Audio files as references

I’ve a little problem with using an audio file as a reference. I saved a tune to be a reference for one character. I click in it in Director, where it appears as a hypertext link, and it opens in the central pane, and if I click the Play arrow, it starts to play.

But if I then go to the document where I’m developing that character, it blanks out the sound, and silence reigns.

Is there a workaround? I know I can just put the audio file into iTunes and play it from there, but it would be nice if it would play within Scrivener.

It sounds like you are using only one pane. If you click on another document, then you load that one and get rid of the audio document - they aren’t layered or anything. Split the editor and have the audio file open in one pane and the text file open in the other… This is one of Scrivener’s main features. :slight_smile:

Tip: If you split the editor, you can drag a reference from the References area and drop it on the header view (the strip with back and forward buttons, title etc) of the other document pane to open it there. (If you actually imported the audio file into Scrivener and set it as a document reference, you could just double-click on it to open it in the split editor.)

I tried splitting the pane, but now I have identical documents in the top and bottom halves of the pane. The music file and the sound file have disappeared from the Inspector.

I tried dragging the picture into the bottom pane and it appears, and also appears at the bottom of the Inspector when I’m clicked into that bottom pane, but not when I’m in the top, the main document about that character.

And if I click in the hypertext link of the music file, it opens - in the top pane - and again obliterates the document for the main character description.

Obviously I haven’t understood how to do this.

When you split the editor, the current document will appear in both panes, just as it would in Word. You need to then load the audio file into which editor you wish it to be in. If the audio file is in the binder, just click into the pane in which you want it to appear and then click on it in the binder to load it into that pane.

If it’s in the inspector, having just refreshed my memory, you can do this: ctrl-click on it and select “Open in Alternate Editor”.


P.S. The video on the product page has a section on splitting the editor about 11 minutes in.

Oh, thanks very much!

Video on the product page? Could you possibly post a link - I’m not sure what you mean by the product page.

Right hand side there is a “features” list.
At the bottom of that, click “Watch Video”.

It does hide if you don’t know where to look for it :slight_smile:

I don’t see that ‘Features List’.

I’m now writing a piece, using as a basis a rough draft I imported from Word. When I clicked on Inspector, I found the top to be filled with endless letter Y’s with umlauts on them. I had a ‘notes’ list, which I hoped to view on the corkboard, but I’ve failed with this.

After splitting it into a bunch of separate files with one list item each, I can either view each file separately (waste of space) or view them as a Corkboard, which shows a load of separate cards, the first saying Japan Notes and containing the whole list, run on, and the second, third, fourth, etc containing just the file titles - Japan Notes 1, Japan Notes 2, etc. Bizarre.

Oh, sorry, you meant on the right of that link. Going to look now.

Sounds as though you imported a word document with no .doc extension. Scrivener needs the .doc extension to know what type of file it is. If there is no file extension, it gets imported as plain text, which will be lots of gibberish in the case of a Word file with no extension. The next update should be better at recognising Word files without an extension, but generally Scrivener has to rely on extensions simply because there is no single reliable way of recognising file types in OS X.

I don’t really know why you would want a single list item in each document. This would indeed be a waste of space. It sounds as though the list item would be better as the synopsis, in which case I would recommend just having the original document open in one pane and creating an index card (document) for each item in another pane. I have already explained exactly why the index cards would show the whole list in the first one and nothing in the others in my reply to you in another thread. In fact, I spent some time explaining exactly this “issue”, so please do take the time to read it, as there is absolutely nothing bizarre here. The behaviour is expected and makes sense once you understand the difference between index cards and the text. Hopefully the video will help.

Thanks for the long explanation, which I read and didn’t understand.

I had thought that splitting a document could be used to create separate index cards. If I have to create them manually, perhaps I’ll stick to Word for this document.

What I find baffling is that each card appears blank when I view them all on a corkboard. Each one (except the first) appears to contain only its title.

But when I view them separately, each one has its title, plus the line of text it contains. Bizarre.

Just for curiosity, I imported a photo, and added it to the selection I was displaying on the corkboard, to see whether it showed only its title too. No, the photo appears.

