Juggling notes and written text

This may be somewhat specific to academic writing - not sure. How do people deal with larger writing projects for which they need to consult lots of notes?

I’m writing an academic article. Right now, the way I have my Scrivener project setup is as follows. The source materials are gathered in the “Research” folder - no problem there. The “Draft” folder currently consists of about 20 documents, each containing one piece of the article-under-construction. As I’m in the early writing stages, most of these 20 documents currently contain a combination of draft language and notes about additional language to be added. These notes contain summaries of sources that need to be referenced, copied-and-pasted text that should be quoted, rough outlines of arguments to be added, etc. In an ideal world, it would be possible to separate the drafts from the notes, but I’m not sure what the best way is to do that. In an ideal world, the draft and the notes would always appear together - because you want to see the notes for that particular section while working on it - but only the draft would count towards word targets, and by being in a separate document, the notes copied and pasted from elsewhere would no longer mess up the formatting of the draft.

I’m aware of the comment function and use it to some extent, but for longer notes I find it less convenient than notes dumped into the main text. Another potential solution would be to create a structure in the Research section that runs parallel to the Drafts folder and contains a Notes document for every Draft document. This would probably work quite well in regular editing mode (draft on the left, notes on the right), but not so much in Composer mode.

How have others approached this? I’d be interested in hearing about other people’s experiences and potential solutions.

Hi EB17,

Internal bookmarks ?

The Document Notes pane in the inspector is ideal for this. You can open it pretty wide, it’s always there alongside your main document, and it doesn’t count toward session & draft targets.

Hm, good point! I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed that the “Notes” section can be expanded! I think this does the trick, yes.

Hi @rdale,

I just ask: is it also convenient with (very) long notes?

Thanks for replies.

Hi EB17,

You could even set a workspace (is it the name in english?) for this, with notes section expanded and no binder for example. So to be confortable.


It depends on your needs, how big your screen is, and how much of the Scrivener interface you’re making use of.

If you hide binder, and only have one editor (no splits), then you can expand the inspector pane to be quite wide.

Another option is to use version 3’s document bookmarks. Simply drag one or more notes files into the relevant document’s bookmarks area, and below the list of bookmarks, those documents will be loaded into a rich-text, editable pane. Those notes documents will still be available for viewing separately as with any binder entry as well. By using bookmarks, you can split up your notes by topic or section while still having them always associated with the document you’re writing in.

Try these features out in the interactive tutorial project or a blank one you create for experimenting. You can copy example documents from any project’s binder to the “testing” project’s binder to get a feel for how it will look with real works in progress.

Yes, it was my answer just above.

OK. It was my first answer (see above, the second post).

Enjoy Scrivener & writing!

I also work with a draft document and various note documents (fiction now; academic work previously). Seconding the ideas here by Philicare and rdale–the bookmarks feature in Scrivener 3 is remarkable. As a longtime Scrivener user, I hadn’t realized how bookmarks worked in version 3–full-featured and editable. If you use Scapple, btw, the bookmark will also display the Scapple document.

Depending on what I’m working on, I’ve used a few other ways to see my supporting material.

Split pane: If you want to scan multiple note documents while drafting, you can select several (not necessarily contiguous) and select View/Document/Scrivenings in your second pane. I like to see the document titles so I don’t get lost (View/Text Editing/Show Titles in Scrivenings). (If you find yourself working with the same batch of material documents for a particular draft document, you could save those in a Collection to make them easily available.)

Quick reference: works best with fewer documents, since all open individually.

Scrivener 3 introduced multiple ways to split documents–you can see some options in Windows/Layouts.

For some reason, Document Notes has never clicked with me, and I prefer these other options.