PDF documents dragged into text files

Scrivener would be perfect as a general binder, commonplace book or even scrapbook. Its one Achilles heel is that it stores pdf files as images. So if you have native, non-pdf files you can only bring them into Scrivener as image files or under “Research.”

No, it doesn’t. It stores them as normal PDFs

If only that were true. Try importing a mult-page pdf to anywhere other than “Research.”
If you try to import a pdf, you will see that they are greyed out. If you try to drag and drop, you get this error message:

You can import pdfs to other places than to the Research folder. The only exception is the Drafts/Manuscript folder. Everywhere else it works fine. Try it: just drag a pdf to the top level of the binder, or create a top level folder and drag a pdf there. Works perfectly well.


I’ve split this off to a new post because it has nothing to do with the question the user was asking, and is essentially a misunderstanding of how PDFs work in text files.

No media files of any kind can be placed into the Draft folder. By the way, when you drag a PDF into a text editor (as it sounds like you are doing), it doesn’t turn it into an image. I will grant you that it becomes somewhat useless in that context, but that is more down to how a 70 page PDF document in a the middle of a paragraph is useless in the first place. The ability to drag PDFs into the editor is so you can import scalable vector graphics, not whole documents.

Perhaps the use of Scrivener as a binder, or commonplace book to collect documents, no matter the format, is an edge case. All I’ve ever seen are two basic folders: draft and research. I will try to see if I can create other folders, mixed with other documents, that can handle pdf documents as well. It certainly would be interesting.

BTW, there is a use case for a 20 page (I don’t know about 70) pdf following a paragraph; that would be in contract drafting where there are always pages of boilerplate. And yes, you could set up all sorts of different Scrivener projects for each matter, but the purpose of a commonplace book is to have all the references, all the templates, in one place.

From what I have seen, without pdf functionality that’s not currently possible but I’ll play with the concept a little more.

It’s possible to create a new folder, outside of the Drafts folder, and import a pdf there natively. That folder cannot be dragged back into the Drafts folder, so I guess it functions as an additional Research folder. So I assume the documents there wouldn’t be included in a Compile, which is one issue. Without that functionality, I’m not sure how this would fit into the workflow.

Well the main issue with embedding a PDF document into a text file is going to be formatting. There may be some rare cases where one would actually want a complete document (paragraph style, fonts, page numbers, margins, headers and footers and all) inside of another document with its own page numbering and margins outside of that, but that’s going to be pretty rare, for the design intent of Scrivener anyway. You do bring up a use case, but I would wonder how you would do that in another program even? Wouldn’t the typical approach be to glue two PDFs together in a tool that can do so? I tried this in LibreOffice and Nisus Writer Pro, and didn’t get a result I think you’d like in either case.

That aside, the main issue here is technical. It’s not something RTF does. You can do slightly better with RTFD (try in TextEdit to see what I mean), but that isn’t a cross-platform format, and even then the result still suffers from the awkwardness of pagination issues, margins within margins and so forth. Plus, try printing—not ideal.

Oh yeah, absolutely, It’s certainly not a core focus for the software, but you can have as many top level folders as you want, and you can even put any kind of item into the top level itself—things don’t even have to be in folders.

I have some projects where I drag the Draft folder below the Trash and completely ignore it. These sorts of projects tend to be gathered notes on a various topic, that sort of thing. I’m not ever going to be compiling anything out of it, I’m using it purely because Scrivener can be a mean note taking tool, with all of its metadata features, flexible dual-pane layout and so forth.

Thank you. Word is a nightmare for everything except revisions and it’s not great at that either. It’s like flying the Airbus: “what is it doing now?” Styles are inconsistent; normal.dot means every document created on another system will be changed; data lurks in the undocumented binary and I don’t want to discuss documents that hide from the system as email attachments. Some lawyers still use Wordperfect for these reasons. But I’m afraid the battle is lost.