View Modes

Using Scrivener v3.1.4.1 on Windows 11

  1. It’s confusing to new students to have both the Corkboard mode and the Outliner mode enabled when a file is selected from the binder. Only the Single Document mode should be enabled, and the other two modes should be grayed out. The Corkboard and Outliner modes should be enabled only for folders and file groups. The message “x contains no subdocuments” that is displayed in the text editor seems to further add to the confusion.

  2. The Scrivener documentation should indicate that there are four modes when folders and file groups are selected. The fourth mode is when no mode is selected on the toolbar. A “no mode” displays just the text associated with the folder or file group, and not the subdocuments.

  3. Recommend there be 4 view mode icons: Single, Group, Corkboard, and Outliner. Then gray-out the ones not applicable for the item selected in the binder. This will eliminate the need to display error messages in the editor. This will also allow the Single mode to replace the “no mode”.

I think this is already addressed in the Interactive Tutorial (Help > Interactive Tutorial). See section Editor View Modes.

In this context, “Group” should be called “Scrivenings”, right? Because Scrivener refers to the four modes as Single, Scrivenings, Corkboard, and Outliner. Or did you have some specific reason for the name “Group”?

Other than that, yeah, your suggestions make sense to me.


One objection some users may have (not me, it ain’t how I work my projects) is that this would void the ability to add sub-documents by double-clicking the corkboard’s background if the file isn’t already parent to at least one other file…

Also note that single files display in normal view. It also auto-reverts to that, whenever you go from a file to another through binder selection. So I don’t really see the issue, here.

I think it is merely a question of knowing how the software works. Once you know, this poses no challenge whatsoever.

(Note that I don’t entirely disagree, though.)

Yes, exactly. Being able to create the entire structure of a chapter or other sub-division in the Corkboard or Outliner is an extremely valuable feature that we are unlikely to disable.

The solution to new user confusion is to educate the users, not to disable features that they might want once they are no longer new.


Yes, that should have been Single, Scrivenings, Corkboard, and Outliner.

this would void the ability to add sub-documents…

If you select a File in the binder, you can’t change to corkboard or outliner mode. If you try, Scrivener will generate an error message in the editor window. The proposal is to disable those two modes ONLY when a File is selected, so that the error message doesn’t appear. No feature is being removed. If you select a Folder or a File Group (or if one was already selected), then you can still use the corkboard or outliner as designed. No change is being proposed for that.

It is not an error message.
It is just telling you there is nothing to show.

But why would one even then click to have the file displayed as a corkboard if it has no content (other than not knowing how the app works yet) ?
The file never displays as a corkboard if it has no sub-documents when selecting it in the binder.

It has to be intentional, and in which case it allows to build up content. (Sub-documents.)


Strictly speaking, this isn’t a correct statement. Here’s a n example.

Single document Synopsis & Notes is selected in the Binder. Scriv defaults to single doc mode.

Click on the Corkboard view mode button, the view changes to Corkboard.

The “contains no subdocuments” message is displayed. To be clear, that’s not an error message. It’s purely informational, to explain to the user why they’re not seeing Corkboard tiles.

If I double-click in that empty Corkboard as @Vincent_Vincent mentioned upthread, a new Corkboard tile/document is created. (This requires setting File > Options > Behaviors > Double-clicking > Double-clicking corkboard background to be set to Creates a new card.)

This functionality would be lost if your proposal was adopted.

ETA; @Vincent_Vincent beat me to it!



As @Vincent_Vincent and @JimRac so capably explained, this is an incorrect interpretation of what is happening, and your proposal would indeed remove functionality that many people use.


No functionality will be lost. The software can check to see if a File is selected, and the double-click feature is enabled, before graying-out the Corkboard mode button. If the double-click is enabled, and there is nothing to display, then the message would be more helpful if it said, “Double click to create a card.” instead of “x contains no subdocuments”.

I can see your point though about it not being an “error” message. But the proposal is that the message written in the editor is still unnecessary when the function is disabled. Why offer buttons for users to click on when the operation has no data to operate on, and the user can’t do anything in that mode?

Take for example the Cut and Copy operations. They are only enabled when there is something to cut or copy. They are not always enabled, and they don’t display messages in the editor saying there is no data to cut or copy. The same can be said for other functions.

Yes, you and I may not find it necessary to make some modifications because of our experience using an application. But we must not forget we were all new users at one time, and not everyone has the same learning curve. Compared to other editors and word processors, Scrivener’s curve is a bit higher. Having taught classes and developed software, my experience has shown that sometimes it is the little things that make a big difference for some in learning to use software.

The ability to add items to a Corkboard or Outline view is never disabled. Even if the “double-click to add” option is not enabled, the New Text/New Folder commands always work and can be invoked in a variety of ways.

It is simply untrue that users “can’t do anything” in an empty Corkboard view. They can create new documents and folders. They can drag existing documents and folders from the Binder into the Corkboard (thereby relocating those items). They can use the Inspector to change the metadata for the Corkboard’s parent file/folder.