Create a link / bookmark / cross-reference or something (in a document / folder) to a text phrase in the same document /

How could one create a link / bookmark / cross-reference or something (in a document / folder) to a text phrase in the same document / folder or in another one?

Hi biff,

I think you’re asking the same question you asked back in 2017, in this post: [url]] The answer hasn’t changed: Scrivener supports linking to binder items, not linking to text

Here is a thread that discusses workarounds for “tagging” text, which might possibly be useful to you, depending on what it is you’re trying to accomplish: [url]]

If I’ve misunderstood your question, please correct me.


Hello Jim,

Yes, the same question again, many thanks for the link.

And thank you for the other link as well.

No, no, you understood the question absolutely correctly.

I just want an option like / the same option available in Word, OpenOffice or LibreOffice, etc. Respectively one doing the same. Just linking text phrases Just create cross-references / links to text phrases. I do not want to have the same text twice or more (if one changes one text phrase one would have to do it with its duplicate phrases too.).

And creating items in the Binder to link to them makes the structure (unnecessarily confusing, I would think.

I completely agree with you, Biff. I think it would be a highly useful feature. I make extensive use of it in OneNote, and would do the same in Scrivener if it were available.

Yes, it is a pity. Thank you, Jim!

This part sounds a lot like the “<$include>” tag. If you put a phrase into its own document (anywhere in the binder, not just in the draft), you can either enter the <$include> tag and then make it into a scrivener link, or you can name the (uniquely named) binder document like <$include:Row your boat>.

Everywhere you include that tag, the contents of the document titled “Row your boat” would be substituted upon compile. You could easily add a document bookmark to the Row your boat document, so that it’s listed in the inspector of any document you’re working on, and its contents are also visible and editable in the inspector.

This feature is available in the Beta (though I can’t check if it works properly yet).

So I would have to create a new document in the Binder only for doing this?

Upon compile only?

…ah, in the Beta version…I should have read your last sentence first before trying unsuccessfully.

Many thanks!

As I’m sure you were told in response to your original post, the comparison between Scrivener and Word, etc. is I mistaken from this pint of view. The text in a Word document is a single long file on disk or accessible in memory; the text in a Scrivener project is potentially thousands of separate files on disk, only the ones that are currently active being available for access.

Implementing a similar cross referencing system in Scrivener would, I suspect, create all sorts of problems.

On the other hand, if you’re keeping your whole text in a single document in Scrivener, you’re missing one of its most fundamental benefits and you might as well be using Word anyway.

It’s always worth checking the Wish List forum to see if this has been requested…and if so, whether L&L have commented on whether they are likely to add it.

I do not remember, sorry. But I would say, I do not compare anything here. And how could a / the comparison (if it was one) be mistaken?

Well, it can be one, it can be different files as well, as far as I know.

And what does that mean (here)?

Which ones? And why not just implenting it without creating all kind of problems?

I would not think so actually. Why do you think I keep my text (may be you mean the project) in a single document?

Thank you, but I assume, that might not help for now.

You said:

I’m not an expert, but if you change the .docx to .zip then extract it, you’ll find that all the actual text is in “Word > document.xml”, the rest is system/presentation matters.

It means that to cross-reference a stretch to another stretch in Word is a matter of setting a pointer to another point in the same file array which is open in memory. In Scrivener, if you have broken up your text into a hierarchy of subdocuments, your pointer is likely to be to a point in another file on disk, which is not currently open in memory; that must make it much more complicated.

As above.

I was using you in the impersonal sense, not you personally. On the other hand from other forum posts, it seems that there are those who do do something like that—I think I’ve read someone saying they have 60,000 words in a single document within a Scrivener project.

I suppose my point was that, to be able to implement word-processor style cross-referencing in Scrivener, Scrivener would have to use a single-file system like Word, which is to negate one of the whole reasons that KB developed Scrivener in the first place.

It might be worth it anyway. I seem to remember that back in the early days of Scrivener 2 for Mac, KB said that he wasn’t planning a style system, as it posed too many serious problems, or words to that effect; but we have a style system now … even though it is not identical to Word’s. So you never know, he might yet find the solution to cross referencing.



Sorry for my bad expression, I meant one can cross-reference / link text phrases in Word, Libre/OpenOffice with another document (as far as I remember), so link text in one document to another.

So a single file for the text only. OK, sorry, but I am not sure to understand what that means in this context.

Alright, implementing such will not be so easy. But possible, I guess. May be there are other ways, less difficult ones.

Ah, I see, sorry for misunderstanding. Oops, 60,000…maybe even more…well…I mean…here…there are strange people…unidentified…you’ll never know what they are doing…and why…

Yes, that would be great of course. Thank you, Mark.

A small point, if I remember correctly: I believe that the fundamental issue here is that RTF has no mechanism for providing anchors to specific words. Because Scrivener uses RTF as its base file format, any features it provides either have to be native to RTF or have a way to be extended through the RTF engine, and this isn’t one of them.

Word can do this because they have always used their own file formats that built in support for that functionality, whether in the old .doc format or the new .docx.

Interesting, Devin. I’ve wondered if there was some underlying technical difficulty of making internal links to text.

But as Comments/Footnotes are able to establish pointers back to text, it seems that anchors to text in RTF might not be the challenge, or the whole challenge. That is, if I click on a Comment in the inspector, Scrivener takes me to the anchored text.

(But perhaps this works for Comments/Footnotes because, by definition, the document containing the text is already loaded in the editor at the time? Don’t know.)

Frankly, because Comments can point to text, I’ve always assumed that technically text to text linking was also solvable, and that Scriv doesn’t have it because L&L doesn’t consider it within scope. I’ve observed they tend not to implement features that are achievable through other means–which is certainly their right–and there are certainly workarounds for the lack of text to text links.


I’ve been trying to re-find the thread where it was discussed, but no luck yet. Footnotes I believe are part of the RTF spec, though.

Devin, This is kinda old, from 2010, but maybe you meant this brief discussion?


That could be, but I thought there was a newer discussion that talked about how links were actually implemented and why they were chosen to work that way given the limitations of the RTF spec.

There’s always the chance that the discussion happened off-forum as well…

I can’t speak for Keith, but I’ve never quite understood what need intra-document links address that cannot be met by the more “Scrivener-like” method of splitting a document and using document-to-document links.

Generally speaking, I have found that many people take an unnecessarily narrow view of the Binder hierarchy, limiting themselves to only those divisions that will ultimately be visible to readers. In fact one of the main reasons why Scrivener is structured the way it is, is so that writers don’t have to limit themselves in that way.


I think in a lot of cases it’s a trust issue. Not having WYSIWYG is scary for a lot of people, because even while it can be a huge time sink as you rabbit trail into formatting minutiae, you at least feel like you have control of the process the whole way. Compiling is a big learning curve, and it takes time, and having to re-work your habits to accommodate a totally non-intuitive way of doing things requires a level of trust in the technology and the workflow that it takes time to acquire. WYSIWYG gives you the illusion of intuitiveness.

Probably also has to do with whether the writer’s own process is linear or not. Scrivener may be a more natural fit for writers who are naturally prone to jumping around.