Toggling Between QuickReference and Main Window

Hi Keith, Ioa, and Crew,

A feature request, if I may be so bold:

I love, love, love using QR windows, and they greatly expand Scrivener’s usefulness for my overall computing life. Any chance the Scrivener Bunch might consider adding a feature which enables the user to toggle between the QR windows and the main Scrivener window?

Ioa has told me that the QR windows are actually palettes, so I know they don’t behave like normal windows. Thinking of the QR palettes as representing a single layer - whether one or many are opened at a given time - then the current behaviour has the QR layer constantly sitting above the main Scriv window layer. I would love to be able to hit a keyboard shortcut to toggle the state of the QR layer between on-and-off, or over-and-under, or on-top-and-beneath… I’m sure you get the drift.

The reason I ask is that I often have a large number of QR panels open at one time. This is dynamite while I’m working in them overtop of Scriv’s main window, and dynaminte when I’ve got Scriv’s main window minimized and am switching back and forth between other apps and my Scrivener QR panels. The case in which it’s not so dynamite, however, is when I have a bunch of QR panels open but then want them out of the way so I can work in the main Scriv window. Currently - unless I’m missing something - this requires either dragging them out of the way one-by-one, or closing them one-by-one - which then requires re-dragging or re-opening them again when I want them back.

Do you think the ability to toggle the QuickReference layer - assuming it’s not outrageously difficult to code - might be something you could/would add to Scrivener? Pretty please?

==Edit: I’m one of those kids who uses a 13-inch macbook, whose limited screen real-estate may explain a bit about the usage/experience I’ve described.

Not to downplay the wish, because I too think it’d be sweet to have more keyboard control over jumping from QR to the main body (the “move focus to” shortcuts don’t work to get from a QR window to the editor), it is possible to assign a keyboard shortcut to “Float Window” which will, even from a QR window, float the main Scrivener window overtop the QRs. You still have to use the mouse to get the focus into the editor (so far as I know), but it clears all your QRs out of the way, and then you can use the shortcut again to un-float and have them all displayed again.

Although it would be possible to add a command such as “Close all QuickReference panels”, having a command to open them all again would be more difficult. This is because when you close a QR panel, it is actually kept around in memory so that when you go to open a QR panel for that document again, the QR panel previously created is called up again rather than creating a new one - this way, it reappears in the same position it was in when you closed it (without Scriv needing to try to remember all the complicated position and state information). Thus, if you did a “Close all QR panels”, the currently open panels would close and be kept around in memory, along with any other QR panels you have had open during the session. At this point, Scrivener doesn’t know the difference between the QR panels you have just closed and ones that had been open but closed previously, so any “Open all QR panels” would open all of the panels you have had open during the session, not just the ones you had open at the time you hit “Close all QR panels”. And you can’t just hide the panels, because they are floating palettes and so act differently to regular windows.

As I say, a “Close all QR panels” would be straightforward though.


Thanks for the helpful replies, MimeticMouton and Keith.

Re. Window-Floating: My bad, I missed this one. It’s pretty close to what I was looking for, though I noticed when you turn ‘float window’ on, a few interesting behaviours arise…

  1. The Scrivener window floats above all windows, even when you switch apps.
  2. Exposé does not display the Scrivener window - in both All Windows and Application Windows modes
  3. When you switch to another app before un-floating the Scrivener window, if you click on the Scriv window to return to Scrivener, the QR panels pop up on top of the main window, and the main window re-floats itself only after you click on it again.

I assume 1. and 2. are standard ‘float window’ behaviours (though I don’t know if any other of my apps have this functionality, so I’m not sure). 3. seemed a bit more curious-er to me.

Re. “Close all QR Panels”: Keith, the challenges you’ve outlined wrt “Re-opening all QR panels” sound…challenging, but “Close all QR panels” definitely sounds like a useful command to have at one’s disposal. For my current use-case, I would end up using ‘Float Window’ a lot to approximate my toggling needs, and ‘Close all QR panels’ less frequently, to…close all my QR panels.

In fact, the only drawback to using the ‘Float Window’ command to achieve my ends here, is that with the current behaviour I will always have to remember to toggle it off before switching from Scrivener to another app.

So…similiar to my original wish, I guess: Would a modified version of the ‘Float Window’ command be possible? One where the main Scrivener window floats above all other windows and palettes, but only when Scrivener is the frontmost application? If this is possible, it would eliminate the need to close and/or re-open all the QR panels on those occasions when all you really want to do is to bring the main Scrivener window to the front. And it would really, at least in my case, make Scrivener an even-more-useful-than-it-already-is–which-is-extremely-useful tool.


If you keep your applications in different spaces, you can switch spaces while Scrivener is floating and it won’t overlap the other app. You will still have to do the double click to get back to the main window since it still brings up the QR palettes covering the main window once you refocus the application, but otherwise it seems pretty snappy.