Scrivenings mode no longer default

For years now, whenever I clicked on a different folder Scrivener defaulted to Scrivenings mode. I must have toggled something somewhere recently so that now, whenever I click on a different folder, it no longer does that and I have to either use the menu or the toolbar to enter use see and edit all the scenes in that chapter. And if I move from one folder/chapter to another it has changed back to non-Scrivenings mode.
Has anyone else experienced this? I always want to be in Scrivenings mode unless I explicitly move to the Corkboard or Outline.

Perhaps if you are meaning folders in a loose sense, to also include nested files in files, then you may want to check in Options, under the Behaviors: Folders & Files section, and see if Treat all documents with subdocuments as folders got disabled.

Otherwise, I would create a test project so that you can play around in and see if the behaviour is different there. If only one project is acting that way, it may narrow down potential causes.

Thanks Amber! That was the setting I missed.

Gah, I spent what felt like hours trying to chase that down. I could only take so much of Ctrl-1 for each document. (I’m old school from way back when green or amber text on a black terminal was all there was, so my fingers are used to staying on the keyboard.)

Why use files instead of folders, though? (For container documents – those that include documents.)

Because we can? It’s an intentional feature of the software. I never use folders myself, never really saw the point of them.

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My projects are set up with folders as chapter divisions, and documents as scenes. This allows me to use “Structure-based” divisions in my compiled work.

(And I compile after every chapter is finished on the off-chance that I lose both my projects and my backups on my local machine and in all my nightly backups–I’m a belt and suspenders guy when it comes to backing up data.)

It works for me; it may not work for the way others use Scrivener.

For whatever reason, the setting for ‘Treat all documents with subdocuments as folders’ got disabled and that caused the issue I reported. It was a simple fix.

What is a chapter division, as opposed to a chapter?

For myself, the main reason I rarely bother with folders is that I tend to think of structural matters while I am writing, and thus build outline in reflection of the text that I am composing, rather than the other way around. If you work in that fashion, then there are very clear advantages to using text entries as the entirety of your outline:


Here we have a section from the user manual to use as an applied demonstration of what I mean. To be fair, with something like this you would more likely plan before you write, because you know you have X, Y and Z to cover. But for the sake of illustration, let’s presume I’m writing about something conceptual, i.e. the sort of thing where as you write, you realise more things you need to write about, or better ways to structure your thoughts (even if temporarily, and not a in way that will become the final document structure).

So I’m writing along in Interface in Overview, and as I do so, I have a sudden spark of inspiration that leads me down a train of thought whereby there would be two additional things to discuss that relate to this topic, The Project Window and View Modes.

Now at this point I could stop writing and switch over to the binder to do some restructuring. I would select the item I had been writing in and convert it to a folder, and then start adding the two items I thought of. It’s a perfectly fine way of working, don’t get me wrong.

Or I could do what I prefer to do, and mid-sentence hit the shortcut for the Outliner or Corkboard. Since I’ve just been typing away in text item thus far, I have a blank slate, I hit Return to add the new “lines” in my outline. When I’m done I hit the same shortcut to turn the view mode off, and I’m right back where I left off, cursor still blinking mid-sentence. I may not even lose my train of thought, because what I did is so efficient to how my mind works; done using the kind of keyboard-only typing “commands” that are familiar to the act of writing say, a bullet list. Only my bullet list isn’t in the paragraph below where I was writing, but two new outline elements tucked away and waiting for me to expand upon.

While the differences between the two approaches may seem subtle on paper, I would say that the cognitive differences are stronger. The method of switching to a different area of the project window and building nested structure and converting outline item types feels to me more like management to me, and less like writing.

Outlining on the other hand, right in the same area you use to write, using keys you would use to write (like Return), feels more organic and less disruptive—it feels like a natural extension of the writing process itself. I’m not grappling for the mouse and aiming at little targets on the screen and right-clicking to convert to a folder. I’m not dragging items around to nest them, or maybe even having to scroll the binder to the right place to begin all of this. I’m just writing, and I’m not festering over what “kind” of thing is left behind as I do so. For me all such excursions result in text entries, and thus all structure is comprised of text entries. There is no going back and fixing things, no changing things for the sake of protocol. If I later go and nest five topics into a previous text entry, I’m done, that’s all I have to do. I don’t have to right-click and change the new parent item into a folder.


You might consider Locking folders to the Scrivenings Group Mode. Click the folder Icon in the Editor Header Bar and Choose the bottom option in the pop-up menu.

Ioa, you’ve written in the past about your preference for text over folders, but I don’t believe you’ve delved into this level of detail about how it supports your process. Thanks for taking the time to write it out, as I think there are aspects to this I could incorporate in my own process–which, frankly, I never would have thought of on my own. :nerd_face:


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That makes sense for your writing style, and it doesn’t make a LOT of difference either way, but for me it makes sense to use folders for chapters, since they get page breaks by default.

I mean, for how I write, I don’t even know where chapters are yet until later in the game. I am definitely the sort that sees text coalesce into a structure rather than saying, now is the time to have a new chapter, and this is what I shall do within it. But that’s all why I’ve never gotten along with software that is highly formulated around finished structures as part of the writing process itself.

As for page breaks, doesn’t matter in the least to me. Scrivener doesn’t make that determination for how I work. That is something decided later on, after compiling. So I guess that would make a small difference. Though of course how page breaks end up being assigned to the outline structure has less to do with the icon style and more to do with how the project is set up, but I see your point since as I say, less than. There is a default setting that almost every Format follows that assumes one considers a folder to be a major division property of the document (be that a chapter or an essay or a short story).