Opening/Editing Files In Bbedit

Is there a way to make Scrivener open files in BBEdit?

I.e. I want to take advantage of the organizational features of Scrivener while also enjoying the markup tools and geeky power of BBEdit while I’m actually writing and editing.

Well, I’ve tried this a couple of different ways…

First, no, there’s no way to open a text file directly from Scrivener into another editor. There was a thread not long ago in the Wish List topic that discussed this, and the bottom line from L&L was that it isn’t going to happen,

People occasionally try to edit the text files by looking inside the project package. There are two problems with this. The first and most major is that it can corrupt the project. Bad form. The second problem as far as using BBEdit is concerned, is that the Scrivener text files are internally stored as .rtf files. Editing them with BBEdit… well, I suppose I could, but BBEdit doesn’t support .rtf internals so far as I can see, so that would carry with it the risk that I would foul up the .rtf file badly. Not for me.

The way that will work–if you REALLY want–is to use File > Sync > with External Folder… You can set it up so that all your text files are saved to a single folder, as plain text and with the extension you prefer, with legible file names, and with number prefixes (if you like) to keep them in Binder order. You can set up Scrivener to check the folder for changes when it opens your project, and to write out any changes when you close your project. I’ve played with this, and decided to just edit with Scrivener–it’s easier. (BTW, if you decide to get Scrivener for iOS and sync with an iOS device–well, it’s POSSIBLE to get it to work along with External Folder Sync, but I managed to create sync conflicts often enough to abandon it. One or the other, for me.)

Marked 3 will preview your Scrivener project in almost-real-time, if you only want to use MMD markup in Scrivener instead of rich text formatting. Some folks choose that path.

Hope this helps.

Thanks. I’ve been a professional writer (many books, articles for newspaper/magazine/web sites/blogs and proposals) since 1988. And I haven’t fired up a word processor in years. Everything is in Markup or HTML now. The WYSIWYG model (e.g. RTF) is completely anachronistic at this point, but I suppose Scrivener serves the hold-outs.

I wouldn’t mind the all-in-one-folder approach, since I can use tagging and other in-app tool to organize files. But I definitely reject numerical prefixes to maintain sorting order. That’s as discordantly 1990-ish as a WYSIWYG writing environment.

I love Marked, it’s a great tool, but it’s strictly for proofing.

Thanks anyway!

You can turn off the numeric prefixes, but it sounds like the Scrivener environment isn’t for you. Good luck with your writing in whatever tools you choose!

Yep, we just serve the hold-outs (i.e. the vast majority of writers). :smiley:

Are you saying that the vast majority of writers are Scrivener users (patently untrue), or that the vast majority of writers work in a WYSIWYG environment? If the latter, I’m quite sure you’re wrong, but do you have any data to support this statement?

Hmmm. So what’s “a writer”? Someone who writes, or someone who earns their living by writing? Frankly, I’d be amazed if a significant percentage of “those who write” were doing it in anything other than WYSIWYG. However, we need to be aware of the False Consensus Effect And on that subject, I am struck by just how often I see examples of it on internet forums. Perhaps not surprising, as it is a pretty robust finding in social psychology. I can’t seem to get away from the thing.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure most people just fire up Word. The feisty ones use OpenOffice.

And I say that as someone who would rather (and actually does) generate word processor files with shell scripts as opposed to word processors… including from Scrivener. :wink:

For those occasions where I’d be better off using a text editor to compose some Markdown, I can’t really find much to complain about with copy and paste between different programs. I get the impression I am odd about that, as I have encountered a fair percentage of people who have a very strong adverse reaction to the concept; but for me copy and paste is something I do hundreds of times per day, within and between different programs—who cares if there is a ⌘⇥ thrown between ⌘C and ⌘V now and then? It’s all just muscle memory.

Well here I go, time to copy and paste from Scrivener into the web forum—granted, via a shell script that converts to BBCode, buried in a macro that handles the whole thing from start to finish, including clicking the preview button. Maybe I do cheat a little bit.

Indeed, most use Word or an app similar to it. Anecdotally (and remember that the original phrase was “the plural of anecdote is data” :slight_smile: ), in the majority of author interviews I’ve read that have mentioned software, it has been Word that the author uses. Those of us techie enough to search out new software just tend to forget that most people will just use what their computer comes with or what’s on their work machine.

I can’t find any good statistics on this, but I don’t think anyone can seriously argue that most writers are using Markdown or similar. To your average person, text with asterisks dotted through it is far more unwieldy than simple formatting. I feel pretty confident in saying that the majority of students, authors, professors, journalists and writers of all stripes use something like Word or Pages.

I’m one of those people that dislikes asterisks and markup, incidentally - it was okay in 1990 when all emails were plain text, but I much prefer seeing a little bold and italics on the page as I write now. And Scrivener’s editor is built on such principles. Users who don’t like that are free to use Markdown and ignore the formatting entirely. To say that formatting is anachronistic or old-fashioned is just perverse, though.

A bit OT (in fact a stark non sequitur) but some of my (humanities) graduate students used Latex to write their theses. It was a fashion. They didn’t need to - for the most part they were formula-free subjects - but as a confederacy of dunces sometimes will, they managed to convince each other that it meant they were more serious about their work. That, and a little maths envy.


I use TextMate as my text editor and I I’m testing Scrivener as part of my workflow. So everything is on an experimental phase.

In text mate you can open a file using:
You can paste this and of URL scheme to Scrivener which allows you to open the file using TextMate when you click the link.
For example, you can create an Outline Document in your Research Folder with links to documents:

The next step is to use Sync with External Folder: ~/Documents/ExtFolder/
So you will have two folders: test and ExtFolder. The ExtFolder is managed by Scrivener.
Now you need a tool too sync bilaterally these two folders respecting the name structure defined by Scrivener.
I think that this can lead to a solution for the problem