Paste Special - Resize Image

Hello, I have a suggestion. I would like to see Scrivener add the ability to have a Special Paste menu with the option to resize an image when pasted into a Scrivener document.

I have just finished my first book, and it is now receiving feedback from friends. The next step will be to find and hire a technical editor, and find a publisher. I included several of my own photographs in my book. The problem I am seeing is that, when an image is very large (1200 - 1600 + pixels) horizontal or vertical dimension, the large image size will greatly slow down Scrivener, resulting in far too many instances of the spinning beachball on my Mac. This is of course from using several large images, and not just from one or two images.

In my book I had to create a work-around where I took each image, loaded each image separately into my graphics program (Acorn), and then exported the image as, “web-ready”. This allowed me to change the size of the image, and then use the size-adjusted image in my Scrivener document. I have found in doing this that a 500 pixel width image will show up just as clearly as a 1600 pixel width image, and that the resizing of the image on a Scrivener page will be completely unaffected by the size of the image file. This has shown me that there is no reason to use very large image files in a Scrivener document.

I have just begun reviewing a technical document about magnetism which has many illustrations. In order to make good use of Scrivener for reviewing this document, adding my notes, etc., I am again pasting-in many very large images from the PDF file, and these very large image files are once again, slowing down my work on the document. There are far too many images, and it would be far too tedious to take each image into Acorn, resize it, save it, and then paste it into Scrivener.

This is why I am suggesting that it might be a very useful addition to Scrivener to have a, “Paste Special” menu option such as, “Delta Paste”, or, “Paste Image”, my suggested names for a paste option that would immediately produce a popup menu to set the desired size for the pasted image. This assumes of course that Scrivener would then be able to resize the pasted image.

I hope that my suggestion is of interest to others.

David G.

You don’t have to put them in Scrivener at all. I keep them outside the project (sized as needed) and link to them at Compile time. Here’s my workflow:

managing images


A sensible solution, saved to my “Tips” bookmarks. Don’t want to turn Scrivener into an image editor.


I always appreciate learning new things, and I was not aware of the ability to link external image files that will be included when the document is compiled. While I appreciate the suggestion, the problem remains that, with this suggestion, I cannot see the image in the Scrivener document I am working on.

I am in no way suggesting turning Scrivener into an image editing program. To some, writing is simply the process of writing down words, with the inclusion of the proper annotation for footnotes, images, etc. There are many programs that are popular for this sort of a writing process, with the most popular being the text based Mark-Up system.

I enjoy writing in Scrivener for many reasons, not the least of which is that Scrivener allows rich text, adding images, adding tables, lists, and other visually correct parts of putting together any document that I am writing in Scrivener.

For myself, coming from a background of technical writing, it is very important to see an illustration at the place in the document where the placement of the image is meant to support what I am discussing in my document.

My suggestion is not extraordinary, as Scrivener already has a copy special menu which i have made good use of, in setting up a Table of Contents (TOC) for my document. The ability within Apple systems to resize an image should be readily available using Applescript, JavaScript, or a host of other programming languages. As it seems to be well known that large images will choke scrivener and will greatly reduce its usability, adding the ability to set the size of a pasted-in image to a Scrivener document seems to be, to me at least, an entirely reasonable suggestion to offer to the Scrivener community.

I also like to see the image, and I don’t like big files and most always don’t need them as the resolution way over-board for my purposes.

I resize and manipuate images with an image editor. I have a few. Normally find putting it to a PNG file works pretty good. Smaller size. Then I drag and drop the image into the document so that I can see them.

That’s the beauty of macOS. You can have multiple programs working at once in side-by-side windows. No need to put everything into one app.


Yes, I agree with you as that is what I said too. However, with the addition of allowing a special paste option to downsize an image pasted into Scrivener, this saves a great deal of extra work. As I mentioned, I am now working on a very large technical document that containes many illustrations that I want to paste into my Scrivener document. It is simply not practical to take each and every image from the PDF, run it through a separate image resizing program, save it as a new file, and then find it again to place it in the correct place in the Scrivener document.

Scrivener has a very nice feature which allows side by side reviews of different parts of your Scrivener document. It seems reasonable to me that when you are going through many hundreds of illustration images in a document, and you have already captured the text of that document, you would want to copy from, and paste to, the same locations. Going through a list of saved, downsized images, and trying to decide on where they belong seems a wholly unnecessary complication to me.

The issue here is that Scrivener is a word processor, not an image processor. And it is also cross platform. So while it might be possible for the developers to somehow use Apple’s resources to manipulate images for use in the Mac version of Scrivener those same resources may not be available in the Win version. It would also depend on the demand for such a feature and the difficulty to implement it.


