Understanding Labels and Status

So many features of Scrivener that I am yet to use.

Digging deeper into both my project and Scrivener 3.1.5, questions arise: How are we to understand the difference between Labels and Status? Am I wrong about the apparent overlap?

Possibly one or the other could help me see at a glance the overall book progress, for instance. With Labels, a small colored dot can appear in Binder, which is certainly helpful.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time with the manual, so if this is covered, I am sorry I missed it.

The “Label” and “Status” fields are completely independent of each other, in that changing one has no effect on the other. You can, of course, choose to use them in overlapping ways.

“Status,” as the name implies, is “intended” to allow you to track the progress of a document. I put “intended” in quotation marks, though, because you can use the field for whatever purpose you like.

For display purposes, “Label” can be used to color items in the Binder or to tint cards in the Corkboard view. The “Status” field can be displayed as a “stamp” on affected cards in the Corkboard view. Which approach is more useful is of course a personal choice.


As Katherine says, how exactly one uses them is up to the individual user.

Here’s one way of doing it.

I break out my WIP into one document per scene.

I use Status to reflect the actual working status of each of my documents – has it been outlined, do I need to finish the first draft, has it been reviewed, etc.?

I use the synopsis to track the outline points for that document.

I use Labels to show who the primary POV character for that scene is. By allowing the label color to be applied to the binder item, I can see at a glance if I am blending my POVs appropriately or if I have gotten top-heavy on one POV. And since I am using chapter headers that are quotes from one or more in-world texts, these count as “characters” too – so I can see that each chapter starts with a quote from the appropriate book.

I then use Keywords to track other specific things about the scene – characters that are involved, key story arcs that take place, etc. Some of this may duplicate other info, but I see that as good, because there have been at least a couple of scenes that I have reworked so that they are essentially the same events but happening from a different POV character. Having the “duplicate” info in keywords helps me make sure I’ve not removed something I needed to keep.