Generating a list of tagged items?

I am working on a project that requires lots of images to be assembled after much of the manuscript is complete. Within the body of each document, I have placeholder text inline for each image, that contains a description of the image to be used. The placeholder text contains metadata tags that create autonumbered image filenames on compile. As I write, I include the placeholder text, then go back and describe what the image needs to contain or demonstrate.

What I’d like to do is find a way to export just this placeholder text (image filename and description), preferably for use in a spreadsheet. The purpose of this is to allow me to quickly look through image archives or create appropriate screencaps based on the spreadsheet. It’s kind of an image to-do list, I suppose.

Is there any way to tag the placeholder text so that I can generate such a list? I have considered metadata, but that would require multiple entries in each document, and I’m not sure that would work anyway.

You can do this with Styles. It’s possible to configure the Compile command to exclude all text with a specific style. See Section 24.5 of the manual.

A slightly quicker but less elegant way to do it would be to format the items as footnotes. Then have the Compile command turn the footnotes into endnotes. Copy and paste just that part of the output file to whatever format you like.


Thanks, Katherine. I’m looking through the PDF manual, but I’m not seeing the same features in my version of Scrivener (3.1.3). For example, the Styles panel only has a central column of styles that can be applied (and I can define new ones, of course), but I do not have the other options shown in the manual. When I try to go through the Compile setup, I also don’t see the same set of options.

Also, if I understand you correctly, your suggestion would involve setting the style for each figure callout, then only selecting that one style for export, correct? If so, I can not find anywhere to selectively include styles in the Compile dialog (File > Compile).

Did I miss something obvious?

Screenshot, please? Are you looking at the Styles panel in the Compile Format editor, or somewhere else?


Apparently I just don’t know Scrivener well enough to answer the question directly. Sorry.

I am going to File > Compile in the menu system, and opening the Styles window from Format > Style > Show Styles Panel

**Edit: As I write this, I discovered that you’re probably talking about editing an actual Format template. I just realized that I can not edit a built-in format, but have to create a copy and edit that. However, I still do not see a way to select only the styled text for export. I’ll keep looking…

Also, the figure placeholders need to stay inline with the text for my compositor to use for layout. So my overall workflow is to write and place the figure callout with its metadata hooks, then compile into RTF which I then have to copy/paste into Word templates (I’m trying to learn how to export directly into the correct template, but it’s a custom template provided by my editor with some very specific information for loading into InDesign).

I suppose what I’m after may take longer to learn than actually writing the book, and since I’m on a deadline, I may just have to brute force my way through.

On a deadline, you’ll probably want to use my “quick and dirty” suggestion, which was to format the items as footnotes, Compile as endnotes, and then extract from the Compiled document to another format of your choice.

The option to delete all text with a specific style is part of the Styles pane in the Compile Format editor. Again, see Section 24.5 in the manual. Since this is a negative option – you specify styles to delete, not to include – using it for this application unfortunately requires that all the text in the document have some style.


Ah… I gave it a try and it’s close but requires some hand waving to get it into a spreadsheet. For my records, I need to track the image name (which includes an autogenerated index number), the copyright credit, URL to copyright, and which specific document uses it. That means the footnote needs to be formatted with commas, then I have to copy/paste into a plain text file, save that file, then import into my spreadsheet.

It’s not very efficient, as you noted, but it’s reasonable for now. I’ll keep working on it, since I’m going to have a few hundred images to track. I don’t have much material written, yet, so it may be worthwhile to develop the style solution.

I really appreciate your help, Katherine! I’ve loved and used Scrivener for nearly a decade, but never really needed to worry about the compile options until now, being able to rely on simple RTF exports for my monthly columns and articles. Clearly, this is something worth investing more time in.

Ah, I thought you were dealing with a nearly finished manuscript!

If you’re just starting, an even better alternative is to put the images/placeholders in separate documents, rather than in the body of the text. That will let you assign metadata on a per image basis, giving you a much wider array of tracking options and potentially letting you avoid an external spreadsheet altogether.

Remember that Scrivener doesn’t care whether the structure in the Binder matches the structure that you’ll ultimately use for the finished document.


Oooh… that sounds interesting. I’ll give it some thought in the morning.

For context, I’m writing a digital image editing book (my third), which is kind of a compilation of material I’ve generated over the last several years, along with about 50% new material. The thing about publishing in my world is that it has a short turn-around time to meet market needs for technical information based on software release cycles. A typical proposal for my industry is a table of contents, market survey, and a sample chapter of 5-10 pages. Because we’re considered “subject matter experts,” the publisher is really just testing to see if we’re organized and can write clearly. Turnaround times are typically 3-4 months, with an extra month tacked on to complete editing and compositing. Editing is done while writing, including revisions, etc. So I submit, it goes through three editors (style, technical, project), and comes back to me, then proofing, then compositing and layout.

I’m currently obligated to turn out about 25 pages per week at a minimum, running an average of 350 words per page, to hit a total of about 400 pages, not including front/back matter, index, etc. During that time, I also have to create and edit the example images and take screenshots of the progression.

I’ll be running full-tilt until the beginning of December, and working a full-time job. You can see why I’m interested in efficiency! :smiley:

Katherine - I have given some thought to your third option, regarding images in separate documents. Don’t you feel that this could get unmanageable in short order? If I understand you correctly, each image would have its own document in order to support what amounts to object-level metadata. Do you envision linking each image placeholder in the main text to the image document?

The way I’m picturing this approach is to have a standalone document for each base image, but also include descriptions of the in-process images (usually screenshots of the application being used). In other words, place the image itself into a document, then subsequent screenshots showing the UI steps would just be descriptions.

Did I understand you correctly?

I forgot to add: in this scheme, is it possible to display metadata based on a document type or style? I’d like to be able to have an Image Holder document only ask for metadata based on that doc type, while a main chapter may have different metadata. Or does it not really matter?

I wouldn’t use links for this. Simply have a chunk of text with images (or placeholders) interspersed. Then split that chunk into separate documents so that each image (or placeholder) has its own. They stay in the same order that they’ll ultimately appear in the running text. That way you can use Scrivenings mode to see the whole sub-section with images as it will ultimately appear.

All metadata is available to all document types. You can simply ignore the fields that aren’t relevant for a particular document.


Despite your good advice, I think I am going to simply use footnotes for tracking image metadata. The reason is that my manuscript will be submitted by individual documents, and not all at once. Each document is a distinct topic with its own list of images, so my editing team needs to see the references inline and have access to copyright information for each file.

I am also not placing the images into Scrivener, nor linking them externally - the images are packaged in a zip file and sent alongside the Word document. Each figure callout is a footnote that is preconfigured with the necessary information (via a text snippet I use from another application called Alfred). Because the editing cycle is pretty fast and usually contains several documents at once, it isn’t reasonable to include a gig or more of images in each transfer.

I’m writing this out here in case the workflow helps others with similar projects.