Needs better handling of web archives

I’m trying out the Scrivener demo and I’m very disappointed with the handling of web pages.

  1. Zoom.

There seems to be no way to zoom the text size. I’m stuck with miniscule fonts. I can do a “window zoom” but that doesn’t produce anything readable, and it makes it difficult to otherwise use the application.

  1. tabs vs. cork board.

The cork board is cute, but I’d much rather have tabs. It seems that every modern application has tabs now, except Scrivener.

  1. Speed.

There is a noticeable delay before pages load. Can’t they be cached? I don’t want to actually browse the web in Scrivener. I just want to save a local copy of web pages for reference.

  1. Working with the browser

If I see a web page I like in firefox, which I want to add as a Scrivener “resource” it seems like I have to go through some hoops to get it in there. If I drag and drop the URL I get a text clipping. Instead I have to switch to the resource view (I can’t do this if I’m writing in the draft view), and then hit an awkward hot-key combination.

I do about 90% of my research online these days, and without good support for web pages I’m afraid the resources tab of Scrivener (and indeed the entire application) is that much less useful for me. I look forward to seeing future development, but I’m afraid my 30 day demo ends after 2 hours.

Other things I noticed:

The snapshots feature is hidden in a menu, without a hot-key. This would be more useful if it were in the toolbar.

Full screen mode only blanks out the current screen, unlike apple apps which are able to blank out both monitors on a dual monitor setup.

It took me 5 tries to convince the forum software that I am not a bot. I understand the problem of SPAM, but this is a bit much…

Scrivener is neither a browser nor a database. Perhaps this is why its browser and database capabilities are inadequate?

You might be happier with DevonThink/Pro/Pro Office, which have quite extensive web capture features.


Hmm. That’s an odd answer. Scrivener is both a browser and a database. It just isn’t very good at it.

What Katherine means is that Scrivener is not a dedicated browser/database and those things, while possible in part, are not part of its core functionality.

In effect, you are criticising an application for lacking functionality it neither claims nor desires to have. It would be like criticising the email functionality of Microsoft Word, because it cannot handle incoming email, or encrypt outgoing messages: while some minor functionality is available for ease of use, no one would expect Word to become a full-scaled email client as well (and in fact, most users should be upset were it to become one).

I think your comments on the corkboard show that you are trying to use the application for something outside its intended purpose. The corkboard was developed as a way to plan and view the structure of a writing project - your suggestion to replace it with tabs would completely shift away from the intended behaviour of the application…

Yes, you are correct that most modern browsers now come with tabs: but Scrivener is not a browser, and Keith has no intention of implementing functionality to make it work as one.

Katherine has suggested DevonThink as being an application closer to what you are trying to bend Scrivener into being. If you look in the “Software by Other Folk” under topics about Info Managers etc. you will find links, reviews, comments on many more.

But with Scrivener, you are coming across limitations that are unlikely to be addressed for quite some time (if at all) because they are outside the scope of what Scrivener is trying to achieve.

Scrivener is about WRITING a draft. While it allows you to collect your research and notes in one place as you are writing, it is not intended to be a primary tool for conducting that research, merely a way to have it close at hand when you move on from the research stage and into the writing stage.


[Edit to add: I am in no way affiliated with the creators of the software, but if you search these forums, you will probably find a similar response to Keith regarding Scrivener’s core objective.

On re-reading this post, it may come across as slightly abrasive. This was not intended, so I apologise if that is the case.]


Actually I don’t agree. Scrivener is neither a browser or a database. It’s a writing application that has some nice side features that include a basic browser capability (i.e. allows you to see web archives, but not real browsing; there are other apps that do this much better) and database (you can store movies, pdfs, images, etc, but without full manipulation capabilities).

On this regard, you may find the side panel “document references” (@ inspector) a good way to keep track of files and urls. They will open at your default application (pdf reader, image viewer, browser, etc.)

PS. No abrasion intended here, either. :slight_smile:

With regards to importing webpages:

In safari, you can drag and drop the “favicon” in the URL bar into the binder and it will import the webpage for you.

I do not have Firefox to see if it will work the same in that application or not.

This functionality is part of the functionality provided by Apple rather than developed by Keith, so if it doesn’t function that way in Firefox I doubt Keith would have much control over that. This is the same problem with speed, etc. Caching documents locally is something dedicated browsers can do because they have dedicated teams writing the software for that specific purpose.


So there is absolutely no reason that either of these features should be ever improved beyond their current level of development? Why have these features in the first place?

