Dynamic updating of files

Is it possible that an imported file could be automatically updated when the original file is changed. I have several files I use in building progressions and character relationships that are created visually in OmniGraffle and then saved as PDf to import into Scrivener. As the story builds the files are changes and though they are resaved as PDF, I have to reimport them also.

Just a request, thank you for a great program.

Well, technically if you change the RTFD file, it will update in Scrivener, but that is neither recommended, nor what you really mean. The problem here is that Scrivener does not link to the original file on the hard drive, it makes a copy of that file and collects it beneath its own project file. So while there is a PDF or text file that exists on the drive, it is hidden in the .scriv file and not at all tied to the file you used to import into Scrivener with. It has no concept of that file after you import. There good reasons for this. Some of the stuff that Scrivener does with the file would get damaged if you did a lot of editing in other programs. That is why it is not at all recommended to edit the RTFD files inside a Scrivener project bundle, with other programs. That aside, it all allows you to make project specific edits to the file without damaging the original. For example, you can add annotations to a PDF by right clicking on the PDF in the Binder, and choose “Open in external editor.” These annotations may not be relevant outside of the Scrivener project.

Addenda: I forgot to mention that it is in fact possible to link to resources outside of the Scrivener project, without importing them. You can use the References pane to put a link to just about any kind of file that you can locate and open from within Scrivener. Of course, this does not display the contents of the file from within Scrivener. That would be a job for LinkBack, as Mark described. However, LinkBack support is somewhat minimal as of yet, in the broader community. If the document you want to embed is not made in an application that supports it, you are out of like. Kind of like when OLE just got started in Windows 95. You couldn’t really do much with it; cool as the idea was. And of course, one of the programs that does not support LinkBack is… Scrivener, nor are there any immediate plans to change that. So this is all academic.

This sounds like a scenario for LinkBack, which would mean that the OP could cut and paste his Graffle into Scrivener, and then when he wanted to make changes to it, a double click would open the Scrivener-internal version in OG and when saved it would still be Scrivener-internal. An extension of the “edit in external application”.


Isn’t a quick-fix just allowing the option to link to an external resource and view that? Surely using PDFKit is just as easy with resources outside of the .scriv folder as within it? What is the problem with giving a simple option to “embed OR link” when dragging a resource to the binder (could use a modifier key to change behaviour); leaving referencing intact. This would give maximal flexibility with minimal effort for Keith

nontroppo - you can drag a file into the References table (project or document) to keep a reference to it. You can then open this file (if it is supported - but PDF files are) in Scrivener.


Well, I hope that solves the original posters request.

Personally, I benefit greatly from the corkboard view of my research binder. This is not available for references. Thus if I want an overview of my resources I have to embed them in the binder. BTW I do love the fact that Scrivener has references panes, and I use them extensively.

As an example of why I may not want a PDF embedded, I have a master PDF research paper folder, in which I use Skim[1] to add notes and annotations. I drag these into Scrivener when I work on a new paper (into the Binder so I can corkboard / outline them). I can “open in external editor” and add more notes as i work in Skim, but it is now saving into the Scriv copy. I may have also updated the original PDF comments, and so then I have to merge my skim notes manually which can be tedious. If I had the PDF linked, this many-to-many workflow would be trivial to maintain.

[1] skim-app.sourceforge.net/

Thank you for your responses. I will just wait and hope that somewhere down the road the ability to link actively will be an option. It will save editing a file saving it to PDF and importing it over and over.

Great program, not expecting perfection. Thanks for all your work.

Hi wlloydw, does the references panel not work for you? Right-click and you can open the PDF within Scrivener.

right clicking opens the pdf but I need to open omni graffle or something else that I use to edit the file before turning it into a pdf. thank you.