Mass-tagging text for a particular purpose

Hi. I’ve read a number of threads here and other documentation on Scrivener, but so far I cannot seem to find out how to do this.
I should also mention that I am not all that familiar with word processors and such things in general; for example, I am only just recently starting to learn about RegEx, boolean search operators, etc.

Anyway, here’s my situation:
I have 4 documents full of content that I now need to combine. 1 of those documents, the first one, is also structured. The others are not - all the draft files are not organized. Merging means taking unorganized draft files in these others and copying them over into an organized file in the first document.
My problem: the content in the first document (Doc1), through nobody’s fault but my own, is not as rigorously edited as it probably should be, whereas the content in the other 3 documents are edited. After merging, I intend to go back and review the not-so-edited text. That’s the difficulty that I haven’t yet found a way to solve for. I made all of this text blue instead of black to visually distinguish it, and that may be sufficient, but what I would really like to do is something like this:

Tag every paragraph of the original, to-be-reviewed Doc1 text separately (preferred) or tag every separate document. (I have used the label and status for this already, but I am not quite sure what I am doing there. I also notice a ‘custom metadata’ option. I don’t understand this yet but I have a hunch it may be relevant.)

By tag, I mean something like this:

Original text:

After tagging:

Then, I can go back through searching for all instances of ## to easily review only the content from Doc1, rather than the other 3 documents added thereto.

To do the above, is there a way I could search all draft files with find & replace and use a hidden character to drop in those tags?

Or, aside from inline tagging, is there a way to separately mass-tag with text comments or keywords every paragraph?

Thank you!

You can search for paragraph breaks and then replace them with ##paragraph break##. That will start and end all paragraphs with hash tags for you. Is that what you want?

To type a paragraph break in the find / replace dialogue window, key OPTION ENTER.

Alternatively, right click inside the find / replace fields and choose the option to insert a paragraph break.

Might be best to try it on a sample file first of all.

I’m not following your meaning by “all the draft files are not organized”… so sorry if I’m missing the point, but why do you need to merge them right now?

When you compile, your draft files all merge into one output, while remaining separate in your draft folder. You can also just view the separate files as one long stream of text within Scrivener itself (commonly called “Scrivenings view”), if the only reason you’re merging files is to do a read-through.

If you keep them separate, or even further split the ones you have up, you can use per-document Status values to track at what editing stage each one is at. Once you’ve done the same level of editing on all of them, then you can merge them into one document, if you like.

Thanks for the reply and showing me how to use the pilcrow in find and replace. That could well work - I thought of this option, though I didn’t know how to use a hidden character, but my concern was that this: aren’t there paragraph breaks between paragraphs?

E.g., original text:


That kind of gunks things up in between paragraphs, but I suppose it still accomplishes what I need it to do, so thank you. Is there a way to do this or something similar without the interstitial space being marked up too?

In the organized file, Doc1, there’re ~350,000 words distributed into maybe a thousand separate pages. Those pages are organized in a tree, maybe 5-6 indentations deep in some places. By contrasts, Docs 2, 3 & 4 are all horizontal, there is no tree, or in some cases, shallow ones which only denote that all the pages in the containing page/folder came from a single source for the purpose of citation.

Doc1’s tree was the result of my outlining process. I need to fit all of these “loose” unorganized pages in the other Docs into Doc1’s structure.

It’s true that I could first edit Doc1 before merging, but I have some time constraints in my project, and it doesn’t have to (and isn’t expected to be) fully edited on its first release, which is to a more select audience than its final release. Of course, I would like to have it as edited as possible, but my first priority is simply having all the content in one place and properly organized into an intelligible narrative so that I can show it at all.

I marked all of the draft pages in Doc1 with status and labels denoting that they need review, and while this certainly helps, I think, it doesn’t have quite the granularity I would most prefer, which is on a per-paragraph basis.

As I merge content from the other docs into Doc1, I can either drag over the whole page from the other doc and drop it into the appropriate folder or container file, or I can copy and paste specific paragraphs into already existing pages. Depending on what the content is, either will be appropriate. The problem here is that while in the first case the distinction between text that needs review and text that doesn’t is preserved, since dropped in pages won’t have the status/label, but when edited text is pasted into an unedited page, I lose the ability to distinguish with the status/label. Here I can probably just rely on the color of the text being different, but in particularly long pages (100+ page page, say) it is going to get tedious scrolling through walls of text looking for the right color and, in any case, I would prefer to be able to ‘tag’ paragraphs.

Have you looked at Scrivener’s Split and Merge commands?

