Global (trans-project) Bookmarks (think "all my books might use this")

I didn’t see anything like this when I searched the wish list category, and I have not seen any such feature so far in Scrivener. Do forgive me if I have overlooked it. What I’m hoping will be of use to me and others is this:

An extension of the bookmarking functionality to include a third kind of bookmark. There are document bookmarks and project bookmarks, both of which are great, but what would - I feel - really round out the bookmarking capability is the ability to set up truly global bookmarks. That is - not to go into too much complexity about the possibility of series-specific bookmarks - if I am writing a series, then many of the relevant notes will be relevant, not only to one book, but to all of them. Additionally, I write non-fiction, and I find that many things which relate to one book also relate to many (perhaps all) of my other works. It would be great to be able to set a bookmark in such a way that - no matter what project I am in - I can view it quickly and easily.

A workaround in the meantime is to create a “global” project which I can then just keep open in a separate window, but a more streamlined, built-in way of doing it would be preferable and cleaner.

In practice this works via Add External File Bookmark from the ellipses bookmark menu, but you don’t get the preview capabilities available to bookmark items internal to your project, like say to a page of links listed in an organised fashion or a drop-down the down arrow next to your Characters folder bookmarked listing your characters to select.
The other Scrivener project’s content is treated the same as if you were you were opening an external Scapple diagram, or Excel spreadsheet or a PDF document. The immediacy in opening is there though.

On the matter of integrating related projects more closely together, do check out this how-to, which may be of use to you.

In a sense there already is a “third bookmark type”, in that every item in every project has a dedicated link that can be used to open the project and navigate to the item with a single click. This link really works anywhere, not just from within Scrivener, but since Bookmarks are also a way of storing such URLs, file links and so on—it works there too, and quite handily.

A workaround in the meantime is to create a “global” project which I can then just keep open in a separate window, but a more streamlined, built-in way of doing it would be preferable and cleaner.

So yes, it is an improvement of that basic idea, but you’ll still have that idea. Honestly I don’t know if this could get much closer than that though. At least not without some kind of radical overhaul to the entirety of Scrivener’s way of working.

The main problem is that one project cannot edit another closed project directly. Such would be mayhem (with how it is designed), and so the best it can do is passively link to its resources. (We probably could make a passive read-only view, but I suspect that would only please some, and it wouldn’t offer much over having the project open.)

And is that really in the end much of a problem? Perhaps I don’t understand the core resistance to having more than one project open at once, because I usually have more like half a dozen open.


I appreciate the response and also the link to that how-to and clarification of how it currently works. I don’t have a problem with having multiple projects open or with using links in the way you described. I may have come on more strongly than I meant to. My thinking in making the suggestion was more along the lines of “any added convenience or cleanliness is worth at least mentioning.”

If it would be a large overhaul to do it the way I originally suggested, regarding which we have already agreed there are ways of getting the most valuable parts of it without the overhaul, then I would definitely agree that that is not worth the effort.


I think ultimately for there to be tighter integration between projects, Scrivener would have to become something more like how DEVONthink is designed. If you’ve never used that software, it has as similar “large bucket project” save and load model like Scrivener does, but they’ve put a lot of work into allowing for an integrated single-window interface—a second left sidebar that shows projects in its list.

Even then DT does require its databases to be open in order to use or read from them, but there is perhaps less friction in doing so when it can all be in one window.

This is not a perfect solution either, and likely there is no perfect solution if you’re going to continue providing software that gives one control over how their work is saved. Once you have the ability to use Finder/Explorer to delete, move or rename a project, then that “second binder” idea starts to break down. How does it keep track of such external changes? What happens to all of your interlinking if an entity in “the system” vanishes? If you bring it back five years later, do the links go back to working, or are they now all broken?

Of course the other alternative is to stop letting people manage their own work, but I don’t think that’s a very good direction for Scrivener to go (a total umbrella system where your data is no longer something you control directly, it all goes into a black box storage area). Honestly I’m not a huge fan of that design model for much of anything though. I actively avoid tools where I can’t see my work easily or choose where to put it / sync it / back it up easily / whatever.


When you put it that way, it makes a lot of sense. I appreciate your time in writing up the explanation. I hadn’t considered the difficulties associated with handling external changes, and - other than perhaps an always-on service which monitors file changes for exactly that purpose (probably not an easy or particularly resource-efficient thing to do) - I don’t see any way around those problems either. Thanks for helping me to see it from that perspective.

FWIW, my solution for “global” bookmarks is to use DevonThink, not Scrivener, as my primary research database. It’s designed as a database: its sole reason for being is to store large amounts of information in a readily retrievable way.

Another alternative in Scrivener is to include a set of bookmarks in a Project Template. Then every project created from that template will have access.

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Since you’re a Windows user, you could use OneNote. The advantage of OneNote is you create a link at the destination and paste it into the Ctrl+Shift+L link menu that you invoke in Scrivener.
The link will look weird in Scrivener with a combination of backward and forward slashes, but you never see it because you link it from a Bookmark or a word, sentence, whatever, unless you hover over the link to peek at the URL.
OneNote allows you to link to a Notebook, Section, Page, Paragraph, Word, Character. The sky’s the limit. Clicking on whatever you link opens at the exact place instantaneously if OneNote is open, else in 2 seconds if it’s not.
I have a OneNote Notebook of 50,000+ pages (many years of work) and never had a bum link.
There’s also never a lag due to size.
OneNote is probably one of the most underused and under appreciated app in the Office pack, but powerful and easy to learn in about 2 hours (from start to finish).
In Windows the old OneNote structure has been back for a while and is regularly modernised, after 3 years of new kids on the block brainlessly losing the plot, punting a watered down version for mobile.
It’s really so fit for purpose, few things are different between the 2003 original and the latest version, except design to look like the rest of MS365.
Oh and stay away from the OneDrive storage. You’d be hard pressed to fill your hard drive with content.

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