Bidirectional linking of passages within a text

Would it be possible to add to Scrivener the ability to create links between two or more passages within the same text?

I am a literary historian, and often work on complexly interrelated texts. A feature like the one I describe above would make it much easier to keep track of connections and/or parallels between elements of a plot or argument.

To illustrate what I mean, I have created the following mockup in Scrivener 3:

By clicking on the highlighted words, the reader would be sent automatically to the corresponding passage elsewhere in the text. Obviously, with a text as brief as that in the example this would not make much of a difference, but once the text consists of more than one or two pages such a feature should become very useful.

I know that I can link texts within a Scrivener project using the link to document feature, but working in this way would force me to chop up my notes and summaries into many different sub-texts. This which would largely defeat the purpose, as the internal coherence of the text would be lost.

Yes, document links are Scrivener’s solution to this problem.

Remember that you can use Scrivenings mode to assemble whatever files you like into a single Editor view.


I am afraid that using Scrivenings mode whenever you need to compare two or more passages doesn’t entirely solve the problem.

Using links like the one I describe allows you to write a single, internally coherent text, such as a summary of a book, and add an extra layer which facilitates the process of seeing all of the internal connections when you revisit your notes later.

An internally coherent text can, indeed, be generated by using Scrivenings mode, as long as one carefully prepares all of the constituent chunks of text in such a way that they will reassemble in the way one envisioned beforehand (i.e., one should be careful not to change the order of those texts in the binder). Yet as soon as that text is generated the connections that were previously created will be ‘gone’, in the sense that they are not immediately apparent from the text.

Some of the texts I work with are 500+ pages in length. My notes for a single work of literature can run into 20+ pages; if I am comparing two works those notes could go up to 40 pages or more. Even if one disregards the problem that I describe above, having to divide those notes into 80-120 ‘texts’ would not be a very workable solution: reading the notes would then come down to clicking one’s way through a maze of individual paragraphs.

A similar request to mine was made in this thread: … 30&t=38461

There, the user was hoping to create links of the type I describe across texts (i.e., you could link sentence A from text 1 to sentence B from text 2). The same arguments against implementing such a feature as those made in the post above were made in that thread, but one user explained the benefits of being able to create ‘granular’ links quite well:

Finally, generating a Scrivenings mode document takes time: for texts with a lot of content it is far from an instantaneous process. Thus having to do it repeatedly will hold up the user.

You talk about the reader clicking the highlighted words and being taken to a linked destination, so this is for some form of digital output?

If yes, does the solution detailed in the same thread not work on Windows computers?

Slàinte mhòr.

Thank you for your reply.

This feature would aid the research process that underlies the writing of a document for publication, such as an article intended for a journal. That is to say, it is not intended for the ultimate output that is sent to the editor.

I know how to use HTML when editing a web page, for instance, but as far as I can tell Scrivener always interprets HTML code as editable text, as it automatically converts HTML into RTF.

If there should be a way to use working HTML code in a text in Scrivener, this would, indeed, largely resolve my problem.

EDIT - It just occurred to me that using pure HTML one would probably not be able to link more than two passages, meaning that having HTML capability would certainly be an improvement (albeit one not everyone would find it easy to use), but would not provide completely equivalent functionality.