Stop deleting accidentally...

thank you for that great Software. I´m using it from Germany.
One thing I haven´t figured out yet:
Sometimes while tipping I hit accidentally the delete button,
and I think the Scrivings are way to easy transported to the trash folder.
Isn´t there a chance, that Scrivener asks me sthg. like: “Are you sure you want delete?”
So I notice, that I hit the button accidentally?


Thanks for the kind words. Scrivener 2.0 will change the shortcut to cmd-delete (to match the Finder) so that you can’t delete accidentally.

All the best,

Hi Keith,
thank you for that great news!
All the best,

I’ve had a problem with this too, when dragging selections from one scrivening to another.

I like the solution to map command-delete to deleting a scrivening, I’d also add that delete alone should always be mapped to the text within the scrivening that’s selected (unless we’re renaming one).

A second solution I’d like to suggest is that when we select some text and drag it into the binder somewhere (either to a new or existing scrivening) the default action should be to MOVE that text instead of copying it. That way when I go back to the source of the drag, I’m not presented with selected leftover text that I’m compelled to press the delete key for (before I notice that it’s the scrivening that will delete instead of the text selection).

Third solution: provide Undo for scrivening deletions.

Oh yes, the addition of the Cmd key is for Binder level items only. Text editing will remain as is. Having to press Cmd-Del to remove text would be extremely annoying.

Well the Trash already mostly accomplishes this. The only thing you really lose is where it came from. The document doesn’t actually get deleted until you empty the trash though. I think with Cmd-Del being required to move items to the trash now, the need for an undo will dramatically diminish. You have to really want to move to it to the trash to do so, now.

This is too big an assumption - it assumes that every time a user drags text to the binder they want to remove it from the source. But there are plenty of reasons they might not want that - e.g. they’ve described a character and want to drag the description into a “Character info” folder without deleting it from the scene text. And it’s less work for the user to delete it from the original than it is for the user to copy and paste it back in if that wasn’t what he or she wanted - and less alarming too.

Software cannot know the intentions of the user - not yet, anyway! - and is never going to be able to do every intended step for him or her.

Hope that makes sense.


Sorry, I hadn’t noticed there was a trash down below all the other binder stuff. Still though it’s disquieting when Undo doesn’t undo an action I’ve just done.

That’s true, so make the default a preferences setting, with option-drag modally reversing the default setting. My preferred default matches how the Finder behaves, so it seems more natural to me.

I’m not sure I agree with that last point. The Finder doesn’t behave this way in my experience. Try selecting some text in TextEdit and dragging it to the Finder. You’ll get a textclipping file (quite similar in what happens with Scrivener, only the resulting file is more useful)—but nothing changed in the source document. The text didn’t move it copied.

I can’t think of any other place where Finder interfaces with text drags though, so maybe you are thinking of something else. If you mean, Finder moves files instead of copying them by default, well I don’t think it’s a good idea to use file management as an analogy for text management. The two concepts are very different in nearly every way.

That aside, I can see a point for Opt-drag moving text. It might not be easy to do though, technically.

Yes, I’m referring to handling files not text: drag a file and it moves, option-drag a file and it copies. Referring to standard text drag and drop within a document, it’s the same.

I consider a Scrivener “project” to be a single “document” with scrivenings being sections of that document. So when I drag a text selection or a scrivening to a new location, I don’t expect it to duplicate because I’m not trying to copy it to a different document (for text) or storage device (for Finder files): I’m simply trying to move it around inside the document.

Okay, yes. I see what you are getting at then. That’s not a bad way to think about the Draft (as for the entire Project, which can contain PDFs and movies and so on, that’s probably a stretch). When I want to treat several items in the Draft like a single document, I use Edit Scrivenings—and in that environment, text drags between (actual documents/parts of the draft) act just like you expect them to. Perhaps that is more setup than you want, but that also seems to be the only way (outside of cut and paste) to correctly position in the text where it should go, anyway. Dragging text to the Binder just creates a new piece of the Draft—if you want to do that and remove the text from the source document, you could try Split.

Yes, the draft section especially and what we think of it as being.

Actually I’ve set the edit scrivenings view to be my default when I click on a folder/group, since I’m finding I never really use the corkboard or outline views. So there’s not much setup at all for me.

Split is a very good thing and would be even better if was an available button for the tool bar… and be able to split at both the beginning and end of a selection.

Yes, dragging to move has the most continuity and turns multiple steps into one. For example if I wanted to take the end of a scrivening and move it to either append a scrivening or into a new scrivening several scrivenings down, the other methods involve multiple steps and blind movements.

  • cut-> select lower scrivening-> add scrivening-> click insertion point-> paste
  • right click-> select Split-> click and drag scrivening

And if I wanted to take just a bite of text from the middle of a scrivening it would take twice as many steps using Split.

Situations like this can be frequent when text has either come from a different program or gone on too long within one scrivening.

We can optimise some of this with some tricks. Consider the following:

  1. Split can be executed with [b]Cmd-K[/b]; not the toolbar, but just about as fast.
  2. Split with Selection as Title with [b]Cmd-Opt-K[/b] requires no extra steps because the title is already set—the focus stays in the editor and on the new document.
  3. Merge ([b]Cmd-Opt-M[/b]) can be used to append the text of a lower document to an upper document.
  4. In the right-click menu on selected text, you can directly append to any text item in the Binder (in or out of the Draft).

In particular, you can solve the whole “append this text to another document” problem with two steps.

  1. Right-click and select the target document in the Append To menu
  2. Press [b]Del[/b]

That can remove text from anywhere in the Scrivening, so unlike Split it doesn’t require the text to be at the end.

