Compiled draft as document in project?

I assume that when I drag a PDF of my compiled draft into the Scrivener binder it makes a static copy of it and puts it in the project package.

When I recompile, that copy does not change, and so updates are not reflected in the included PDF.

Is it possible to make that document dynamically link to the updated PDF, so that I could simultaneously view the draft text and the compiled file in split screens? Or is there some other way of effecting this?

This would be very useful to me debugging the Multimarkdown --> LaTeX compile process, for example. It would be really nice if the PDF automagically updated in my Scrivener view of it.

(Just to be clear, what I want is access to the PDF that is generated by converting the LaTeX file that is compiled by Scrivener. I understand that I need to manually do the LaTeX --> PDF conversion outside Scrivener).


You can do this if you use a symlink and always overwrite the same compiled PDF (so you may want to make a backup copy before you overwrite it).

  1. Run the compile and save the PDF.
  2. Create a symbolic link to that PDF (it must be a symbolic link, not just an alias).
  3. Rename the symlink file and give it the regular .pdf extension (cutting off “symlink”)–you may need to move it to another folder to do this, if it’s in the same location as the original file.
  4. Import the symlink file into Scrivener. It will act like a regular PDF since you changed the extension.
  5. When you next compile, overwrite the original compiled PDF.

You can then reload the symlinked PDF in Scrivener (hit the refresh button in the footer if you have it open at the time) and it will reflect the changes.

Notes on this–

  1. If you use Scrivener to backup your project as a zip file, it will resolve the link and so you will have in the backup the compiled PDF at the time of the backup.
  2. If you move your project to different computers, the link of course will not work unless the file you’re pointing to exists on both computers in the same location (so you could probably achieve this with Dropbox or a similar application, if you stored your compiled PDF there).

Extra note–I don’t use LaTeX or have to deal with any of that conversion, so you may have another step in there. The main point is that you need to overwrite the single PDF file so that you don’t break the symlink.

Beautiful, works like a charm. The circle is complete!