Though I have not done it in a very long time the batch editing feature in Photoshop allows you to apply a particular set of editing actions to a group of files with just a click – helping you save a lot of time in the post-production workflow.

But like I said, I have not done that in a very long time so I do not know what the current situation is in PS or similar image editing software. Here is a link to a SERP of PS Batch Processing Tutorials that might solve your problem.

You have specialty needs, use the special tool.

1 Like

Imagemagick is a great tool for individual and batch image manipulation. free of cost.

1 Like

Yes, I agree, there are many good batch processors that are available. But as I have said, I am here speaking of repeatedly copying images out of a PDF document, which are huge, and then pasting them into a Scrivener document. When I assembled all of my photos for my book, batch processing was indeed a useful option. But when I am taking hundreds of images, one at a time, that I only need to paste into my Scrivener document, this becomes a different matter entirely.

It is also true that, the addition of large images will directly impact the performance of Scrivener. As Scrivener is not a word processor in the traditional sense like Word, Nisus, or Pages, and neither is Scrivener a strictly text oriented platform, it seems to me to be a reasonable suggestion that it would serve Scrivener users well if there was some way to adjust the size of the pasted image file, when pasting the image into a Scrivener document.

I can not speak to the possibility or to the difficulty of the programming that would have to be involved, and I have no knowledge of how this can be done in the Windows architecture. This could be a special paste feature, or this could be a preferences setting that allows the user to limit the size of pasted in-images in a Scrivener document.

I sent the developer the same information that I have here posted in starting this thread. What the developer decides to do about this suggestion, is of course not up to me. I was simply making the case that this could be a needed feature that would prevent a Scrivener document from slowing down. And, if you have never experienced many very large images in a Scrivener document before, this bloats the Scrivener document so badly that you have to wait many seconds, and endure many spinning beach balls, when you continue to write, or try to save your Scrivener document. My comments are of course only meant to be constructive suggestions. I appreciate all of the feedback from the Scrivener community.

One thing you could do before you start to paste images into Scrivener is to export all the images out of the PDF by saving the PDF as “images.” Then you batch process all the images before you go through the process of selecting which ones you want to use. That way any image that you want to use has already been processed to your desired specifications.


I don’t think making the images smaller will improve that situation as much as you think. The number of images in a document or scrivenings is a bigger issue.


Actually, when I first encountered this problem, during a long drawn out legal battle wtih the veterans administration (VA) I was using many, many screen shots and images of specific parts of documents. This was the first time I was noticing how slowed down Scrivener was. After downsizing all of the (many many) images in those VA document rebuttals and legal arguments, all of the spinning beachball wait times I was experiencing in Scrivener went away. So I will respectfully respond that, it is not the number of the images in a document, but the size of the image files in a document, that causes problems in a Scrivener document.

I have tried exporting out of the PDF file in various ways, with Affinity Publisher providing me with the most options. But, no matter what I have done, I can not copy or export anything but text out of the PDF document. All I can do is right click on each image, copy it, and then paste the (very large) image file into my Scrivener document. If I could, as you have suggested, export all of the image files, then I would still be faced with finding where they belonged in the very large document.

Once again, I appreciate suggested work-arounds, but this still comes to the very simple question of my initial posted idea of adding a special paste option, to make sure images pasted into Scrivener, are not going to choke Scrivener and cause Scrivener to go into a spinning beachball induced state of anaphylactic shock, so to speak.

When I say export/save as image means that all the pages (including text files) in the pdf are exported as images, not that only the image files are.

You have to use a dedicated PDF creator /editor from Adobe. I use Acrobat Pro (CS6) which is old but still does the job until I upgrade to next level of macOS which will no longer support 32 bit. But the next version of Acrobat CC will have same options.

When export/save the file as images you have different format for images – tiff, png, jpg etc. The whole pdf is saved page by page in the order of the original pdf as image files. You reduce their size via batch process. You can then simply view the files in Finder until you get the image you need. You find the images in the folder the same way as you would in the pdf by looking at them one page at a time. The exported images is an image of each page that includes text, so the place in the text where the image is found is still persevered by page order.

I use save file by exporting images to get around security settings that don’t allow me to annotate a pdf or have some other annoying restrictions. How do I do that? I export/save the pdf as images (for each page) and then use these images to make a new pdf.

Hmm. I’m surprised the size matters all that much, unless it’s a big difference in size.

The “official” solution to this problem is to use low resolution placeholder images in Scrivener, and replace them with full size images for your final output. See Section 15.7.4 and following in the Scrivener manual.

