"Bookmarks" should be renamed "Resources"

The meta-data functionality now called “Bookmarks” would make more sense if it were instead called “Resources”. The word bookmark suggests some ability to come back to a particular place in a text. In its native context, a book, a bookmark allows the reader to quickly locate the last page read or a otherwise significant page in the text. One can place several book marks into a book, one can color code those bookmarks. One can write notes on the part of the bookmark that sticks out from the pages of the closed book, But mostly, one can quickly see and respond to all of the bookmarks placed into a book or a series of books.

At the very least, bookmarks should be viewable in the outline view mode such that the author might be able to quickly see where such indicators have been placed.

May I suggest that the meta-data scrivener now calls “Bookmarks” be renamed “Resources”.

Of course it would also be nice to have an actual bookmark facility within scrivener. One that shows a list of the places within the book that the author has placed marks for easy navigation. This list might better be placed within the find or search functionality and would quickly and easily bring up a list of all bookmarks (with the ones pertaining to the current document listed at the top or otherwise highlighted. One should be able to place multiple bookmarks within a document by placing the cursor or selecting a string of text.

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The Bookmarks naming carries over from web browser use, From the manual:" No doubt you’ve encountered the concept of bookmarking web sites in your browser. We could say that at its most basic level, bookmarking binder items is similar to this concept "

You can achieve the above using Comments. That will a) highlight the place selected and b) navigate to it by clicking on it in the Comments & Footnotes tab in the Inspector.

Well “bookmarks” on a browser isn’t at all what bookmarks in scrivener is. Scrivener is a book writing software. The metaphor domain is books and book writing/reading, the intended audience is writers. If you use the word “book” or “bookmark” in reference to books and book writers it should refer to what a book and a bookmark is in the world of books and book writing. It is interesting that scrivener really doesn’t provide a means of leaving bookmarks as is suggested by our collective experience with books and bookmarks.

There only facility in scrivener to add metadata to specific strings within text or to a specific cursor location within text is comments and footnotes. A scrivener note can’t be made to reference a string of chars, and can only reference an entire text document (binder entity).

However, there is no facility in scrivener to bring up or produce a navigable list of comments or footnotes. One can set up a search for strings in comments or footnotes, but the found list only references entire binder documents (no matter how long those documents may be, or how painstaking you were to leave multiple comments referencing specific points within document.

This would be like holding a ink on paper book and only being able to place card stock bookmarks at the first page of each chapter. Or, having a printed book and not being able to underline text and write margin comments next to your underlined text.

If anyone knows of a string specific (not document specific) way of leaving bookmarks such that one could bring up a sortable and navigable list of all occurrences of those bookmarks, please let me know.

Thank you.

I have tried all kinds of things now to produce some reasonable facsimile of a bookmarks that I might leave anywhere in m scrivener documents at any granularity (part, chapter, section, paragraph, sentence, text string, cursor location) and that I might easily browse in sortable multi-column list view (as works so well with the outline view). But the outline view only seems to offer its functionality at the granularity of binder documents (text docs and folders).

There seems to be several methods available to produce string specific pointers in scrivener.

  1. Leave actual text as meta-data within your text in a sort of markup. One might for instance place the string [*] at points in their text. One might then search for and then remove or replace all occurrences of that string before compile.
  2. On my computer, a Mac, the pre-compile option “delete struct-through text” doesn’t do as the manual indicates, it simply rids the compiled output of the strike-through formatting. This is a bug but it could be used as a feature as one might select sections of text and apply the strikethrough style and use that along with Scrivener’s “find by formatting” function to search for struck-through formatted text.
  3. One can select strings and attach comments or footnotes to those selected strings. If one were to be tricky and always include a specific and unambiguous string in the comments one was using as bookmarks, one could use Scrivener’s “search in project” to find that string, and to save off the search as a “collection” for easy live reference at any time.

The problem with each of these methods is that navigating to the resulting bookmarks is not trivial, and more frustrating than that, it can’t be done through a string specific sortable navigable list of locations within the user’s project in which those bookmarks were left. If one decides to use a specific in-text string (markup), one can only navigate linearly occurrence by occurrence (there is no list of pointers to found occurrences). In addition, one must always remember to remove these markups from the text prior to compile. If one uses scrivener’s comments metadata, one can save a collection but strangely, there is no facility to narrow one’s search to “comments” as there is for notes, synopsis, keyword etc. Presumably, this is because the search function works at the granularity of documents (not strings).

