Ways to Apply Different Options from Use Label Color Menu to Different Folders?

I have been experimenting with the folder colours in the Binder, using the various options in the ‘View - Use Label Color in’ sub-menu.

I would like to be able to mix-and-match some of the options in the sub-menu, applying some of them to some folder titles/names (in the Binder), and other options to other folder names.

It seems that if I select ‘Show as Background Color in Binder’, then ALL the folders to which I have assigned colour labels will have their backgrounds coloured (i.e., behind the title / name of the folder, in the binder).

Or, if I select ‘Icons’, then ALL the folder icons (for folders to which I have assiged colours) will be coloured.

And the same is true for the other options in the ‘View-Use Label Color in’ sub-menu.

If I am correct in thinking that choosing one of these options will cause all folders with colours assigned to them to have that option applied, is there any way to change that so that (for example) -

  1. I can apply background colours to some folders, as opposed to all of them?

  2. And, further, is there any way of having some of the folders displaying with background colours, and others with their icons and/or dots coloured?

Thanks for any replies.

There isn’t a way. If there were, I can’t imagine keeping track of what choices you’ve made, when there can be several hundred documents involved. I think a Binder display like this is sufficient:

Thanks for your reply, Bob.

I can’t imagine keeping track of what choices you’ve made, when there can be several hundred documents involved.

Neither can I - and I did not say that I wanted to apply this to several hundred, or even many, documents.

I would imagine that there are some Scrivener users who do not use the options available now, and would say there is too much choice.

For me, it is more about wanting to apply different formatting to some different folders (partly to visually identify at a glance what their function is).

Being able to do this would be a level / stage more sophisticated than the options we have now, and would make Scrivener even more flexible.

Hi gvdv,

What you are suggesting is moving the view options for Label color from the project level down to the individual binder item level. It does seem unlikely to me that L&L would make this change, although I guess anything’s possible. :sunglasses:

But in the meantime, here are some ideas for sprucing up your binder:

Only apply Labels to key Binder Items.

Or apply Labels liberally throughout your Binder, but use louder colors for the ones you want to stand out. Or another approach, for the Labels you want to NOT stand out, apply the same color that’s used for your binder background. (File > Options > Appearance > Colors > Binder). In this case the label color will be invisible in the binder.

Another idea, if you haven’t done so already, is to experiment with changing the icons for binder items. Right-click on a binder item, choose Change Icon. There are icons like books, flags, notebooks that come in color sets. While not as dramatic as Label colors, binder icons can still be a good way of drawing attention. (I sometimes use the Eye to remind me to look at something.) You can also import and use your own custom icons. See the user manual Section 7.4 Custom Icons.

Hopefully one of the above will give you an idea that works for your process.


Complaints about the interface are abundant as it is, and every new feature will complicate it further. Literature & Latte needs to be careful what it adds to the mix.

Hi Jim,
Many thanks for your wonderful reply.

I very much appreciate you taking the time to think about this and make the suggestions you have suggested.

Great minds think alike! In other words, I I had thought of the suggestions you made, and while those will work on a practical level, I wanted to be able to be able to apply any of the options in the ‘View - Use Label Color in’ sub-menu to Binder content design, rather than having an ‘either-or’ approach because it would make things so much easier and more flexible.

I will come up with some kind of system that works and does not feel frustrating to me.

Thanks very much.

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Well, the only complaint I have about this is that you are making an assumption, just like you did by not reading my original post carefully enough.

I like Scrivener very much, and find it very flexible as I indicated in the last sentence of one of my posts above, so my remarks come out of wanting something that I feel is very good right now to be even better.

Everybody wins in that scenario.

Scrivener has not been a static programme, in the sense that the different versions have added to the previous ones, so the thinking is obviously to improve things rather than just nail them down and leave them as they are, because, in your view, “every new feature will complicate it further”.

And I completely agree with you that “Literature & Latte needs to be careful what it adds to the mix”, as does every software Development team when designing a new version of software.

