Can I access the same text (document) from different folders in Binder without duplicating it?

I’m pretty new to Scrivener, so apologies if I’ve missed an obvious way to do this or my terminology is wrong.

The way I’m organizing my work in the Binder, I’ve got some notes in a text document created by adding new text to a “Places” folder. This text is useful for and belongs in several different folders (for example, it belongs both under “Places” and under “Political Factions”). I’d like to be able to view the same, full text document in several folders, and not just a link to it. I especially want to have edits made to the text file change the content in all iterations of the text regardless of whether I accessed it through Folder X or Folder Y.

I would just duplicate the text and add it as a new document to all the folders, but then changes made in one won’t be passed on to the others. Any thoughts on how I can better organize this?


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You could achieve this with Collections (Scrivener manual 10.2, page 178).

Thank you! This seems so very much like the answer to my question, especially given the manual descriptions. However, I either made a mistake executing the instructions or poorly explained my hope.

When I (try to) use links or the <$include> placeholder I don’t seem to actually get a “file”- like text document in my binder that fully displays all the text; I get a link very similar to what I would get if I just dragged and dropped a different text document into the editor or onto selected text in a different document.

It seems like I would need to compile to make this text visible in multiple folders. However, I’m currently working on a draft. I would like to see the full text of this document in several different working folders all the time, just as if I had duplicated the document and moved the copies to different places. It’s not for the end product but the working process. If the answer you provided achieves that, then I’ve probably implemented it incorrectly and I’ll try to go back and figure out what happened.

Thanks again1

Maybe this video gives you a better idea: Organising Your Projects - How To Use Collections - YouTube

Thanks yet again. I did just watch that exact video minutes before my previous response.

As far as I can tell, what “collections” does is let me access a collection of documents (which could be just a single document) that reside elsewhere in my binder. In this way, it does create a “duplicate” of an original document and would indeed change were I to edit that original document. I could create a number of collections and thus have multiple copies of this original document. However, I can’t see how this helps. It does not let me file that duplicate document into the other folders where I need it to appear.

In other words, I cannot drag and drop a “collection” into given folders. So in my binder, where I have a folder for Chapter One and a folder for Chapter Two, I cannot make it so that both folders contain the same “TEXT” document and that both versions of this TEXT will change when I edit the source of that text document.


So what you actually want is some kind of “include”? So the “TEXT” document appears in other folders like it would be a “real” file? I don’t think that’s possible (but what do I know).

Do you need this file for reference when writing?

It sounds like you’re looking for something like “mirror documents”, which could be sprinkled throughout your Binder and which would always match the content of the source document on which they’re based.

Nope, no way do to that in Scrivener. :pouting_cat:

The thing is, the bookmarks feature in Scrivener v3 seems like it would provide exactly what you want, I think, but using a slightly different implementation than you’re expecting.

When a document is Bookmarked inside the Inspector’s Bookmarks panel, you can see the entire text for it, like so:

This image shows the Metadata document in the editor, and the full text for the Bookmarks document in the Inspector (on the right).

What I recommend you do is store a Document Bookmark inside the Inspector of Political Factions, pointing to your Places document. You could also add a Document Bookmark for Places to whatever other documents you want to reference it. And if you want to be able to reference Places from most documents, then make it a Project Bookmark, instead of a Document Bookmark.

For more details, have a look at the Scrivener Tutorial, specifically the Bookmarks document. Draft > The Basics > Get Oriented > Main Interface > The Inspector > Bookmarks.

If Bookmarks won’t work for you, come back and explain in a bit more detail what’s missing, as there might be other alternatives.



Excellent idea @JimRac
Also, I’d like to throw 8.1.4 “Splitting the Editor” & “8.1.5 Using Copyholders” into the ring.


Yes, agreed, I was going to suggest those viewing capabilities in conjunction with doc links, if bookmarks were insufficient.

That said, the bookmarks feature was designed specifically for this use case, so hopefully the OP agrees! :grin:


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Hi! You are both so generous with your time and knowledge–thank you! The bookmark suggestion seems like a very clever and inventive use of features to accomplish this. I’m about to give it a whirl. I probably should have waited to reply until I had done so, but just wanted to get back ASAP to say thank you to both of you. I’ll be giving this and the split/copyholder idea trial runs real soon. Thanks!!


This is interesting; I’d never known about copyholders or placeholders before this forum thread!

The bookmark idea is the closest I think I’ll get. Basically, I create a “shell” copy of the target text that I leave blank, and then drag the desired text document into the bookmark tab of the inspector, where it then displays in the main inspector window below. The only drawback is that none of the target text will appear in corkboard mode, because it is all in the bookmark of the inspector.

But, it’s a great solution and the other proposed solutions have helped me grasp Scrivener’s functions better. Much obliged!

With Sincere Thanks,

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Hi Chris,

Glad you found it helpful.

I just want to make sure you realize you can display the Inspector in Corkboard mode, as below:

In this image, the contents of binder item The Inspector is being displayed on the Corkboard. Document Label & Status is selected, and the Inspector is showing Label & Status’ document bookmarks.

Another feature you can leverage, if you believe you’ll be accessing one or more reference documents constantly over the course of a writing session, is to open them in a separate window as a Quick Ref panel. I use Quick Ref panels nearly every writing session. See the Tutorial for more details, Draft > Going Further > Referring to More Documents.


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You should also be aware of scrivener links. With the right preference setting, you should be able to type “See [[Document Title]]” of the source document in your otherwise empty placeholder document. Clicking on the resulting link will take you to the original for reading/editing, but it also gives you something to see on the cork board.

Note converting [[Document Title]] to a scrivener link is an option that can be turned on/off, and I’m not 100% that it was implemented for the Windows version. If not, you can do it manually from the menu.

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Thanks, I didn’t know about these either! It’s great that these can be viewed on corkboard.

Wow, this completed the workaround really well. Thanks again.

Use the <$Include> placeholder tag, §10.1.5.

How is this supposed to work without compiling?

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Does it matter? When you’ve set it up, you can click on the placeholder and it takes you to the “included” document and when it Compiles, it inserts that document.

It matters to the OP. Who explicitly told us (see post #3 in this thread) that he already tried that and it’s not helpful. 🤷

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If you need transclusion in your writing process, you could either:

  1. switch permanently to a writing app that offers it, or
  2. use Scrviener’s ‘sync with external folder’ feature to share your files with a transclusion-capable companion app and then re-import to Scrivener if you ever need to.

iA Writer calls this ‘content blocks’. Roam has it as well. Obsidian also, allowing writers to embed full files or single blocks.

It would mean using plain text / markdown, rather than RTF, but that comes with a lot of benefits… some of which we have all experienced with the recent switch to markdown on this forum.