Anyway… I’d really like it if Scrivener offered a dedicated bookmark function that:

  1. was string specific
  2. allowed the user to attach notes and other metadata (keywords, status, custom metadata, notes, and the resources and links scrivener currently calls “bookmarks”) to these bookmarks.
  3. allowed the user’s bookmarks to be viewed in a sortable, multi-column, view (as in the outline view mode) in which each row represented an individual occurrence of the location of the user’s bookmark (along with the first few words of text at that bookmark).
  4. Single clicking on any row of that found list of bookmarks would revival the document with the book marked’text highlighted in a second split pane of the editor.
  5. Double clicking on a row of the found list of bookmarks would replace the bookmark list with the document scrolled to the bookmark indicated.

One could imagine this facility working within the outline view, with the only difference being that rows might reference pointers to locations within documents (where the current outline view mode only always presents binder documents. Some sort of visual indication of the difference would be necessary (a specific icon for pointers within documents as compared to pointers to documents themselves).

Bookmarks! We need them.

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Remember that you can make Scrivener documents themselves as granular as you like, down to individual sentences or paragraphs, and can apply the full array of metadata to the resulting pieces.

Scrivener is designed from the ground up to work with relatively small pieces of text. You are asking for a completely new and fairly complex structure to accommodate people who don’t want to work within Scrivener’s fundamental organizing paradigm. I can’t speak for Keith’s development priorities, but I expect that figuring out how to adjust your workflow to Scrivener’s existing design will be a more productive use of your time.


PS Moving thread to Wish List forum. This is not a support question.

No I don’t.

Ah, sorry, you mean you need them? :slight_smile:

From my point of view, the Binder does what you are describing that you want. Each document is a bookmark in itself, and has a unique name which helps finding the right one.

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The binder doesn’t in any way provide searchable sortable navigable browsable author specified links to string specific locations within your project’s documents. In discussions in independent user groups for Scrivener, as well as in statements made by presenters of on-line scrivener introductions, tutorials, and reviews, the general impression of the use of the term “bookmarks” as scrivener uses the term, is a sort of “don’t expect this to make sense, but…”.

A “bookmark”, in the context of a book, which is the context almost every user of scrivener is embedded within, is device placed by the reader or writer within the book, to help them remember where they were, or what they find important, such that they might easily find their way back at a later time.

The only way that Scrivener’s incarnation of the term “bookmarks” would ever make sense is if an author created a special document outside of their manuscript, called that document “Bookmarks”, and wrote notes to themselves within that document and associated those written notes to exact places within the documents that make up their manuscript. But, of course, using scrivener bookmarks in this way is not posible as bookmarks do not and can not be pointed to exact places within text within documents. Only comments and footnotes have been blessed in this way. But the only way to list one’s comments and footnotes as bookmarks is to write some sort of uncommon string of text within them, a string that the author has decided to only use as a bookmark reference, and then to set up a search collection for such occurrences of that string. However, more snags there of course as the scrivener search does not allow “search in comments” or “only in comments” as a search criteria. Also, the found list that results in a search collection specified by the string the user has designated as a bookmark marker, only brings up pointers to binder level objects, not to positions within the binder level objects where the user has linked comments containing that bookmark designated string. The author, reviewing the list of search matches does not see the actual matches and the associated text, until the author clicks into one of the documents that has said string specified comments attached. There is no indication in the search collection found list of how many occurrences of comments containing the bookmark string are to be found in each of these search collection listed documents.

If scrivener was now to provide an actual bookmarks affordance to its users, it would have not to call it, what, “Real Bookmarks”?

Yes it does, if you break your text in smaller chunks, and use e.g keywords, collections, the outliner, footnotes, annotations, comments, synopses.

I work in small chunks but an idea came to mind for some things, not everything wished for…

Insert Inline Annotations where relevant using a unique string, such as zzz. Choose something easily spotted for when sort is used later in Project Statistics.

Use Project Search to find the string.

To see all of the results in the Editor as a Scrivenings session, click on the hooked arrow at the Collection list header, then in the toolbar click the Scrivenings mode icon. (Rather than Scrivenings, a single or multiple selection is also valid.)

