A global reference folder that can be made available for every project


I use Scrivener for Mac for literally EVERY writing and development project, and have found that there are some documents that I would love to have at the ready within every project without having to repeatedly import them into the references folder (e.g. style guidelines, “Lorem ipsum” text sheet, corporate chrome, boilerplate text, etc…)

A great solution would be to have a special global repository folder (or maybe a special subfolder of “References”) that can be filled with any commonly used documents, and will show up in the sidebar as a folder with every project. Perhaps it could also be switchable to default on or off in the preferences.

Would something like this be possible for a future release?

Kobi A. (protologue)

This is a cool idea. Count my vote for something like this.

This is what project Templates are for.


Thanks for the advice - will definitely give this a try!

And where it comes to boilerplate that you want available in all projects, check out the Shared Document Templates feature, discussed in the user manual, under §7.4.3, Shared Templates on the Disk. I have a number of “global” starter files in there—everything from to-do lists in Taskpaper format, to a blank Scapple file (so I don’t have to do the create-save-import dance) to lorem ipsum text.

Hmmm… I think there’s a difference in what I think is being asked and the reply. I think the ask is for a true “reference” folder that can be shared across projects. This will allow me to add a “global reference” in project Q and when I open project Z that update is present. I think the options you have provided are static resulting in potentially stale reference materials in project Z if project Q is updated.

I’m at the point where the global reference I’m describing would be valuable. I’m using one project file for multiple efforts (multiple drafts) but would prefer more separation between the projects.

The word “reference” may be used more generally here, at least the provided examples given in the OP were more along the lines of references as starter components, materials one might use to kickstart a project, or to build up systems within them. If those rarely change (as lorem ipsum text wouldn’t), then enshrining them into a project template is fine. I’d still prefer the shared template approach for stuff like that though.

But in case your question is also the original question, or part of it: for references in terms of global research material, that could still be done with Project Templates. The missing ingredient here is to save the research into the template using aliases (via Finder, or File ▸ Import ▸ Research Files as Aliases). In my testing that seems to survive the packing & unpacking process done by the template system—even if the original sources are rename or removed (i.e. they should be about as robust as regular aliases, even when in an archived state).

My approach, for that kind of stuff, has been to use Project Bookmarks, linking to folders where I collect materials. For what I need, that works better as I’m then free to modify the contents of those folders over the years. If I really need something in the project, it’s a few clicks away.

And then there are also the references one creates themselves in the binder, which might pertain to multiple projects. For that I think the best solution remains external linking, and perhaps the use of central “archive” projects that multiple satellite projects refer to (so you don’t have to remember which project has the goods).


If I follow correctly:

  1. create a “research” scriv project ( proj.research)
  2. Create a template and “import research files as alias” from " proj.research.
  3. Save temple (proj.temp)
  4. Create proj.unit1 from proj.temp
  5. create proj.unit.2 from proj.temp
  6. update shared research in proj.unit2
  7. research should be updated in proj.unit1 and proj.research

I’ll have to give that a try.

That’s the size of it! Main downside is that it is a file-based rather than folder-based approach. So new resources would need to be populated individually.

Import a folder?

Not in a dynamic fashion, it will import all of the contents of that folder fully (if you try to import an alias to a folder you’ll find it doesn’t work). That’s why, for that kind of thing, I use project bookmarks to earmark folders for quick access.