Organizing notes across projects?

So I’ve got lots of little bits and pieces across different projects that might relate to each other. For example, I might have, in various projects, several pieces that each pertain to possible articles I might write.

What’s the most effective & efficient way – in Scrivener or using a third-party tool – to be able to pull these together into little libraries: “Ideas for articles” or “Notes on books I’ve read” or whatever? I of course want to keep the notes where they are as well… but I also want something that pulls them together for their universal value beyond the project that they’re in.

This is why I use DevonThink as my main research database. I collect a lot of material that’s useful beyond the confines of a particular project.

I also have a “Notetaker” project in Scrivener. It keeps the original versions of, say, interview notes, while I’ll drag a copy to the specific relevant project and get to work with the Split command to build my outline. And I’ll also drag a copy into DevonThink for long term reference.


I’m a big fan of Evernote.

Like Scrivener, it’s platform agnostic. It is always available, on any device. It’s extremely easy to data into (and back out of).

I use Evernote, although I’m not such a big fan. It appears to have experienced various upheavals recently, mainly to do with staffing and pricing. One of my beefs with it is its user interface, which is not straightforward. Alternote ( does provide a more efficient and attractive Evernote interface on the Mac. Taskclone ( will copy your Evernote tasks to task apps, such as Omnifocus.

I’ve also used Microsoft OneNote, which like Evernote is free of charge and is also “everywhere”, but (in my opinion) has a better user-interface than Evernote. But the Mac version of OneNote still lacks features that the Windows version has.

I’ve read that one or two users use Evernote for collection of notes, and OneNote for storage and viewing. Exporting Evernote notes to other apps such as OneNote has been an issue in the past (although DevonThink will import them). But there are now apps which will take Evernote notes and allow their import into OneNote.

In addition, there’s Alfons Schmid’s Notebooks app ( which has quite a following - especially for users who want to avoid the 1,000-lb gorillas of the market. In the very simple notes category, there’s - aha - Simplenote ( and the various derivatives of Notational Velocity (, such as nvAlt ( Of course there’s also Apple’s own Notes app, which was updated and improved a year or two ago. And there are of course many others.

Personally, I like notes apps which allow you to “attach” notes to the files or folders to which they refer. Ghostnotes ( is one of these. But it’s only on the Mac. So ideally for me, I’d like an application which offers the possibility of this “contextual” functionality but which is also “everywhere” like Evernote, has an attractive interface, like Alternote or OneNote - and the facility to take handwritten notes from iOS and Android, accurately convert them into printed text and add them to my notes library. But I don’t know of any such application. You’d think that it would be more straightforward to develop than many other applications now available, so it is perhaps surprising that it doesn’t seem to exist. Maybe the free notes apps from Apple and Microsoft and the free version of Evernote serve to kill this possibility. Or perhaps the notes niche is waiting for its “Scrivener Moment”?

As Katherine said, a separate note project in Scrivener is superbly simple & handy; I also use and favor a catch-all text file for all those snippets, with a few keywords as a note header. Each note is separated by a few *** or —; searching the file is dead simple & fast, and cut & paste drops the note into my working Scrivener project. KISS is our friend. Since our computers grew in RAM and speed, a text file of even several megabytes is blazing fast.

Ulysses. It’s not great for writing imho but it’s a great note repository, especially as they added document linking to the Mac in the latest version. I just use in-text hashtag as a keyword scheme. Works great.

See … -the-file/ for the thinking that led me to this approach.

The Drafts app on the iPad combined with the Scratch Pad in Scrivener.

I just use text files in the Finder/Dropbox. As I centralize more of my writing in Scrivener though (because of the iOS version, which makes it easier to stay in Scriv than to deal with iOS’s file management limitations), I’m contemplating just doing what was suggested above: making a general Notes or Ideas or Resources folder in Scrivener. That would let me take advantage of keywords etc.