preview text file from outliner?

I’m getting to really like working in the outliner now - it is very powerful once you get it set up the way you want!
Just one thing I’m finding I don’t know how to do: when you are in outliner, seeing titles and synopses (along with other info in columns and/or in inspector) - is there a quick, non-interrupting way at glancing at the text of the file (not the synopsis but the actual text?).
I am thinking of something like Quick Look in the Finder, where you can do space bar, take a quick squiz, and space again to dismiss.
I see from the manual that there seems to be facility to do this for media and other files that Scrivener doesn’t support. That’s great but I am talking about normal text files.
I want to organise my thoughts in outline, but every now and then take a look at what I have actually written.
I know you can do it via ‘open in other editor’ or ‘open in quick ref’ and if that’s all there is I can live with it. But if possible I’d like something quicker, that doesn’t disrupt my screen, or have me mousing around to find the close-file square.

Click Cmd-4 and the text comes up in the editor. Click the back-arrow in the upper right corner, and you are back to the outliner.

Assuming you’re using Version 3, there’s a couple of ways, which you can adapt for different circumstances (such as your screen size etc).

The first is just to add a short cut key (in the normal Mac way of System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts) for the Navigate > Open > Quick Reference command. Then the process in the outline is just to viewing the text to to close the QR panel. That’s not all that different from using quick look. This should work in Version 2 as well.

But there’s another, really useful way in Version 3, which is better suited for running down an outline to see the text behind a number of documents.

First click the appropriate file in the binder to create the basis for your outline in the normal way. Then choose Windows > Layouts > Three Pane (Outline).

As the name suggests, Scrivener will reconfigure to show you a narrow binder, a narrow outline and a wide editor, all side by side. The editor contains the text of whichever document currently selected in the outline, so it will change as you click through the outline. There’s a similar layout which works for the cork board as well.

You can see what I mean in the screen shot below — I’ve shrunk it considerably to make the screenshot a sensible size, but there are no size restrictions in practice.

This feature works by using the ‘Automatically open selection in second editor or copyholder’ feature: if you look at the bottom of the outliner, there’s a square box coloured in blue. Click on that to toggle the feature on and off. In effect, all the pre-defined Layout does is to set this arrangement up for you.


Touché! Brookters “Three Pane”-solution is more elegant than mine. Even if I would reduce it to two panes by hiding the Binder.

Changing the editor split to horizontal (OPT-click on the icon that splits the editor to change the split type) might be desirable if you want more outline columns than will fit comfortably in the side-by-side split.

Thanks for these suggestions. All useful but none exactly fill my need. When I am in a crowded view with windows and columns set up the way I want them (but not showing inspector), I often feel I would like to do one of the following:

  • from the binder (or anywhere else for that matter), get a quick view of the synopsis
  • from the outliner (or anywhere else for that matter), get a quick view of the text

I guess I’m surprised there isn’t a simple way to do either of those, which both seem highly useful to me - and pretty straightforward, in my ignorance of what the tech would involve.

Maybe I will post to the wish-list forum. In the meantime if anyone can suggest something I have missed, please do enlighten me!
Thanks again - these forums are so helpful! Helen

Don’t know how to do that.

Doesn’t my suggestion above

achieve that?
Instead of clicking the back-arrow, you can, if you prefer that, use Cmd-[

If you want and have the screen space to open the text in a separate window, while still seeing the Outliner, you can open the text you want by pressing the space bar. To close it, press Cmd-W. Very similar to how Quick Look works.

This way you can also see the Synopsis at a glance.

Thank you, Helen,

for inspiring me to explore this. I wrote:

Now I realise that also Esc closes the window. Very Quick Look-like, indeed. If I could also find a key combination that exposes the Synopsis without using the trackpad I’d be very happy. And, you’d have an answer to all your questions.

Which I did: Ctrl-Opt-Cmd-I

Thanks so much!
Yes that is what I wanted. I thought I had tried using space bar to see the text and found it not to work - but indeed it does.
And being able to see the synopsis with ctrl-opt-cmd-I is great.
EVEN BETTER would be if it were possible to set a default so it always showed both the text and the synopsis (or whatever combination you wanted). But I guess that is asking for a cherry on top!
Thanks again

When you’ve opened the Quick Reference panel, the same keystroke (cmd-opt-ctl-i) opens the synopsis pane as well.

That’s part of a general scheme: all the ‘inspector panels’ are bound to cmd-opt-ctl shortcuts (i for synopsis, h for notes, n for bookmarks etc — you can see the fill list next to the items in Navigate > Inspect.

The shortcuts do slightly different things, depending where you are:

  1. In the Binder, Editor, Corkboard or Outliner: if the Inspector is closed (or pointing at a different panel) then the shortcut will open the relevant panel — press it again to put the cursor inside the synopsis/notes etc. If the inspector is already open at the right panel, you only need to do it once. (That’s a bit of a simplification, but the bottom line is — if the cursor doesn’t appear in the right element on the first use of the shortcut, then press it again…)

  2. If you already have a QR panel open, the pressing the shortcut once will split the view, pressing it twice will move the cursor there.

  3. If you’re in Composition mode, then pressing the shortcut once will bring up a QR panel with the relevant split, pressing it twice will move the cursor there…


I think I am gradually getting my head round this.
I also just discovered in the manual:

PREFS > BEHAVIOURS > NAVIGATION > space key opens QR (from outliner).

That, along with the ctrl-opt-cmd-i trick I think gives me just what I want.
There’s always a way - sometimes you just need a pointer!

Also discovered I can set up three finger tap to open any element as a quick ref without losing my place …
Life is getting good!

Three finger tap, uh?
Getting better all the time.