Line Numbers?

I’m currently working on project that is rather Byzantine. Since we’re not dealing in “page numbers,” I can’t leave a note to myself when in a particular paragraph/line - e.g., “see page 5.”

How else can I refer to related material in another part of the document?

Have I missed some way of doing this? :blush:

If not, it would be sweet to be able to insert paragraph/line numbers for each document, thereby creating an internal, handy reference system.

Oh, and hi all! :smiley:


Actually katz, that ain’t going to work either because as you add text the line numbers will keep changing. hmmm. maybe you should break up your documents more? Isn’t that quite the point of Scrivener? Think about it dude. :wink:

You may or may not find this “clunky” but I use text markers embedded in annotations. If there is something I want to reference from one place or another, in the target spot, I’ll insert an annotation with the time and date. I use a compressed datestamp which makes this easy. I find using time and date for markers is highly efficient. You get a completely unique number every 60 seconds, and unlike most serial number systems, it is pretty easy to recognise by sight. Finally, Scrivener makes this pretty easy to do because it has a handy shortcut for inserting the time and date. So the full method would look like this.

Here is the place I wish to reference:

I put “MARK:” in front so that it is obvious what is going on, and when Ghosting is turned on, only the “MARK” part will appear highly visible.

Then the cross-reference would look something like this:

The reason why I prefer this to any kind of location marking, especially in a working document, is that locations are highly fluid. If you add a paragraph somewhere above the referenced area, your count is off. If you move a scene from one chapter to another, it can become highly off. Second reason is that there is a quick and easy way to find the reference. Just select the date, press Cmd-C, then Cmd-Ctrl-F, and type MARK: and then paste the date. The document with the relevant mark will pop up, and you can press Cmd-G to instantly jump to that point in the document. No counting, no hunting for the source document. And it is all in annotations so they can be automatically ignored during compile.

But the nice thing is, they can be included, too. Since the whole thing is text-based, you can export to a web page with annotations intact, and these cross-references will still be valid.

And yes, breaking up your document is good advice on a number of counts. You’ll have more relevant searches, and be able to practice a much more fluid approach to editing.


Thank you so very, very much! What a great idea. Exactly what I was looking for. I’ll try it out.



EDIT: Just tried it - works great. I seem to remember - this goes way back now - that Keith said he would not be implementing any intra-document, wikki-like linking. I presume this is still true?

I believe that is still the case—maybe long-term version 2 plans aside. You could of course still link the cross-reference to the document that contains the reference, within the cross-ref annotation—that would save you the step of doing a project search for the target. However, personally I find it to be just as fast to do a project search. Anyway, glad you found the method to be of use. I prefer to keep things as low-tech as possible because stuff like this will never break so long as we have copy, paste, and the ability to search.

I need to introduce you to my boss, snort, and just about every relative that I have. They don’t do mechanical very well. Electronics… not even for money. It all breaks. All the time. And I know because they all want me to fix it. :imp:

A while ago I had a similar idea for my footnotes system. The project I will soon be starting will be exported to Pages and so the built in Scrivener footnotes and annotations will not be supported for export.

The plan is probably to use this format:

{fn 2008-12-12-02-00-07}

The date/time is inserted using TextExpander. This particular date/time format I have already created in TextExpander for providing a quick name for temporary files.

That seperate file for the footnotes will probably be a Pages file. I can put them in a table with one column for date/time and one for footnote.

When I export draft to Pages then I can use the sidebar search in Pages to look for “{fn 20” and this produces a neat list of all the footnote references in the exported draft. Now I just go through each one and put in the respective footnote from the separate file.

There is a great advantage in using date/time as the reference number as you say because it can be produced instantly without thought. For the footnote reference it is best not to have any aspect related to the actual position or content in the text because as you say, it can so easily move around when the text is shuffled about.

Question to Amber: how do you produce the compressed date format? Is this something that is readily do-able?


Hi Mark,

The date format uses long date and short time from System Preferences. So presumably Amber has changed those via System Preferences > International > Formats.

All the best,

Actually, the date format I use is not supported by Apple. The first part of it could be done, but in my experience it makes a number of applications act really weird if you go with a very unconventional date format. Especially applications which have date entry fields (like Checkbook). While they’ll show the date correctly in some cases, you certainly cannot type it in that way, and trying to type in a normal date results in weirdly inaccurate results. So my system timestamp is a little ditty that I picked up from Boswell: YYMM-DD-HHMM. I like it because the middle portion which is the part of the date that is most “locally” important is accentuated. It also sorts very well because it is descending rather than the U.S. YY DD MM, which sorts horribly.

The one I use for pretty much everything not system generated is pretty basic: YYDDD-FFF. Two digits for the year, three digits for the day of the year, and three digits for fraction of a day (a resolution of thousandths of a day works out to roughly 1 minute and 26 seconds). Middle of the day is .500, midnight is .000. Anyone familiar with the old Swatch “Internet time” concept will recognise those numbers. The punctuation separating the day from the time lets me know at a glance the week-day. Saturday’s symbol is ‘’ for example, so today’s time and date is “08348\892”, or the 348th day of 2008, nearly 0.9 over. So, almost the 349th day. It’s eight digits (excluding punctuation), has a nearly one-per-minute resolution, and is very readable once you get your mind around the concept of days in a year and fractions of a day instead of the weird archaic counters we typically use. I use it in three formats:

08348\892 — In places where readability is the only intent; on paper; in descriptive comments.
08348-892 — The hyphen is not a punctuation in the day cycle. It’s just another readable format that I use sometimes when I don’t care (or know) about the day, and the hyphen is much more portable in terms of file names.
08348892 — Is the format I use in file names. It’s double-clickable, sorts perfectly, is compact,

To get the date I have a script I wrote. I can call this with LaunchBar to generate a new datestamp and insert it into the pasteboard from anywhere, but since it is a script I can also embed it into other applications that support shell execution, like TextMate. MMD header templates can automatically generate a timestamp into the Date meta-data field, for example. So even though the date itself isn’t supported by the system, access to it is nearly universal, and since the time bit is based on Swatch—I can use menubar applications written for it, and even wear a Swatch that tells that time.

I could make the format more “universal” by switching to 9 digits and using HM in the time area. But I wanted to get something as compact as possible, and after years of reading and using time in fractions like this, it’s really second nature. I even catch the train by fractional time these days, ha.

So, it is readily do-able, if anybody wants the script drop me a PM. Even if you don’t use the time as an all out timestamp, it still is a very nice way of generating IDs. I use them copiously. Nearly everything gets an ID number. This makes cross-referencing aspects of my life rather simple. If I watch a film, it gets an ID. Then I can refer to that film in my diary by the ID number, which links back to a file with a detail review of the film, if I wrote one, or just a title in some cases.