dragging files to Scrivener

I’m new to Scrivener, and it looks very promising. However, I already have a lot of notes in DEVONThink Pro. While I could probably import all of those directly into Scrivener, what I’d like to be able to do would be to be able to drag selected notes directly to the “Research” folder in Scrivener. However, this kind of interapplication dragging (the notes are in .rtf format) does not seem to work.

Should this be a bug report or a feature request?

I have exactly the same scenario, and I do find I have to export/import to get things into Scrivener from other apps (if there is an info manager that will directly drag and drop into Scr., I’d definitely like to know about it!). What is even more annoying is that DT always adds a DT storage file or what not when it exports. I have to do a group find in Spotlight and get rid of all those darn files each time, especially if I export a lot of files or folders from DT.

In any case, I don’t think this is a bug, given that most of the apps I’ve tried to directly drag and drop things from or into won’t do it. So I think it would probably better fit as a feature request.

I’ve just looked at this, and it turns out that when you drag a file out of DevonThink, it doesn’t actually exist yet (probably because everything is kept in a custom database) - it gets created upon the drop. This is very difficult for Scrivener, as Scrivener expects the file to exist already. I’m looking into this, but I can’t promise anything. For now, you can drag the files out of DevonThink into the Finder, and then drag them into Scrivener and delete the files in the Finder.
Thanks and all the best,

I may have mentioned this before; I can’t remember and I’m too lazy to search :).

For my DT Pro -> Scrivener data transfers, I use the “Open With…” command to open a document in an external program (TextEdit for RTF/ASCII, Preview for PDFs/Images, DA for HTML), then drag document icon from the title bar of the external application into Scrivener.

Not necessarily better than to/from desktop, but I find it easier (largely because I can never see any of my ~10 desktops for all the stuff I have open).

To support direct drag/drop from DT to Scrivener, I think (but may be wrong) that Scrivener would have to provide Applescript support for importing documents. The problem with dragging seems to be on DT’s end; documents canot be dragged from DT onto external applications (e.g. Preview) or onto the desktop (EDIT: scratch that, to desktop/finder works, just takes awhile).

Thanks, Keith. Keep up the good work!

Indeed, it’s a problem with DT. I just checked on their forums, and discovered that this is a bug involving RTF files (not other types of files) which will be fixed in the next release :slight_smile:


That’s great news, that Dt is looking to make this possible. Until then, edf’s approach sounds doable. At least for individual files. It’s not the end of the world, mind you, to have to export and import. But when using these programs so closely, it would surely be handy to be able to grab a file and drag it to Scr. directly.

Btw, I can drag and drop into Mori from DTPro, Yojimbo, and Keep It Together (I’m demo-ing the latter two). But not from these to Scr. I say this only because I know you have a good relationship with Jesse and maybe he could help. I know this is probably not going to be a major priority, but perhaps a possibility down the road? It would sure be handy! Thanks,


alexwein - I’m looking at just this. I believe that the way Mori does it is that it accepts RTFD text in its outline view. So, if you grab some text from a text view and drop it into the outline view, it gets turned into a new document. When you drag a file from DT, it also gets dragged out as RTFD (hence you can drop it into a text view and have text appear). If you look at the title created for the dragged doc in Mori, you will see that it is taken from the first words of the text rather than from the actual file name, so I believe that this is how it works - it is not reading the file data but the text data.

Certainly, Scrivener could do this, too, and I am looking into it. It just takes a bit of rejigging. For instance, all Scrivener links would have to be created by alt-dragging, instead, but that is not a big deal as that is already what you have to do with images. Leave this one with me, though I’m not promising anything as it does take some more thought. :slight_smile:

All the best,

Hey Keith,

The developers at Devon inform me that Scrivener should be able to accept these files. It has something to do with a technology/API called “NSFilesPromisePboardType”

Keith, that makes sense and sounds right to me. I definitely appreciate your considering this. No worries if it takes a back burner to getting out the first release and finally getting paid for your hard work! And getting onto some of your own writing.


Hi odysseus, yes, I looked at NSFilePromisePboardType. It’s actually more complicated than it sounds, though. Whilst the folks at DT are quite right to be using this technology in this scenario, it makes it more difficult to get the files. Essentially, all it means is that when you drag a file out of DT, it doesn’t actually exist as a real file yet - it is still just data in the the DT database. When Scrivener receives a drop, it has to ask for this information. But how it works is that Scrivener has to tell DevonThink where to create these files, and DevonThink just returns the names that these files will take. This is problematic, because Scrivener doesn’t want the files to be created with the actual names. Scrivener wants to take those files, change their names to use its internal numbering system, and grab the text from them for search purposes. But there is no way that DT can tell Scrivener when these files will actually be created, and no way for Scrivener to tell DT to give them different names to the ones they already have. I should stress that this is not DevonThink’s fault - it is just the way that this works in Cocoa. Even creating temporary files is difficult, because there is no way to know when they will actually exist. I will take another look at this, but it’s really quite complicated.
All the best,

I hope I’m not being tedious here, and I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but it seems to me that the best compromise would be to give Scrivener the capacity to turn ANY dragged selection of text into a new note in the Binder - and ideally to name the note to the first line of the dragged text. That way we could drag directly from anywhere, including DT, which btw has this feature very elegantly built-in.



That is exactly the solution I am proposing and implementing for beta 5, Eiron. :slight_smile:

And cheering was heard across the land. :slight_smile:

Ha! Ditto on the cheering!

Is there any update on this issue?

Drag and drop of rtf files from DTP to Scrivener’s Research folder works as expected.