Creating a Filing Cabinet in Scrivener

by RS on May 25, 2013

The one reason I chose to draft all my writing in Scrivener was so I could keep my projects better organized. When I was using MS Word, I had numerous documents and no matter how careful I was labeling the file, I always managed to submit the wrong version of an article or I couldn’t find the recently revised document in my files. With Scrivener I like that I can have all my information—drafts, notes, and research—in one place, and that it’s easy to find.

Yet old habits tend to die hard. I’ve discovered that I now have too many Scrivener projects, especially for Julius. Because I use Scrivener for all my writing, I typically have a number of projects open, but that has become  somewhat clunky and messy. For some time I’ve known that I had to streamline it, but wasn’t sure how to go about it until I came across a tweet of how social media guru Michael Hyatt uses Scrivener. I was so impressed by how beautifully he organized all his writing projects that I thought I would give his method a shot.

At first I thought I would dedicate “The File Cabinet” to all my freelance writing projects and so I imported them all in, changed the icons (because you all know I like to make things look pretty). After I imported everything, I figured I would import the recent version of Julius and hope that all my research smoothly made the transition. Happily, it did. So now I officially have a filing cabinet where I don’t have numerous Scrivener projects open. Just one click and, BAM, it’s all in one project.

Importing from one Scrivener project into another is simple and seamless. The only thing you need to do is go to File->Import->Scrivener Project. What gets imported is the file for the project along with the research and trash files. I ditched the latter two and set up my file cabinet to look like this (click on the image to enlarge):

File Cabinet

I have Julius at the end next to the research file so I can quickly search through that material. I’ve also created another research folder for the other writing projects. And there you have it–an easy way to keep all your work organized!


Rebecca, do you find that this slows Scrivener down at all? Do you put your research into the Filing Cabinet, or just a link to it.

I've noticed very slow performance in creating a backup copy with even one book and my research. Does this slow down even more with all of your books in there? - Bruce 

D D Falvo
D D Falvo

I do something just like this for all of my writing craft research and call it Writer's Toolbox. I love how naming it File Cabinet really makes it feel like when when I look at your hierarchy. Great job, R! :D

RebecaSchiller moderator

@scmorgan Good question! I used the blank template. I figured it would be easier to manipulate. 

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