Automatically split document by paragraph

[Long rationale:] I’m in the process of importing very long documents into Scrivener: documents I didn’t write (mostly), but would like to read for my current project. I would like to be able to put each paragraph of these documents into a separate SimpleNote so I could make notes and/or delete them as necessary, and then I would sync with Scriv to carry out the necessary notes-to-self.

[Short request:] So, could Scrivener in the future have an automatic “split by paragraph” menu item?

I suspect there would be reasons beyond my particular workflow. For instance, someone might want to take any long document and split it into separate scrivenings to rearrange them in the outliner, give them custom labels, etc.


It’s already there in 2.0. :slight_smile: Use File>Import>Import and Split… and then just hit return to insert the paragraph character as the section divider.

Brilliant! Of course it’s there already. Thanks so much.


I tried that to see how it works.
Really quite neat, HOWEVER, I now have 40 or 50 subfolders all with the same name. It would be nice if each paragraph folder (or whatever it is called) took the first four or five words of the paragraph as its title. That way it would be easier to move back and forth between the paragraphs.


The current behaviour has the advantage that you can see at a glance which file you just imported, though.

Right. I can see that I imported file “aaaa” 25 times. Since the paragraphs are put in the sequence of entry right from the file (i.e. they are not sorted in some manner), I can take all but the first paragraph, which would probably be the title of the document, and move them to the right, so that they are under the ‘title’ folder or text. Then I still know which file they came from. Of course if I move them to a totally new area I lose the knowledge of their provenance, but that is my problem, which I think is secondary to having 25 “aaaa” text lines in the binder.

Just my 2 cents worth.


I shall consider your two cents’ worth but make no promises.

I value your considerations, which in my one other experience with you, ended up in the affirmative. I look forward (hopefully) to the same this time.


I’ve added it to the list for consideration for 2.0.4 (I don’t want to overload 2.0.3 as there’s still lots to do for that). It’s a good idea and makes sense given that if you split up an FDX script file, the scene headings are used as titles.

I second this request.

One of the many things I use Scrivener for is to analyze complex legal documents. I start by importing and splitting them by paragraph. It would be immensely time-saving if I had the option of picking up the first few words of each paragraph as file names.



I implemented this yesterday so it’s definitely in for 2.0.3.

One more very minor request, Keith, if I may?

I import and split documents, which number themselves Filename-1, Filename-2, … Filename-100, Filename-101. I’m fine with this system.

But when I sync those files with Simplenote (for reading on the go, and working with in snippets), no matter how I set the sort order [Modified, Created, or Alphabetical] I can’t get it to mimic Scrivener’s order. The only thing that works is choosing Alphabetical, and renaming the files (in the example above) by adding leading zeroes: Filename-001, Filename-002, … Filename-100.

So. Could 2.0.3 (or .4?) have an option to “add leading zeroes” to those split filenames? The number of leading zeroes would then depend on the number of digits in the last filename’s number (in this case, -101).


But the split filenames won’t have numbers after them any more because they are now using the first line of each document…

Oh, I see; I thought first-word filenames was only an option.

I’m then unsure how Simplenote’s three sorting mechanisms–Modified, Created, or Alphabetical–will treat the split files. I’d welcome suggestions from anyone on a solution to this.

yours Michael

I still have a problem (see above). I import and split long review articles (descriptive surveys of recent work in my field) by paragraph, so I can read them sequentially in Simplenote and delete paragraphs as I read. I can also send important paragraphs to my e-mail account for follow-up (e.g. find this book, cite this article).

Even if I’m the only user in the world who does this, hear me out. The trouble with the new system of naming the split files with the first few words of each scrivening is that Simplenote can sort files only one of three ways:

Date modified
Date created

Since the latter two are set to the same time, all it can do is reorder the whole set of files/scrivenings alphabetically, which is no good. (I’m reading paragraphs wildly out of sequence, making for real confusion.)

So – to sum up – would it not be possible to give users an option to either rename the files by the first few words, OR to give them the same name followed by a number?

Sure, anything’s possible, you say – but to make this kind of fix just for one user’s workaround of Simplenote’s constrained ordering system? That would be extraordinary.

OR – and here I’m really grasping – is it possible to rename multiple files in Scrivener sequentially, somehow?

What if you did something crazy like open the file in another word processor first and turn it into a giant numbered list (so each paragraph is now numbered sequentially) and then import it? This does technically work (the import part); I just tried it. Of course you’ll probably want to rename all the documents later after you’ve finished with the Simplenote part (and also remove the numbers from the document text itself), but this doesn’t sound like a case where you’d need to worry about reordering anything if it’s just for reading research so the numbers might be annoying but not actively wrong.

You’ll need to use a list system though that gives you leading zeros or tiers or something else to make SImplenote sort it properly.

And obviously I’m not saying this is an elegant solution, just something you could try if you’re desperate. :wink:

An alternative route might be to shelve Simplenote and use something else to read your files that will let you arrange them in any order you want. Sync with External Folder also will let you number the files according to their order in the binder (as a flat list) and uses leading zeroes so they sort properly.

I think what you are really after here is a “Prefix file name with number” feature, just as external folder sync has. I can’t promise this for the next update, but will add it to the list for consideration, as it’s a good idea.
All the best,

Thank you both! Workarounds and prospects for 2.0.5 are equally welcome. Very grateful.


Would it be possible to split the file, not necessarily by paragraph, but whenever a specific user-supplied symbol was found e.g. ## or @@ (preferably a double symbol, but not essential. A double is less likely to show up incidentally in a text). The reason for this is that sometimes paragraphs should be together. I know one can use document merge after the fact, but if it were possible to do this before the fact, one could incorporate it into a ‘style’ used by a word processor. e.g. A heading could always be preceded by a symbol or symbol-group, and then when the file was imported, it would be cut at each heading (or whatever).

Not an absolute essential, but a useful one. Please give it some thought.