Switch chapters in Composition Mode

I do all my writing in Composition Mode but I frequently switch to the previous or the next chapter to check to see that what I’m writing in this chapter will flow smoothly. It would be lovely if we could do some kind of keyboard Page (or Chapter) Up or Down function to flip between chapters. (I use FrameMaker for my day job and have many of the keyboard commands down so my right hand doesn’t have to stray over to the mouse very often while I’m writing. Having convenient keyboard sequences to Page Up or Down would be dreamy! :slight_smile:

Prev/next document shortcuts work in Composition mode in the same way as they do in normal mode, so cmd-opt-up/down or alt-shift-up/down on Windows should work.


Oh my - this is what I’ve been looking for! THANK YOU!

You’re welcome!

It does not seem to work the same way for me.

In Scrivenings/editor mode, the Command > Option > arrow up/ arrow down keystroke navigates beyond the folder, to documents adjacent (above and below the folder in the binder list), regardless whether documents are nested within folders or not.

In Composition mode, the Command > Option > arrow up/ arrow down keystroke navigates only between the documents nested inside the folder, and the folder itself. Attempts to venture further seem to be met with Trump-like border security.

Since many of us (according to Keith’s poll) use folders as chapters and nested documents as scenes, this means in C mode this will not work to allow excursions beyond the chapter.

Unless, of course, I misunderstand what you mean.

Hi… I’ve just checked and cmd-opt-up/down works how I’ve described it for me: irrespective of the binder hierarchy, it will move to the next/previous document. (I have a project with about 1000 documents and several layers of hierarchy — it took a few minutes holding the shortcut down, but it went from top to bottom with no problems). I can’t think of any setting which would stop it behaving in this way.

This is a long shot, but if the next document is a folder, it’s not always clear that it’s moved (because there’s no visual clue). One way you can see progress is to invoke the Inspector (cmd-shift-i) while you’re in composition mode — the title of the panel will change as you move, so you’ll be able to confirm.

If you still see the problem, then I’d get in touch with support, because that’s not normal behaviour, I think.


I’ve found the answer.

If one doc is selected in the Binder, it works as you describe. If you have a series of contiguous docs selected, it will not traverse beyond them. Also, the hierarchial folder structure will not be displayed along the bottom border.

I’m not sure if there is any logic to that. I prefer selecting all docs inside a chapter (docs in a folder) which shows the breaks between them much clearer. I use a carriage return for a scene break, which is a soft break. When multiple docs are selected, it is easy to see if there is a carriage return (I keep invisibles turned on, and it is represented by the paragraph symbol). It is much less visible when selecting docs one at a time in Composition Mode, because most of these soft scene breaks are also often at the end of the documents, and in that mode the end of one doc and the beginning of the next doc are not displayed together.

That is very unintuitive, and very clumsy to deal with, and seems to make little if any sense. It means I am constantly having to exit CM then reselect docs above or below the chapter to see how they flow together, which does not really fit well with editing chapter by chapter, one chapter at a time. As any editor will tell you, part of editing a chapter includes making sure it flows in and out of adjacent chapters properly. Selecting the contiguous docs inside a chapter, whether it includes the chapter folder doc or not, will not allow navigation above or below. The big question is ‘WHY?’

And for some odd reason, when two contiguous docs are chosen, and there is a soft scene break of a carriage return, three carriage return symbols appear. While if one doc is selected, only one appears. If there is no scene break, and multiple docs are selected, then there are two carriage returns shown, and if a single doc is selected, no carriage return is shown.

But whether one selects a single doc or a series of docs, what would be the logic in restricting the navigation to just those documents selected in the Binder? What would be the harm in allowing that function to work to allow traversing above or below the selected group of docs? I don’t select the group to restrict the other docs, I select the group to be able to see the breaks between them clearer.

It does make sense that the first doc displayed when invoking CM is the top one of those selected, but that seems like a separate issue from being able to navigate above or below that group.

As you’ve mentioned. I often want to see if a chapter ending flows properly into the next chapter beginning. Whether I have multiple docs selected in the Binder or not doesn’t seem like a logical reason to restrict the navigation. In fact, I can think of no reason whatsoever that restricting this navigation would make sense.

I hadn’t realised about the selected documents thing (and I’ve been using Scrivener for years… you live and learn…)

I don’t think it’s a bug, I think it’s a design decision (though I’m only a user and I’m speculating wildly). The logic, I imagine, is that if you’ve chosen something in the binder, that’s what you want to concentrate on.

If you want to ‘release’ yourself from the selection, then cmd-ctl-r will take you up a level in the hierarchy: you’ll see that the ‘Go to’ range has expanded accordingly and the shortcuts will work for next/previous based on the new selection (which has effectively been expanded outwards to the next level).

