Audio Implementation Opportunities

** [The following was plucked from my initial post of my reactions to Scrivener. It’s very awesome, and I have suggestions to enhance what Scrivener appears to do best. Thanks]

Most everything with Scrivener seemed to be perfect upon first trying it. I don’t mean to downplay this experience in the slightest! When I first tested Scrivener 2, I noticed that the embedded audio files in imported TextEdit documents were being completely ignored! Ouch! Dragging audio files directly into TextEdit, and other writing softwares, has been a terrific way to organize audio notes and music with what I am writing and organizing, and I have become very dependent on on having the freedom to place the embedded audio file where ever they may be relevant to my written material.

Now, I’ve had some unusual luck with getting embedded audio to work the way I’d like it to (the way it does in TextEdit, for example) with Scrivener. Scrivener omits the embedded audio of a TextEdit document when I drag the TextEdit docs into the Binder and only creates a link to an audio file when I attempt to drag it into a Draft from elsewhere on my computer. Despite this behavior, I am able to copy audio, either from the likes of Quicktime 7 or from the embedded audio of a TextEdit fie, and it pastes perfectly into a Scrivener Draft—just as it does in TextEdit. This way, the audio is fully playable in the draft in that classic, little Quicktime playhead and scroll head—it even stays when I go into group mode! ‘Okay! This is more like it!,’ I think to myself. Unfortunately for me, when I reopen the Scrivener project after saving, a huge iTunes/audio file icon is in place where the audio file was once playable within my text, and it can no longer be played. Am I doing something wrong?

If the justification for not being able to place an audio file within a Scrivener Draft is because Scrivener is intended to only be for writing, why allow images to be handled/juggled in text the way audio should/could? Please, please, please make it possible to include little Quicktime audio windows within text like you can with TextEdit; again, even if the text-bound audio files vanish when viewing several Drafts together in Group View. Not everyone may need/use text-embedded audio files, but being able to do so really shines in terms of strategic planning and organization. Using the existing audio player in Scrivener means having to guess what in the written text the audio file might be associated with (yes, sure you could use a hyperlink in the text to bring up the audio file so the reference could be known, but Scrivener seems to be all about being all-inclusive and not linking to other apps, files, or media windows).

Now, as much as I want to have embedded audio files to be an option with Scrivener, I also have an additional suggestion to intuitively handle audio playback by Scrivener—audio file playback in the Inspector pane. The Inspector pane is so great with all of it’s useful toggling options, and I see an audio playlist pane as a perfect opportunity to associate audio notes/files with Drafts in the same way a user associates written notes with the Inspector—a perfect fit! Please take note of the bottom right of the following mock up image:

Scrivener should not turn it’s focus to becoming the media hub for all your music, but when I look at list of audio files in the Research Binder folder, my intuition desperately wants to double-click on a track title to hear it play, knowing that once it finishes the track beneath it is up next. The playlist, such as the one in iTunes, has widespread acceptance and is immediately recognized. Essentially, I feel that Scrivener should feature an Inspector audio player and playlist for each and every Draft, much in the way the Inspector has notes for each individual draft. I would imagine that iTunes stores music and playlist references much in the same way Scrivener packs the content together in a Scrivener project, anyway, hopefully making this prospect feasible. Doing so would have the audio speak the same language or organization that Scrivener already speaks! :slight_smile:

I must admit, the current method of handling and playing audio files in Scrivener frustrates me. Audio files are handled by taking up one of the Draft split-screen panes or by the launching of a floating player (where I can’t seem to figure out how to make it a playlist, although the window seems large enough to be able to accommodate more than one track). The closest thing to my ideal Inspector audio paradise is having to drag audio file links into the Inspector Document Notes window as references to particular tracks; though, without a playlist type of feature, I have to load a bunch of audio player windows and DJ playing one at a time in sync with what I am attempting to structure my writing to.

Scenario Opportunities: Audio playlist as an Inspector Window

  • You are writing a screenplay. Let’s presume that each of your Drafts in the Binder represent a different scene of a to-be film. Imagine having an iTunes-like audio file playlist as an inspector window for each Draft/scene! Imagine being able to associate temp music and/or soundscapes, as well as ambient noise that helps transform you into the scene you are writing, by designating audio files to the playlist media Inspector, each with their own notes. Audio as scene reference points are crucial. Maybe you have audio notes of yourself dictating dialogue or other crucial notes for writing a scene. My point is, you don’t want to have awkward media player windows popping up all over your screen, distracting you from the page. Also, you are going to only want certain audio files associated with certain scenes/Drafts, as opposed to trying to make sense of one large audio library for an entire project.

