Importing multiple files

Is it possible to import multiple files from Dropbox into SCrivener’s research folder in a single swoop, rather than having to click on single files and import them individually, which takes a lot of selecting? If so, how do you do it? If not, is this a limitation of Scrivener, Apple’s document picker, or Dropbox? Any idea if it will be possible in future?

I asked this question when it was about pictures, and I’m guessing it’s going to be about the same limitations…


Indeed, this is a limitation of Apple’s document picker - annoyingly, it only allows for the import of one document at a time. Currently the only way of importing multiple files is using Airdrop - if you send multiple files to Scrivener while a project is open, it will import them all, but the only way I know of doing this so far is Airdrop.

I do have it on my list to look at other ways of doing this, but it’s not something that iOS seems to be very good at in general, unfortunately. One problem is that the only way of accessing documents from other apps inside Scrivener is through Apple’s document picker, because iOS has a closed file system in which apps have no direct access to the documents of other apps except via means provided by Apple.

Can you think of examples of other apps that allow batch file imports? If so, how is it done in the UI? Please feel free to point me to them.

Thanks and all the best,

It’s because I saw the 1 per 1 document picker in Another app that I had to import pictures in that I realized the whole thing must have been an iOS limitation.
It’s definitely annoying but if it’s an IOS limitation, what can you do?

Could you explain how the airdrop thing would exactly work?

Kind regards,

Keith, “WeChat” allows you to choose multiple photos to import into a chat session or into their “Discover”—Facebook like posting area—I think there is a maximum of 9 or 10 at one go. Obviously, I don’t know how Tencent has done it, and I don’t suppose they would disclose their methods, but it can be done. If you want to check it out and set up an account, PM me and I’ll tell you my ID on WeChat so you can experiment.


This is still the major annoyance that prevents me from going almost all IOS in Scrivener. Will iOS 11 now permit importing multiple files into Scrivener projects?

iOS 11 adds a new file browser (as part of support), but I don’t think it allows for choosing multiple files. However, I haven’t started exploring it in depth yet - that is on my list to do this week.

In the OP’s case, the multiple files would not be coming from another app per se, but from a Dropbox server – which Scriv iOS already has a window onto. Isn’t that a rather different scenario? Unclear to me how Apple’s pass-the-football doc picker would even be involved.

Or is the Dropbox app actually playing a go-between role here in one’s ability in a app to a) list things that are in a Dropbox folder, b) select some from the presented list, and c) fetch them. I guess I thought that Scriv was interacting more directly with the Dropbox server than this would indicate.


Scrivener uses the Dropbox API to interact with Dropbox, so it can access the entire Dropbox folder if it wants to (with the user’s permission). But there’s no built-in picker to allow for that. The problem is that to import files, Apple provides a built-in document picker, which provides the popover that appears when you tap the import button. Then apps such as Dropbox provide plugins that provide their own picker for that service. So when you choose that, it’s Dropbox’s picker that appears. The limitation is Apple’s, though - their document picker is set up so that it can only provide one chosen file at a time. Technically it would be possible for me to write my own Dropbox picker, but it wouldn’t be possible to insert that into the popover that appears with options to import from Photos etc, so it would be difficult to integrate.

Ach, I see. Hey, thanks for the replete explanation. Supererogatory!

Good news on this. I’ve been exploring Files and new features in iOS 11 over the past few days, and it turns out that Apple has improved its document picker in iOS 11 to allow for the choosing of multiple files. I need to update Scrivener’s code to allow for this, but it’s on the list, so that you will be able to import more than one file at a time in the future.

All the best,


And bad news: although Apple added the ability to select multiple files in the iOS 11 betas, it’s been broken since beta 6 and isn’t fixed in the GM release. So, I can tell the document picker to allow the user to select multiple files, but iOS 11 now ignores that and allows only single file selection anyway… Hopefully Apple will fix this in a point update since it is a feature that is supposed to work.