As a matter of interest, why are you using a carriage return for a break between documents? Compilation lets you do that on the fly, allowing you to choose between different separators for different outputs. (E.g. you may want a single line break for scenes in ebooks, but an * in paperbacks…) If you hard code them into your text, you’ll make that flexibility harder to use. TBH I don’t really understand why you need to see the breaks in a multiple selection, beyond the ‘scrivenings’ separator which automatically appears.

(The multiple carriage returns, I assume, but don’t know, are to do with the fact that the scrivening separators are ‘virtual paragraphs’ which Scrivener inserts on the fly. As such, they’ll have paragraph marks.)

I may be misunderstanding what you mean, of course: my apologies if that’s so.

Cmd-Ctrl-R seems to exit Composition Mode and go back to the editor, which can be done with just the escape key. I’d rather remain in CM and expand the scope. As it is, I have to go back to the editor anyway, so I see no real advantage there.

Your Q is legit: But I do not use the carriage return as a break between documents, I use it as a break between scenes, or physical locations, or as a jump in time or a big jump in focus. The beauty of that is that where the documents break can be completely independent of that, and not visible in compile. A scene break does not need to be equal to a doc break.

This means that I may have multiple docs for one scene, for instance, or one doc for multiple scenes. When trying to edit the order and structure of where the paragraphs might work better within a scene or when trying to distinguish a block of narration from one of dialogue or action, having them in different documents makes them separate entities that can be moved around and regarded separately, whether they need scene breaks between them or not. It also means I have an instant indicator of when I’m using too much narration in a single block of text. It allows me to jump focus from a macro view (chapter or arc) to a micro view (scene or paragraph) much easier.

IOW, document breaks and scene breaks can be independent. One does not depend on the other. The document breaks are there to keep ,me, the editor, organized and are invisible to the reader, while the scene breaks are there for the reader. Putting them in manually allows me to see the scene breaks, regardless where they fall in the documents.

It also gives me this tool beyond simply having a scene break at the end of each document, which would prevent the docs from being used in this manner, meaning having the compiler insert them automatically would be problematic rather than helpful. The compiler does not know where the scene breaks are supposed to be, only where the document breaks are, and they are not the same thing when using this feature in this manner.

This way, I am in control of where the scene breaks are, and the compiler is not, and I can visualize them before compiling, regardless of where they fall in reference to the doc breaks.


Not near my computer at the moment, so can’t check cmd-shift-r but for me it stays in Composition mode i think.

Interesting comments about the scene breaks/document breaks, thanks. I think I’d probably just use different section types for that (chapter, ‘segment’, scene) - if I’ve understood correctly what you’re doing the binder plus different section types plus separators in compile gives you the flexibility you need. And you retain the flexibility to use different metadata for each chunk. But there are many ways of achieving the same aim, so thanks for explanation!

I’ve not figured out how to leverage metadata yet, but I see the advantage you’re speaking of. (My strategy is really just to manage text in chunks (separate docs) and apply scene breaks independent of that).

It there are .‘many ways’ to do what you suggest, I’d be happy to learn what they might be.

You may already realize this, but when you select multiple documents, that puts you in Scrivenings mode, regardless of whether you’re in the Editor or in Composition. so navigation will work differently than in single doc mode.

Sorry for jumping in, and my apologies if this info is redundant! But I didn’t see it explicitly called out anywhere in the thread.



In Comp mode you are seeing text as if you were in Scrivenings mode, and it really would not make sense to show the outliner or cork board mode while in Comp, so it seems completely natural that it shows text.

But my understanding of Scrivenings mode is that it refers to text mode in the Editor. This may just be terminology, but since Comp mode already implies text only, I think Scrivenings mode refers to the Editor only. Comp is actually an additional window, which is proven by entering ‘Mission Control’ (F3) in the Mac OS.

Hi JD,
I’m not 100% clear what you’re saying, but it sounds inaccurate. :slight_smile:

Scrivenings mode simply means that multiple documents are being displayed. Scrivenings mode can be active whether you are in the Editor or in Comp Mode.

To demonstrate, try this.

Set up Scrivener so that if you select a document in the binder, you see that Document’s text in the Editor. Put your cursor in the Editor and press F11, and you go into Comp Mode. Same text as in the Editor, but now in Comp Mode.

Exit Comp Mode.

Now select multiple documents in the binder. That should automatically engage Scrivenings mode in the Editor.

(If it engages the Corkboard or the Outliner, then press the leftmost icon referenced by Devinganger in this post: [url]Editor displays differently at different times when folders selected in Binder - #2 by devinganger])

In Scrivenings Mode, you should see the text for those multiple documents when you scroll through the Editor. Now put your cursor in the Editor–be sure the multiple binder docs are still selected–and press F11, You’ll go into Comp Mode. Same Scrivenings text/mode as in the Editor, but now displayed in Comp Mode.

So, Scrivenings mode simply means that multiple documents are being displayed, and Scrivenings mode can be active whether you are in the Editor or in Comp Mode.