Help with linking placeholders

This section is for passing on tips rather than asking for technical support, so you might be better off starting a new thread in the appropriate section of the forum. I note that the previous question did not receive a reply, perhaps because it was in the wrong place.

I’ve merged your question with a thread that explains how to accomplish what you’re looking to do. Scroll up to the long post above yours, where you will find an example project and detailed explanations for how it all works.

@AmberV, I like your workflow very much. However, I am having problems implementing the backslash command

From this replacement command in compile>edit format>replacements


the compilation process leaves me with this:

(help me out in another matter. whats the difference between colon and # in such kind of commands. Superficially they seem to do the same ?) >> edit: Answer is that the colon is for define a label and # for referencing that label, even in a place in a text ’ before’ it is defined. correct so far?

Thanks for pointing out that error, I have edited the post to remove the backslashes from the code sample.

In Scrivener you can put a backslash in front of any placeholder to print that placeholder literally, instead of having the placeholder evaluated. In this way one could effectively write about using Scrivener’s placeholders without having their examples turn into numbers or whatever. :slight_smile: If you really need a blackslash in front of the value, then use two of them, to “escape the escape character”.

AmberV, I think - because of my bad reading - we missunderstood each other. I was looking to implement the solution to referencing a figure - say the first figure in chapter 3, so figure 3.1 - in another chapter (e.g. chapter five) thereby trying to prevent it from changing towards 5.1.

You say I need to drag the document (the on in chapter 3) from the binder into that document that will be part of chapter 5? I am so unsure how to this since I am planning to have replacements like this

!fig($@) for <$n:chapter:<$level1_title_no_spaces>>.<$n:fig:$@>
!fig-($@) for <$n#chapter:<$level1_title_no_spaces>>.<$n#fig:$@>

How I am to do this? Thank you very much for your help.

If you’re asking about how to create and work with links in general, then refer to §10.1.1, Creating Internal Links. There are a variety of different methods you can use, drag and drop is merely one of them.

The important thing to know is that:

  • Linked placeholders pull information from the link target rather than the document they are found within.
  • Replacements modify the text of the link so that it becomes a placeholder, meaning you can link to friendly text than the full placeholder to get this effect.

The rest is entirely up to you. Use drag and drop, use right-click and drill down to the chapter three item via the Document Link submenu, use ⌘L and the “Link to Existing Document” tab—whatever works best for you.

Hej there, I was about to write back that I dont understand you (which I partly still dont) when I found one answer in the manual section you pointed me to.

If take a placeholder like <n:chapter…> that gives me the chapter number, it will always show the chapter it is actually in. So If i want to refer to my figure 1.1 in chapter 3 - using your code suggestion - I actually have to link that one to that other chapter. allright.

(I wonder why there is not an actual link created, but this must be because I compile with scrivomatic?)

It’s better not to think of them as links in a cross-referencing sense, but a feature that you are using in combination with another feature (placeholders) to produce an effect that has nothing to do with links. Therefore the link is removed, just like the placeholder itself is removed. Both are removed, and become “23.2” or whatever you need.

I’ve spent a lot of time learning about Scrivener and this is the best thread regarding automated numbering of Tables and Figures , The Best
and yet - a Project template containing all these settings is lacking , it is sorely needed - the other stuff on the web is megre
thanks Amber

There is no project template for a Thesis because there are simply too many variations. All Scrivener templates are is a blank project, built up a bit with some starter files and ideas that you can discard or amplify at will, and in some cases, compile settings. They are intended as a quick way of getting some preliminary content and settings defined in a new project.

However, the Non-Fiction category contains some templates that may be suitable as a starting point for a thesis. I would suggest creating a test project from each of the templates there, then seeing which is the closest match to your needs, then customizing it further according to your specific requirements.

Hi Kazz ~ thanks for responding

I hold a different view. While there are templates in the non-fiction category, mentally and practically, having a template labelled “Thesis” would be like a life ring to a person who thinks they are going to drown.
Pre-loaded with Section Types of Chapter/ Chapter Subsection / Figure / Table (that auto number when compiled) would be a salve to someone who is already hearing from all those around them that “they used Word” ,
Scrivener is just so much better than all the rest - however I have spent countless hours (likely hundreds) learning how to use it because I got ‘glitched’ whenever I saw “scene” , (and being obsessive, I’d change that , and that would lead me down a series of ramifications that altered things somewhere , you get the picture)
The template could be super simple , all (most all) theses have the structure above and the less the novice has to tinker with and ‘upset’ how well Scrivener can work - more folk would be on board
All the best, Justin

The less you do for yourself, the less you understand in the long run.

