Linking to documents outside of Scrivener

Having read submissions by other contributors to the Scrivener Forums, everyone seems to face the question of how much reference material to include in Scrivener in the writing projects being worked on. There is no difficulty with importing text-only documents into Scrivener. But it doesn’t take too many PDF formatted pages, containing pictures and graphics, imported into Scrivener to begin to bloat the file size of a project. One of the benefits of importing such pages is to be able to apply Scrivener’s Search function to all the available text in those PDFs, as well as to not have to open a second application to view those PDF pages.

My own approach lately has been to import only those PDFs I think I will refer to frequently or at least often enough to justify their inclusion within a Scrivener-based project. This brings me to my item for this Wish List.

It would be very useful to be able to establish within Scrivener a link that would take you outside of Scrivener to a document filed on the computer’s hard drive. Those PDF files, and any other types of files for that matter, that you refer to infrequently could remain outside of Scrivener but still be accessed by means of a link. I’m not suggesting that the file be viewed or listened to in the Editor or Inspector of Scrivener, though that would eliminate using secondary applications. That type of functioning would probably turn Scrivener into something it was never intended to be. Rather, once the link on a page in the Editor or Inspector was activated, the file would be viewed outside of Scrivener in the application designated by that file’s information panel.

Before using Scrivener to organize and keep reference material for my current writing project, I used Journler for that purpose. With that application you are able to create a link to an externally-based file. Being able to do so using Scrivener I think would be a boon to all of us who use it.

Hello Billsoom

I’m sure Keith will answer in the second, but here is what I do for exactly the situation you’re talking about. I have a lot of PDFs since I do research work with Scrivener. I manage them with the excellent Bibdesk program, which takes care of organizing them. Note that it is not limited to PDF.

When I drag any entry from Bibdesk to Scrivener, I get a scrivener link to this entry and no file is actually imported into Scrivener (you have to configure the drag-and-drop feature of Bibdesk for it). When searching inside the PDFs, I used Bibdesk since it has this feature.

I hope it can help !



Have you tried using the References pane of the inspector? That does exactly what you are looking for you. Just drag a file into the References table (click on the button with a picture of a bookmark on it at the bottom of the inspector) from the Finder. Double-clicking on the icon for the reference in the table will open it in the associated application. If it’s a file type that Scrivener can display - such as an image or PDF - you can drag it from the References table into the editor header view to view it inside Scrivener. References can be associated with specific documents or with the project as a whole by choosing “Project References” from the pop-up button in the header above the References table. Scrivener’s search feature won’t work on referenced files, mind you, as it can only index files that have been imported.

Hope that helps.
All the best,

You may also manage PDF files with DevonThink Pro.
It stores an alias of the PDF file and launches it with Preview.
If it’s a readable PDF, then DTP indexes the contents.
So everything remains searchable.
If you are going to compile large amounts of research data,
I strongly recommend use of a second-party application.

Thanks for the suggestions. And thanks Keith for referring me to the References pane. That’s exactly what I was looking for.