Difficulty importing "Research Files as Aliases"

Hi to this forum. I have been using “DevonThink Pro Office” software for writing, but I’ve been encouraged to try Scrivener instead and I have to say it looks very promising. However I’ve come across a difficulty.

In the “DevonThink” software one can either import text files to the software database, or, alternatively, one can “index” them; what this means is that these “indexed” files stay in the OS X Finder - you just view and edit them in “DevonThink”. My way of working with research files has been to have a folder in the OS X Finder with many such ‘indexed’ RTF text research files, all of which I view and edit in the “DevonThink” software.

I was glad to see that there is an equivalent capability in Scrivener, being the “Import Research Files as Aliases” command. But it doesn’t appear to be working, so I must be doing something wrong.

I selected the “Research” icon in Scrivener’s “Binder”, then went to the menu: ‘File > Import > Research Files as Aliases…’. I navigated to my folder of RTF text files, but it won’t accept the folder for import, and the files inside are greyed-out as inaccessible!

I’ve obviously missed something simple here. How can I view and edit these “referenced” simple RTF text files?

Thank you.

Here is an earlier thread on this limitation.

Mainly, in Scrivener this tool is there to help cut down on overall project storage requirements, it isn’t quite analogous to DTP’s indexing features. If you have 30gb of PDF research, you needn’t bloat the project to 30gb to have it all at your fingertips. Scrivener is not a general purpose word processor and plain-text document editor nor storage system for these types of files. When you drop a .txt file into the Binder, it is converted to Scrivener’s format. When you drop a .docx, it is converted. Even the RTF format that Scrivener uses internally is not meant to be used externally as it contains special codes that enable features that RTF itself does not support natively (like linked images vs. embedded, or four different annotation & notation streams, to mention a few).

Scrivener is all about the writing interface, so it will defer to that if a research feature conflicts with that goal (such as having read-only text files, the only alternative if RTF conversion will not occur, which would be awkward in a program whose features revolve around writing). Its research storage is not meant to compete with the level of function you get from DTP. But on the flip side, DTP’s writing interface is fairly minimal. Many people combine the two tools together, if they need extensive research organisation as well as a solid writing platform.

Many thanks for your reply. However it seems strange that you can “bloat” the project with large PDFs, video, etc., etc., but not simple RTF text files. Similarly that one can import RTF text files, but not reference them as simple aliases, which is easily achieved with DevonThink. For this reason I see that Scrivener won’t suit my requirements.

Simple text documents (even heavily formatted documents, like RTF), are extremely space efficient, in relation to how much human-useful content they contain. Several seconds of even compressed video could probably equal a large novel worth of text. But that is besides the point: the point isn’t that RTF can bloat a project (it can, in extreme cases, like trying to import all of Wikipedia), but that Scrivener cannot open, edit and close random text files on your computer—it’s not that kind of software in the slightest.

So if you were looking for something to organise your .docx/.rtf/whatever files, as files—that’s not Scrivener. :slight_smile: It’s a program for creating those kinds of files, using hundreds of scraps of text integrated into a cohesive outlining model. The concept of a “document”, at least in terms of a self-contained file that can be loaded in Pages or what have you, is somewhat abstract in Scrivener until you export.

If they are RTF files they have pretty simple formatting - I am not sure I grasp what the problem with dragging them into the Research Folder creates ?
I do realise it’s a slightly different way of doing things … but we all have to embrace some changes. I don’t get from your post what function or capability is lost by including the RTFs inside Scrivener as opposed to being external references.