Basic search question

I am sure there is a basic thing that I am misunderstanding here. I’m guessing it’s a matter of my newbie mind not yet being mapped to the Scrivener mind. I hope someone can explain it to me so I can better understand what is such an oft-used feature.

I want to search for all the cards that have a character’s name on it.

My instinct is to highlight DRAFT and then put the character’s name into the search box. But that doesn’t work. Instead I have to highlight everything under DRAFT and then search. It’s not that big a deal right now, when I don’t have many folders under DRAFT, but I can imagine it’s going to get more difficult.

I’m sure there’s a better way to do this but I can’t seem to figure it out. And I’m just as sure this means there’s something basic about Scrivener that I need to understand for this to work and I’m just not getting it … yet. :slight_smile:


Could you not just put the characters name on the index card in the inspector for the relevant card as a keyword, then use the search keyword feature. Very fast and easy search.

Actually it’s a lot easier than that. There’s a pulldown menu attached to the magnifying glass icon on the left side of the search box (that little arrow thing). Click on it and you’ll see your search control options - especially what gets searched. You don’t have to highlight anything or define any keywords or anything. I bet you’ll be able to figure out what to do once you see that option menu.

Search is actually one of Scrivener’s most powerful and well thought out features.

It sounds like you’re using the standard document-level Find/Replace where you could more easily be using the Project Search. If you haven’t changed your settings for the main toolbar, you should see this project search bar in the upper right of your project window. Inside the search bar on the left is a small magnifying glass; if you click that, you’ll be presented with various options to refine the search, including “Search in Draft only” at the bottom and, toward the top, searching in “Synopsis”. (I’m not sure whether you’re specifically looking for your search term in the index card synopsis or if you just mean you want to find all the items that contain the search term within the document text. If the former, searching in “Synopsis” will be what you want; if the latter, search in “Text”.) Select the options you want, type the search term and hit Enter, and then your binder on the left of the window will switch to show the Search Results collection populated with all the documents in your project matching the criteria. Click the “X” in the binder footer to switch back to viewing your regular binder.

The Search Results list will remain until you run a new search, even if you switch back to the regular binder or close and reopen the project. If you want to save your search more permanently you can create a dynamic collection by clicking the magnifying glass in the search bar and choosing “Save Search…” from the bottom. You’ll be prompted to name the search collection, and then a new collection will appear in the tabs at the top of the binder. This will have a little magnifying glass in the tab as well, indicating that it’s a search collection, so it’s generated automatically–you can’t move items around in this type of collection, or manually add or delete them; instead, every time you load the collection, Scrivener will run the search, keeping the list up to date.

You can toggle the view of the collection tabs in the binder with the second icon from the left on the main toolbar (looks like a file folder with a paper sticking out) or View > Collections > Show Collections.

Section 20.1.2 in the user manual covers the Project Search tools more thoroughly, going through all the various options in the drop-down menu.

Thank you all so much!

Shass - what I am trying to do is find all the certain instances of some things so that I CAN add keywords to the cards. I’ve got most of the book plotted and now realized how helpful this would be. Next book I’ll do it at the start.

MM - your very helpful post is the one that flipped the lightbulb on for me. Thank you for going through it all so thoroughly. I was right, there was something about Scrivener that hadn’t clicked yet - DRAFT is the ENTIRE project which is made up of a bunch of smaller documents. I need to get Word out of my brain. And that search in the upper right searches the entire project. Worked just as I needed it to so I can add a bunch of keywords so I can build some collections.

That lightbulb moment was just what I needed.

I love this program and I love all the helpful people who are so kind to us newbies.

Thanks again.

May I jump in here and ask another search-related question? I want to change a character’s name, and have done a project search to find all instances of it. But I can’t find any way to actually do anything with the results - i.e. in this case change all mentions of John Smith to John Jones. What am I missing? Thanks

Hi vinodililla,
Once you do the project search, go back to FIND, the choose PROJECT REPLACE, and that should take care of it for you.

Thanks for that. I had been using the search bar at the top right of the screen, which is obviously where I was going wrong!

I did the same exact thing at first! The search bar on the right will give you a project search but then you have to go back to the find for the replace.