Character photos auto connect to multiple cards?

My project was built on a blank template. I’ve never been one to do things with photos of my characters but decided to explore that aspect of Scrivener. So I created a folder for characters, added a bunch of cards, and added photos.

Now I realize that it would be cool to have those character photos show up on the pieces of text that feature that character. Do I have to add that to each one or is there a way to somehow auto connect them?

I hope someone understands what I am asking. I’m still wearing my newbie hat. :smiley:


I’ve two ideas about what you mean, so let me take a shot at it. :slight_smile:

It’s possible to use an image on the index card associated with a document rather than the standard text synopsis. (In fact it’s possible to have both, but you can only view one at a time.) So if you have a character sheet document for Batman, you can choose to drop a photo of Batman onto the index card to view in place of the text synopsis when you’re looking at the character sheet’s index card on the corkboard or inspector. (The outliner always uses the text synopsis.) To do that, select the Batman character sheet document in the binder, open the inspector, and toggle to image synopsis mode by clicking the up/down button in the right of the synopsis header to select the image icon. Then just drag your image onto the card from Windows Explorer or from your binder. You can toggle back to text at any time or use the “X” button in the right of the synopsis header to remove the photo.

Once you’ve added a synopsis image like that, it’s not associated with the original file, so for instance if you dragged an image from your binder, you could later delete that item from the binder without affecting Batman’s character sheet synopsis image.

If you mean rather that you’d like every scene in your novel that involves Batman to be linked to his image, there are a couple ways you could do this. If a link is sufficient, you can use Scrivener links–for instance, select “Scene 1: Alfred solves Batman’s tuxedo crisis” and open the inspector, then click the reference icon in the inspector footer (second from the left, looks like a some books) to view the document references. You can then drag documents from the binder into the reference pane or use the “+” button in the header to add documents. Double-clicking a reference item will load it in the split editor, so when you come to Scene 1 later, you can easily call up all your linked documents and open them alongside your main text.

Another link solution is to add a Scrivener link directly within the text. For instance, load Scene 1 in the editor, then select the first instance of Batman’s name and choose Edit > Scrivener Link… to create a link to Batman’s character sheet. This is just like your typical web-link in practice; click the linked text to load the linked document in the split editor. This could be handy if you want to link specific text for when you’re working, rather than having just a group of links associated with the document in general.

Third option is to just stick the character photo directly in the relevant document’s Document Notes in the inspector, as this is a rich text field and supports images. There’s no linking involved here; it’s more like putting the image in the synopsis in that respect, so deleting the original photo item from the binder won’t remove it from another item’s document notes. Depending on the size of your images, you may want to do some image editing outside of Scrivener to scale things, since the notes field is much more limited than the full editor. This could be handy if you don’t typically use the document notes for much text or if you want to always see a handful of relevant images while working on a given document. (You could of course also use the split editor for that, loading up a bunch of images on the corkboard or such.)

None of these are automatic, since there’s not really a way (yet!) that Scrivener could know exactly which items you want to associate and how, but tools like the project search should help you step through things quickly once you decide what you want to do. And of course if this is more preliminary rather than something you’re doing after you’ve already written over half the draft, then it’ll be easy to do as you go.

Thanks so much, MM, for your very helpful reply. This makes a few more lightbulbs click on.

So because I started with a blank template, I don’t have any character sheets. Is it worth trying to understand to get one into my current project? Do I get anything else from a character sheet? What I did was just create a folder in the draft and put all the character images on cards in there. Problem with that is that I was pretty much stuck with the size. Now, after reading a bunch of posts here, I see if I had put the photos into the research folder, I could scale them if I wanted to see them larger. So maybe I should move them all into research? Plus I can’t drag the images from the cards anywhere unless they are in the research folder first.

I like the idea of putting the images into the document notes too but then, if I have 50 documents with one character, I would have to insert that 50 times so maybe not. :laughing:

The split screen may be the ticket. Which is fine. Now that I know what my options are I won’t worry about trying to do some of those things. All good.

One more thing I can’t figure out - when I open an image in the research folder I know how to get to the slider that adjusts the size but in some posts it mentioned being able to set the ratio to 3 x 5 but I can’t seem to find that anywhere.

Thanks again.

Character sheets in Scrivener are simply regular binder documents. Some of the project templates include a character sheet template document that are set up to use an image synopsis (as I described above), have some basic character sheet text (prompts for “physical description” or “favorite color” or what have you), and may have a label of “Character Notes” or such, but all of this is just done starting with a regular blank document in a Scrivener project and then applying those settings. It’s simple to make your own, but there’s nothing special you get out of it other than a starter document that you can duplicate and fill in when you want to make notes on a new character. If that kind of organization tickles your fancy, go for it; otherwise, no need. It’s just a document, no different from any document you may already have created for pasting images and typing notes.

Assuming you created a document and then pasted the image into the text area of the document, you should be able to right-click the image and choose “Edit Image” from the context menu to get a bit more control over the scaling and such. Obviously Scrivener isn’t an image editor, so you don’t have a ton of options, but you should be able to enlarge the image a bit that way.

The distinction with the Draft folder is that it can only contain text documents. You can include images by inserting them into the documents, as it sounds like you did, but you can’t import images directly as their own items. This is because the Draft folder is basically your compileable folder, intended to hold the actual manuscript that you’re going to compile into a single file and send off to your editor one day. You certainly can store supplemental note documents here if you want and simply choose to exclude them from compile, but as a general rule, the compiler needs to be able to process these documents and spit them out into various (text) file formats, so only text documents can go there.

Anywhere else in the binder is fair game for any type of file, including PDFs, JPGs, PNGs, etc. So rather than pasting the image into a text document, you can actually just dump the file directly into the binder (it’s then imported into your project by simply copying the file as-is into the project directory, so if you delved into the Scrivener project folder you’d find your imported PNGs in the Docs folder and so on). You can load the image in the editor and scale it, you can give it its own document notes and synopsis if you want, it can have its own references, etc. You also get the option then of opening it in an external editor if you wish.

If you want to move the images from their current in-document location to become their own items in the binder, I think you can just drag the image from the text and drop it in the binder (outside of the Draft folder), but I’m not on Windows at the moment so I can’t verify that that’s working. If you have the images already on your computer elsewhere, though, you could just batch import them by selecting them in Windows Explorer and dragging them into your Research folder or where have you. That might be easier in any case, if you have a bunch.

Whether you want to make the images their own items or not is really up to you. A potential benefit of having the image inserted into a document is that you can just use that document to type in character notes and keep everything together in a single document, and you can always use the image synopsis to make the document use the photo on the index card on the corkboard. Benefit to separate images might be easier manipulation and less distraction when you just want to call up a reference photo, or the ability to print out your character notes without also printing a bunch of images, etc.

The ratio has to do with the index cards on the corkboard, so you’ll need to have the corkboard mode in the editor. In the right of the editor footer (View > Layout > Show Footer View) you should see a little icon of four rectangles; click that to get various corkboard options including the card ratio.

Oh you are just full of all sorts of wonderfully useful information, MM. Thank you. I don’t need any of that other character stuff so this might work just fine.

I see what I did now.

I didn’t drag the photos into a new document, I put them up in the synopsis corner. I just experimented with it your way and I see what it does, it puts the photo behind the text document, so it’s attached, but it’s attached at that full size which I can then edit. Very cool.

I think the characters themselves will be fine in their small size and I can do the split screen to pull them up when need be. Dragging the larger photos to a document will be perfect for when I am trying to call up a setting.

Thanks again for helping me to understand this feature set so much more.