Ability to search for text or at least keywords across all projects

I collect research articles and other material across many related/interrelated topics into project Topic folders. Can’t always find or remember the Project where the material I am looking for is located. The ability to search across multiple projects would be helpful, if possible.
Thank you

And how would Scrivener know where you have your projects and where to search?

Windows has an excellent search function. Go to whatever folder holds your research or even just your documents folder in File explorer and search. You can also filter by date, file type, size etc and if you have the preview pane on, can examine previews.

In the iOS version of Scrivener, searching within a project is straightforward, but when you are in the Project List/View, there is no ability to search, at that level, through all the listed Projects for particular text. That’s what I’m looking for as an additional feature, if it’s possible.

I have a follow-up question:

If several projects in a series were nested in the binder, would the search function go through each and every one and come up with the desired results?

“Several projects nested in the binder” is not a meaningful statement. Everything you see in the Binder is part of a single Scrivener project – and as such is accessible via the search function – regardless of how many published works are represented.


Projects can’t be nested: they’re discrete entities. There are tools on the Mac and Windows which let you search content across the file system (not just in Scrivener) but I’m not aware of any for iOS.

If this is something you’re going to want to do regularly, then perhaps you’d be better looking at software like DEVONthink (on teh Mac and iOS) which is better geared to this sort of ‘bucket’ research.

What I meant was this:

  1. Half a dozen completed novels in the same Scrivener Binder listing as individual folders.

  2. The Working Novel is under the Manuscript folder.

  3. If I relocate Novel 1 and Novel 3 under the manuscript folder to accompany Working Novel, will the search function locate items in Novel 1, Novel 3, and Working Novel?

  4. If not, would I have to nest Novel 1 and Novel 3 beneath Working Novel to get results?

Yes, it certainly should be able search through all your novels like that and you definitely don’t need to put them all in the Manuscript folder, or nest them in any way (and you shouldn’t…).

You just use the Project Search feature (it may be called different things on different versions, so you’ll have to look for it on Windows 1.9 because I don’t have that version…).

On Version 3 on both the Mac and Windows, it’s called Project Search and it allows you to broaden or narrow your search as much as you want (as well as several other parameters, such as searching only within notes, or synopses, or titles, or content etc).

There’s also a quick search feature where you can type in a phrase and you’ll be given first of all a list of any documents matching the title, then any documents with that phrase in the contents.

Neither requires you to nest the novels within each other. In fact it’s a really bad idea to do that, because it will make compiling the new one very difficult. So just have the new novel in Manuscript and the others outside it (perhaps in their own ‘Older Novels’ folder?). They’ll all still be searchable. (And this applies to version 1.9 on Windows too.)

Thanks, brookter. As I suspected.

With regard to “nesting”, perhaps a bad choice of word. I meant only moving the completed multiple Novel (Novel 1, Novel 3, etc.) folders over to the Manuscript folder temporarily while doing the search. They would be moved back once I looked at the search results.

Compiling is not required following the search. In any event, if I forgot to return the completed Novels to outside of the Manuscript folder, I’m sure I’d notice when I did a compile.

Actually, there’s no need to move them the old novels even temporarily into Manscript – search will pick them up wherever they are (unless you’ve deliberately chosen to exclude them).

If you look in this screenshot, I’m in the Tutorial project, doing a Project Search for the word Spacewalk. It brings back three matches: the first two are documents under the Draft (Manuscript) folder, the last one is in the Research folder.

So, just keep your old novels in their binder folder outside Manuscript and Project Search will find them.