The idea that you need to drop a long chunk of text into the middle of an existing document, and then find some way to differentiate between the old and the new isn’t very Scrivener-like. Rather, why not split both the old and new documents into chunks (in the Binder) small enough to be manageable? Then you can apply whatever metadata you want at the document level rather than trying to intersperse tags into the text, and can shuffle the pieces around in the Binder as necessary. Use the split view to see Old_Section_1 and New_Section_1 side by side and go from there.


Maybe now is a bad time to adjust your methods, but in the future, if you have a similar need for editing, I suggest just splitting your documents down to 1 per paragraph, if you need to mark whether a paragraph has been edited sufficiently.

You don’t even have to do it all at once… Start with Document A, made up of, let’s say, 100 paragraphs. Using the Documents->Split feature (there’s a keyboard shortcut for that, shown in the menu), split off paragraph #1. The original document might have a “needs edit” or “draft 3” or whatever status you’re starting from; your split documents would inherit that status. Then work on the lone paragraph 1 document until it’s ready for you to change the status on it. Move on to the second split (with 99 paragraphs in it), and split off its first paragraph. Edit, change the status… repeat.

You can continue working that way, even jumping to other part of your project as needed, without inserting a bunch of hash marks into your text that you will have to remove when it’s time to share. The metadata will tell you if a document is at the editing stage you need it to be, and its length will tell you if you want to start by splitting off a paragraph or more before editing… and once you’re done splitting and editing a document, you can then select all of those documents with individual paragraphs and use Documents->Merge to merge them back into one.

There’s no wrong way to do this sort of thing, but there are ways that make more work for you, and ways that Scrivener’s features, when bent to your needs, can aid your process. Good luck with your editing, no matter how you choose to approach it.


Yes, if you have used two paragraph breaks in your writing, you can search for two:

paragraph break paragraph break

##paragraph break paragraph break##

No, I haven’t. Thank you. I didn’t 100% understand your post, but I will try to learn about this and see if it helps with my issue and in general. Sounds very useful.

Hm, but if I did not use two paragraph breaks?

Are you saying that I do the method in your first post for a single break, and this method for two, and between both, I will catch everything?

Yeah, thanks for this advice. It would solve my issue in the future, but it would also, for me, disrupt the flow of text and the narrative linkage between paragraphs. Although all of my content (this is non-fiction, as may help explain) is broken down into discrete paragraphs (because 80%+ of it is excerpted from other sources), almost every paragraphs has content relating to other paragraphs. My task now is first organize them thematically, and then order them in sequence, based on which paragraphs require or benefit from the reader first knowing information supplied by [what should be] preceding paragraphs.

When I find two or more paragraphs that clearly link to each other and where a clear order emerges, I informally mark them up like this:

This visually indicates to me that these are chained together. If it’s a questionable link - if I expect that I will find another paragraph to put between them, for instance - then it’s “||?”

When I am done, every paragraph should be either connected to 2 other paragraph, or only 1 and situated at the start/end of a topic.

If I do 1 paragraph per page, I could easily distinguish as you said, but it would seem to me, even in Scrivenings mode, to be more difficult to order like that - unless you could suggest an alternate process?

Is there a wildcard operator of some kind that denotes any text that I can use in some way for this? The pilcrow would work I think if all of my paragraphs were within 1-3 paragraph breaks of each other, but they are not.

Meanwhile, I am trying to learn what Katherine suggested.

This is similar to how I work. Scrivenings mode works fine, and in fact the ability to do this is one of the main reasons why I use Scrivener.


Scrivener supports regular expressions. See Section 11.7 in the manual for more information.


Splitting and merging documents: Section 15.4 in the manual.

Split editor view: Section 8.1.4.


Thank you

Hi Katherine, I’m still having a hard time.

I have exported Doc2 as a markdown file. I am now trying to “import and split” it. I cannot seem to do this in a way that makes sense. I can split it based on the markdown indication for sections, but how can I split it by paragraph?

You pointed me to RegEx, but I am just starting to learn RegEx.

Is it possible you can just tell me what to do? I really don’t want to spend weeks learning how to do something that I just need to get done in a few minutes to get on with pressing tasks.

Import and Split will split based on whatever delimiter you choose. So, use the tool of your choice to insert a delimiter between paragraphs in the Markdown file.

Alternatively, if the document is already in Scrivener, you can split it manually with the Documents -> Split command.

Based on your earlier posts, I thought you already had a delimiter, the ‘||’ symbol.


What are the tools that can do this? I have no idea…

Anything that can do a global replace – including Scrivener – will work. Replace the paragraph-ending pilcrow with a pilcrow plus ‘##’ or something like that. Then Import and Split and specify ‘##’ as the delimiter.