use for a library of selectable items and groups?

Hi! I am thinking about purchasing Scrivener, and for one of the usage scenarios I am envisioning, I think it should work, but I would just like to check in with expert users before being disappointed.

I am often writing long lists of recommendations, sometimes individual items (e.g., a particular book someone should read), sometimes groups of related items (e.g., a set of resources I find useful for handwriting development). I like to start with boilerplate, and then I adapt the precise language to fit the specific situation.

So, can I make a project in Scrivener that is basically the giant master list of all possible recommendations, organized into folders and subfolders, and then click on checkboxes to include or exclude specific items or folders of items, compile, dump the output into my main word processor, and then edit to adapt to the specific situation?

Could I then quickly and easily “uncheck all” to get rid of the checkboxes for the next scenario?

I wouldn’t bother with the “Include in Compile” checkbox for this use case. Those work better for simple cases, or for things that rarely change (like chapter notes in the middle of the Draft that you never want to publicly print). What will work better for you, I believe, is the knowledge that you can compile using search results as your compile source list. That leaves some mechanism of marking individual items by a common token—which leads me to believe that Keywords would work best for you. You can throw a keyword for “Wine” on all of the write-ups on vintages you’ve done, and if you ever want to give someone a wine list, just call up the project keyword list, select “Wine”, click the search button, and then compile using “Search Results” as your compile group (top of the Contents compile option pane).

For frequently collated lists, you can even save your search for later one-click recall—and those can be used to compile from directly (Mac only ability, I believe still…actually not anymore!), using that same selector in the Contents pane, rather than having to search first.

For boilerplates, see step 21 in the interactive tutorial, or read up on Document Templates in the user manual PDF, §8.5 (pg. 87–91; Mac).

Oh, and by the way, to answer your question :slight_smile: you can bulk change checkboxes of any kind in the Outliner by Opt/Alt-clicking on any one of them. This also works in the Contents pane. On a Mac, you can also pre-select items and the Opt-click will be constrained to the selection.

Collections can be used as compile groups on Windows too.

Hm. The issue is that I don’t necessarily want to have to make a set of tags that merely overlap with the existing outline structure, and then remember how to formulate a search that will correspond to the specific situation, which is going to tend to require multiple different searches. It’s going to get too complicated for me to say in one go what it is that I’m looking for. (((handwriting or written-composition) and older-kid) or (Asperger’s and (feelings-literacy or emotional-lability)) or (reading-comprehension) or organizational-skills)).

That’s why I kind of wanted to be able to scan the outline and say “yes, this group, no, not that one,” more dynamically. Can that be done easily?

Oh sure, if you already have things sorted into topical containers then adding keywords would be a redundant bother.

However on that point, there isn’t much busy work involved with using keywords as your primary compile selection device. Like I say, you just open the keywords panel (Projects/Show Project Keywords), select the keyword(s) and hit the “Search” button. Now you’re all set up to compile off of Search Results. But, that is neither here nor there since you have a folder-based organisation rather than keyword-based. Future reference!

Sure, Collections need not be dynamically generated off of some search criteria. You can just create a new one and start assigning documents, or groups of documents to it with the Documents/Add to Collection/ sub-menu (or simple drag and drop to the tab, for that matter). Now you select that Collection as your compile source, and if you need it again in the future it’s all set up.

For an even more fluid (and less persistent) approach, you can just simply Cmd-click everything that needs to compile and use the “Current Selection” Contents selector (there is a subdocument option so you only need to pick groups if you want the whole thing). And if after you compile you change your mind and decide you want to save that group, just open up the Collections tabs and click the + button to create a new one, populated by the current Binder selection.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just load the entire Draft folder into an editor in Outline mode and then individually check the “include in compile” checkboxes for the documents as you find them? With a split editor and the “open in other editor” mode selected, it would be easy to use the outline to examine individual items and then add them to the “included” list.

Cool! I’ll have to give it a try, then… thanks for the clues!

That one’s Mac only at the moment, correct?

Aye. On Windows you could make the selection and then create a new collection from that and compile the collection.

Good, I wasn’t missing anything then.

That’s essentially what I tried to do a while back - I had several hundred documents sorted into folders in the binder. Set up a search to find just the folders I wanted, went to compile and “Hmm, I can’t get at the subdocuments”…

I ended up adding keywords and then compiling from that. I’ll have to investigate the collection option and see which works out faster.