can I create 'aliases' in Binder that link to other Binder docs, not external files?

Stupid question, and apologies if it’s been asked here before — I did some searches, but there are so many threads about links I couldn’t figure out how to refine my search effectively!

So here’s my question. The way I use the Binder, it’s really helpful to me to use lots of aliases within my folder structure — aliases for docs that are themselves in the Binder, NOT for external files. In other words, I like to have Scrivener docs appear in more than one place inside the Binder, but don’t want to duplicate the docs (in case I update the contents). Before I started using Scrivener, I used the Finder pretty intensively to organise my work, and that was a key element of how I kept my thoughts structured.

Now in the Finder, it’s a doddle to create an alias for a doc, but I can’t figure out a quick and easy way to do the same thing in Scrivener! Instead, for each doc I want an alias for, I’m creating a new untitled doc and then inserting the link manually to the text, which gets old really fast if you want to make aliases for a dozen documents! Am I missing something? Seems like an obvious piece of functionality — but then I guess everyone’s idiosyncratic way of working feels natural to them!

I think what you are asking is: In a Scrivener doc, can one create a link to other Scrivener docs.

If that is what you want to do, it’s easy.

I’m not my Scriv PC right now, so here is a page that will give you the steps: … scrivener/

Hope that helps,


Every item in the Binder is genuine. There is no such thing as an alias Binder item that is itself just a symbolic representation of a file that is elsewhere in the Binder. So, no, you cannot recapitulate right in the Binder that trick you used in the Finder.


Thanks for the help! I was afraid that would be the answer. Pity.

I guess my next question is: if the nearest you can get to creating an alias in Scrivener is creating a new document which contains a link to the original document, is there any way then to expedite that process? I guess my fantasy is some kind of command or procedure so that one could select Doc X in the binder and then easily create a new Doc A which contains a link to Doc X. The only way I can figure out to do it at the moment is

  1. create a new empty Doc A
  2. split the editor (or lock Doc A)
  3. select Doc X in binder (making sure it opens in the other editor pane if Doc A not locked)
  4. Option-drag Doc X from the Binder into Doc A, creating the link.
    (Or even more laboriously: use the Create Scrivener Link command, navigating to the desired Doc X!).
  5. rename Doc A to match Doc X.

Not very streamlined… : )

Would this be a bit quicker?

(First make sure the Inspector is showing references – ctl-opt-cmd-N)

  1. cmd-N (create new document A)
  2. Drag (not option-click, just drag) Document X from the binder into the reference panel.
  3. Right-click on the reference in Doc A to go to Doc X. You can choose to open it in the same editor, the other editor or the Quick Reference panel.

So, you now have a link to Doc X in Doc A, and you’ll find that Doc X now automatically has the reverse link created as well, so you can toggle back and forth. (You have to have the ‘Create Back-link references’ option ticked in Preferences > Navigation for this to work).

Does that help?

Well, fascinating (and very helpful!) to learn about the back-links appearing in the References section of the Inspector! A feature I totally hadn’t twigged to (I usually have the Ref pane set to Project refs not Document refs, so I’d never noticed it). Thank you for a fabulous tip — it’s great to be able to work out whether (and where) I’ve created one of my homemade ‘aliases’ somewhere in the Binder.

As for creating my ‘aliases’, I think alas I need to have the link appear in the actual document rather than the Inspector: that way it feels more like the new doc in some way ‘is’ the linked document, the way true aliases are — well, at least in my head they are : ) — instead of a mere access point to it. Funny, the mental maps we construct of all this digital functionality… More pragmatically, it’s also helpful if I’m scrolling down through the Binder (or navigating back through the Editor history) to have something show up in the Editor window itself, since I may not have the Inspector open to the Refs pane. But thank you for a creative alternative solution. I’ll certainly think on’t…

I think you can still do that: just opt-drag Doc X into the editor in Doc A. The back link should still be created Doc X (but will only be seen in the Reference Panel of X).

It doesn’t quite do what you want, but it does shorten your process by a step or two pending any changes to the program… :wink:

Actually, there may be another way which could be useful… it takes advantage the ‘wiki links’ feature.

Try this

a) In the Binder in Doc A, press Enter then cmd-c. This puts the Doc name in the clipboard, of course.
b) Cmd-N to create a new document, with the name ready to be edited. Name it or cmd-V to enter the Doc A name.
c) Ctl-Tab to move to the editor and type [[ the cmd-v then ]]. This will create the link back to Doc A. The back link will be created in the normal way.

If you have a keyboard recorder (like Keyboard Maestro) you could wrap this up into one key command.

Don’t know whether it would fit in with your workflow but it’s another option.

BTW: you have to have “Automatically detect Scrivener Links” ticked in Preferences > Corrections > Substitutions for this to work.