Click into the Editor.

To search for just the Inline Annotations string, use Find by Formatting. Choose: Inline Annotations/key in the string/ Current Editor. Use the “Next” and “Previous” buttons to navigate in the documents.

To check the number of times the string has been used, go to Project > Statistics… At the Statistics panel, first check at “Options” to make sure the “Exclude annotations and comments” box is unticked, then choose “Selected Documents”. At the panel bottom, click the disclosure triangle next to “Word Frequency”. If the string is not already at/near the top, click the “Word” column header to sort alphabetically (and/or numerically). The number of times it’s been used is in the “Count” column.

At some point, save the Search Collection.

I used Inline Annotations for the example because, like Comments, they can be excluded from Compile and they hadn’t been mentioned. Comments would work the same way as in the example. This method can be completed much faster than the time it takes to read, and of course after repetition. It’s a method, not an effort to quash the “Wish List” item.

Using a special string (say: “===”) to begin a comment, or as has also been suggested here, that same string as the first few characters of an inline annotation, works well as both can be searched with a project search and both searches can be made into one click “Search Collections”. In addition, both allow the writer to leave notes specifying why a bookmark has been placed at that location within the text of a document. However, though scrivener allows one to refine projects searches for other types of meta-data (notes, keywords, synopsis, label) it does not provide a way to search only within comments or annotations.

I prefer using comments for inline bookmarks as I don’t like my documents visually polluted by markup of any kind.

However, there are drawbacks As I said in an earlier post, the found list that the Search Collection brings up presents the results as a list of binder documents (doesn’t matter how many comment or annotation bookmarks you have in any one of your binder objects, the Search Collection just presents the document. To see your many bookmarks, you have to click on that document and then look through your comments to find the ones that start with your special searchable string.

Would be nice of course if scrivener somehow highlighted those comments that contained your search string. But if scrivener was to go that far, it might as well offer a dedicated bookmark metadata function suite.

The reference linking that scrivener now calls “bookmarks” just isn’t what anyone writing a book thinks of when they see the word “bookmark”.

How small? If I want to bookmarks specific locations within my documents I would have to break my project into individual sentences. That seems absurd.

Mr Lurk, In your signature you indicate that you use scrivener to write science. Would you mind outlining exactly how you work with referencing and citation software in conjunction with scrivener? I find doing so incredibly cumbersome. Yet you have posted here that you believe scrivener should not integrate referencing and citation functionality. Why? Why do you want to work in two separate pieces of software. I can’t imagine why a writer would want to have to juggle two or three or four applications when they might instead only use one. Would you mind explaining your position from a the average writer’s perspective. Thank you, Randall

A well equipped tool box might have several different screwdrivers, a selection of wrenches, two or three different files… Why do you think that is, since one can buy tools that incorporate all of those and more into a single device?


I can only explain it from my own perspective.

Like Katherine writes, I use different tools for different parts of the work. And I don’t have one single workflow that is repeated over and over. It all depends on where the writing starts. Sometimes it starts as an outline in Scrivener, or maybe not even an outline but only as part of the Introduction. Other times it might start in Scapple with some juggling of ideas. Or with a sudden spur of inspiration written down in Drafts 4 on the iPhone or iPad. Or in iThoughts, mind mapping, Or maybe more likely jotting down some notes and ideas in Notability, or as a drawing in Paper by WeTransfer on the iPad. I switch a lot between Mac and iPad Pro. I even use Pages for some of my writing, on both types of devices.

And about references, it all depends on the circumstances. Sometimes I export the reference and the annotations connected to it (using an Apple Script provided by the developers) and put it in the Research part of Scrivener, especially if it is a study I don’t know that well and might want to go back to while writing. Other times I know the referenced article so well I simply invoke Papers 3’s citekey functionality and insert the citekey, or simply add a kind of temporary reference while writing “… Smith (20??)” to remind me to check it later. Or maybe I only have a vague memory of having read something somewhere but can’t recall what and where and don’t want to interrupt the writing? Then I simply write (REF??) in the text, no to get distracted, and jump into Papers 3 later on, to search for it.

