Can I link in project A to a document in project B?

Is there a way to create a Scrivener link that links to a document within another Scrivener project? Not to the project itself (Igloos-of-South-America.scriv) but to a specific document within that document (“Igloos of Paraguay”)?

I tried Option-dragging a document to another project, but it copied it instead of linking. I checked the manual, and didn’t find this feature.

In general, I love Scrivener’s model of keeping all documents related to a project together in one place: a single Scrivener project.

But in those cases where I am referencing and updating the same source documents from several DIFFERENT projects, which I do NOT want to combine into one Scrivener project, it would work much better to link to a single copy of the source documents, rather than try to keep several copies synchronized.

For instance, if I am writing a series of SF novels, or a biographies of several members of the same family, I might want to keep the individual books separate from each other as I write, yet refer to the same reference documents. If I update the reference documents (better world-building, additional interviews with neighbors, new photos), I want all the reference links in all the working projects to take me to the same, updated reference files.

The easiest way to do this would be to have a Scrivener project just for the reference notes in common, and link to it from the Scrivener projects containing each book. So for instance:

Jones family reference.scriv
Mervyn Jones.scriv
Penelope Jones.scriv
Michael Jackson-Jones.scriv

Is there a way to do this?


What I do in such circumstances is keep my “master library” in DevonThink (I expect Eaglefiler or Together would also suffice) and drag and drop copies of the most relevant documents into individual Scrivener projects, as required. This follows a scheme described by the historian and author Steven Berlin Johnson. You could do something similar with Scrivener References in the Inspector, or imported Aliases in the Binder, and the Finder, I imagine, and either of those would deal with the updating issue.

Another way about it is to keep all related books/publications in one scrivener project, assuming that they do share a lot of information in common. In the SF series example, you’d have your world building information at hand, and any already-published books would either be moved out of the draft folder and into a “Book X” folder, or you could take a compiled PDF/RTF with annotations and document notes compiled in-line and re-import it into your research folder, archiving the original project and deleting the draft documents before starting on book Y.

There are pros and cons to either approach. Using an external archive and linking to documents therein runs the risk of broken links as you decide to rearrange that archive, or you make a mistake when restoring from a backup after some kind of disaster. The keep-everything-related-in-one-project method means that backups can get a little bloated (depending on how many embedded images you use). Also, compiling might get a bit tricky if you’re ever working on two or more volumes at once–this isn’t too bad, as you can compile a particular folder out of a choice of several, effectively giving you multiple Draft Folders, but deadline dementia can make even the simplest things seem daunting.

Hugh, an even easier way to go:

  1. Select the item in the DT file.
  2. Use “Edit: Copy Item Link” command.
  3. Select the location in the Scrivener project.
  4. Paste.

You get a blue underlined link in Scrivener. Click on it, and the DT item opens.

Thanks, druid!


Can one do the opposite too? i.e. linking in another program to a document in Scrivener. Some programs let you get an internal link to their documents so that upon clicking the program would launch and open the document subsequently. I wonder if such a thing would be possible in Scrivener too.

Thanks in advance,


bb, what you can do is right-click on a document in the Research folder and choose Open > in External Editor.

Hugh, I just tried your tip, and it just opens an instance of the document in the other Scrivener Editor window. Drat!

binkybok, I want that functionality too.

It is MUCH more useful to be able to link directly to a document within a Scrivener project than to link to the project as a whole. Kind of like the difference between sending your friend to the EXACT web page that has the article, video, or blog post you want them to see… vs. sending them to or, or

The bigger a Scrivener project, the more useful it becomes to be able to link directly to a document within it.

What I’m really after is a way to point to a document WITHIN a Scrivener project… from ANY other document, Scrivener or not. Which requires a link format, generated by Scrivener, that will allow deep links. Keith? Anybody?

There isn’t currently a way to get a link out of Scrivener to do what you want. That’s why I suggested keeping all of your related writing in one project – it’s the only way to link to specific parts of a scrivener project safely.

Although… you could do an external folder sync, which would allow you to create references to an up-to-date version of any of your text documents, but they’d be outside of your projects.

One for the feature request list, apparently.

Hi , I have a similar question (posting in this thread along with the main thread to attract more views.)

I want to copy/drag text clippings from documents stored in DT Pro and have Scrivener create a new doc (scrivenings?) from the clip with a url link back to the DTP file, preferably DTP’s “Copy Item Link” for a permanent link. I especially like the new feature of writing in compose mode with separate floating “quick reference panels” so DTP’s item link doesn’t really help in this regard.

Another option but i don’t how to do this, would be to click open the link as “quick look” type of quick reference panel.

Eager for your suggestions.