I hope you’ll excuse a possibly stupid question, but exactly what is it you are trying to do with all the aliases/links? From your first post I got the feeling that maybe you want to see a specific document in different contexts? Like being part of both section A and section B. Is it something like that? If yes, then maybe you should explore Collections instead? A specific document X could easily belong to both collection A and collection B.

brookter — Thank you! Will give that a try when I’m feeling a bit more adventurous. It does look several steps shorter than my current procedure! Though of course, not as streamlined as my fantasy option, which would be something like: Opt-Cmd-drag-and-drop document to new position in Binder, creating a new document containing a link to the old…

Lunk — not a stupid question at all. I’ve been trying to think through why I want aliases in the actual binder rather than via Collections and I think the answer comes down to folder structure. There’s no way (as far as I know?) to group the docs in a Collection into subfolders — a big Collection will always be a long, long list of docs. Not so useful as an organizational tool! Just as problematically, there’s no way to group individual Collections in an enclosing folder: your collection of Collections (so to speak) turns into another long list to scroll through. And I’d need rather a lot of Collections, if they’re doing duty for the Binder folders where I want aliases. I guess I basically want Collections to work like the Binder, which would essentially be the same as introducing aliases into the Binder…

I suppose the real issue is probably that I’m trying to use Scrivener heavily at the note-taking and idea-gathering stage, whereas its core strengths are really focussed on the text-manipulating stage. And I can see that at THAT stage, you’re unlikely to want the same exact text showing up in two places. At least, not permanently — and if you’re just temporarily playing around with alternative versions of the ms, creating a couple of Collections while you decide where the text should go works fine (and they can be deleted when you’re done, instead of cluttering up the Collections pane for ages). So there’s no need for aliases.

But I’m still trying to pull my materials together. In some ways Scrivener seems ideal for that — because of the way it allows you to break documents up into sections, to tag them with keywords, to integrate folder management and doc-editing activities more smoothly than, say, switching between the Finder and Word. BUT…the inability to put aliases of docs and folders where I need them is a definite stumbling block. For example: I’ve got several different (but related) non-fiction projects on the drawing board, each of which needs a section on the contrast between naturalistic and allegorical modes of storytelling. When I reach that section in each project, my text will draw on the same sheaf of notes. I don’t particularly want to park those documents out of sight in the Inspector as research links — it’s much more perspicuous to have them right there in the appropriate spot in the project outline. Now if I were organizing my notes in the Finder, I’d probably create a folder inside each project containing aliases of all the relevant documents: a quick drag and drop operation. And I’d be able to flick through them rapidly via Quick Look if I wanted to glance at them. In Scrivener, things aren’t so easy… It’s not an insuperable obstacle; there are run-rounds. But it’s frustrating when I keep finding myself wanting to share documents across different projects — or different sections within a project: eg “maybe some of the allegory discussion should go into the intro, and then I’ll return to it in Ch2; let’s dump a copy of those notes in both places as an aide-memoire…”). And then I wish this were a more streamlined procedure, because I’ve been spoilt by the Finder, which makes it a doddle.

Does that make any sense?

It makes sense, but to me it sounds like you need another app for the data gathering phase, like Devon Think Pro, or even possibly Evernote.

Devonthink may indeed be a better tool for this stage of your process. Try the trial and look up “replicants”. They’re essentially links to other files that you can file away anywhere in a database’s file structure. I’d consider creating a database for your project, separate from other databases of files you might organize in Devonthink.

I’d definitely second the recommendation for Devonthink. It’s not cheap (£38-115 dependingversion), but for long term storage and analysis of research it’s unparalleled on the Mac as far as I know.

As well as the ‘replicants’ feature rdale mentions, it has very effective AI which will identify similar documents to the one you’ve displayed, based on their content, allowing you identify patterns between them. It’s a powerful way of identifying themes (and it takes a bit of getting used to, because of that). Export between DT and Scrivener is good too, so you can use DT to identify a subset of relevant files (which could include the ‘repeats’ you want) and drag them into Scrivener to work on further.

The top level version (DevonTHINK Pro Office) also includes OCR. It’s the version I have and I think it’s well worth the money.

Gosh, interesting. Thanks so much everyone. Will look into it!

That said, I love Scrivener for the way it lets you keep notes and thoughts and scraps of actual writing all integrated so that they can form a kind of continuum, with the final text gradually coalescing out of the chaos. I should maybe clarify that when I talk about wanting to make aliases for documents containing ‘notes’, half the time these are not research but scrawled thoughts of my own I want to develop further. You can see why I might want to stash them pro tem in a few different parts of the ms and see where they come to roost — that’s the point of the aliases.

It may be that my best bet is to use the tricks you’ve helpfully suggested for streamlining link-creation and carry on. Maybe if I have a whole folder of docs to be aliased I should turn it into a file and lock in scrivenings mode: that way at least I can create a single link (ie pseudo-alias) to the folder, and view the subdocs all at once. (I think?..).

Thanks to everyone for your helpful suggestions (and for reading my long long screed above!).

Just tried the [[ scrivener link ]] trick. Fabulous!!