Hyperlinking word to definition in the glossary

I found instructions on how to hyperlinking word to a Scrivener page within a project. But is it possible to link directly to a specific paragraph, sentence or word within the page? I plan to link a word to a definition in a glossary page, but I don’t want the reader to have to scroll through the glossary to find it.

I’ve had a look through the manual, and links appear to work to a specific document, not piece of text.

If this is in fact the case, then there is one possible solution:

  • create a folder “Glossary” at the relevant place in the Binder
  • split each Glossary definition so that it is a separate document within that folder
  • use hyperlinks to link to a specific Glossary definition document

This very useful idea has come up repeatedly, for example [url]https://forum.literatureandlatte.com/t/how-can-one-add-a-bookmark-link-to-a-piece-of-text/37049/1].
Unfortunately, the LL response just seems to be No.

It’s not a “No.” It’s “You may not be understanding how to use Scrivener to get the end results you want.”

Scrivener is not meant to be an analogue of the final output document. This is why there is a Compiler to produce the final output document. You can split and arrange the source material however you need to in order to make working it useful in Scrivener. The Compiler hides all that complexity for you and stitches everything together into a cohesive product.

For a glossary, you could have a single document per glossary entry. You can then link to that document in your main text (which may be more convetionally structured with one document per numbered section, etc.) every time the word is defined. And then you set your Compiler options so that the documents that make up the glossary are combined together to look like they were a single document/section/chapter, while the Compiler options for main text are set for the proper options for headings, etc for that text.

It’s not going to look anything like that on-screen when you’re working with it, but it gives you a lot of power and options. For one, you don’t have to worry about having several anchor points in the same document that could be accidentally overwritten or lost when you’re editing your text.

The key here is to let go of the notion that your Scrivener project has to be a faithful representation (or even close approximation) of the final product. It doesn’t. We have an easy time accepting this with things like fonts and text styles – we could use a different font in every document in Scrivener and rely on the Compiler to normalize everything to a singe typeface – but when it comes to structure, it gets harder to visualize.

Now, is this going to be useful for every linking scenario? Maybe not (although if Katherine says it’s possible, I’d listen to her because she’s really smart and has an expertise with Scrivener few others can match). But for a glossary, it would be great.

In other words, “No.”

In the same way that smart phones don’t display contact numbers for you to manually type into the keypad. You don’t need to, you just need to press the “Call” button or use the voice command.

If you need to answer to be a hard “No” instead of a helpful “Perhaps you’re trying to solve the wrong problem” so you can be “right” and “win” go ahead, but please don’t put words in my mouth while doing so. People are literally telling you how they do this, so it is a workable solution.

This attitude ticks me off a lot more than the absence of this feature. It’s one thing to say that you feel that the value added by something isn’t worth the technical challenges it presents, because you personally are satisfied with breaking documents in random places. But it’s insulting and condescending to say that anyone who doesn’t want to do this just doesn’t understand how to use Scrivener properly. Place-linking is a conceptually reasonable and not uncommon feature, which is why people keep asking about it.

That’s fair. At the same time, L&L staff have spent a lot of time explaining over the years why in their (expert) opinions it is not technically feasible to add this particular request to Scrivener and offered suggestions of how to work around it using the existing feature set. Most of the people aren’t even willing to try to see if those suggestions work for them, and their reasons why in many cases betray a lack of understanding of how Scrivener was designed and is intended to work. In my 25+ years of IT I have seen literally thousands of cases of people who refuse to use an existing feature because they think “X” who, when finally convinced to just try it, find out that “X” was wrong and the things they were afraid of weren’t nearly as big of a problem as they thought once they took the time to adjust their habits. (Mind you, I’ve seen plenty of cases were folks gave the new way a try and were right about how they would adapt, or who were wrong about their reasons but found new reasons they hadn’t thought of – but the point is they tried.)

Merely characterizing that all as “L&L says No” is just as much of a tick-off worthy attitude as being snarked at that “you don’t understand how to use the program.”

Yes, it is, if use some HTML.

You have to create an anchor at the target destination (word, sentence, paragraph, etc) and then create a link from the source location that points to the anchor.

The thread below includes a sample Scrivener project and its associated output to ePub.


But it isn’t impossible. At least two users have said that if a Glossary folder is created, and each glossary definition is a separate document within that folder, any definition can be linked to its specific document. Then, on Compile, you would simply organise it so that the contents of the Glossary were printed as a single flowing document, i.e. like any glossary would be. I fail to understand why such a solution is met with a blunt “No”.