Sort alphabetically

Is there a way to have Scrivener sort the binder alphabetically?

Yes, the Documents/Sort/ sub-menu will sort the contents of a container (folder, etc.) alphanumerically. This is a permanent sort, so if you just want to view things by a particular sort order, then a better tool will be the Outliner. Click on any of the column headers to sort ascending, click again for descending and a third time to return to native binder order.

Thank you, AmberV. I will try that.

Thanks, Amber. Clicking on the column headers in Outline mode re-orders my columns, but only in the Outliner.

I was hoping this re-ordering in Outliner would also show up in the binder (though not a permanent change as Documents/Sort would be); is there any way short of the permanent document/sort method to show a re-ordering of the binder’s items?

Thanks.

Thanks, Amber. Clicking on the column headers in Outline mode re-orders my columns, but only in the Outliner.

I was hoping this re-ordering in Outliner would also show up in the binder (though not a permanent change as Documents/Sort would be); is there any way short of the permanent document/sort method to show a re-ordering of the binder’s items?

Thanks.

What is it that makes the re-ordering in the outliner insufficient? What is it you are trying to do?

I am not sure what that would look like, seeing as how the outliner only displays a portion of the binder, and may not even be displaying a linear sequence of items from the binder. But that aside, I don’t think there would be much need for sorting the contents of the work we are writing in any particular order in such a way that isn’t permanent. If you’re writing a glossary or dictionary of terms, then sure, but then the permanent sorting option is fine.

If you do wish to sort in the sidebar, then just select the items you want to sort and use the Documents/Add to Collection/New Collection command. You can now use the Documents/Sort menu on the collection without harming the binder order—and of course if you want a more complex sort you can click on the Collection’s header bar to load it in the outliner, sort by a particular column (like modification date) and then select and drag everything back into the sidebar to make that sort order permanent.

FYI, for anyone searching this topic today, as I was, the answer has changed. Searching the manual wasn’t much help. I found it after poking around in the interface.

This sort function is now under the Edit menu. To sort binder documents within a folder alphabetically, select the folder, then go to Edit > Move, where, among other things, you’ll see two submenu options for sorting in ascending or descending alphabetical order. I assume this is a permanent change, as noted in earlier answers here.

Note: If you then add a new document to that folder, it will not automatically be slotted into the established alphabetical order. So if you’re continually adding new documents to that folder (as I am in this case–a folder in which each document holds a scrap of an idea for a new essay), and you want that folder’s documents to always appear in alphabetical order, you’ll need to apply the operation from the above paragraph each time.

You could go out of your way to run the menu command every time you add a new item, but that’s probably not the most efficient approach to take. In cases where I have a folder that is meant to be alphabetically sorted, when I’m working within it, I ditch the binder and use the outliner as a surrogate binder split—maybe even closing the binder entirely while doing so. It depends on whether I am working in this folder continuously for a while or not, of course.

In the outliner I can just click the “Title” column and things sort as I go. When I’m done, I can drag the entire contents of the outliner back into the folder to impress that sort order upon it. I could use the menu command, but I have a habit of using this method since it works with all manner of sorting behaviours in the outliner. Sometimes it isn’t the title that I want to be the sort driver, but a custom metadata field that indicates publication date—etc.

For folders where I only sporadically add things to it, I add to my pre-compile checklist a note on each folder that needs sorting. I can thus take care of things all at once, which is more efficient than sorting repeatedly every time I press Return in that folder to make a new item. I will also sometimes, for these kinds of rarely used folders, simply put the file in the correct position myself—shockingly old-fashioned, I’m sure, but alphabetical filing speed was something I was always naturally good at, so why not. :slight_smile:

Tips for finding things:

  • Use ⇧⌘? to access the universal macOS menu searching tool, and in this case, type in the word “sort”. You will find every command in Scrivener that has to do with sorting.
  • If you require documentation on a menu command, you will find Appendix A, Menus & Keyboard Shortcuts to be a useful starting point. As is traditional for a menu appendix, its structure matches the software’s menu hierarchy, so if you already know exactly what you’re looking for by full path name, you can get to it easily.

Thanks for the additional tips and refinements, AmberV. Great and helpful info, as always. :slight_smile:

The correct answer for 3.1.5 version is clicking the folder you want to sort and then select Edit>Sort.