The Corkboard

At some point I’ll get to the second part of formatting, but once again, but I think learning how to use the corkboard is more important.

If you love to storyboard then you’ll find Scrivener’s Corkboard the ideal tool to plot your story.  You can work with index cards right from the get go, and go directly to the Corkboard and start plotting!

To add index cards to the Corkboard, hit the plus sign at the footer of the page, and type in your notes or synopsis directly onto the card. If you need more space and just want to see the Corkboard, hide the Binder and Inspector.

I tend to work straight from the Editor, so for this lesson, I’ve created six text files and headers indicating what the scenes are about and I’ve included synopses for each text file.

My scenes are in the folder titled Part One. I selected that folder and to access the corkboard, I can either go to View->Corkboard or select it from the toolbar. This is what my corkboard currently looks like:

The Corkboard with Status Stamps

The Corkboard with Status Stamps

One of the key features of the Corkboard is that you’re able to reorder your index cards. If you need to switch scenes two and three, you can change their order and you’ll see that reflected in the Binder. NOTE: If you selected a multiple text files as opposed to a container (folder), the order of the cards can’t be moved. 

Let’s take a look at the Corkboard’s footer, you’ll see that on the left-hand side, it’s nearly identical to the Binder’s footer. It includes:

1. New Text

2. New Folder

3. Action/Options Menu


4. Double arrows that indicate that it opens the selected card in another editor.

On the extreme right-hand side, you’ll notice three icons (this is for the Mac). The first one is the Linear Corkboard that keeps the cards arranged in binder order in a grid (in Windows this is the standard feature). The second one is the Free-Form Corkboard (available only on the Mac), and the last icon is the options available. NOTE: In the Windows version, you’ll only have the Options icon. For the purpose of this tutorial, I will focus on the Linear Corkboard because both versions have this feature.

Corkboard Options allows you to size the cards, how far apart you want the cards to be, how many you want across, and whether you want keyboard chips, or use a smaller font.

Corkboard options

Corkboard options

If you want your cards to include color-coded keyword chips, say for example, point-of-view (or whatever you renamed Label in the General section of the Inspector), you can select that by going to the Inspector and selecting your POV  from the drop-down menu in the General area (this will show up as a  a colored push pin or a stamp).

If you don’t see a push pin or the colored corner chip, go to View->Corkboard Options->Show Label Pins. If you only see a colored label chip in the corner and want the push pin, go to Preferences->Corkboard-> Index Card Theme and select either the index card that’s either blue and black or red and blue. These themes allow for push pins. The rounded theme offers the corner colored label chip.

Another nifty feature is that you can change the color of the cards to reflect the label color. To have pretty tinted index cards go to View->Use Label Color in (or whatever you named it)->Index Cards. You’ll notice that it’s reflected in the Synopsis in the Inspector.

Tinted Index Cards

Tinted Index Cards

You can also have keyword colored chips. So let’s take a slight detour and learn how to create keywords.  First, select your index card or text file. When you select the card, you’ll see a blue border appear around the card. That designates card as active. Next, open the Inspector and at the footer, select the Key icon and the Corkboard with the selected card and the document pane will look like this:

Selected Card with Keywords Pane opened in Inspector.

Selected Card with Keywords Pane opened in Inspector.

In the Keyword pane, hit the plus sign and start adding keywords for that scene. If the keyword chips are not appearing, go to View->Corkboard Options->Show Keyword Colors.  Another option to add Keywords to your cards is if you already have added a series of Keywords, go to the toolbar, click on the Keywords icon. A window will open and from that list you drag the Keyword to the card.

You probably have noticed that I have a status stamps on the Index cards, to have these appear on yours go to View->Corkboard Options->Show Status Stamps.  You can change how opaque the stamp looks by going to Preferences->Corkboard (Window users, Tools->Options->Corkboard-Appearance->Status Stamp Opacity). You’ll see a sliding button that can be slid from low to high.