If you do want to create a new Scrivening out of the text, drag is probably the best way, and here are some steps you could take to reduce the amount of work here:

  1. Drag text to the Binder in the desired location
  2. Press [b]Cmd-[[/b] to go Back in History to the document you dragged from (or click the Left Arrow in the header bar, as you seem to prefer the mouse)
  3. Press [b]Del[/b] (the text is still selected because Scrivener remembers selected text between switching)

It’s not quite as efficient as move/drag, but really, that’s not a lot to do.

Yes, and to a degree it depends on the writer as well. For myself, I do all of my authoring in Scrivener these days, so a lot of this just never happens. Splitting happens the most, and if it is a case of text in the middle having grown too large, I’d prefer the section in three chunks anyway, so two splits is okay.

I don’t honestly append much. The longer I’ve worked in Scrivener, the less I lump up text together—especially if it has reached a state where it needs to be broken out. It’s just so easy to keep it in little pieces and rely on E.S. when I need to see it together.

But a lot of that is taste. Again, I think an Option-drag to move text would be a nice addition. I’m not really saying the above replaces it, but hopefully either gives you ideas, or optimises the way you are currently working.

Cool, thanks for the pointers. :slight_smile:

Right, I forgot to mention that method. One click but lots of submenu navigation. It’s good that it’s there for when the binder is hidden, but then again I don’t hide the binder so my destination is already visible, seducing me to drag my text into it.

Good tricks. They do take training to become reflexive though. When I did on-site computer training for people, keyboard shortcuts were the hardest new things for them to remember.

I imagine the same will happen with me in time. But as a new user I have an awful lot of unfinished writing from elsewhere, I suspect other writers will be in a similar situation. I’m already sold on the concept but it would be a terrible thing if other people ended up staying with a program like Word because they couldn’t easily move their writing into a sensible arrangement in Scrivener.

This is exactly what the Split at Selection tools are for (cmd-K) - it allows you to chop up imported documents easily (there’s a whole video tutorial on importing and chopping stuff up on our videos page - - in fact).


I think most people coming to Scrivener from word processors will be relying most heavily upon the split feature. They’ve already got their manuscript somewhat in the right order, at least enough so to get a linear structure built in the Binder, and split is going to be the best tool for this. I advocate working from big to small to avoid “middlings” like you describe. Go through the whole manuscript and chop it up into chapters. Then go through each chapter and chop it up into scenes, beats, whatever. If you need to go further, then that can be done on a section-by-section basis—and middlings are nearly always indicative of needing three scrivenings. Maybe not always, but nearly always.

It sounds like what you are doing is combining the process of manuscript split-up with starting to examine structure and moving story elements around. You might have better luck just getting the mechanical process of splitting completely done (should only take 30 minutes or so) first.

You’re definitely right that this is something new users will face. Coming from an environment where it is unreasonable to have lots of files, into one where it is not uncommon or weird to have sections of your book broken down into paragraphs takes a little acclimation—and for an existing manuscript it probably just won’t be that way. But again, if you find yourself spending a lot of time breaking out pieces from the middle of other pieces—you probably aren’t breaking things down far enough. :slight_smile:

I think one of Scrivener’s huge advantages is that its breaks are not necessarily book or even narrative breaks. The dream system you described had control breaks in a stream of text to define structure. That’s an interesting way of working, and in fact there was a piece of software (now defunct) called Jer`s Novel Writer, years ago, that did just that. However Scrivener’s breaks are much more than that. They are as much conceptualisation tools as they are structural tools. You Binder can be a strict Table of Contents if you want, but it could also not resemble the book structure at all, too. Mine are a bit of a mix usually. Structural up to a point, but then wildly not so.

Correct. It feels fairly natural to do both at once. If I’m reading for section breaks I’m also going to be aware of how those breaks might work better in other arrangements. Collapsing the story breaks provides a new view, to see that aspect more clearly.

You are right! It is completely natural, and part of what makes writing in Scrivener such a joy to this particular author. It only gets more fluid and natural as time goes by, too. Something you could try is using the annotation feature to mark things out. It’s just a personal choice of course, but personally I like to focus on one single task at once, and if I notice things that need to be done while I’m doing that task, rather than doing them I make a note to myself. I like this because it keeps me ploughing ahead on what I’m doing, and it gives me a chance to review my ideas later on and decide whether or not they were good ideas. Outside of Scrivener, that means using OmniFocus’ quick entry tool. As I’m working on a project, if something random pops into mind I just call up that tool, jot it down, and forget it.

In Scrivener, the annotation tool lets you put down notes right into the text, accomplishing two important things: the note is bound to the text it relates to; and it is highly visible, being right in the text itself. There are two tools for handling notes later on—one that jumps through the entire manuscript from note to note, and another that collects them all into an RTF file. If you put a “tag” of some sort into the note, you can even jump from note type to note type using the aforementioned tool. So maybe, as you converting your manuscript to the Binder, you might find this alternate way of working to be useful. If you see something dubiously placed, make a note of it right next to it, and tag it as “ORDER” or something you’ll remember. Maybe jot down where you think it ought to go.

When you are done converting the project, you can go back and review all of these one by one and figure out what to do with them then.

It might not work for you, but it’s just another idea.

Not sure if this is the appropriate place, but I need help. Somehow I appear to have accidently deleted the scrivening I have been working on while moving it. Not sure how. I do not have a snapshot before this work began (about a day’s work). Is there any way to retrieve it?

Have you looked in the Trash folder at the bottom of the binder?

Or, if you just deleted the text and the document is still there, click into the text area and hit undo, as the undo stack for text edits is remembered until the project is closed.


Keith, Thanks, that was my first thought but apparently I had deleted the whole scrivening and found it in the trash. Newbie error (forgot to look). But boy was I relieved.
Sorry for false alarm.