Display image placeholder thumbnails in editor

Images as placeholder tags, again. Yes, what I would really like is the opportunity to include them as placeholders, but see a preview. Placeholders would behave like linked images, but with the link code exposed.

The advantages would be the same as using placeholders (ease of relinking to different folders, or post-processing the link syntax), and of using linked images (you can see them in the text, without them adding weight to the document).

I would personally find it a very elegant solution, making use of existing features in Scrivener, that would work great together.


If you can see the image, it is adding weight to the document, in terms of requiring the Editor to open and display it.

Not more weight than with linked images. But with the advantage of being able to access to links as editable text.


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Disagree. Opening and viewing images in the Editor slows everything down, especially if you have many image files or large ones. If all you see in the Editor is a link, on the other hand, the image has no effect on performance until Compile.

If you have tons of RAM and a fast computer, and you don’t have a lot of images in the scrivenings you’re looking at, all this could be a negligible concern, of course, but the option is worth considering.

“Linked images” in Scrivener, as per the User Manual, are images inserted in the Editor using the “Insert > Image Linked to File” command. So, either they are linked with this command, or with a string in the text, it’s hard to see the added weight of a preview.


drmajorbob’s comment refers to the fact that Scrivener needs to load images into memory to display them, even if if they are stored somewhere else. If you have Scrivenings mode active, Scrivener stitches together many separate documents and all their resources into memory, which will slow down older computers.

Anyway, for those of us with a fast computer or who don’t worry about this, then having previews for placeholders could be useful. I wouldn’t build it this way though. I would use Linked Images, and add the ability to add attributes using the Inspector or an image dialog. This way you use the existing mechanism of linked images (which can point to aliases outside the project folder), and the attributes will be applied at compile time.

p.s. and just to mention with a Markdown workflow this is not an issue as you can add attributes, change formats etc. as we discussed in the other thread. But for straight compiles then placeholders are currently the only way to specify syntax that is amenable to transformation…

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That doesn’t make placeholder tags with preview any bit different from what Scrivener calls linked images. In both cases the same source image has to be read and shown in the Editor.

An option to make them be shown or hidden would let one work with the placeholder tags as simple strings, or as a mix of both a string and an image.

But this would exclude the advantages of placeholder tags: being able to edit them and post-process them en masse. Unless there is a way to do this type of processing inside the Inspector, and not only in the text.

I would probably still find being able to insert my images by writing something like “$img full-screen.png” and “$img compact-view.png” while typing handy.

The issue is not being able to see the image next to the text referring to it. And for someone like me, both a technical writer and an iconologist, having images and text one next to the other is simply a need.

(The technical manual I’m working on has 1,027 images at the moment; their number is going to increase).


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That’s a good idea … and already a provided feature. I put each image (as <$img:externalFileName>) in a document by itself. That document can have any metadata I wish.

Yes, it would be the same as linked images, I think @drmajorbob’s point was this should be optional. Another idea would be a floating preview, in this way the text is unchanged but hovering a placeholder would show the linked image. But perhaps you prefer to see things laid out?

The inspector can already mass-edit some metadata types, but not generic text so it would need to be modified to do so. I do agree there is something minimalist and flexible about placeholder text, which the GUI route may not be able to replicate in all scenarios…

The markdown workflow does use linked images in the editor, you see the images without issue. This is a working solution with the caveat that it didn’t suit your personal workflow.

:blush: Yes you are correct of course!

Linked images have several limitations, unfortunately. One of them is that you can’t resize PDF files. I don’t know if the same happens with SVG files. The other one is that you can’t have different scaling values depending on the output format. Something that is, on the contrary, very easy to do with placeholder tags.


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You use custom metadata instead of editor text, and e.g. Section layouts instead of regex replacements, it is a workflow difference, but you can customise this based on the format, plus all the other advantages of markdown processing.