Moving text from research to an existing draft document

Still getting to know Scrivener and apologies if this has been answered elsewhere.

I have structured my research to include anecdotes and quotes as separate individual documents. (I’m writing a profile based on an interview).

As I write my draft, I’d like to be able to drag a quote or anecdote from the Research folder straight into the body of what I’m writing (i.e. into the editor). It would be a lot quicker than navigating to the chosen research document, selecting and copying all the text and returning to the draft document to paste it. However, when I drag as described, I get a hyperlink to the Research document, but not its text.

Is there a way to make this work more cleanly? I’ve experimented with holding down various keys as I drag but to no avail.


I would first create a split view: View: Layout: Split Vertically
Position the Draft folder on left, Research folder on right
Then drag-and-drop from R to D makes a copy of any text chunk.
And, if you drag a chunk into the Binder, it becomes a document.

Hmm, this is a good idea actually. I’ve put it on my list for 2.0 to look into making it so that holding down Option while dragging will drag the content itself.
All the best,

Welcome back, Keith. Years ago, I visited a Butlin’s resort. You deserve a medal. A famous British writer (whose name I have forgotten) drafted her books in Butlin resorts. She said it was comforting, amidst the sounds of volleyball and croquet, to know that she was the only literate person on earth.

I’m glad that the above exchange has suggested an improvement to 2.0. But I made a mistake in my instructions. Instead of folders, I meant to write documents. (:oops:) If you line them up, side by side, it’s easy to drag and drop content from one side to the other, without the Option key.

Druid: thanks I will use your approach for now.

Keith: thanks for your consideration of the key-modified drag and drop of document content. Surely many would find it useful.

Keep up the good work.


Thanks both (Druid: yes, Butlins was rather exhausting, but the kids loved it…).

A quick thought on this: Currently, images work differently to other documents. If you drag an image file from the binder into a text file, the image gets pasted into the text. Holding down Option when you drag the image creates a link instead. With all other files, if you drag them from the binder to the text they become a link. I was thinking that holding Option down would paste the text in instead of a link, but this would mean opposite behaviour (image files paste in by default but become links if you hold Option; text files become links by default but paste in if you hold Option). Does this “opposite” behaviour sound right? I’m thinking that for most users, they will want the links when they drag text files, hence the reasoning behind this opposite-ness.

All the best,

What about changing the behavior of images to match text?

I know, that will upset everyone who uses drag/drop for images, but I think unified behavior would be better?

Looks like this issue has been fixed in 2.0 - thanks Keith. :mrgreen: I couldn’t find it in the manual, but if you drag a file from the binder into the editor, the text of that file is dropped into the editor by default. If you want a link instead, hold Option as you drag and a link to the file will be created.

Yes, this changed in 2.0. :slight_smile:

I find that when I hold down the option key and drag a research document into the editor to create a link, the research document is opened in the editor and I have to return to the original document to find the link. In other words, the focus does not remain with the document into which I drag the research file, it shifts to the research file itself. Is there a setting to keep the focus on the editor and the original document?

Hmm, lock the editor if it happening often (Opt-Cmd-L). I wonder if there is some “trick” to doing this correctly, though, because I never have this problem any more. I did all of the time in 1.x.

This is what the awesome Scrivener wikilinks are for. :smiley: Whoo.

However, now knowing that it is possible, I have figured out the trick for dragging (see, I thought it was just me, so I’m glad someone asked). As far as I can tell, you have to
1: Click and begin dragging with the mouse the document in the binder for which you want the link
2: Press the option key
3: Drag the link to the editor/notes and release the mouse
4: Release the option key

If you do it in exactly that order, you get the link without switching documents. If you press the option key before you click with the mouse (step 1), it doesn’t work. But yay, I figured it out.

Aha. That’s a pity though, because there are other actions in Scrivener that require you to hold down the option key first—and that always gets me. I’m used to modifier drags changing even after drag has started—but if you try to Opt-drag a snapshot to the header bar to access comparison mode in a split, you can’t do that mid-drag. Likewise the trick to drag a whole hierarchy of keywords instead of just the child keyword requires the Option key to be depressed prior to starting the drag.

And yes, that is also what Ctrl-Esc is for, after you’ve typed in a few characters of the title: [[Titl]] = linking with no mousing!

This is all down to whether the alternative action occurs during the copy or the paste - because drags are really just special types of copy-and-paste, in which dragging places something on OS X’s dragging pasteboard, and dropping grabs the data. When you hold down the Option key on a drop, it tells Scrivener to look for a different sort of data on the pasteboard rather than using the default data it would normally use. In the case of dragging snapshots, that’s a bit of an odd one because the snapshot data gets placed on the pasteboard, so the Option key is used to tell it to place the data on the pasteboard with comparison information. A future refinement there would indeed be to place two sets of data on the pasteboard, one with the comparison data and one without, and then have Scrivener choose between the two during the drop. In fact, that should be an easy change given the way Scrivener places that data on the pasteboard and may not require two types of data at all.

However, the dragging of links from the binder is a separate issue. The problem is simply that if you hold the Option key down as you drag a document from the binder, the binder changes selection to the document the document that was dragged, and the change of selection changes the current document as soon as the current action (the drag) is complete). If you drag without holding the Option key down, the document doesn’t change. This is built into the way OS X outline and table views work - try it in the Finder, for instance. If you go to drag a file in the Finder’s list view, the selection isn’t affected. If you hold the Option key down as you go to drag, though, the dragged file gets selected. So it’s this built-in behaviour that causes the document change, unless you use MimeticMouton’s solution of not holding the Option key down until you drop.

All the best,


Thanks for the detective work. The procedure you described works!