Make links to local files in editor documents

We know that links to local files can be made in the Document References in the Inspector so that files not handled by Scrivener can be opened by their default programs.

We also know that Web Links can be added to text in the Editor (or Document Notes) so that websites can be opened by our designated browser.

But what we might not know is that local files can be linked directly in the Editor or Document Notes by making a “Web Link” to the local file – at least, I haven’t seen this technique mentioned in the Forums or in Scrivener’s documentation. I find this option more convenient than using Document References because the link will be visible and available in the text I’m editing whether or not I have the Inspector open.

What is needed is the correct path to the local file. The basic format to use is
using your user name and whatever sequence of folders takes you to the file you want to open.

There are several ways to get the file path more conveniently than typing it out every time.

One is to install a contextual menu item like Copypath ( … x/10968214). After installing it, you can control- or right-click on a file in the Finder and choose “Copy File Path” (or whatever command the CM uses) from the pop-up menu.

Another way is to use Firefox to browse your local drive. Just open a window in Firefox and drag a folder from the Finder into the Firefox window. You will see a list of links to the files and folders contained in that folder, as well as a link to go “Up to higher level directory” – that is to navigate up to the enclosing folder. (This is a great trick, by the way, for browsing your local files. Firefox can natively display images and text files, of course, and other files can be set to open with their default programs. You can even bookmark local folders and files. Note, too, that this doesn’t work with Safari: dragging folders to a Safari window does nothing, and pasting the correct path to a folder will just open that folder in the Finder.) In Firefox’s Location Bar (where URLs are normally displayed) will be the path to whatever file or folder is being displayed in the browser window. It will begin file:/// and be followed by the path to the file. Copy the entire link and use it to create a “Web Link” in a Scrivener.

And finally, Scrivener itself will give you the correct path: make a link to a file in Document References the usual way, and then copy the URL that is displayed next to the description of the link. Use it to make a “Web Link” in a document.

The most common use I have for this technique is to make links to jpgs and tiffs and other large image files that I am writing about (I write a magazine column about art) so that I don’t have to import them into Scrivener, but I also have links to Quark and NeoOffice files; folders can be linked this way too, of course, which will open in the Finder.

As I said, I haven’t seen this technique described before — apologies if this is old news. I had been looking for a way to do this for some time and was quite excited when I “discovered” it. Hope it is useful to others.


If you do a search for URI you will find a few threads discussing linking.


Thanks for the info! I didn’t know about the Firefox trick. Cool! :smiley: