Imported Files All Have the Same Name - "Content"

In the current Windows 1.9 version of Scrivener imported files are saved under unique numeric names/designations. This makes it possible to open two files of the same type at the same time.

The Windows 3 Beta version saves all its imported files under the name “Content.” It is impossible to open two like files, for example, two spreadsheets, at the same time. I use excel spreadsheets for reference material and open and close them frequently. Now I have to close an open file to open a second one.

This chokepoint does not exist in version 1.9.

If you wan’t a reaction from the development team, this should have been posted in the Beta Testing forum.

Thank you.

Moved to beta forum. – Katherine

I’m sure there was a reason for this decision. Simplifying things, for one.

Perhaps you should consider using LibreOffice Calc instead of Excel, as it does not have the same limitation (LibreOffice uses the full pathname for reference, not just the filename). Or, perhaps, set up Excel so it also lacks this limitation. May break any macros or referencing, though; that’s Microsoft’s stated reason for not allowing two files with the same name open at any given time.

In the internal project structure, each element in the Binder refers to a folder with a unique ID number. That folder, in turn, contains the content of the document plus metadata files such as document notes, comments, and so on. The names of those component files are generic: “content.rtf,” “notes.rtf,” and so on.

Among other things, this naming convention facilitates conflict resolution and similar housekeeping: if Scrivener finds a file called MyResearch.pdf, it can recognize that this file was not created by Scrivener and therefore may not have a listing in the project’s master index.

Unfortunately, the side effect is as you observed: the files aren’t readily distinguishable by name when opened by other programs. There are several ways around the problem:

  1. Configure the other program to use the full path, rather than just the file name. This is guaranteed to be unique.

  2. Use Scrivener’s Sync with External Folder functionality. Files in the external folder will be named according to their Binder titles.

  3. Import Research Files as Aliases. Files will keep whatever name they had before the import. Note that the actual files are not part of the Scrivener project, which can cause problems if you synchronize across multiple devices.

(Disclaimer: I primarily use the Mac version, so I’m not sure about the status of these features in the Beta.)

Whatever you do, DO NOT rename the files inside the Scrivener project using the external program’s “Save As” feature or Windows Explorer. Doing so will break Scrivener’s internal index, with all kinds of potentially bad consequences.


Excel can be made to do this, with modifications to the registry, or by opening each one in a new instance. However, Macros and functions that rely on the filename may break or become unreliable. As I mentioned previously, LibreOffice is not so limited in this respect (it has other limits, of course).

This is present in the Windows version, and it works.

Present in the Windows version. IF you have selected the Research folder in the Binder, Import → “Research files as Shortcuts” is available for use. Actually, as long as the Manuscript and Trash folders (or their contents) aren’t selected, it’s available for use. I haven’t personally tested it yet.

Thanks for the advice. Importing files as Aliases does work. The ability to store and manipulate a number of data files through a single program was a chief reason I first started to use Scrivener. I’m glad there’s a workaround. I don’t feel betrayed now.