Security Officer New to Scrivener

As a Security Officer, part of my job is writing reports, and I have been looking for a program with tools to make the information in my field notebook much easier to incorporate into my final report.

I would have names, person descriptions, vehicle descriptions, safety concerns, and other details which would have to be documented with my employer.

I heard about Scrivener about a week ago, but at that time I only heard of the Mac version. I felt like Scrivener is the program I have been looking for, but I am a Windows only user. It wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I saw that there was a Windows beta available.

As I am setting up a custom template for my reports, I notice something I’m not quite sure how to deal with.

When I create a new collection, Scrivener will not let me create any folders or texts inside the new collection. It will only let me create folders and texts in the main binder. I am wondering if maybe I’m doing something wrong. I click the collections button and then click the “+” and enter the collection name. I then notice the add button is greyed out. So I am stumped on how to add to it.

Aside from that, it really seems like the program for me, I can really see myself making great use from it. I am excited to continue my evaluation of the program and I look forward to purchasing the license when available.

First, welcome to Scrivener and I hope it turns out to be the best writing tool for you.

You mention reports and templates, but it’s not clear to me what they will contain.
Are you writing case reports, each project file on a particular incident?
Or do you collect case reports into time units, like a day/week/month/year?
Maybe if you could make a screen shot of a sample file, that would help.

Most likely, you will build a template of your own, by starting with a blank one.
Put into the Research folder files for the data elements you mention:
Each with a custom icon that seems appropriate. See Documents: Change Icon

Split the screen so you can see files in the Draft and Research folders.
Run searches on the data in Research, write reports in Draft.
Beyond this, it’s hard to advise without seeing what you have in mind.
Anyway, good luck, especially with fighting crime in the Sunshine State!

Thank you, that does help.

You asked if I write case reports, I don’t. My reports are DORs (Daily Observation Reports), which are basically a detailed report of the things I did and things I observed while on shift.

I probably won’t be writing case reports until I graduate from the academy and become a LEO(Law Enforcement Officer).

You also asked about incident reports, and those I would only have to write if a major incident occurs on my shift. Otherwise, a DOR is all that would be required.

Basically as of now, my reports are of closed length based on the field notes, so it’s not like I would have to go back a few years down the line to add more info. However, I know I could use Scrivener for that when the time comes.

Still trying to figure out how collections work… you know the colored tabs by the binder.

Collections are basically groups of files out of context, if you will. All the files in your project appear in the regular binder–you can never have something in a collection that isn’t also in the binder, as the collection is essentially an alias of that file. So as druid suggested, you’ll want to set up your binder in some way that makes sense to you with folders, sub files, document stacks, etc. You can enhance this arrangement by creating collections of disparate files and pulling them together so you can work with them or view them as a unit without regard to their actual location in the project binder. So maybe you organize your reports by week in your project, but you want also to be able to quickly view all the assignments that took place at the same location. Without having to have duplicate files in the binder, you can build a collection of these files and clicking on that tab will instantly group these for you.

There are two types of collections you can make, which affect how you create them. You can build an arbitrary collection, which as it sounds means you can put whatever documents you want in it. To do this, you can select documents in the binder and then choose Documents > Add to Collection and then either create a new collection from there or select an existing collection to add these documents to. The documents won’t move from their proper place in the binder, but they’ll appear in the collection and you’ll be able to rearrange them there as you like without affecting their binder order. If you have the collections tabs open in the binder, you can also just drag files from the binder and drop them on the tab of the collection you want to add them to, or select files and click the “+” button in the collections header to create a new collection with those selected files.

The other type of collection is a saved search. When you run a search, say for the name “Joe”, the search results collection will open in the binder showing you all the matches. If you click the magnifying glass and arrow button in the search bar, you can select “Save Search…” from the bottom of the menu, give the search a name, and it will appear as a collection in the binder. Saved search collections can’t be reorganized by you or have items manually added or deleted. They’re dynamic, so the contents will automatically reorder to match the order of the binder and items will get included or excluded as they meet the saved search condition.

You can change a saved search into a standard (arbitrary) collection by selecting it and choosing View > Collections > Convert to Standard Collection. Once you do that, it will no longer update dynamically but you’ll be able to work with it as with any other arbitrary collection.

Thank you so much, that really helped.

I am really getting the hang of it now.