I posted a suggestion that adding a special paste for graphics to be reduced in size in a Scrivener document would be quite useful. Surprisingly, I did not receive a single positive response, with a Scrivener official response being that, “So yes, as I say it’s very unlikely we will ever add that to the editor because that isn’t something a text editing program should be doing, and there is a very high level of likelihood that it will just get people into a pickle.” - From Ioa, taking a look at [my] feature request.

In this process I am amazed, and disappointed, that my suggestion was not considered based in large part on much misinterpretation of what my suggestion had been, or the positive benefits implied in my suggestion. Rather than continuing to argue a point that seems to be of little interest - at least to those who have responded, I would like to offer the following clarification before leaving the topic entirely.

  1. The official Scrivener response was focused on not thinking adding a way to shrink a huge image file was a good idea because that might interfere with how a publisher would want to see the document at a later date. This frankly shocks me to hear as apparently, according to this opinion from Scrivener, I am the only writer who believes that part of the writing process is to do research before you write your document. I say this because, while there is a reason to place a link to a full sized image file outside of Scrivener for the purpose of publishing a document, it is also true that the compile feature allows me to select just the parts in the Binder that I want to compile. That means that, my smaller sized image files that I have used to assemble my notes, and to do my research, will not be affected in the least when I compile my Scrivener document.

  2. I have heard responses that said that I was suggesting that Scrivener should be like an image editor, which is completely false. Allowing for a, “paste special” option for reducing the size of an image file is a choice, hence the term, “paste special” menu. This has nothing whatsoever to do with how a Word processor can manipulate or provide additional processing to an image. I am not suggesting changing the opacity, the color, or any image related parts of an image file. I have only suggested that reducing the size on a special paste option would be useful, as it is a well known fact that large image files will choke Scrivener.

  3. Considering these comments, the question must be asked, what is Scrivener? It is certainly not a word processor like Word, Nisus, or Pages. It is not a simple text editor like plain text or Mark-up. Scrivener is a writing tool that should be a great tool for all writers. And as I have already said, that includes writing drafts including visual image cues which are sometimes in very large image files, which have no need to remain very large image files.

Please remember that Scrivener is not just a tool to get published, it is also a writers tool. And writers doing research will appreciate not always having to paste very large images, or make external image links without being able to visually reference what you are writing about.

And finally, while this may not endear me to my fellow Scrivener users, I can’t help but close my comments with the following story taken from one of my past team building programs. The following story illustrates how, at times the very idea of changing something is unthinkable, because its just not the way we have always done things here.

Five Apes or, The Way Things Are.

Start with a cage containing five apes. In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, an ape will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the Banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the apes with cold water. After a while, another ape makes an attempt, with the same result-all the apes are sprayed with cold water. Turn off the cold water. If, later, another ape tries to climb the stairs, the other apes will try to prevent it, even though no water sprays them.

Now, remove one ape from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new ape sees the banana, and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other apes attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five apes and replace it with a New one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous Newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.

Again, replace a third original ape with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four apes that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest ape.

After replacing the fourth and fifth original apes, all the apes which have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. Nevertheless, no ape ever again approaches the stairs. Why not?

“Because that’s the way it’s always been around here.”

Sound familiar?

It was considered, and not for the first time.

Resizing an image is image editing, and Scrivener is not an image editor. It isn’t as simple as you may think. Here are three dialogs for resizing images in Affinity Photo (and there may be others). There are quite a few choices.

Next is an Affinity Designer file in which I create a bunch of images for my WIP.

After editing any of them – or when I need to output them at a new resolution – I go to Designer’s Export persona and tell the program where to put them and at what resolution. Here’s a part of the process for that. I can say how many pixels wide or tall they should be, what format, etc. and export them all at once.

Here’s a folder where I’ve exported them:

And here is my Scrivener workflow for managing them:

Managing Images

I have no need of Scrivener to do anything but the last step.


Scrivener is not an image editor, nor have I suggested that Scrivener is, or should be an image editor. I can also search for Scrivener text using Houdahspot or Foxtrot Professional, but is there a point to doing this? Of course, Affinity is a marvelous image editor, as is Acorn, and many other programs. As I mentioned, some like things the way they have always been, and will not wish to consider new ideas here. No offense meant but, the idea that Scrivener should only satisfy those who are publishing, and should not support the researching of an idea while writing, is an opinion that anyone is entitled too of course. But as I have clearly pointed out, Scrivener resizing images, ins not the same thing as an image editor, nor can it address the unbearably slow process of waiting for Scrivener to cope with a large image file - the type of image file that is often added during the research phase, and not the type of image file that is included in the compilation.