About searching and finding within a project

Presently, it is possible to search a project for “exact phrase”, “all words” and “any word”, but not for “whole words / exact words”. This might be a useful addition.

Another useful addition might be an option “ignore diacritical signs”, which could be convenient for those who write in French, Italian, Spanish, German and so on.

But of much more weight is another point. The present search feature limits itself to delivering a series of results (i.e. of documents containing certain words or phrases) in the binder panel, and subsequently leaves the initiative in the hands of the user; who is then forced to open all the documents one after another, and to scroll up and down through every single document, in order to find what he’s searching for. This does not seem very practical to me.

It would be much more convenient if the system itself presented immediately the first result within the first document, and if it were possible to jump from one result to another not only within one and the same document, but within the whole range of selected documents. This would speed up considerably the whole process of searching and finding.


You know, the search feature is already much more powerful than most such searchs in similar apps, and I really don’t want to add a billion options to it. It really is just a quick and dirty seach. Most apps don’t provide any such options.

I most certainly do NOT consider this feature “rudimentary”, and nor do I think there is a need to do much “work on it”.

@ Keith: thanks for the quick reply, and good to know that you consider the search feature at project level more or less satisfactory as it is now, and that you don’t intend to make it much more powerful.

But for certain kinds of linguistic research I’m doing it is of vital importance to be able to search for exact words, and to quickly jump from hit to hit, both within documents and across document boundaries. Well, if Scrivener will never have similar features, then this simply implies that Scrivener will never be suited to that kind of utilization. Good to know.

Maria, thanks for your suggestion!

Dunno. I have added it to the list, as it probably won’t be too hard to do. I have a habit of saying “no” to a lot of stuff and then doing it anyway. :slight_smile: I’ll take a look when I get chance, thought it won’t be high priority (which, again, probably means it will happen soon :slight_smile: ).

Thanks, Keith, for your willingness to take it into consideration!

Thanks, Keith, for adding the “whole word”-option in b3!

Now that we can jump project-wide from one annotation to the next and from one higlighted word or phrase to the next, is there any possibility that in the future it will be possible to jump project-wide from search result to search result? As I said before, this would speed up considerably the whole process of searching and finding; and I’m sure many of us would find this very convenient.

No to this one. I have enhanced the search loads, and it is very usable and flexible already. What you are asking for would be duplication, given that the standard Find panel does this already. The only extra step you have to take is manually selecting the document in the search results, but this is hardly labour-intensive. Unless I have completely misunderstood your request.
All the best,

Just my 2 cents, but I find that being able to search sequentially through any number of documents with “edit scrivenings” is enough. Yes, it’s a 2 step process, but not really a hassle.


That’s what I do. And since it allows me to select which documents I want to work with, I find it works very well.

Searching in Scrivener is certainly very usable and flexible already: I’ll be the first to admit this, and the first to be grateful for this.

Yet what I’m asking is not exactly a duplication of existing features. It is only partially true, indeed, that the only extra step one has to make is manually selecting the document in the search results. This may be sufficient in the case of short documents, where the word or phrase one is searching for may be easily and quickly found.

But in the case of long documents, things are less easy. In this case, there seem to be two alternatives. Firstly, one can simply select and then scroll through every single document; but in the case of a sustantial number of documents of a substantial length, this becomes a rather laborious task.
Secondly, one can invoke the help of the find window, fill in there the same word or phrase already selected in the search window, and then jump a substantial number of times back and forth between binder, find window and document window.
This is no problem at all, if you have to do this every now and then. But when searching for words and phrases is an essential part of your daily workflow, sooner or later (and rather sooner than later) this becomes rather annoying. Those among us who do for instance certain kinds of linguistic research may know what I’m talking about.

And then, yes, there is “Edit Scrivenings”. A wonderful feature, absolutely no doubt about this. But in this particular case it has it limits too, because

  • it forces the user to scroll through an often very long sequence of documents
  • it doesn’t tell the user in which part of the sequence (i.e. in which particular document) a particular occurrence is located.

Again: this is no problem at all, when searching for words and phrases is only episodic. But when searching is an essential part of your daily workflow, things become different.

If you make the standard search function hop documents, that really breaks the expected behaviour of it. I am sure I’m not the only one that takes advantage of its ability to loop through a document. I’ll search through on one pass, and then let it start over for a second pass. And what should happen during a “replace all” action? Should it only then act on one document, breaking its normal pattern? What would be the meaning of the “Wrap” toggle? What if you really do want to only search one document, how do you know you’ve reached the last search term? You cannot, and the Next button will switch documents even if you do not want it to. Should this switch get registered in the History?

Something like this:

Would probably solve what you are needing, but – feature freeze. :wink:

Although this is a lovely idea, there are conceptual problems. The search returns results found not only in the text, but also in the notes, the index card, the keywords, the label and the status, depending on the options you have selected. There is no way for Scrivener to highlight, say, the label popup. Highlight of a keyword could only be done by selecting it in the table, which would be none-obvious. Your eyes would have to flick about the interface for where the search takes you next. It would have to open the inspector and change its tab to switch between search results, and thus wrestle control of the interface away from the user. Because Scrivener was designed for drafting, the search was never really intended for textual analysis, but rather to return a rough and ready list of documents for the user to scrutinise.

I was thinking these little arrow would only be visible when doing a Text or Notes search. Everything else would operate as normal – because yes, there are a lot of circumstances where such a feature would make little sense, and would move focus all over the place, opening and closing Inspector – havoc!

Thanks AmberV for your brilliant suggestion, thanks Keith for your comment! Let’s hope some day somebody will come with a workable solution which will statisfy all and which will turn out to be useful for novelists too; and let’s hope Keith will then be willing to implement it.

In order to prevent misunderstandings: I don’t blame Scrivener, which was designed for writing novels, not for doing textual research, for not having a similar feature; I just would like it to have it. But requests like mine are the natural consequence of the resounding success Scrivener seems to be achieving among people who want to use Scrivener for their academic research or for other purposes which have nothing to do with writing novels. This can only mean that Scrivener’s basic conceptual design is very well chosen and caters for manifold needs.

Please add ignore diacritical marks to version 2 project searches. I tried searching for resume in one of my projects and nothing was found. The word résumé appears several times.

From my standpoint it could be hidden preference that could be turned on or off.

Also some basic wildcard capability would be helpful for finding spelling variations (Smithe, Smith etc)