Further weirdness: when I select the group of files, they will only show as a corkboard; the Outliner won’t work with them. I click it, nothing happens.

Ah, I see what the problem is. There’s no way to convert documents to index cards. At least, it looks as if there is (View/Open as index card stack in/Editor:Alternate editor), but it’s greyed out.

It’s not bizarre. By all means stick to Word for this document if you are struggling, as there’s no point making things harder for yourself, but I’ll try to explain it again:

Okay… Forget the computer for a moment. Imagine you have a bunch of real-world index cards and a pile of note paper. Essentially, there are two ways you could go about planning a story/thesis/script/whatever:

  1. Plan first. Going this route, you would write down your ideas for scenes/paragraphs/whatever on the index cards as synopses. E.g. “Luke finds out Darth is is Dad.” You would rejiggle them, add more cards etc, until you were ready to start writing. Then you would grab your note paper and start writing out the scenes or whatever in full.

  2. Write first, organise later. Going this route, you might start writing out random scenes on the note paper. Later, you might try to organise by writing down a synopsis of each paragraph/scene or whatever on the index cards so that you can get an overview to help you rearrange and organise. You might then rearrange the cards into a more fitting order. When you were happy with the order of the cards, you’d have to start editing what you have on paper to match that new order.

Okay, so that is the key metaphor here, and that is the relationship between Scrivener’s index cards and documents. Every single document in Scrivener - even folders - has an index card associated with it, just as if it were a piece of paper with an index card clipped to it. When you look at the corkboard, each index card is a representation of an underlying document.

Now, if you consider the two scenarios above, at no point is it likely that you would start writing out on the index cards the exact same words that start the paragraph/scene or whatever on the paper. That’s not going to be great for getting an overview. Instead, you are likely to write a one-sentence description of what is happening.

When you import a document into Scrivener, the index card gets automatically filled with the first few lines from the document. But most users will want to change the contents of the index card to something more simple and meaningful than a mere excerpt of the underlying text that it represents.

Now, to turn to what you are trying to do…

You seem to have brought a list document into Scrivener from Word. Unless I’ve missed it, you haven’t really explained what your purpose is here, but I do know that you are splitting it up.

The Split at Selection feature affects the TEXT. It has little effect on the index card associated with that text (remember, the text has an index card clipped to it, which is what you look at on the corkboard).

Say you import a long document into Scrivener. A novel, say, with multiple chapters. When it gets imported, it will be one long document with the first few words automatically added to the index card. Chances are that you will want to split up that document into smaller chunks - chapters or scenes. You would go through it and use Split at Selection. In the real life metaphor, this would be like going through reams of paper and separating it into separate piles, or cutting it up. For each new pile, you might add a new - blank - index card. This is what Scrivener does. When splitting up a long document, this happens:

• Everything after the cursor is cut out of the original document.
• A new document is created, with a blank index card but the same meta-data (status, label) as the original, and the same notes).
• Everything after the cursor in the original document gets pasted into the new document.

The index card isn’t split. The original document keeps it; documents split away from that original have blank index cards. If you think about it, you’ll realise that it makes no sense for the original index card to get split - it may have a synopsis that you have applied to it.

To come back to what you are trying to do… Splitting a list document. It might help if you let us know what it is exactly that you are trying to achieve. Is the list document an outline for instance?

I really do hope that clarifies things and that you won’t keep telling me that Scrivener is “bizarre”. It’s not. :slight_smile: Of course, it may just not be the right writing tool for you, which is fine. It certainly won’t suit everybody.


No, no, I don’t mean Scrivener is bizarre! I just meant that what was happening was bizarre.

Sorry, not being very clear about what I’m trying to do.

I’m writing a shortish piece - 1,500 words - and to guide myself through it I’ve got eight or so lines of text, the outline.

So I’ve got my main piece: “Hamlet and Ophelia: the Dirt Dug” (not - just an example).

