Need help importing external files (pdf, jpeg, etc)

Hi Everyone,

I looked on the forum but couldn’t find the answer.

For a research project I need to import pdf, jpeg and mp3 files wich is easy. But, once imported, I would like this files to keep the same name as the original ones ! This is very import for pdf files wich are scientific articles, classified by author’s name etc… As I often annotate them I would like to be able to open them without passing through scrivener, wich is a total mess because scrivener rename imported files.

Do someone have any tips for me ?


I would suggest using the File -> Import -> Files -> Research Files as Aliases command. This command was designed for exactly this purpose, and leaves the files in their original locations, with an alias in the Scrivener project. (See Section 11.1.3 in the manual for more information.)

Note that, since the research files are not stored in the project, they will be left behind if you move it to another system.



Thank you very much !

Katherine – Please tell me what I’m doing wrong: I was trying to follow the directions you gave in the above thread. I went to FILE–>IMPORT–>FILES – but there is no visible option for Research Files As Aliases command (or is this a keyboard command)? (The only non-grayed out options are files, multi-markdown files, plain text formatted screenplay, scrivener project, and import and split).

I imported about 3 gigs of “research” into SCRIVENER, in about 40 folders. I would have preferred leaving the folders where they were, and when updating their contents (in the original directory), to have those changes reflected when I open scrivener. Is that what the above procedure is meant to do?

Also, I viewed a Scrivener tutorial video recently that made the point that ONLY text can be imported to the DRAFTS folder. If I want to IMPORT an article that includes images (JPGS, PDF, .TIF) that is now in WORD, how would I do that, given that SCRIVENER converts to RTF?

Many thanks,

Import as alias only works in the research folder, not in the draft.
Nope, the files are not updated; you need to re-import them after modification if you need to.

What FredInChina said: aliases only work in the Research folder.

For the Draft area, it would be more accurate to say that only text formats can be imported. A .DOC or .RTF file that contains images is still in a text format, can still be imported, and will in fact bring the included images along when you do. You can also paste images into files in the Draft area, you just can’t drag in a standalone image-format file.

This is how it is possible to include images in Scrivener’s output files, even though the Compile function will only draw from the Draft folder.

May I ask what you are ultimately trying to do? 3 GB is quite a lot of research, and you may find that other tools are better suited to managing such large amounts of material.


Katherine – The material is for a history book, and the material has been accumulating since, oh, about 2006. It includes many images – copies of documents, photos, videos – many audio files, as well as many, many downloaded web pages, etc…in more than 40 folders…my only regret is that I didn’t have a way to organize the material when I began. I notice the compiled scrivener file is 7.6 gigs, which makes it, uh, time consuming to back up. So, I was surprised to see that perhaps there was an ability for scrivener to “point” to the files already on the hard drive, rather than import them and keep them separately (I assume that’s what’s happened, as text docs have been converted to rtf).

My other wish-list would be for scrivener to better integrate with zotero. I’ve followed a zotero work-around, but it involves multiple importing, scanning, and exporting.

I’d recommend having a look at DevonThink Pro. It’s designed to be a research database, and so it has much better tools for handling large datasets than Scrivener does. I tend to only use Scrivener for things that are actually going to be included in the text, and keep all the research in DTP.

To clarify, yes, Scrivener can point to aliases for research files, but files that are part of the draft must be resident in the Scrivener project.


(groan!) Katherine – Thank you for suggesting DevonThink. I’ve just viewed their video and if I have to climb one more learning curve to familiarize myself with a new ‘time saving’ piece of software…I’ll run off the curve completely… and fall off the cliff.

Yes, it would have been easier had I had a Scrivener or a Devonthink when I started gathering everything, but that ship has sailed. From my brief view of Devon Sink, I don’t think it will be too time consuming for me to start categorizing the material I have in each file folder.

As this point, I’ll stick with Scrivener and learn to use it more efficiently. For example, I find the ability to save custom searches very helpful.

Again, from what I can see, Scrivener’s weakest spot (for academic writing) is it’s footnote and bibliography tools. If it played nicer with, or had the same ease of use/features, as Zotero, life would be sweet.

I wouldn’t say it’s weak here. It plays very well with Bookends, Endnotes and suchlike - you scan the exported RTF file after it’s exported, and Scrivener can create true footnotes in such files. We have a lot of academic users, in fact. True, you need to do some post-processing there, but Scrivener was never intended to do everything where other apps exist that it can be used with, but to focus on the writing part of the project.

All the best,