Sorting Multiple Selections from Outline Mode

Hi All - and thanks in advance for your help.

I have my novel split into parts > chapters > scenes, and I’ve labelled the scenes by my four POV characters with the expectation that I could select all scenes with the same label and review/edit them together in scrivenings mode (not as easy as I would have thought).

If I go to outline mode and sort by label, I can select all scenes with Character A and choose ‘open in other editor’. They then open in other editor, out of order (ie - ch17 sc2; ch6 sc1; ch30 sc3; ch30 sc1; ch1 sc2; etc).

Does anyone know:
a) why this might be happening? they are in chapter order when selected from outline mode
b) a better/simpler way to view all scenes with a common label or metadata at the same time, in order?

Scrivener Outline Screenshot

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Hello Tomenator! I’ll start by answering question b since I think this suggestion may make question a moot.

Have you considered using Scrivener’s Collections tools for reviewing each POV character’s related materials?

If you haven’t, then you might want to read through Section 10.2 in the Scrivener manual, which you can obtain in PDF from Scrivener’s Help menu.

Using collections would allow you to search for and review different parts of your project in any order you’d like. You can even save the collections as a handy way to return to each character’s relevant materials.

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That behavior looks like a bug to me. Since your outliner is sorted in a particular order, and I assume you selected that series of documents in that order, it makes no sense that the editor on the right isn’t in the same order as your outline shows.

But as RuthS suggested, a search-based collection/saved search for each PoV character would actually be quicker once they’re created, and will present your scenes in Binder order, so selecting them from the search results should give you an in-order Scrivenings session.

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@Rdale: That behavior looks like a bug to me. Since your outliner is sorted in a particular order, and I assume you selected that series of documents in that order, it makes no sense that the editor on the right isn’t in the same order as your outline shows.

Yes, this is the actual problem. At the moment the Windows version is oblivious to the visual order of what you are selecting (a failure that extends broadly to all manner of functions, such as merging documents, duplicating selections, compiling with ‘Current Selection’ etc.).

I believe the only exception may be manually arranged collections (and then only for some tasks). Thus, at the moment the only way to view a chunk of text in non-binder order, unless I’m missing some corner of the software, is:

  1. With the selected items, use the Documents ▸ Add to Collection ▸ New... command.
  2. Manually mimic the sorted order, using the sorted outliner in the main editor as a reference.
  3. When done, click the button in the collection header bar to load its contents into the main editor.

Not exactly ideal at any kind of scale.

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Hi Ruth,

Yes, I had a fiddle with collections last night, and searching by keyword. They do seem to work quite well, and a more flexible within the file structure.

Cheers for the tip.

@Rdale @AmberV what an odd bug! It’s strange that it always sorts into the same random order too. I wonder what causes it?

Follow up question, if I may.

I’ve added a custom metadata field for a timestamp, ie the time in story that the scene takes place (YYYYMMDDHH). I try to keep the story in chronological order, but with multiple POV characters and events taking place across a continent all at the same time, i wanted to do some testing.

With this metadata set, I can sort my scenes into actual chronological order in outline mode, however here I run into the same problem - I can’t open that list in scrivenings mode in the custom order.

Any ideas for a solution, without manually re-ordering them in a collection? There will end up being something like 150-180 scenes in the completed novel, which would be an absolute pain to do by hand.

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No, sorry, like I say they have not programmed this part of the software yet so there is no way around it. All of the things you might think to do to re-order things automatically and then take a list from that order do not work.

I’ve bumped the priority on the bug report, but that’s about all I can do at the moment. It’s a rather core part of the software design to have left out, so hopefully it gets fixed sooner than later.

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Thanks Amber - appreciate the help :slight_smile:

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