My writing is never linear and it never follows a predefined workflow. And I always have several articles/manuscripts/book ideas going at the same time. Some die along the way, others just hibernate and are later revived and finished.

But I read all the time. I search for new articles (using Papers 3), get suggestions from colleagues or from ResearchGate, or from submitted manuscripts I review for journals. Sometimes just read them briefly, other times read in detail and make detailed annotations.

I do most of my writing on a Mac, but do most of my searching, reading and annotating of articles on the iPadPro. I wrote earlier that I don’t use a “reference manager”, because putting references into the writing is just the last step. To me Papers 3 isn’t a “reference manager”, it’s an “article handler” or whatever one should call it. I use it to search for, read, annotate and organize scientific articles, of which only a fraction will end up in the reference list of a published paper, perhaps 10-15%.

So having some kind of simplified “reference manager” in Scrivener would be useless to me, in the same way that I don’t want to browse the web from inside Scrivener, or have some kind of email client within Scrivener, or calendar, or to-do-list app, etc. I want specialized software, designed to be the best for one specific kind of work, not some kind of Swiss army knife apps being bad at everything.

If you want everything in Scrivener, how come you haven’t suggested that KB incorporate a statistical package, and something to produce print-ready figures? Statistical analyses and creation of diagrams are an essential part of scientific writing. :smiley:

Going back to your original statement:

It’s a question of hierarchy. To you Scrivener seems to be the top level software that should include several different specialized tools. To me MacOS (and iOS) is the top level software, and Scrivener is only one of a large array of specialized tools.

You can search within Inline Annotations, or Comments or Footnotes (and other visual formatting). Use Edit > Find > Find by Formatting (cmd-opt-ctl-f). For example (using your suggested marker of ===)

Once you’ve found the first one, then cmd-opt-shift-g will take you to the next. So, if you create a scrivening of the documents you want (and you can see all your comments in one go in the inspector) then simply page through them with cmd-opt-shift-g to find all the ‘bookmark comments’ (or search directly for known text).


Yep, but the results of the search workflow you have illustrated must be browsed sequentially. Removes the advantage of using a computers instead of pen and paper and colored sticky notes.

This is personal? I might offend you (or “KB”?) by expressing my wish that I could manage my references and citations for my projects from within my projects as I compose them in scrivener? There is nothing “sequential” about attaching referencing or citation meta data. There is nothing about attaching references or citations that would in any way interrupt anyone’s workflow flexibility or liberty. Seems especially specious to talk of preferring specialized software in reference to scrivener which is obviously more a Swiss army knife than a spoon. You don’t seem at all offended by the overhead of scrivener’s compile and export functionality. Nor would it be particularly difficult to implement reference and citation functionality into scrivener as its not much different than the already implemented “comments” and “footnotes” functionality.

PS. I am not a deity, a king, a dictator, your boss, or your mom. I am just a scrivener customer. And like ALL customers of any software, I come across situations in my use of software I’ve paid for and use that would be way way way easier to handle should the software be written or designed differently. I’ve come across tens of other individuals who have expressed the same wish that scrivener directly integrate reference and citation functionality. I am not an outlier on this topic. If you need assurance: I have never shown up at the Honda Motor Corporation with a ninja army demanding that they make it easier to open the back doors on the Element SUV, I similarly don’t plan on flying to England to hold siege on the Literature and Latte offices. My suggestions are just that, suggestions. Lunk is safe. “KB”(?) is safe. Scrivener is safe.

I asked you if you might expend a bit of effort to explain exactly how you work between your referencing and citation software and scrivener. Would you mind please walking me and everyone else who would like to use scrivener to write science long form and research papers, through the process you use to integrate your writing within scrivener and your eventual inclusion of references and citations that you have collected into the reference and citation management applications you employ? Your help here would be greatly appreciated.

And as you mentioned it, if you have expertise or experience importing into scrivener the output from data tracking and statistical packages a short tutorial on that topic would also be extremely useful. It isn’t really very difficult exporting a PDF (from XYZ package) and importing it inline into a scrivener document. But if there is some preferred way to use markup or a placeholder that provides a live link to external data, that would be worth learning.

Thank you, Randall Lee Reetz

Actually, the “bookmarks” functionality you proposed would be quite a bit different from the existing “comments” tools.

