Linking Scrivener Project with Set of Associated Files on HD

Hi all,
I want to use Scivener as a manager’s master tool. I’m taking on an administrative position (department chair) and I’ve got a hierarchy of (mostly text) files related to that task. I’m thinking that Scrivener might be a good tool to use, especially if Scrivener has a parallel set of folders.

So, for example, ON MY HARD DRIVE: I have a master folder called CHAIRING DEPARTMENT and various subfolders beneath it (e.g. “Pedagogy”, “Personnel”, etc.). Meanwhile, IN MY SCRIVENER PROJECT: I’ve been setting up folders with the same names and hierarchy.


Ok, so far so good. Scrivener does an import for what it could. Very cool–it’s searchable now and easy to browse.

Here’s my QUESTION: What happens when, for example, I get a new file on my hard drive that is not yet in Scrivener? Do I have to manually drop that new file into it’s appriate spot in Scrivener? Or, is it possible to “link” a Scrivener folder with one on my HD so that changes in the HD files system automatically result in an import of that file into its corresponding (“linked”) folder in Scrivener?

Do you see my point? If Scrivener could link permanently with the associated file-hierarchy on my HD, then when ever I made a change (e.g. added or created a file in my HD) it would go ahead and change the Scrivener project associated with that hierarchy.

What do you think? Is this doable?

Many thanks for your thoughts.


Sounds like Devonthink Pro is more what you need for this. You can set up DevonThink to scan certain folders so anything added to them is indexed within DevonThink (without duplication).

Thanks very much for the reference. I just watched the video and it seems pretty complicated (and, it seems, duplicative of what Scrivener is helping me with). Perhaps I just need to write an Automator script to accomplish what I’m wishing for. I’m not that good, yet, with Automator.

I really think that if Scrivener could incorporate this feature, it would be a serious added feature.

Scrivener is a wonderful tool, but primarily it’s a writing tool, not a data-management tool (which DevonThink is, and which it sounds as if you need).

Out of the box, I don’t think Scrivener can do what you want. To do so would require the application to scan the folder(s) you nominate continuously, and then act on the results. With a data-management tool, you could attach a folder-action Applescript to the folder(s) you want observed, and the folder-action script would then send any new files it discovers in the folder to the data-management tool. This would also require the data-management tool to have the capability to place the new files in the right locations in its own hierarchy. (I have folder-action scripts that work with DevonThink Pro Office in precisely that way.)

Using Scrivener, you could achieve the first part of this task together with a tool such as Hazel (, but I doubt that you could achieve the second part - placing the new files in the correct locations - without Scrivener being open to Applescripting, which it isn’t yet.

DevonThink may appear complicated, but as a means of accumulating and storing large amounts of information, in my experience it’s unrivalled.

Just my thoughts. Others might have ideas which could make this workable.

Thank you, Hugh, for your reply. (This is what makes the internet so truly valuable!) I’m in a situation where I have to think very carefully about spending the time to learn new tools. Since I’m a novice, I can’t think of a better suggestion but I hope others do post if they think of something.

This may seem a radical thought - but do you really need Scrivener or DevonThink at all, at least for the purpose you’ve described?

You could use your existing folder system, together with Hazel as a filing aid, and a separate folder called, say, ‘Inbox’, into which you dump all new files. Hazel could be set up to pick up keywords in the titles or text of your new files in ‘Inbox’, and file them accordingly. You could rely on Spotlight for searching - and Hazel is very logical and isn’t at all difficult to learn. If I remember correctly, David Sparks in his book ‘Paperless’ describes a similar system.

“Taking Control of Getting Started with Devonthink2” while awkwardly titled, is an excellent guide to getting the most out of the various versions of DT2. I found it invaluable in helping me reconcile it’s features with my needs. It’s cheap enough that you might consider downloading the trial and buying the book to see if it can meet your needs (with copies of a sub-set of your files).