I own DevonThink, Journler and many other apps, I am well aware of their capabilities. I specifically need a writing program which can keep my research close at hand - and my research is in the form of web pages. I happen to think that these built-in features have been poorly implemented, and am suggesting how they can be improved. I see no reason not to improve an application to do all the things it does as well as possible. If a feature is unsupported I call that bloatware and this is why I don’t use products like Microsoft Word. I don’t think that Scrivener is bloatware - which is why I thought it would be good to draw attention to these shortcomings.

PS: Thanks to those who provided substantive tips about how to accomplish the goals I discussed. Sorry if I got sidetracked by the rest of what was said.


Firstly, please follow the forum rules and try to be polite. Bear in mind that I am a one-man team so I am more likely to take things personally than a whole team or company. Saying things like “it’s not very good at it” is not likely to get a great response from me. However, I will try to answer your questions.

View > Editor > Zoom In/Zoom Out (Opt-Cmd-Up/Down).

This is plain wrong. “Every modern application has tabs”? Hmm… Pages? MS Word 2008? Mail? DevonThink? Preview? iTunes? Browsers have tabs, but Scrivener is not a browser. I did toy with the idea of tabs in Scrivener at one point - inspired by Ulysses - but I decided against it. Tabs are great in a web browser. But in a writing app such as Scrivener, upon testing it out I just found it negated what I built Scrivener for. I wanted less clutter. With tabs, it was like leaving sheets all over my desk, because I never closed them.

I have to say, though, that I really don’t understand why you would compare tabs to the corkboard. What have they got to do with each other? It is like saying, “picture editing vs. text editing”. And for that matter, the corkboard is more than “cute” (though it is cute): it is functional and allows writers to manipulate documents whilst only viewing their synopses. This is one of the things I built Scrivener for, in fact, one of its raisons d’etre, so if it doesn’t appeal it may well be that you would be better served by a different program.

Scrivener saves web pages as .webarchives, and uses Apple’s WebKit to load them. I’m not sure if they can be cached, to be honest - I just use WebKit methodsto load them. They are local copies, saved into the project. Unfortunately, the way the WebKit works, it seems that it doesn’t save everything to disk in a .webarchive and still calls to the internet to get certain resources (pictures etc) depending on the web page. This is a WebKit issue rather than anything particular to Scrivener.

This is an issue with Firefox, which doesn’t place web pages onto the pasteboard in the same way as Safari or Camino, I believe. You can easily drag a URL from Safari into Scrivener and have it import as a web page.

The snapshots feature does have a keyboard shortcut - cmd-5. In the next free update, there are also toolbar items for the main snapshots features.

Absolutely. This is how it should be. That way, you can refer to information on your secondary screen. There was discussion about this ages ago and most users wanted access to their secondary screen. Full screen mode should definitely not hinder access to any other screen than the one that is being used for the full screen mode. After all, if you really want to use just that screen, you can turn the others off…

Most users don’t have this problem, but a few have reported similar. Unfortunately, we live in a world where spammers can ruin forums. A few months ago this forum was inundated with porn spam and I was forced to introduce an anti-bot question. It is a PHPBB mod which works and has stopped all spam.


Don’t slam the door on your way out. The rest of us are working quietly and happily.

Monsieur Luhmann,

Have you noticed, how, in certain circumstances, Two hours can seem like a lifetime!!

Le Directeur

Sometimes one thread can seem like a lifetime.

Monsieur M

…one`s liftime is, a thread, is it not?

Le D.

You Sir, are becoming dangerous. Stockport is to philosophy what Alistair Darling is to prudent fiscal management - they are hardly natural bedfellows. Stop it. Stop it now. :open_mouth:

…jeeezz!!, is Stockport that bad? :open_mouth: Feckin stroll on!!! Strooth tch! tch!.

Anyway, Im not uset doin sofferfillical, cos its wot ydo wiv y brain, init?:? It wasnt me, wot did it, it wos im, the Director!!..

Mère De Lucifer, Aidez-moi!!

I am scundered with this imbecile I feel in need of my potion of Laudanun and Absinthe , to assuage the pain of this mental and physical irritation :imp:

Laudanum, Absinthe and Jameson? Well, while I’d concede that there’s something to be said for a northern constitution, I can’t help but think that’s pushing things a bit far.


Monsieur L`Bete

I didn`t get where I am today, by not, pushing things over the limit and far beyond!!

The fool drinks the whiskey, not I.

Good Night Beast
Le Directeur