Problems using Scrivener to author blog posts and the like

This was discussed some in the Beta forum, but it’s still an issue. Note that this isn’t a bug report, but a usability complaint.

One of the (many) uses I have for Scrivener is for blog posts, and by that I mean both ways. Sometimes I save blog posts into Scrivener for archiving. Sometimes I draft in Scrivener and copy the finished post out to the blog hosting software.

This brings up several problems, all of which have workarounds, and all of which are a pain.

Note before I begin: I’m really trying to solve a problem, not rag on the program (which I otherwise love). The problem is, how to author in Scrivener and export to a blog post without jumping through hoops to get inserted links (and other formatting) carried over.

The twin problems

a. Is there a way to copy a post from Scrivener to an intermediary program quickly (without a lot of right-clicking to add each link), preserve the links and formatting displayed in Scrivener, and then into a blog editor for publication? (I currently use two blog editors, Wix and Substack.)

b. Is there a way for the Scrivener developers to add a “Copy and Preserve Links and Formatting” item to the right-click and main menu choices?

The details…

Copying text with links out of Scrivener

I tried copying text containing links and one instance of italics out of Scrivener in many ways, and find that nothing preserves either the links or the italics, except as noted below — and that method involves a lot of right-clicking if there are many links, so it’s not a good choice.

Here’s what I tried:

  1. Scrivener → Wix in Firefox, no links.
  2. Scrivener → Wix in Brave browser, no links.
  3. Scrivener → LibreOffice, no links.
  4. Scrivener → Word, must paste with Merge Formatting to preserve links.
  5. Scrivener → Substack, no links.

Is there a way to copy Scrivener to anything that preserves links (other than the Word option above)? If so, please let me know.

But:

  1. Wix with links → LibreOffice, links preserved.
  2. Wix with links → Word, links preserved.
  3. Wix with links → Substack, links preserved.

And:

  1. Substack with links → Wix (both browsers), links preserved.
  2. Substack with links → Word, links preserved.
  3. Substack with links → LibreOffice, links preserved.

Copying text with links into Scrivener

Here’s what I tried:

  1. Wix → Scrivener, links preserved but italics lost.
  2. Word → Scrivener, links preserved (the fonts get carried over).
  3. Word → Scrivener with “Paste and match style,” links lost.
  4. LibreOffice → Scrivener, same as from Word.
  5. Substack → Scrivener, links preserved.

Copying links themselves out of Scrivener

This one’s a puzzle. In every program (and browser) I use, if there’s a link in the text, there’s a way to right-click and select Copy Link. Not so with Scrivener, unless I’m blind. Is there a programmatic reason this should be the case? Or is this just an oversight?

If the latter, would the developers consider adding this option?

Thanks!

Thomas

I feel your pain. Good luck with this. :unamused:

Have you tried using either Gmail or a Google doc as an “intermediary” conversion point between Scrivener and your blog apps? Each of those has its own subtle variations of the format conversion process, and might possibly be useful.

Hadn’t thought of that. Thanks; I’ll give it a go.

Thomas

You seem very focused on copying and pasting. Have you tried exporting your Scrivener doc as either Multimarkdown or HTML (File->Export->Files…), then importing into your blog editor? If you need an intermediate app for some reason, any plain text editor would do.

Hope this suggestion proves useful…

Thanks for the thought. I actually tried using Markdown for a while as an authoring environment for posts (Ghostwriter, Typhora, etc.). The problem was still the links and formatting. Pasting Markdown into a blog platform editor didn’t cause a conversion. Even Gmail didn’t “read” Markdown.

Nice thought, though. Again, thanks.

Thomas

Scrivener can both Export and Compile to HTML. If the blogging software can’t deal with that maybe you need new blogging software.

Katherine

I run several websites. One is updated every day. One is updated every week. The others less often. I make 95% of my posts in Scrivener and then copy and paste them to Wordpress. Occasionally I post directly into Wordpress (Classicpress actually) and then I copy and paste from the site into Scrivener for archival purposes.

I post into the HTML tab not into the “Visual” tab, so Classicpress reads what I have pasted as code and not plain text.

I add em and strong and blockquote elements directly into the text as I type. I add image tags in Classicpress, once I have imported the image, and then amend the styles, and paste the amended link back into Scrivener.

The only problem I have encountered is links. These break because Scrivener tries to use curly quotes and HTML requires straight quotes. I have got round this by adding a note to the Scratchpad called “Websites” . It contains a dummy anchor tag pre-filled with everything I need.

It look like this: <a target="_blank" href="xxx"> I drop this in front of the word or phrase I want to turn into a link and add </a> after the phrase. I then paste the actual link into the XXX placeholder.

I open the Scratchpad whenever I want to write a webpage using Shift-Alt-Return (which is a toggle command that also closes it). The Scratchpad also includes other useful code samples such as the code for embedding a responsive video and the code for internal links. It also contains a straight quote on a line of its own so that I can grab one if I need :smiley:

Once the Scratchpad note is set up, this takes no time at all and requires no intermediaries.

Would that work for you?

But this is customizable in Scrivener for Mac and should be similar in the Windows version?

[attachment=0]Screenshot 2021-05-05 at 09.33.30.png[/attachment]

What you say is completely true Lunk but true is not the same as useful - and I have not found it particularly useful in this particular case.

Going to the Settings and then inside them and then clicking an option in order to switch to straight quotes in order to write an anchor tag, before repeating the whole process to actually quote something somebody said, gets tired very quickly.

Using the Scratchpad is much quicker and easier and leaves the smart quotes switched on for all the times I actually want to quote in the normal way. Which is a lot more than I embed URLs in text.

Plus using the template in a note in my Scratchpad makes sure that I don’t forget to set every URL to open in a new tab/page :smiley:

If Scrivener is capable of automatically detecting web addresses, which is an option, and of processing html, why wouldn’t it also be capable of ensuring that regular quotes are used in links. without requiring that smart quotes be turned off? It’s essentially the same capability.

You might be right. How would this work, because I can’t see a way of doing this. (This may well mean that I haven’t found the way - not that it doesn’t exist!

I was just commenting that 1) if Scrivener has the ability to recognize a string of text as a link, and 2) if Scrivener is able to output that link as valid html which includes quotes, and 3) if Scrivener is able to differentiate and exchange smart quotes for regular quotes, then it would seem everything is in place for Scrivener to be able to do what you’re trying to get it to do, were the option to be made available. Or so it seems.

I’m not quite sure I understand what you’re doing. Are you hand-coding the HTML in Scrivener, or using Scrivener’s own link-creation capabilities?

If Scrivener generates the links, then it should preserve the quotes. If you do, then you need to explain to Scrivener that “this is code, not formatted text.” In Mac Scrivener, you can do that with the Preserve Formatting command, but I’m not sure whether Windows Scrivener has that capability.

Katherine

I don’t know about the original poster but I am certainly, in effect, hand-crafting my links. As I said I am actually copying and pasting from a pre-made template link in the Scratchpad - a process that takes 2 seconds and causes me no problems at all.

The original poster is correct that if you make an auto-generated link in Scrivener and then copy and paste the text into Wordpress, Wix, or similar the link disappears and the label turns up as plain text. The way I suggested copies and pastes with the link intact.

An additional reason for not using auto-linking, in my case at least, is that I cannot find a way to format a generated link so that it automatically opens in a new tab/window.

It also suits me to have the links visible for instant visual inspection, in case they ever need updating.

For the record, I don’t think that this is something that needs to be fixed. It is an example of Scrivener’s built-in flexibility: allowing some users doing something that could not have been predicted, and finding as solution that works for them :smiley: