Sorting documents by custom date?

I am a new user of Scrivener and working on a couple of projects. I love the possibility for non-linear editing. But I’m unable to figure out some very basic linear organization strategies. For example with one project, I am typing up a bunch of poems. I would like to:

  1. Assign them each a title
  2. Assign them a date (the date they were written, not the date they were typed up in Scrivener)
  3. Sort them according to the date written

I tried giving them a custom field in the meta-data with a numeric date mm/dd/yy. But when I choose Documents > Sort, I have no idea what the sorting criteria are, or how to change this. I’ve tried looking it up in the FAQ and support and can’t find any reference to how Scrivener is sorting them.

Anyone know how this is possible?

And eventually, I will want to rearrange them according to the rhythm and flow of the poems, rather than by date. And possibly try out multiple arrangements prior to compile. Is it possible to save multiple sorting arrangements?

Thanks for your help!

I think the Documents > Sort function simply works on the document title.

A couple of approaches spring to mind…

If you must see the sorted order in the Binder, then why don’t you name the poems with the date first in year / month / date order (2012/10/01 - Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day?), so that Documents > Sort will work?

Or, if you’re not bothered about the Binder order, create your custom metadata (e.g. KeyDate) and use the same year/mon/day format, then in the outliner (cmd-3), click View > Outliner Columns > KeyDate and you’ll be able to sort on it by clicking at the head of the column.

If you create a similar custom metadata field for theme (or use keywords…) you can use the second method for sorting as well, of course.

Hope this helps a bit…


Two bits of advice: If you’re going to sort by a custom data field, it has to be sortable by a computer that doesn’t recognize it as a date. So, use the format yyyy/mm/dd, not mm/dd/yyyy. In the former, 1999/12/01 comes before 2012/31/01, but in the later format, 01/31/2012 sorts before 12/01/1999. You probably don’t want all the Januaries to sort before all the Februaries of all the years represented.

Second, Collections are the key to trying out various sort orders. Create as many collections as you like, dragging in the documents that you want to sort, and then play with the order as much as you want.