Document Notes in Research Section

Hello -

I am using Scrivener now (for my History PhD dissertation) after a a several year hiatus. I love the new changes and additions! They keyword tagging/searching is incredible!

My question is about the Document Notes in the Research Section. In the Research Section I have images, pdfs, etc., and am taking notes on those documents in the “Documents Notes” portion of the Inspector. Is there a way (please, I hope!) to compline those notes to be exported so I can view them all together? I can’t see how and would appreciate any guidance. Otherwise, I will need to rethink my use of Scrivener for my research.

And while i am at it, for anyone else using Scrivener for academic research: any thoughts on using the meta-data field for footnotes / endnotes / bibliography citations?

Thanks! Looking forward to hearing thoughts.

(Apologies if I have just managed to miss the instructions somewhere – I went through the tutorial and the forums and didn’t see anything obvious.)


I don’t know of a direct way of doing what you want, and certainly not using Compile (which only works on your Draft folder). But if you select a file in your Research folder, then use File > Export > Files…, you can select the “Export notes” option. This exports the file itself, as you’d expect, but also creates a separate accompanying file (in the chosen format, default RTFD) containing the notes for the file you are exporting. You can do this for multiple files at a time by selecting the required files in the Research folder; each file will have its own separate Notes file created, with the same name as the original file in Research but with the chosen file extension. You could then use File > Import to import those separate Notes files to a folder in your Draft, where they will appear as separate documents with the names of the original Research files but containing only the associated notes. This would allow you to compile them however you wish. (You will want to clean up your hard disk afterwards, since you will have exported the research files there and will no longer need the separate notes files after importing them back into Scrivener.)

If you have a lot of research data to handle, you may find a dedicated application such as DEVONthink Pro more suitable (you can add reference links to items in DTP). If you have lots of citations and bibliographical references to manage, I would choose a dedicated application which integrates with Scrivener, rather than creating my own through meta-data. If you search for “citation” or “bibliography”, you’ll find lots of discussion on this forum about the options available and what users think of them.

For footnotes and endnotes, I would use Scrivener’s built-in functionality, which is described in section 25.20 of the user manual (available via Help > Scrivener Manual).

Hope this helps.


Thanks. I will try this, but it sounds messy and not as seamless as I would hope it to be. More likely I will just have to separate the notes I take from the research files and take notes in the editor to save in the “Draft” file. Bummer. So close to the perfect program…

I suggest investigating Scrivener Links – see the Manual for details.

You don’t need to keep your notes in the Draft section to keep them compilable; the complication here is that non-text documents cannot be compiled, and as a consequence neither can their document notes. If you create the notes as separate text documents within the binder, you can keep them in the Research folder or wherever you like, then gather them together in a “Research Notes” collection. (If you give them a special keyword or label or such you can use a saved search to do this automatically so you don’t have to worry about constantly updating your collection.) To compile the notes you can then select that collection from the pop-up menu, rather than the Draft, and you’ll be able to compile the notes with all the regular compile options.

With this method, you could then keep your note documents in the binder directly with the non-text file that it pertains to–even as a subdocument, if you wish. I’d also suggest Scrivener links, as Hugh mentioned, and document references to keep things even more tightly tied together. With the back-link option (should be on by default in the Navigation preferences), you can create a document reference or Scrivener link to Doc B within Doc A and have the link back to Doc A automatically added to Doc B’s reference list. Replacing the document’s URL in the reference list with an asterisk (*) will make it also quickly accessible from the icon menu in the editor header.