Are Aliases of Text Files Available in Scrivener?

I first have to explain what I mean by an alias since I do not have a tech background. If I understand it correctly, an alias is a replica/copy of the text file which enables you to make changes in copy A (original) so that they are immediately made into copy B (the replica). I am not clear if several aliases are possible, but that’s besides the question at the moment.

My question is this: are aliases an option in Scrivener at the moment? I saw a feature that enables the copying of a document (Option Drag the file) in another folder, but I do not think that that’s an alias. If they are available, how do I go about creating them?

You’ll probably find Chapter 13 of the Scrivener Manual (under the Help menu) of use in this context. I’m not sure whether this deals with what you mean by text-file aliases, but it does set out the circumstances under which it’s sensible to “withdraw” a text file out of the Scrivener package and edit it in any way externally (other than with Scrivener for iOS).

One thing to be aware of, and a reason for reading that chapter, is not only that a Scrivener project or package contains a potentially large number of text files (possibly hundreds), but that many of the files are related in some way. To pull out and change files in ways that the software can’t control is to risk your project falling apart, and becoming very difficult if not impossible to put back together again.

Thanks, Hugh. I will take a look at that chapter. I also wanted to clarify that at the moment I am not interested in using an alias of a Scrivener text file in another application. I would like to use the alias within Scrivener, but in a different folder.

Here is my setup. I have various folders whose titles are questions I need to find answers to because they are related to my main research question. Once I gather the appropriate quotations from different sources (all are text files) into the appropriate folders, I need to write up answers/summaries to the questions. The answers I draft are likely to end up in the final version of the paper, and I would like to have only the text files that contain the answers (rather than quotations or questions) in the Drafts Folder in Scrivener. I guess a smart folder containing these files could work as well as alias too for this purpose, but I am not sure how to create a smart folder either. I label the answer files in the same way, so it will be easy for me to find them.

If you are creating separate documents for Questions/Quotes and Answers, then there are a few ways you can exclude them from the compile without aliases (which do not exist in Scrivener).

First, the easiest/most tedious, is to un-check the “Include in Compile” checkbox. It can be found in the inspector, as a column in the outline view, and in a column in the “Contents” section of the compile window.

Second, you can structure your binder so that the questions/quotes documents are at one indentation level, and the answers documents are indented under them. The icons of the questions/quotes would look like a stack of papers, while the answer document icons would look like a single page (this just happens when you indent documents under other documents). Then in the compile window’s “Formatting” section, just un-check all the check-boxes for the “stack of papers” row(s) to exclude them from compiling.

Finally, you could set the Status or Label of your documents to a word like “Exclude” or “Include”. Then in the Contents section of the compile window, you could adjust the settings there to exclude documents based on that Status or Label. Labels have the added advantage of letting you color-code your binder entries, if you might find that useful.

Thanks for the suggestions, rdale.

I started working with include Include in Compile option, and I have unselected what I do not need. What do I do next so I can see only the ones I need? Can I see all selected files in one folder in Scrivener? And if yes, how can I do this? What comes to mind is to compile everything and export it in Word, but I do not want to do this yet.

I will experiment with your second suggestions at some point this week.

If you just want to view the answer documents, and not the question documents, I’d suggest a search. You may have to mark each answer document with a specific Label or Status, but then you can use the search tool in the toolbar (click on the loupe icon within the search field) to narrow down the search to just Label or just Status. You can even save a search like that, so that you can just select it in the “collections” view of the binder area.

I suggest you start by creating a new status or label (whichever one you’re not using; if neither is in use, use Label). Then click on one of the answer documents in the binder, then CMD-click on the rest so they’re all selected, then right-click or CTRL-click on one of them. Choose the Label or Status from that pop-up menu, and it will apply to all those documents. Then you can do your search. Once you’ve got the search done, click into the loupe icon again and select the “save” option at the bottom of that drop-down list.

Thanks, rdale. I was able to create the collection the way you described. Now if I was only able to use them cards in cork board mode in free style!