The Mac version of Scrivener has the option to print out your cards. To print, follow these steps:

1. File->Page Setup.

2. Go to Settings and click on the arrows, select Scrivener.

3. A new window will open with margin settings click on Options.

4. Another window will open with a menu of what can be printed. Select Index cards. This will have a number of options that you can fiddle with.

5. After you’ve made your selections.Click OK to close the the Print Options window.

6. Click OK to close the Page Setup window.

7. Select from the Binder the files or container (folder) for which you want to print index cards.

8. Choose File->Print Current Document

9. Make sure you have the right settings and printer. Click Print.

For Windows, the process is shorter:

1. In the Corkboard, go to File->Page Setup->Size->Scroll down to Index Card. My margins are set to .332 for both the left and top; .25 for the right and bottom. You don’t need to reset them (at least I didn’t. It printed out fine). Keep it as Portrait. Hit OK.

2. Just to make sure that you printing index cards, go to Print Preview. 

3. Print Current Document. 


  19 comments for “The Corkboard

  1. JasonRPeters
    May 1, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    How does one change the font of the cards? “Use small font” shrinks my font slightly, but what I need instead is a way to double or triple the font size (and without changing my monitor resolution or Windows display settings, as these are optimized for many applications).

  2. May 1, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    JasonRPeters  On the Mac, you need to go to Preferences->Corkboard. Just look down the page and you’ll see a section that says Fonts.  In Windows, I believe it’s Tools->Options and there should be a corkboard tab. I know you can change the font to the title text, but not sure about the body of the text.

  3. JasonRPeters
    May 1, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    RebecaSchiller No such option for Windows?

  4. JasonRPeters
    May 1, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    RebecaSchiller And what I’m seeking is closer to the “zoom” function in the main text editor, making text as large as I need on the screen independent of the font size for printing. I can adjust the sizes of the cards, but their text maddeningly remains the same size no matter what (or the aforementioned smaller version).

  5. May 1, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    JasonRPeters RebecaSchiller  In a different area. Mea culpa. Go to Tools->Options Appearance. In the area that says Fonts, go to Corkboard and click on the expansion arrow. You’ll see Index Text.

  6. JasonRPeters
    May 1, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    RebecaSchiller JasonRPeters Perfect, thank you so much!

  7. May 1, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    JasonRPeters RebecaSchiller  If you change it to 16 point, it really stands out.

  8. CharlesDalphon
    October 19, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I can’t get the cork board look.  Every time I try it just comes out as a white board.  How do I get the cork board look

  9. October 19, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    CharlesDalphon  Hi Charles, you need to go into Preferences->Corkboard->Corkboard background->Select from the dropdown menu Corkboard pattern and close the window.

  10. Yannis T
    October 28, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I’m trying to print index cards in Windows version. There is no Index Card choice under File->Page Setup->Size->Scroll down to Index Card. I can print under Letter size, but it is not the sizing for the Avery 5388 cards.

  11. cholliday
    December 28, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    How do I create a new thought on an index card on a new line? Hitting Enter or Return does nothing

  12. December 28, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    cholliday select the card (you’ll see a blue frame around it) and you’ll see the cursor on the first line.

  13. cholliday
    December 28, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    RebecaSchiller  lol I got that far. After I type one line or more I want to hit Enter/Return and start a new thought on that same card, one line down. It doesn’t look like I can do that

  14. December 28, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    cholliday I tend to type directly in the synopsis (the card when the Inspector is open) and haven’t had this issue. But I just tried typing on the index card in the corkboard and you’re right it refuses to budge to the next line. The work around is to type it in the synopsis, which appears to have more functionality.
    This is what I would do: Select your container and add as many blank index cards, but open the Inspector and type in the synopsis. You’ll see the text appear on the index card in the corkboard and you’ll be able to go the next line after you hit Enter/Return.
    I don’t know if this is a bug or whether the index cards in the corkboard itself have limited functionality. I will ask on the Scrivener forums.

  15. cholliday
    December 28, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    RebecaSchiller Thank you! If you get a response, I hope you’d please post it here 🙂

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