Importing a "Numbers" file as an alias

I have a Numbers spreadsheet that I want to reference in a scrivener project, but I also want to update it periodically on my iPhone by sharing it with Dropbox (NOT using iCloud Drive, which I assume is problematic due to the iCloud Drive folder not being like other folders exactly). Anyway, I thought that “Import->Research Files as Aliases” was the perfect fit. But I can’t select the Numbers file once I navigate to it.

At first, I tried to import it into “Research” while in full screen mode, with the binder auto-hiding, but the import function was disabled in that view (is that a known bug/limitation?) I then exited full-screen, un-hid the binder, and then tried the command. This time, I was able to browse for my Numbers spreadsheet file, but I couldn’t select it (it was greyed out).

Preferences->Import/Export->Only import files fully supported… is disabled.

Am I doing something wrong?

OS X 10.10.1; Scrivener 2.6

Robert, I’ve just tried, I can’t import any spreadsheet … Excel, Tables, Numbers or .CSV file as an alias. So I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong; print a PDF and use that until Keith or Ioa come back from holiday.

Mr X

Weird. Thanks for testing it out.

Only have iPad with me, so can’t try this…

Can you create the alias in the OS X Finder and then import/drag that alias into the Binder?

Tried my suggestion above. Alias imports, but won’t open external file. Curious…

Intriguing. I just tested and found much the same: I was unable to import a spreadsheet file as alias. This was true of all spreadsheet files I testes (Numbers 2, 3, Excel and CSV).
I was however, able to import an entire Numbers 3 spreadsheet and view it in place.

I had a little more luck importing a Finder-created alias to a spreadsheet. While it did not preview the source Numbers file in Scrivener, I was able to open the source file from Scrivener. Given the comments above, this surprised me.

Interestingly, the Numbers document I was using was identified by Scrivener as a Numbers v2.x file even though it was a Numbers 3.x spreadsheet. The Open With command did not seem to even recognise v3 as an application. However, when I opened the file via the Finder-based alias, it was opened by the correct version on Numbers).

Important caveat: I only had a short time to play before I had to pack up and move on, so I may have missed something important in my descriptions above (for example, I did experiment a little with modifier keys, but had to pack up just when the spreadsheet opened - I’m not certain if I used the Alt key or not).

Did anyone get this to work?

I don’t have any issues with aliases to Numbers documents (I just double-checked with Scrivener 2.6 on 10.10.1, with Numbers 3.5). I have a filed called “test.numbers”, hit Cmd-L in Finder to make an alias, and then drop that into Scrivener. The result is an icon when viewed in the editor, and the footer bar declares it as an “Alias”, not a Numbers document. When I use Ctrl-Cmd-O to open it in Numbers, it does so.

Now, I don’t have the last good version of Numbers installed, just the newer iPad version (ha). So maybe the wires aren’t so crossed on my system.

There is one issue I know of where if Finder has extensions turned off by default, the resulting alias is confusing to programs like Scrivener that depend upon extensions to figure out what a file is. However when that condition occurs, the result will be very obviously wrong, as Scrivener will interpret the file as a plain-text document (having no true extension at that point), and you’ll get gibberish (the alias’ binary pointer code) in an imported text document.

My issue isn’t importing Finder aliases, but with using the Import-> Research Files as Aliases function. Can you import a Numbers file that way?

Ah, no, that command only supports the file formats that Scrivener can natively display in the editor (so PDF, MOV, etc.), so long as it isn’t an editable text format (and avoiding those is the reason for the otherwise odd limitation, there is no good way to tell the dialogue to disable selection for only one class of document). So for anything other than the natively supported formats, you need to create the alias in Finder.

Ah! I had the gibberish binary pointer code. Thanks for explaining. FTR, I am using Numbers 3.5 and Scrivener 2.6 on OS X 10.10.2. Sorting out the issue with extensions has made everything work.

So the OP (robertdguthrie) can’t use Import-> Research Files as Aliases for Numbers files, but creating aliases for Numbers files in Finder first and then importing those does work.

An alias created in Finder can be dragged into the Binder, but Import-> Research Files as Aliases doesn’t allow an alias to be selected and imported. Just curious why it works by dragging but not importing.

Also, from talking about Scrivener 2.3 …

Did it work in 2.3 but not in 2.6? :confused:


Briar Kit

Hmm, I don’t recall the circumstances behind that change in 2.3, or why it doesn’t work that way any longer. Originally the problem was that the dialogue box can only take a whitelist of file types to accept, not a blacklist of types to avoid (hence the silly limitation in the dialogue box even though in general an alias is just an alias and you can drag it in). Maybe something changed that limitation in an OS update, and now that change is no longer valid. I’ll have to double-check with Keith.

So, does that mean that the “Import as Aliases” function just creates a Finder alias for each file and imports that?

Thanks, Ioa.

Yup! It is just a convenience.

Okay, for a while this was indeed working as described in the 2.3 notes. Keith had found a way around the blacklist limitation I mentioned earlier. However it was removed during testing (back when Apple changed their file dialogues all around in 10.8). It will be back in the future—for now, the trick of making your own and dragging them is the way to go.

Now if we could just get a version of Finder that didn’t create two megabyte aliases! Seriously, what is up with that? I have aliases from a long time ago, nice and tidy at a few dozen kilobytes (and that feels excessive for a file pointer) and just as functional as they always have been. Nowadays, it isn’t always a guarantee that you’ll be saving space in your project by using aliases. :neutral_face:

Appreciate the update.