Is there a way to backtrack document links? e.g. Find which docs have linked to another doc within Scrivener?

I love that we can embed links within a Scrivener document to other Scrivener documents within a project. Is there any way of tracing the links back?

In my current novel, I am highlighting bits in my writing which are clues for the reader re: a mystery. For each clue, I’m linking to a CLUES document, where I am listing a fragment of the clue text, to remind me (and so I can search for it). I would love to be able to go through the Clues document later on and remind myself of WHERE these clues are placed, without having to do a manual search each time. Any suggestions appreciated!

If I have to do a manual search, that’s ok; it’s what I’ve been doing up to now. But I thought it worth asking here, just in case!

Fingers crossed, and thanks in advance.


Bookmarks do this automatically. Creating an Internal (Document) Bookmark from A → B also creates a Bookmark from B → A.

See Section 10.3 in the manual for more about Bookmarks.

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Using the bookmarks alone (instead of using a document link) you will likely not find any more functional/satisfying, as in the case of bookmarks you can’t insert the link in the document. Bookmarks rather link a document as a whole to another document.

So if you are looking to link from a paragraph(s) to a reference document, that won’t do.

As far as I can tell, that leaves you with two options:

1- (And that’s likely the more convenient) Add a bookmark to the linked document (in the document’s bookmarks) on top of linking to it in the text. The idea being to use the bookmark in the reference document as a mean of backtracking the documents that link to it.
If you don’t mind every link to back-link in the bookmarks, it can be made automatic in the options :

If you unknowingly had this option turned on already, you’ll be happy to discover the backtracking bookmarks you asked about already present in your reference document’s Document bookmarks.

2- Should you choose to use solely the bookmark feature (and no “in editor links”), you may want to design yourself your own marker (something like [▲] or simply [mrk]) that you can then use to quickly find your spot in the text using Edit / Find / Find... (You’d drop the marker where you would otherwise have used a link.)
It makes using the Find... function a tad more convenient, as you end up always searching for the same thing, rather than having to type in the link’s name. (Although in your case it’d always be the same linked-to document, but still…)
The way I go about it, I have that marker ready to be copy/pasted from a document where I have special characters, markers and RegEx formulas. I have a character style applied to it that I named “inline notes”, which is highlighted in gray using the color box from the style itself (making things such as markers easy to spot – most of the time I can easily do without the Find... function) and that I can also optionally use to remove notes/markers/etc at compile.
(That “Special characters & Formulas” document, I have bookmarked in the Project Bookmarks (as opposed to Document bookmarks) so that I can fetch whatever I need from it from the bottom section of the bookmarks tab without navigating away from the document I am currently working on in the editor.)
(Having it bookmarked in the Project Bookmarks instead of the Document Bookmarks makes the bookmark available from any document.)

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Vincent way makes a lot of sense, another way to do this is a combo of keywords and comments. You can have a clue keyword (even different ones for different clues if multiple mysteries at once. Searching for clue keyword will list all documents/scenes containing that one of those types of clues. The other part of this is to then use a comment (could even choose one of default color options as the clue color for comments). Highlight the clue with comments. This will disappear at compile. Thus you keyword search for all documents with clues (can save as a dynamic collection), then when look at document if open inspector to the comment section, is very easy to see the highlighted phrase and find in a few seconds the exact point of the clue.
see pic


Isn’t it funny how someone asks one question and reading alternatives leads to a solution for something else.
I’ve implemented your idea of using Comments in tandem with Project Keywords as my new way of handling Tags at word/sentence/paragraph level. So far, so good.
I’m interested in Scrivener keeping tabs on specific characters’ backstory, foreshadowing events and marking character behaviour for clarity later in the script. Now it’s easier than ever.
And Compile ignores my subtly, very subtly for my tastes, highlight coloured script.
Thank you.


You can tag as many keywords as want to a file, there are no limits, so can easily search anyway you want. When use more on comments for more colors goes to same panel as highlighter where you can set up to 16 custom colors, so the only limit is your level of compulsiveness. I also find scapple to be helpful. I set up character cards and connect notes with details as write the story. If any question can go to one spot where all my details are hidden and add more at any time. Glad the idea is helping you.

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Wow, thank you for this detailed solution, much appreciated! Will try this out.


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Thank you so much for taking the time to post this! Will check out this solution as well.


Your welcome here is example of blank scapple template for characters, that I copy and use over and over. Can expand as need to add more details.

I do that too! because many times you need to select/link only a part of each document, not the whole document.
The problem is that, when there are many comments, it slows down when you open it and, if you want to do it several times, you end up taking quite a long time. Any advice to avoid that?

I use this in Scapple and update this in the loose details as I write the story and note Act/Chapter/Scene where update is. You could do comment colors per character, or purpose as can do up to 16 custom colors besides the 5 standard ones. This is example of my main character in my scifi trilogy (written) and plan to find an agent for, AII=act 2 , ch =chapter Books are COA I, II, III. This way divide by book and can backtrace details from one spot. Notes might not make sense, hopefully concept does.

Sorry missed other part of your question. You can link bookmarks from other projects in Document bookmarks. If click a link to another project will open the other project and go directly to link inside the project. and can set to open document link in either editor window of reopened project or a quick reference panel. So yes can leave bookmarks to tag other projects and crucial info