"Sticky" 2nd Pane in Split View


Absolutely LOVING Scrivener. It is the bees knees. I come from a photography background & am acquainted with the most sophisticated software ‘out there’ and put Scrivener on a par with, or better than, Photoshop, Lightroom … you name it. So massive kudos.

My only request, and I have searched for it elsewhere but not found an answer, is to have a ‘sticky’ second pane in Split View. I think this should be the default—ie 2nd pane should by default show the last document you had there.

So if you have your current chapter which you are writing on the left, for example, but constantly refer to a page of research on the right, as it stands at the moment if you go back to the single page you have to re-load the research page into the right hand page if you go back to split view. It makes more sense to keep the research page there by default, or at least have the option to do so. I tried locking the page, but this didn’t do it.

Or am I missing something?

Thanks again for a world class product


Thanks for the kind words, and welcome to Scrivener! :slight_smile:

When you first open a split it will use the currently viewed document in the main editor, there is no way around that in particular. However it is easier to get back to where you were in the other split than you might be thinking. Each split has its own history queue, which is stored between sessions. This means that even if it opens with something you don’t want, you can get back to what you were viewing previously within it, using one keystroke: ⌥⌘[. That navigates history for the other split, since you will most likely have the focus in the main split at that point. If the focus is in the research split then you only need to use the Back shortcut: ⌘[. (You can of course also just click the back button in the header bar, if you prefer the mouse.)

This way you can have sense out of both results, as you put. It would be a little less efficient to split the current document if opening a split never did so. You’d have to use the mouse to right-click on the primary editor’s header bar, and select the “Match Split Documents” command, every time. I’d say the keyboard shortcut for Back, or even the history mechanism in general, is more efficient as a fallback for alternate behaviour. Not only does it address this one case, but other cases where you might have four or five research documents you frequently refer to and want immediate access to in the other split. I sometimes use History more like a session buffer, or how tabbed interfaces work in some programs.

That’s a reactive approach, another that is more prepared is to take advantage of a native behaviour for links and bookmarks. If a particular research document is something you’re loading often and from a wide variety of contexts in the left split, then consider adding this document to your Project Bookmarks list. This can be done by dragging the item to the Bookmark icon on the toolbar, or by using the Documents ▸ Add to Project Bookmarks menu command while viewing the item.

Now the next time you want access to this research, there are two different methods you can use:

  1. Click on the Bookmark icon in the toolbar, and then Option click on the research item. This will open the split and load the item into it directly.
  2. Open the Inspector and click on the Bookmarks tab (you can do this in one shot with the ⌃⌥⌘N shortcut, use the shortcut a second time to move your cursor into the bookmark list). At first you might not see the bookmark you added, because you’ll be looking at the Document Bookmarks list. Make a mental note of that fact: each item in the binder can have a private bookmark list, if that works better for you than global lists. At any rate, either hit ⌘6 or click on the bookmark header bar where it says “Document Bookmarks”, to switch to “Project Bookmarks”.

So obviously the first thing of note here is that your research is displayed in a preview are of the sidebar. That might be good enough for some things—but if it does need a little room to breathe, or you want the other benefits of a split view, than simply hit the ⌘Return key on the bookmark. By default this will load the document into the other split, opening it if necessary (Return by itself will load the item in Quick Reference by default).

How links and bookmarks load by default can be adjusted in the Behaviors: Document Links preference pane. So you could make it so Bookmarks automatically load in the other split, with a simple Return or double-click.

One last tip: you may know of it already, but if the research you want is in plain view in the binder, just Option-click on it. :slight_smile: This behaviour works from most places where the default behaviour would be to load an item in the main split. Quick Search for example (⌃⌘G) is great for jumping to items by name, by hitting Return on the search result. As you might guess, ⌥Return will target the other split.


Wow! What an amazingly full and speedy reply. Outstanding. Thank you so much!

Your very first suggestion has totally sorted me out and added a modus operandi I will be using frequently, especially as I like to use keystrokes if at all possible.

The other suggestions have also added to my knowledge of Scrivener and been very helpful.

So for me, I am now totally sorted and don’t need a change to Scrivener.

However, for the thousands who won’t have had the benefit of your perfect answer, I still think it may be helpful to have the default behaviour of Scrivener to load the last item in the second pane by default—it makes more sense to me.

So thanks again, I personally am totally sorted, and yet again am amazed by the levels of customisation of Scrivener and its completely thought-out interface.

Scrivener rocks, as does your reply!