[Wishlist] Default item in custom metadata

I think Scrivener for Windows 3 should allow it to be possible, nay, desirable even (but perhaps to no-one but myself) to create a custom metadata list, and automatically select one choice by default (a choice that users should be able to define in the [size=85]custom metadata[/size] dialog) whenever a new document is created.

Of course, if implemented, this should gray out the [size=85]“None” item title[/size] field.

Who’s with me?

You can already do this (for custom and most other metadata) by using the Document Template feature.

Basically, you create a ‘Templates’ folder in the Binder (making sure that it is designated as the templates folder in Project Settings > Special Folders > Templates).

Then create a new document in this folder and give it all it the defaults you want: label, status, keywords, notes, synopsis, text, custom metadata etc. Any of these values in the template will be reproduced when you create a new binder document with that template.

You can get quite sophisticated with this (e.g. allocate a different template to different folders so new documents in each are set up with different defaults) and if you’re not already aware of the feature, it’s worth looking in the Tutorial and Manual to see what they can do.


In addition to Brookter’s most excellent advice, doing something like this would like need to posted in the Wish List forum so that it could be reviewed for applicability to both Mac and Windows Scrivener. I am skeptical that such a behavior would be desired in only one version and not the other without a solid technical reason why.

Since “None” in the list custom metadata is the default assignment, you can do this just by renaming that to whatever you want your default to be for the project.

If you need different defaults for different folders (e.g. items within the Draft have one setting, items within Research something else), document templates as Brookter described is the way to do it. You can assign containers a Default Template for Subdocuments (in the Documents menu) so that new items created within that folder will automatically use the selected document template, which will then have the default metadata. (Note there is a bug with this at the moment whereby you need to have the folder selected when creating the new item in order for it to properly use the template, so it’s not quite as convenient at the moment, but once this is fixed any method of creating a new item within the folder will use that template no matter what the previous selection, unless it is created within a folder that has yet a different subdocument default assigned.)

I’ve slowly been going through the tutorial, starting with (since I’m a Scrivener for Windows v.1 user) the What’s New in Scrivener 3 collection (which I’m about half-started with) and templates isn’t a part of that. I’ve created templates in v.1 (character sheets, settings, scene details, etc) and I’ve never thought once of messing with labels or metadata or any other such thing. And bookmarks! That’s cool. Thanks so much for pointing that out to me!

Thanks. Sorry about that. I guess when I searched for a wishlist forum (which I recall seeing), I didn’t go up the hierarchy far enough, being as I’m a Scrivener for Windows user. My bad.

Thanks for the info. As an ex-professional programmer, I tend to think of the “none” option as a null-value, containing nothing until some actual value is selected, so I never would have thought of it this way.

So you’re saying if I had a custom metadata field (let’s say Act, as an example) I could make “Act 1” the default by renaming “none”, then make “Act 2” and “Act 3” the other choices in my list? Something like that?

Yeah, that’s exactly the idea. The usage of the word “none” here isn’t aimed at programmers, but is meant to be synonymous with the more idiomatic “N/A”. The idea being that when you create a new metadata field like this, every item in the binder will need to have something set, and so the best assumption in that case is that the setting does not apply to them until you go and change it yourself to something else.

But, for cases like yours where the default assumption should be a definite statement rather than a lack of one, you can rename it. The same trick can be employed with the Status and Label fields, by the way. In some of my projects I change the default status to “New” instead of “None”, as it is a useful distinction in that case, to know that I haven’t yet categorised that item or perhaps even fleshed it out beyond a one-liner title.


You’re very welcome! Glad it helped.