drag-and-drop event, hence the limitation.

Fortunately it is very easy to set up the target project:

  1. Open both projects up side-by-side.
  2. Open the Project/Meta-Data Settings… panels for both projects.
  3. Select all intended labels for transfer from the source project and drag and drop them into the target project.

Universal labels that are shared between projects would most likely have too narrow a use-case to be useful enough to develop a solution for. In most cases these will be quite contextual. You can however set up preferred defaults for when creating new projects, via the Project Template system.

Hi Amber,

Thanks for your help. Unfortunately your suggestion doesn’t seem to work.

  • I did step 1 and 2.
  • Emptied the colors (labels) of the target project.
  • Dragged the colors of the source project into the target project so that they are identical in every aspect.
  • Closed both projects, restarted Scrivener, checked the Meta-Data Settings (labels) of both projects to be sure they were still identical.

After that, I tried to drag a colored file from one to the other, but the color was not preserved (turned into ‘no label’).

If I change the icon (the symbol) of a file or folder and drag it to another project, it is preserved. Text color settings are also program-wide.

Well, think of a research project. One collects load of material that, after use, must be archived in the same structure as the final book/report/whatever itself. And preferably the same colors and icons too. That’s a pretty general use right?

Also, if you think colored labels are a relatively unimportant feature, it would be a reason to make the use of it dead simple by program-wide settings… :smiley:

Marc van Dam

Sorry, to amend an earlier statement, the colour should in fact be copying when you drag it over (you used to have to set it up first—you can see how often I copy labels between projects :slight_smile: ). I cannot reproduce a case where it does not, even following your instructions. The closest thing I can think of: there is a known bug in the current version where if you assign a label to an item and drag it to another project too quickly, you will get “No label” on arrival. This is an auto-save bug. Wait one tick for the auto-save to kick in and it should work fine. I’m not sure why you would see that however since you mention restarting the program (something that would ordinarily not be necessary).

I don’t think that is true. The label is, for my own personal uses at any rate, one of the more important features of the program. I use them extensively. Not everyone feels that way for sure, but I never said it was unimportant, anywhere. I may not be understanding what it is you are looking for then, for the current system already essentially works how you are asking it to. I think you just ran into some glitches by deleting that special label .

Try a few more tests without wiping out all of your labels. It is meant to work very simply. I create a green label called “Food” in one project, assign it to an item, drag that item to another project, and a green label called “Food” is generated in the target project. You only need to drag the labels first in some scenarios (name collisions, mainly).

Hi Amber,

No result here.

What do you mean with ‘that special label’? Did I delete something relevant?

Now, I cleaned up all ‘conflicted copies’ in all projects and trashed the prefs:

  • com.literatureandlatte.scrivener2.LSSharedFileList.plist
  • com.literatureandlatte.scrivener2.plist
    No result either. I did not trash the Styles.plist yet as I thought it would not be relevant.

Then, it appeared that opening two projects’ meta-data and replacing labels in project1 with those in project 2 gives a colored ‘no label’ instead of an emty one. Day before yesterday that was not the case, but now, playing with other projects, this occurred to me.

The color order also doesn’t seem to be relevant. For example, changing the 3rd color in project 1 doesn’t give the 3rd color in project 2.

Should I reinstall Scrivener? Could I be of help by sending a log of some sort?


PS. Attached a screenshot of what AppCleaner brings up on files.

The ‘No Label’ item, the one with a black X instead of a colour, should not be deleted. If you click on it, the delete button below will be disabled, however there is a flaw in that you can still hit the delete key to remove it. If it is removed, it could perhaps make things act oddly until the software recreates it.

I can think of no reason to reinstall the software or wipe out preferences, nor would there be any logs. This isn’t that kind of problem. I would however check to make sure you are up to date with the latest version, 2.5. Like I say, this has been recently improved.

If you drag the special “No Label” item from one project to another it just becomes an ordinary label in the target project that is incidentally called “No Label”. It’s nothing to be concerned about.

But maybe if you delete that special “No Label” item and then drag a bunch of labels in right after, it could mess things up. In my testing it doesn’t, but I’m not sure what else to tell you. I don’t even have to drag labels from one project to another in order for this work.

All I am doing is creating two blank projects for testing, adding a label called “Test” in one project, assigning “Test” to the “Untitled” document in it, letting it auto-save, and then dragging that item to the other blank project. It shows up, with the “Test” label assigned, using the exact same colour.

Using those precise steps, and only those steps, you cannot get the same result in blank test projects? What steps must you take in order to break it?

O.K. I’ll give that a try, thanks. Allow me some time though. :neutral_face:

I work with 10.9.4 and Scrivener 2.5 (25239) from the day it came out.

One question: Can I savely remove everything Scrivener installed in my system without losing the colors in my projects?

Colours have absolutely nothing to do with application preferences or the software itself. If you want to reset everything feel free to do so, but like I say, I don’t think that what you are experiencing has anything to do with preferences. If you have found a bug, it will likely be procedural. Something that anyone can reproduce if they know the proper steps to get to that point. Testing in blank projects is a good way to see if the problem is global, or specific to a project or two.

I think I found it.

Colors only work properly when they are named. I worked with just colors, without names.

Maybe worth having a look at it?

Thanks for your time AmberV, appreciated!


Ah ha, that makes sense, then. Scrivener needs to use names when attempting to match up meta-data during interproject dragging. There is no other reliable source of information that it can use (the internal ID numbers will not help, because they will very likely be different between projects). Thus each label must have a unique name, for this purpose. Ordinarily you can be lax about it, otherwise we’d put in a restriction, but in this one case you do need to be careful about names—that is all it has to use to match things up on arrival.

I just quickly checked the manual. On keyword ‘colors’ and I browsed ‘Chapter 10. Setting Up Meta-Data’.

At first sight, it seems not explicitly mentioned these icon colors (or meta-data for that matter) should have names. Maybe an idea to include?

Also, if possible of course, it might be an idea to automatically include the names Apple has given to each color. Just a thought.