  • You are writing a musical or album. Organization is crucial for any major project, and Scrivener is right on the money with the beauty of organizing all related files into one master project file. Imagine having each written scene/song production notes and lyrics associated with the appropriate audition takes/versions, each one after another in their respective scene/song Inspector! You’d also love the freedom of shuffling musical queues with an Inspector playlist as easily as you would shuffle the Draft ordering in the Binder. Think about it, doesn’t Scrivener aim to allow users to shuffle their writing as effortlessly as they would a music playlist? Why not do with audio what Scrivener trailblazes with the written word? :slight_smile:

  • You are writing/ a musical score to compliment a written work or screenplay that is in production. Scrivener is great for breaking down sections of content for examination and organization. Being able to include various audio and musical queues into an Inspector playlist for each Draft/scene would be an incredible way to organize your musical themes along with the themes of the written word. Literature and music are two longstanding forms of expression and communication. Scrivener is begging to streamline audio in the wicked way it does text! :slight_smile:

Okay, so that is my major pain point and hesitation from diving into Scrivener. I really want the embedded audio, and of course the audio management in an Inspector window seems like the natural evolution for Scrivener. Going a step further, though I feel less crucial, would be including an audio recorder Inspector window down the line, you know, for those times when inspiration strikes you too hard and fast to get it all out in writing. Or maybe you want to record revision notes to a chapter that you wrote last week, but don’t want to actually implement the changes while you are wearing your editor hat. Most every Mac’s have a built in mic, and the cool thing would be that the recorded audio of a designated Inspector recording function could automatically add the recorded audio to the audio playlist with the file name set as the date & time of when it was recorded. :slight_smile:


Yes, audio and video is prohibited from Scrivener text, but you can drag audio into your Research folder or anywhere else - just not inside text documents. Scrivener is intended for producing drafts that will ultimately be printed or provided as e-books - but it’s not designed to create multimedia e-books, that is well out of its scope. And as sound cannot be printed, it makes little sense to allow such media in the text. In a previous version of OS X (still supported), sound and video files embedded in text could also cause a crash when opened in a split view. Moreover, Scrivener internally saves to the RTF format, which doesn’t support this sort of thing (and it would be impossible for our Windows version to support this, too). These technical reasons aren’t the main reasons, though - as I say, it’s just outside of Scrivener’s scope.

Thanks for your suggestion anyway.

All the best,

Hi Keith!

Thanks for the prompt response–much appreciated!

With huge amounts of due respect, I wouldn’t contest that Scrivener’s primary scope is not to produce multi-media books or anything of that sort. I would go as far to say that Scrivener soars by delivering the most important aspect of what will become a finished product–the creative stage. Drafting outlines, shuffling arrangements and storyboarding are all the greatest parts of using Scrivener as they all lend themselves to creating a finished product, though none of the said features will be apparent in one.

Much in the same way, I would only suggest the use of audio within Draft documents and the Inspector as tools, markers and guidelines to add additional outlining and strategical benefit to that same creative process. I agree that audio files wouldn’t belong in the finished product, and I wouldn’t really want them exported with the text when it comes time for a finished work to be printed or prepared. It must have been for the benefit of the user to include audio playback within Scrivener in the first place, which indicates the importance of audio as a tool for the purpose of writing. What I’m wishing for is increased flexibility with audio files to match the rest of the creative writing toolset–being able to freely arrange, rearrange and access audio references.

Simplified request:
Regarding the dedicated audio playlist Inspector pane, I can achieve a somewhat similar end result by using the Document Reference Inspector pane and creating external links to audio files, which automatically directs to iTunes for playback. I stress that externally linked files are more intuitively accessed (by double-clicking a reference in the Document References Inspector pane) because double-clicking internally-linked audio files brings up the Scrivener media player, which bogarts one of the split window frames from whatever text document I might be writing in. Certainly the Scrivener audio player taking the focus away from writing in one of the two primary writing panes is of a greater distraction to Scrivener’s primary scope than an optionally viewable audio Inspector pane for audio file management.

My wish would still be for a media player/playlist Inspector presence, if only not to have to give up one of the split writing panes (and without prompting equally-distracting floating windows).

Audio file usage in Scrivener is mainly to support writing, regarding an audio file as if it were a note. In the realm of Scrivener, notes relevant to writing are handled by the excellent Inspector window. If audio files aren’t notes in relation to what is being written (primary scope), than doesn’t the media player in a dedicated writing window (the split window) make Scrivener even more of a media player than in the scenario of my suggestion?

I hope you’ll consider my suggestions as they fit into your vision.
I’m very aware that it’s entirely too easy to be a critic and sound off without all of the other factors and pressures of developing and maintaining a software product. For this I thank you for your open forum of suggestions and discussion, both of which you are actively engaged. Thanks for fighting the good fight with all of your dedication and hard work. I pledge to sing the many praises of Scrivener just as loud, if not louder, once I get some more mileage with it. Thanks, again!