What happens when an item is moved from one folder to another?

What about views that only show parts of the Binder, whether via Collections or otherwise? For example, what if a Collection shows documents from several different folders with different options?

What about documents that have children but are not folders? And what if such a document is converted to/from folder status?

The biggest problem I see with making this a folder-level option is potential user confusion. Creating inconsistent behavior is always potentially confusing, even if it was done at the user’s request. (But the user shares a project with someone else, or made the change six months ago and hasn’t opened the project since.)

I am not, in the least, advocating or suggesting making Scrivener’s behaviour or design inconsistent.

I am making a simple suggestion for a more comprehensive use of the features currently in place.

If Scrivener (or any programme) is designed/coded in a particular way, then that is up to the designers/coders/developers.

What so often happens here on the forums - as in this case - is that suggestions are solicited (‘wish list’), and made, and then are rebuffed on the basis that X is not possible because of Y.

That is not a useful way of going about things, and I find it completely frustrating, as do others (I have read many others expressing exactly the same thing here on the forums).

Perhaps the way that the code has been written is one which needs to be overhauled completely, making more of these things possible. Maybe this is the reason that Scrivener 3 Windows took years to come in to being, after having been promised for so long.

I have no idea, but I do know that there are other teams which do not operate on the basis of ‘make a suggestion and we will then tell you, why this cannot be done’, instead of a constructive approach to things, such as, ‘Hmmm, let’s see if we can do that in any way’.

Perhaps those other teams have more money/personnel to devote to this - fair enough, but the way the Scrivener team approaches this is ridiculous.
These kinds of utterances just become excuses.

Perhaps another ‘solution’ would be to list the kinds of features that cannot be changed at all (in your view). That way, at least, I would not be wasting my time and getting frustrated.

I remember making another suggestion and being asked for some more information which I had deliberately not included because the FAQ or introduction to the particular forum (might have been the Wish List) specifically said to not include that kind of information.

That kind of contradictory behaviour is absolutely ridiculous and unprofessional, and is the same kind of thing that happens (as it has happened here), time and again.

While I continue to recommend Scrivener to people, I will also continue to let them know that they can expect inconsistency, contradiction and frustration in trying to interact with the developers on this forum.

To be clear, I am not a developer. I was asking questions in order to better understand exactly what behavior you are asking Scrivener to provide. Surely that is a reasonable topic for a “wish list” thread?

One common behavior around here that is very different than a lot of other software communities is that there are a lot of people with very deep knowledge of Scrivener who are passionately invested in helping people come up with workable solutions to their problems without having to wait for new features to be developed. I think a lot of people read some (not all) of the questioning here as being hostile when it’s really just a case of those people really trying to understand the actual problem* and help the OP come up with a workable solution.

[*] As an aside, it is VERY common for people in general to ask for technology to do X based on a partial, incomplete, or incorrect understanding of that technology – and so get X stuck in their head as a solution. So we see people ask for a feature because they think there is only one way to accomplish a given task, when Scrivener may already have a number of other ways to get an equivalent task done. This is not unique to Scrivener – I see it in IT consulting all the time when customers ask me to do something with the technology that the technology clearly can’t do, or doesn’t do in that fashion they’re asking for it to be done. Whenever one takes the time to understand the actual task being performed, the people doing it, and the process they are using – the technology side of it usually falls into place (because you can easily reject the technology that isn’t compatible or that would require the process to be changed in ways that would make the actual task harder to accomplish.)

That post included no assumptions of any kind, and I did not, in the other post, assume you wanted to change hundreds of documents. If you change even one, however, Literature & Latte has to alllow you to change hundreds and provide a mechanism to manage that.

“I can’t imagine keeping track of what choices you’ve made, when there can be several hundred documents involved.”

I rest my case.

That was the general “you”, meaning any of us who used the feature. Some people might do it to a lot of documents, and the program would have to be ready for that.