“KB” is the developer of Scrivener for Mac (and iOS), and is the final authority on what does and does not belong in Scrivener. He is really the only person in a position to comment on the difficulty in implementing proposed functions.

Lunk is a longtime user of Scrivener and a valued contributor to these forums. However, he is not an L&L employee and speaks only for himself.


I do think that for a number of recurring users over the years, the idea of using the Binder and incredibly fine granularity of text chunks is contrary to their way of working. And it does indeed become cumbersome when you really want to target something at the atomic level of words->sentences.

One clear specific example of this as a ‘weakness’ is cross-referencing. Most of the time cross-referencing a conceptual part (discussion etc.) is fine, but there are cases where we may want to reference sentences or words. That means a quite arbitrary binder division whenever that is required.

Bookmarks already have a clear use-case in Scrivener and I’d imagine it is quite unwise at this stage to repurpose it with a different meaning (whether more rational from a particular mindset or not). But I do think something like “Inline references” could fulfill this functionality and provide functionality not reproduced by inline comments/footnotes. They could act as unique anchors with the granularity of words (much like HTML), and could both be searched for and cross-referenced. I think the major issue is coming up with whatever RTF customisation is necessary to embed these in the RTF text stream, and then the design of how to integrate them in the UI. But they could act as bookmark-anchors and cross-references. They could even be compiled to equivalent functionality in e.g. Word or Markdown.

This is the wishlist forum after all and word-level anchor management is a valid wish for Scrivener 4 8)

Randall, I write longish-form science (specifically grant applications and papers), and I really would not want general bibliography/reference management in Scrivener either. Scrivener would always be a poor replacement for my use of Bookends, which has >30 years of continual development behind it. I do keep all my figures in the binder in PDF format, which I edit with Adobe Illustrator; raw data is processed to raw graphics in MATLAB but not managed by Scrivener at all (possible to do though as Scrivener’s compile is flexible enough, just not worth the overhead). By using Pandoc for compile, one could trigger statistical analysis to autogenerate figures at compile time, you can look at projects like Bookdown (bookdown.org) where complete complex scientific books with autogenerated analysis and interactive apps can be produced from markdown (which is compiled to by Scrivener).

No it wouldn’t. There are only two sets of meta-data types in Scrivener that allow string specific annotation (not displayed as are “annotations” in-line, in the body of a document’s text. These are “Comments” and “Foot Notes”. The only thing about my suggestion for “bookmarks” is that they would be displayed in a list, much like the “outline” view mode" but where the current outline view mode only displays a list of documents and their meta-data, a bookmarks list would present a separate line for each occurrence of a bookmark (there might be any number of bookmarks within a single binder document).

Not sure a customer of Scrivener really needs to know who it is who writes the code or manages the writing of the code that makes up the Scrivener application suite. When a customer comments in a user forum, their comments should reflect their questions and issues and suggestions and hints and solutions to other customers problems… period. As a customer, issues with the product should not be clouded by sentimentality about or towards anyone associated with the product, the company that makes the product, or indeed any other customer of the product. Certainly, as a customer, I should not be made to feel that it is somehow wrong of me to ask a question or suggest a feature or point out a bug or that I am in some way responsible for how someone at the company that makes the product I’ve purchased might feel because I made a suggestion or comment or asked a question. As a software designer, I have certainly been on the company side of this issue. When a customer critiques the product, it isn’t a personal attack, nor is it a command or decree or a threat or a criticism of anyone who designed or built the product. Its simply a customer commenting on the product. Literature and Latte can take it or leave it.

Well he comments as though he has a direct stake in the company, that those of us who make suggestions for changes to the product are to be shamed and chastised into submission, as though he is a gate keeper. I can only imagine that his acting in so obvious and blatant a manner is company approved. As your comment more than indicates. Sad.

Ego should have nothing to do with any of this. If I own a Ford and my Ford acts up or I can’t figure it out, or I don’t like some aspect of its design, I should not have to worry about how Henry Ford’s great great grand kids will feel about me saying so.

It might be worth remembering that most every one of the people bothering to post here have chosen Scrivener as the product they will use as their primary writing environment. That is quite an endorsement. That is all the endorsement the producers of Scrivener should ever need. Writing these questions, offering suggestions, exposing bugs, critiquing the product, well, it should be seen as a complement, not a threat.