Work in Binder and Compose simultaneously


I am using Scrivener to write my PhD dissertation and I would like to be able to work back and forth between the binder and compose mode. I have an external monitor in the middle of my desk, on which I use Compose mode, and the MacBook Pro to my left with the binder open. However, whenever I start to search for something in the Binder, this takes me out of Compose mode on the external monitor. It would save me a lot of time to keep that open while I’m pulling together research materials in the binder to cut and paste in the compose window. Is there a way of doing this?


Best wishes,


There is no facility for this in the software. Compose mode was never really designed to be used during a portion of the workflow that would require heavy binder usage and/or file management and research gathering. It’s intended function is more for bulk writing sessions where one is trying to avoid messing with the outline and all that. I’d say it’s also probably more of a creative writing tool. At leasts in my experience, I’ve never had any luck using Composition mode for non-fiction, save for in quick bursts. I just need to look up stuff too often for it to be useful for what it is. I love it creative writing though because that intentional barrier does create that friction. I am less inclined to succumb to procrastinating with the corkboard or binder if I have to escape Composition mode to do so.

I am in total agreement on this wish! I find it particularly vexing that it’s only accessing search that causes Scrivener to jump out of Compose mode. I have a four-screen layout, three across plus my iPad (running the brilliant DuetDisplay app) below the middle monitor. I keep the binder on one screen, have multiple image QuickRef files open on the other two, and have my active writing document in Compose mode on the iPad. Since the Binder works fine in this arrangement, I can happily operate for long stretches. If I then initiate a search or open a search tab, the layout blows up.

While I could open my active writing document in a QuickRef panel on my iPad display, I make frequent use of the Inspector displays. In Compose mode, the Inspector window floats, so I can put it anywhere on the three other displays, but in a QuickRef window it takes space away from that window, space that is in limited supply on the iPad.


A couple of strategies (amongst many) that I used when writing my thesis and wanted to access research materials:

  1. Use full screen instead of Compose mode.
  2. Open the references you are accessing into Quick Reference panels.