Adding PDFs and web pages to Scrivener on iOS?

This is mostly hypothetical for me as of right now, since it seems like the ability to add web pages to the research folder in Scrivener 1 for Windows is malfunctioning (I was told that this feature works much more smoothly in V3). Adding PDFs to a project also seems to be buggy right now. I haven’t bought the iOS app yet because I don’t know if it would suit my workflow needs.

Basically, what I’d like to be able to do is send web pages and PDFs directly to a Scrivener project on my iPhone - whether I’m finding those web pages or PDFs through Safari, Firefox, browsing the files stored in another cloud app, etc.

When it comes to annotations, I’m not sure what the workflow would be on my iPad versus my computer. Here are some things I’ve heard about working with PDFs in the desktop application - please let me know which assumptions are incorrect.

  1. You have to save a PDF to your computer first before you can import it into Scrivener (i.e. the PDF has to have some default storage location outside of Scrivener).
  2. If you annotate a PDF in its original storage location (for example, the PDF reader on your desktop), the changes will be reflected in the version of the PDF saved to the research folder of your Scrivener project (i.e. annotating within Scrivener is unnecessary).

Are both of these assumptions true? If they are, then how does working with PDFs, web pages, and annotation tools work on the iPad?

I’m guessing that when browsing on Safari or Firefox, I can send a web page directly to the Scrivener app through the action menu on my phone/iPad, and then that web page can be annotated directly in the Scrivener app. Can the web page itself be edited as well? I don’t know if the entire web page is sent to Scrivener as a snapshot of sorts that can’t be altered or if only the formatted text is imported.

PDFs seem like they would be a little more complicated. If I have a PDF saved in some location on my phone - let’s say the OneDrive application or in a PDF reader app like Foxit - can I send that PDF to the Scrivener app? Once I do that, how would annotating work? If I annotate the PDF from it’s original storage location (the OneDrive app and Foxit both have built-in annotation tools I believe), will annotation changes be reflected in the version of the PDF saved in the research folder of my Scrivener project? What about if I’m using this workflow - send PDF from OneDrive/Foxit to a more feature-rich annotation app like Adobe > annotate > send the PDF back to OneDrive/Foxit. Would annotation changes still be reflected in Scrivener?

I’m sorry if this was confusing. All of what I’ve said is predicated on Scrivener not being able to import PDFs that aren’t already saved somewhere on your device. If Scrivener can do this, then I have no idea how the scenarios detailed above would change. If I could get as much general info as possible on importing web pages and PDFs to the Scrivener app on iOS and then annotating those web pages and PDFs on iOS, that would be great.


I can’t answer all of your workflow questions but I can confirm the following:

  1. On my iPhone or iPad, I create PDFs all the time and copy them into my Scrivener project. I write lots of notes longhand with pen and paper before “scanning” them using a third-party iPhone app. The third-party app simply takes pictures of my longhand notes and packages them into PDF files. From there they can be synced to a cloud service or I can email them or whatever. But one of the “whatever” options is to “Copy to Scrivener”.

When using “Copy to Scrivener” I have to launch iOS Scrivener and have the target project open. Then I go back to the PDF, touch the little arrow that reveals a bunch of sharing options and then choose “Copy to Scrivener”. Then the PDF is copied into the project folder structure and I can move it to wherever I like. Then of course after syncing iOS Scrivener with Dropbox, I can later open the same project on my Mac and the PDF is there.

  1. While not truly saving HTML, the above technique could work for web pages. This is because iOS Safari has an option to save webpages as PDF files. Once you make the webpage-PDF file simply follow the directions in #1. It’s not perfect as the webpage-to-PDF conversion is rarely “elegant” but it would technically work.

Hopefully you or someone else will find this useful.

I was actually quite pleased to learn that I could integrate pen & paper scanning > PDF > iOS Scrivener into my work flow. Really increases the utility of the product.