import or reference?

i just want to confirm what i think to be true…
from what ive learnt scrivener copies files and not references files you bring into it right?
Does that mean that everything i add to scrivener is contained in the sessions package contents in one place?

would i technically be safe to delete the original files that ive already dragged into scrivener?
and lastly is there a way for scrivener to reference rather than copy a file?


Yes on all accounts. When you import a file into the binder, it is copied into the .scriv package. If you really only need it for your Scrivener project, you might as well delete it from wherever else it resides on your harddrive; you can always access it directly if necessary by opening the package file and navigating to the file itself (in Files>Docs). You really don’t want to be messing around inside the package regularly, though, so if you’re going to want to access it often outside of the project you’re probably better off leaving it somewhere more accessible.

So enter Project References, or Document References, which will let you link to any file and, if it’s a supported file type, even open it in Scrivener’s editor. If you open the inspector, you can see the references in the lower half (click on the books icon tab at the bottom) and, if you have a document open, switch between document references and project references (cmd-6 or click the bar in the inspector that says “document references”). You can use the gear menu to look up and add external references, etc., or you can just drag and drop files from the Finder or your desktop and a link will be created to them. Double-clicking the reference icon will open it in the default program for that filetype, but if you right-click you can get other options for opening it inside Scrivener (if it’s a supported type like image files or a pdf). Note that these aren’t dynamically updating–if you move the file from its location on your hard drive, it will break the link and you’ll need to go in manually and fix it. There’s really just no way for Scrivener to constantly monitor all your actions on the drive, but most likely this isn’t going to be an issue that crops up much if you have a usual sort of file organization scheme for your work.

As an additional note, you can also drag images directly into documents open in the editor or use the menu to insert them inline; this won’t copy the actual file into the project. The file is only copied if it is imported via File>Import or by dragging it into the Binder.

Hope that helps!

And I would add on that last point that if you did import images into the text editor and then subsequently delete them, you can still get them into the “project proper” by dragging them from the text document into the Binder. Do note that if you do this, it will use the current display size of the image. You can also get an embedded image back out as a file by right-clicking on it and choosing Save as Picture.... In this case, the original image size, not the display size, will be used.