Hard/Symbolic linking for imports

Maybe this is already an option, or already discussed. If not, sorry! I wasn’t able to find anything.

I have a few large PDFs that I could see myself using for several different projects. I would like to import them to my research folder, but it’s a bit irksome that Scrivener copies the files entirely. What would be great would be a way to link them instead of copying; that way, only one copy would have to exist on the hard drive.


I recommend looking up “References” in Scrivener’s Help.



Yes, as Hugh points out, this is what the references pane in the inspector is for. You can use the project references or document references to store links to external files, and open them in Scrivener. (You can even drag a PDF from the Finder onto the header bar of an editor in Scrivener to open an external file in Scrivener.)

So the binder is strictly for displaying files that exist in the project whereas the References inspector pane is for linking to files.

All the best,


very interested in this topic, for my translation projects; since embedding a lot of PDF files in the projects makes the projects too big (for instance, I can’t no more backup my current project to my Gmail backup address because, even zipped (Backup to… zip file), the file is bigger than the 25 Mb allowed by Gmail), I thought about putting in the top editor the reference to an external PDF (drag to the bar, ok) and the text in the bottom editor (or viceversa, same thing); the problem is, the refrerence goes away every time you close the open Scriv project…

…so, I’ve just tried tu put reference to external PDF in the Document Notes of the Inspector pane (dragging the PDF icon in the pane), and the result (see image) is, uhm, not very useful… little windows with invisible pages, and now I don’t know how to delete them from the pane :frowning:

Surely I’m missing something (though I’ve read what the Help says about references, as Hugh suggested), so could anyone tell me where I’am wrong, and put me on the right way? :smiley:

Scrivener 1.53 / Mac OS X 10.5.8

Thanks as always and all the best

Thanks for the replies. References doesn’t do quite what I’m asking for (though thanks for mentioning it, as I had forgotten it exists). What I want is the ability to hard link items to the Research section of the binder. It shouldn’t be the only way to do it, or even the default option (hard linking only works across the same partition, what happens if somebody tries to move the file to a different volume, etc.), but it’d be a nice way to avoid redundancy of files.

(I’m also aware that hardlinks appear to the system as a new file of the same size, even though they aren’t.)

Giovanni, not sure if you read my response above, as I think that really explained the best way of doing what you want to do. Just add the PDF documents as references in the inspector (probably in the Project References rather than the Document References). Then you double-click on the icon of the PDF file in the references pane or drag it to the header bar of the editor to open the PDF file in Scrivener’s editor (even though the PDF file is not stored inside Scrivener, this works).

Cinder6 - Yes, I understand what you’re asking for, but as I say, symbolic links (clones) aren’t coming. I was just offering you an alternative, and explaining the difference in functions between binder and references. The binder will remain a place that represents files contained inside the project only. i.e. That’s a “no”. :slight_smile:

All the best,

Ahem, I read it but not with the due attention :blush:

I dragged the PDF in the Notes pane of the Inspector instead of the Reference pane - now it’s working as I need, the reference is in place even when I close/reopen the project, as you said; and as a “ciliegina sulla torta”* there is a way to delete from notes pane the 2 little windows you can see in the previous image?

Thank you for the help

  • cherry on the cake

Ah, well. It was pretty easy to whip up a program that does what I want. :slight_smile:

This is why I use DevonThink Pro, not Scrivener, as my main research repository.


Although DT imports things, doesn’t it? But I suppose you just use that as the one place for your research.

Giovanni - no problem, and sorry, I misunderstood too and didn’t realise you had followed those instructions and just dragged to the wrong place. To delete those pages from the notes pane, just click after then and hit backspace, or select all in the notes pane and delete - they are just images in the text.

? Confused I am.

All the best,

:smiley: It’s ok - now they are in the right place - I put them in document ref (not Project), one by one, every time I open one text chapter, I have its reference just aside.


Scriv - & this forum - are invaluable


It will either import or index. But yes, I use it as my sole repository, so don’t need other copies of things.


Just saying it was easy to write a quick program using PDFKit that imports links to PDFs and allows me to browse them from a sidebar.