And my list to guide me through it:

  1. Hamlet lugs guts into nether room
  2. Polonius makes silly old sod speech
  3. Ophelia insulted for beauteousness
  4. Ophelia kills self: so there
  5. Horatio makes gay-type hereafter speech
  6. Nyah to your philosophy: so there

and so on. I thought I could split off this list and have a bunch of corkboards at the bottom instead; so the first would say “Hamlet lugs guts” (etc), and I could then expand that if I wanted. Not that I’d want for a short article, but you get the idea. Nice to have the index cards there as a guideline to cast my eye over as I write.

So I split off the list, thinking that this would make six separate index cards, each with one line on it - which I could expand if I wanted. But because splitting the list made separate documents rather than index cards, they weren’t showing like this.

Right. Got it. Basically the list you have is exactly what the corkboard is designed for. The trouble is that you have it in Word and the Split at Selection feature is designed for splitting up actual documents rather than an outline like that. So the Split at Selection feature isn’t actually going to help you here, which is where the confusion has arisen. Split at Selection would be useful if you’d written a huge chunk of the text and now wanted to import it into Scrivener, cut it up into smaller sections and assign an outline to each. You sort of want to do the opposite.

Here’s what I would do:

  1. Get rid of what you’ve done so far that has been causing confusion.
  2. Re-import your outline document.
  3. Split the editor. Have your outline document open at the top, and then the folder in which you want your eventual documents to be stored open in the bottom as a corkboard (possibly the Draft folder).
  4. In the corkboard, use cmd-N to create new index cards, and for each one just copy and paste each list item (either as the title or the synopsis, depending on what you want; if they are really short, you could use the title and then later use the synopsis for a little expansion; otherwise, you would use the title for a short meaningful name and the synopsis area - the text area of the index card - for your outline text from your Word document).

Doing it this way, you should be able to create your list in the corkboard. Once you’ve done this, you can delete the original Word document from Scrivener.

You are then ready to write. You would just select each item in the binder and open the inspector (opt-cmd-I). Now you have blank document ready for filling with your actual text, and on the right you have an index card telling you what should go into that text. If you need to add more documents or rearrange them, you can go back to the corkboard and rearrange them there.

Hope that helps.

A Scrivener document has three components: a title, a synopsis, and the body text.

The title shows in the binder, at the top of the text editing window, and on the index card.

The synopsis shows on the index card. It can be auto-generated from the body text if desired.

The document text shows in the text editing window.

When you split the document, you made six body texts, each with an associated index card. It sounds like the additional step you need is to move the text for each from the document body to the synopsis.


I’ve kind of solved it. I’ve got a main document, and in Research I’ve made a bunch of cards, by viewing as corkboard then clicking in the corkboard and going cmd-N - which generates a card.

The video is excellent, by the way. Highly recommended.

Still having trouble with this.

I’ve now made a new folder under Drafts, called Scenes, and moved any individual chapters, etc into that.

So I set up a new document within that for a particular scene. I opened it in the Editor (that’s the central pane, yes?)

So far, so good.

Then I split the Editor into two panes.

My intention was to write my scene in the top half, and bring an audio file into the bottom half.

I dragged the audio file that is the ‘theme music’ of the main character in this scene from the Research folder into the bottom pane.

But wait, what?? Now I have two panes with the name of the scene, and in both of them, the audio file is showing. Not as an audio file, but as a title underlined in blue, like a hypertext link.

I know I sound very stupid, but I just can’t get this to work.

And by the way, is there any way of controlling which pane a sound file opens in? When I click on the music file in the Inspector, it boots out whatever’s in the top pane, and opens in that.

Hi -
Instead of dragging the audio file into the bottom pane (which adds the file to your current scene), drag it to the title bar of the bottom pane. Or click your mouse in the bottom pane to make it the active pane, and then just click on the audio file in the binder and it will load into the bottom pane.

  • karen

You might fine this forum topic helpful:

Always my favourite type of hereafter speech, given a preference.

Thanks, Karen, good tip.

I realised later that the audio file will load in whichever pane you’re not in - and this is what was causing my problem.

But dragging it to the title bar is a much handier way of doing things. Very grateful.

And yes, gay-type hereafter speeches have the edge, Michael.