Hi Justin
I am starting year 9 of my PhD, with my full draft sent for copy edit checking yesterday. In 2016 I moved from Word to Scrivener (Windows Scrivener v. 1.X and now v. 3.x). I compile to Word for sharing with my supervisors. If I had not had a good idea on the thesis structure when I started using Scrivener, I would have done things differently. However, working with the Beta migration and staying connected via this community is what made the difference to what I understand today and how I adapt some key things. Sometimes I break something and it is through this forum or searches elsewhere that I learn some more and solve the problem. I am using Endnote with no problems of late and ProWritingAid, to good effect. I have workarounds for tables, styles that work well with Word and auto numbering throughout. I would say that the template I started with gave me false expectations.
I agree with @drmajorbob - the sooner the “hands on” approach is adopted, the sooner we begin to access the true power of Scrivener. I am looking forward to going to a next level with Scrivener, once I finally push the submit button on this current project.
All the best with your project.

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Yes, you can avoid any kind of workarounds like this by making use of Replacements. A key thing to note is that Replacements run more than once. They run fairly early on so that you can create complex placeholders (as explored in the linked howto), but they also run a bit later on, so that we can do stuff to any text generated by placeholders.

Therefore we need to create a number that looks unique based on the text around it, and then delete any numbers that match that pattern, leaving the other numbers in place. For example, this would go into the title suffix:


Upon compiling, that would result in, “1. First Chapter~~1”. Now we have a unique looking number that we can be sure to destroy. And regular expressions will help us make a statement such as “any digit following two tildes”—something otherwise difficult with typical search and replace matching.

In the Format’s Replacements pane, add a RegEx replacement for ~~\d+ and replace it with nothing. Or copy and paste the following into the replacements table:

<Replacement RegEx="Yes">

This is inspiring. With such Replacements, assuming that we use <$hn> for chapter/section numbering, can we do this for table numbering:

  • Use Table <$hn>.<$n:table:Identifier> Caption for table caption
  • Use Table <$hn#>.<$n#table:Identifier> to refer to the table
  • Add a Replacements of /(^\d*)(.*)(\.\d*$)/ \1\3 to remove the trailing section numbers. (Essentially we are looking for something like <$hn_level1>.)

This would spare the additional <$n:chapter:<$title_no_spaces>>. But I don’t understand where the last Replacement can be placed. If it works, an example project is greatly appreciated.

Overall I would say <$hn> is better for simple cases. If you need complicated references, essentially creating these on your own with the leveln placeholders and such is probably better. But if you can get something working with it, it does make things a little cleaner than manually building what that placeholder does automatically.

This would spare the additional <$n:chapter:<$title_no_spaces>>. But I don’t understand where the last Replacement can be placed. If it works, an example project is greatly appreciated.

There are two places to put Replacements:

  • In Compile overview, in a tab on the right side, is a good place for stuff that only pertains to one project.
  • If you double-click on the Format you are using in the left sidebar, you’ll find a Replacements pane in the Format Designer window. This place is ideal of style decisions.

Ultimately though, it’s up to you. My own inclination would be to class all of the above under the Format. How things are numbered are part of the overall look and feel of the document, not the data of the project. Even if this project will never look another way, maybe all of this is how you’d like your next project to work too, and being able to just apply this Format to it as well and have it all work.

That’s why I like to use abstract tokens in the editor which are turned into specific implementations by the format. !fig(something) doesn’t say anything about the numbering, only that we may want numbering. The Format then decides how that works—or it just deletes the placeholder entirely if that approach isn’t meant to have numbering.

This works with chapter titles, except in the TOC. See attached screenshots. Please help again.


I think for how you are using the suffix field on your titles, you will probably never want them appended to hyperlinks (which includes the ToC). So go into your compile Format, and in the Document Title Links option pane, and enable Do not include title suffixes in updated links.

I have Do not include title suffixes in updated links checked but ~~~1~~~ still shows up in the .md file from Compile to MultiMarkdown.

Also, replacement (in Compile) ~~~\d+~~~ to '' does not work. Though replacement ~~~<$n:chapter:<$level1_title_no_spaces>>~~~ to '' works, but then it cripples the table numbers.

So we still don’t have a fully working solution…

Okay I was confused by your use case. I guess my main question for you is why you are using Scrivener’s basic ToC and auto-numbering features if you are using MultiMarkdown? I’ve never needed these things since I can easily get that stuff in a much better format on output. Scrivener’s stuff for this is rather brute force and not the best practices (static numbering, static text for the ToC instead of actual captions and stylesheet driven ToCs).

That aside, I think you could maybe put what you’re doing in the Prefix tab of Section Layouts rather than the title suffix. I don’t see why it would need to be there, specifically.

With the regex replacement not working, hmm, yeah it looks like the Mac is running that process too early. I tested that solution out on Windows, where it works fine. I’ll write that up and see if is something that can be changed.

I think ultimately though, I would reiterate what I said above: this is one of the side-effects of trying to use <$hn> in a more complex environment. If you actually need access to the individual components that <$hn> generates, then it is better to rebuild what that macro does with actual chapter numbering and such.