Personal placeholders and tracking them

Hey all!

I’m trying to prevent the dreaded Internet Rabbit Hole Syndrome (IRHS, laughs) by using square brackets and a small descriptive text to mark the places I have to go back and replace with something I need to spend time researching (rank of CO, location of a base, name of people in the pack, etc.).

Here’s where this “brilliant” idea is failing me: I need to compile a list of them so I can use the right placeholder later on… And if I forget to add it to the list in Project notes, I’m hunting for the placeholder, which stalls my writing process.

Note: I’m seriously debating going to v3 beta just to get some of the features I feel like I really need right now. I haven’t thus far because I was worried about making progress in my current project and being unable to go back to v1.9. If v3 beta is the answer, I’ll make that happen


Is the problem in finding where these bracket phrases are, or actually creating a separate list of them that isn’t connected to the originals? If it is the latter, there aren’t actually any tools that would do that, even in v3. But the former shouldn’t be a problem—in the sense that with a tool like Scrivener, you shouldn’t need to be manually curating lists of things to do in files. If you don’t use brackets otherwise, you could just use Project Search to look throughout the text for “[”. That return a list of all items containing that punctuation mark, and you can then go through hit by hit in the editor using the regular old Ctrl+F tool.

If you use brackets a lot for other things though, well that’s a good thing to keep in mind going forward. For special markings like this I try to use something I’ll never use anywhere else. I use a very similar approach to writing as you do—if I don’t know something off the top of my head I just slap a note into the text and keep writing. I use “//” as a marker in an inline annotation (Ctrl+Shift+A). E.g. “SCI// what actually is the voltage of this thing” which tells me I need to research it (because all research is Science, in my mental shorthand), so I can run a project search for “SCI//” later on and safely only ever get those notes.

While you’re playing with project search, click on the magnifying glass and note how you can save a search as a collection? That’s going to save you a lot of time—basically it means you can pull up your list of look-up placeholders without having to set up search settings every time.

But speaking of inline annotations, that’s another tool to consider in general. You could use those all by themselves, without any other markers, to describe filler text that needs fleshing out, and later on hunt them down with the Edit ▸ Find ▸ Find by Formatting tool.

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I wasn’t very clear. I’m looking for a way to see all my placeholders, so I can type them in the same way or know that it’s already in use. If I forget that I have already created a placeholder, I would be unintentionally combining two separate entities. I might try the Auto-Complete List, because it will show what’s already there, as long as I remember to add to that list. But, wait, what’s this? Find by formatting… huh. Why have I never noticed that option before now? That might solve a totally unrelated problem! Thanks!

I fall down the Rabbit Hole almost every time I stop to search for something, so placeholders are worth a little effort for me to stay on task. I’ll know that, when the time comes, I’ll just block out a whole day to work on replacing placeholders. :mrgreen: Anything I can do to make using them easier just means more productivity!

Thanks for chiming in. I’m about to go save and backup and then back up again…so I can shift to v3 Beta and start next week ready to roll.


Ah, in that case, I agree, it might be good to give the Auto-Complete list a try for a bit. That’s what I use in fact, for a lot of my repetitive markers and text. It saves a lot of time, and it really helps in keeping things consistent. It is maybe slightly less convenient than a text list in the inspector, but it’s not too bad, and really I don’t find myself consulting it often, as typing and getting completion aids is usually good enough. For me there is something about that feedback process that helps in memory retention.

As for adding things to the list though, that’s really super easy, easier than Project Notes for sure. Just select the new phrase, right-click on it, and use “Add Select to Auto-Complete List” (at least, I think that is in v1, if not, look for it in v3 once you get that installed).

Good call, I’d say! It’s definitely ready for every-day use, and it adds a lot to the writing environment. At least for how I use it. I definitely recommend going through the tutorial again, even if just to skim through the “what’s new” collection, and as well the similar section in the new user manual appendix. There are a few changes you’ll want to know of, such as how Project Notes are now handled. Basically they are now regular old items in the binder. The inspector sidebar for notes has become a place to view and edit pinned, or as we call it, bookmarked, items. This makes the old References list a lot nicer as well—rather than just being a list of links, you can now flip through and edit related items like you would Notes.

Anyway, have fun!

Hi Anne,

What you could do is create placeholders using square brakets in your pages as you are wanting - such as:

[PH1: ]
[PH2: ] etc.

Then do a project search for '[PH ’ and use ‘Save Search as a Collection’ (shown below) this will then place all found entries into a collection. Then you will be prompted to give your new collection a name. I hope that is what you are wanting. :slight_smile: