[SUGGESTION] 'All' and 'None' Selections for the Compile Window

It’d be handy if we had ‘All’ and ‘None’ buttons, in order to select ‘All’ or ‘None’ of the documents in the Draft folder, so that we didn’t have to manually check or uncheck every single document every time I want to send a single chapter or short story to a potential publisher.

I’m not aware how difficult this would be to program, but it seems like it’s just a simple command to either ‘select all’ or ‘select none’ of all of the documents in the compiler.


Just as a point of trivia, you’re not technically speaking using the best tool for the job there. The checkbox you are referring to is meant to be used for stuff that is by and large always going to be that way, like stuff you would never export; chapter notes, old revisions, &c. If you want to print 10% of a book, the best approach is to print 10% of it rather than not printing 90%:

  1. Select the sections of the binder you wish to compile.
  2. Use File ▸ Compile….
  3. Above the Contents list on the right, change Compile: Draft to Compile: Current Selection.

And of course in that same dropdown menu you’ll find all of the folders in the Draft. If what you are doing is exporting the contents of one folder, then you may find it simpler to select it directly here. Current Selection is more useful if you need five or six things out of a hundred.

That all said, there is a way of bulk toggling the checkboxes in the Contents pane: hold down the Alt key when clicking. The purpose of this tool is meant more for localised edits though (again in keeping with the design goal for this tool): select five items in the Contents list and Alt-click within the selection. Only those five items will toggle.

But this is all why there are no buttons here to make this easier. Bulk whole-draft toggles aren’t really something that would ideally ever be done, especially not here, and All/None buttons would be of no use to the intended purpose Alt-click provides: batch small-scale changes to stuff you missed while writing.

Just tossing in another perspective here. Scrivener has some “secret keys”, which aren’t really secret, but can easily be missed. One is the Alt-click to mass select deselect. I write a monthly newsletter using an annual Scrivener project. I select the january articles, then deselect them, and select February and so forth each month. So, it is easy if I know the magic ALT-Click trick. But, I would have done a mass deselect sooner if there had been a button I could see to do it without having to “know” the special key combination.

Another one that stopped me from even using the composition mode for a year is another secret alt key which is used to modify the horizontal writing area as all I could see was the vertical options. It is in the manual if you read carefully, but it wasn’t at all obvious to me that pressing the alt key would present entirely different menu options. A button for more options or Horizontal options or something would have been useful.

So, I think a button for mass select, deselect would be useful. Requiring memorizing special key combination makes the program more difficult than it has to be.

To reiterate the above, it isn’t the design intent to be using these checkboxes as a mass filter. There are several other tools that do that job better. So adding visual clutter to the interface to do something that isn’t even what is meant to be done on a regular basis isn’t in our plans, sorry. This is kind of meant to be an out of the way invisible power tool, it’s not meant to be intuitive (not everything should be, I would say).

I do take you point as a general criticism though. We have differing opinions on whether there is virtue in plastering all available options, actions and buttons into the visible interface, or whether some options are less commonly used than others, and better left as optional variants, either tucked away in deeper menus or behind alt variants. Perhaps it comes from having been a Mac user for so many years—it’s normal to expect interface to do more than what you can see in front of you, I suppose, and it is normal to combine the keyboard with the mouse to do things, so one ends up trying common combinations like alt-clicking to solve things. Even the main application menus often have alt-shifted options you’ll never see if you don’t try it.

We do significantly less of that on Windows, being aware of the cultural differences, but for stuff like bulk toggling a selection of checkboxes, I do truly believe it makes more sense to leave a somewhat advanced technique like that “invisible”, as something you just have to know how to do, like Shift-clicking a range of ten items to select them all. There are no buttons cluttering up every multi-object view for that particular action either, and for good reason. You have to learn Shift-click, and you’d have to hunt through the user manual if you didn’t know it—and for some things I think that is Okay.

Will it be in the list of keystroke commands?

Will it be in the list of keystroke commands?

Yes, the manual that will ship with v3 has this technique pointed out in every case where it is relevant. It can be used in the outliner as well for example, on stuff like custom checkmarks.

There are some compromise design choices in the Windows world, though, like having checkboxes in the header rows to act as the “select all/deselect all” toggles. Not that much more clutter, doesn’t tie up a key combo (you can key navigate using arrows and tabs per normal), and is readily understood for those who use Office a lot.

I agree with Devin. A top checkbox, also used by Gmail, is a good option. The reason I disagree with Amber about her analogy to shift clicking a range, is that hundreds of programs, and the OS itself follow this STANDARD. This ALT/Clicking thing is probably normal for Mac users like right clicking to find options for Windows users, but I’ve never seen it anywhere else in any other Windows program. There is a difference between a standard recommended and used by Microsoft and an unique sequence used only by Scrivener.

Please understand however, that I support your right to make whatever peculiar design decisions you want. I’ll figure them out and continue using and really liking the program. One reason I hang out in these forums is to learn how to use the program better. Sometimes I’m amazed at how great your decisions are. Sometimes I don’t like them. Having a different viewpoint is one thing that allows Scrivener to be better than the competition.