Collections, Sync and Compile


these are minor suggestions for an otherwise outstanding piece of software.*

Collections is the equivalent of Finder’s smart groups. I find that I use this way less than I would like because it involves forsaking the usual Binder view. Could there be a way to make them like smart groups? Or to create aliases for files inside Scrivener? I guess what I am trying to say is that it would make more sense to me if they worked like any other folder. I don’t know if this is technically feasible, though.

Sync with external folder: Scrivener already imports and exports markdown; it would be incredibly useful if it could also sync with some form of markdown conversion. This feature is really interesting, but I don’t use it for fear of losing footnotes (when syncing to RTF and viewing them in DT3) and because the markup for comments/footnotes makes no sense for other apps.

Compile: I miss the option to export the final text split to more than one file; that is, for example, each h1/chapter to a file. This one is thorny because it goes a bit against the idea behind compiling and it could probably be accomplished with specific delimiters and a shell script (suggestions would be welcome and appreciated).

Take it easy and be safe,

[size=30]* Except when it crashes on me 10 times in a matter of minutes because of tables. But that is really for some other time…[/size]

I can’t answer all of your questions:

Collections - you can make them like smart folders as a collection can be based on a search query using any of the meta data associated with a document in scrivener (including additional metadata elements that you can add yourself). For example; you could create a collection based on the value of a specific label value, or you can even use a REGEX expression.

Compile - One thing you can do is to select several documents and export them (File->Export) - this will generate a file for each document. It is per document. Compile is the only way you can ‘group’ documents under a chapter into a single output. Sadly there is no option to pick and choose combinations of documents and outputs (other than running multiple compiles). With exporting you need to export to a new folder (it is created by the export) and then move to final place. Export does a fresh create not an update of existing.

I use sync to external folder as I use markdown a lot. It is the only two way method in and out of scrivener but it is ‘asis’. It also appends document numbers which you must not mess with even though they can make the document names a bit ugly!

Thanks for replying.

  1. Yes, I know I can use it that way. I love it. I just wish it would appear as a folder in the normal binder view and not instead of the normal binder view.

  2. I also use the export files method as well, but if this were a compile feature it would allow for precise splitting of files instead of just exporting hundreds of small files.

  3. I also use markdown a lot, just not within scrivener (tbh, I actually use the markup to activate Keyboard Maestro macros and apply the appropriate style to the text). The real problem for me is the footnotes and the comments. I use a lot of them (I imported the primary sources for my research into Scrivener and I annotate them all the time). If I could keep all of this in sync in some external folder to browser it in DT3, that would be ideal.


If you compile to ePub and choose the option to “save source files in a folder with exported ePub”, you can access each compiled chapter as an xhtml file. Easy to open and edit those files in a another editor.

For all of your points, would other apps that already offer such features be better for your needs? There are a lot of more powerful, light, modern, and flexible options out there, including Obsidian, Roam, Craft, Notion, Typora, Ulysses, Bear, etc.


One alternative for research materials might be to use the Research Files as Aliases function, with the research files actually residing in an outside folder that’s indexed by DT3. See Section 9.2 in the manual for more information.

Another solution – the one I use – would be to simply store the research files in DT3, and use DT3’s excellent linking functions to create bookmark links from Scrivener.