Copy Document Notes To New Subdocument/Split Document?

Hello all,

I’m wondering whether there’s any way to get Scrivener to automatically copy the Document Notes from a folder or document into the notes for new related documents I create.

Currently, I have general notes on the overall chapter, but I split scenes as I go. Every time I create a new document within my chapter folder or use the Split at Selection tool, I lose the notes that I was referencing to write the previous scene and have to pause, go back, and manually copy them in. I assume there must be a better way to do this. The way that Scrivener automatically copies the title of the previous document to the new one when you Split at Selection seems perfect—if only I could get it to do that for the notes!

Would love any suggestions or workarounds you might have. Thank you!

Well my thinking on this is that if a number of different chunks of text all have the same central pool of notes they should be referring to, the Document Notes feature isn’t the best tool for the job in the first place. That tool is specifically designed for cases where each chunk has its own little notepad, separate from everything else. That is the premise it is designed from, and so yeah—trying to use it otherwise will involve some unavoidable overhead.

My approach would be to keep these central notes in a single document—in the main text for that document. Here is an approach:

  1. Create a new file in the chapter folder and call it “Chapter Notes”, or something more specific if you prefer. Paste the notes you’ve been manually copying into each chunk into the editor.
  2. In the lower right corner of the editor you’ll find an icon with a document and a checkmark. That indicates this item should be compiled into the book—click it. Now the icon has an ‘X’ in the corner, and that means the document will not compile. Thus we have notes right in the outline, but they won’t be a part of the book when we compile.
  3. The next step is to reference these notes so they are easily available from the scenes we’re working on. Click on the Bookmark tab in the inspector, and drag the “Chapter Notes” document into the bookmark list. You should see something quite similar to how Document Notes works—you can view and edit these notes—but what is special about this approach is that when you do so you’re editing that original document in the binder. Thus every document referring to this is up to date, there is no duplication of data.
  4. Now try splitting this scene—see how the bookmark to chapter notes remains?

An alternative to having a separate “Chapter Notes” file that doesn’t compile is to store these kinds of chapter notes into the folder’s main text area, and then bookmark that into each subdocument. So long as your compile settings omit folder text from the output, that’s a safe place to jot down notes on the chapter itself.

Granted, if you hit ⌘N to create a new file from scratch it won’t have the Chapter Notes bookmark assigned already—you’d have to copy and paste the bookmark from an existing chunk of text, or simply drag and drop from the binder. There are ways to get that kind of thing established as a default, using the Document Templates feature and setting up a default template for the chapter folder itself. I don’t know if it would be worth all of that setup for each chapter though. If that interests you, refer to §7.5 in the user manual, starting on page 122, as well as §7.5.2, where setting the default subdocument template is discussed.

Funny, I thought the Split function did duplicate the doc notes. But I must be misremembering. It is a little surprising that it doesn’t work that way. I wonder what the thinking is behind leaving the doc notes behind? I should have thought the most conservative move would be to duplicate the notes along with, since Scriv doesn’t know what parts of the doc you are splitting the notes might pertain to.

I think it should be in fact—at least that is how Scrivener 2 worked, and it is how I documented it (meaning at some point the v3 beta worked that way unless I made a mistake).

Be that as it may, even if it was working the way I seems it should, that still results in multiple instances of the same data, so if the idea is that a bunch of files are to be sharing one common pool of notes, Bookmarks are a better approach and provide functionally the same accessibility and ease of use that Document Notes do.

As of Scrivener 3, document notes are not duplicated - this is a split function, after all, not duplicate. As a user myself, I found it annoying ending up with multiple copies of my notes after a duplication. So notes are left in the first document, the same as the synopsis, and it’s up to the user to copy any relevant notes across after the split.