Questions About 'Research Files as Aliases"

This is a neat feature in 2.1. I was wondering though if there is a way to import-as-alias by dragging icons (like some combination of modifier keys plus dragging?). I tried a few combos and didn’t get one that imported an alias as opposed to the whole file, but I wasn’t very systematic.

The reason I ask: Some files I might wish to import aren’t readily findable via a pop-up Finder menu. For example, if I have complex structure of folders and subfolders in Devonthink, it’s much easier to find what I want in that app and then drag an icon. It would take time to find it once in DT and then have to re-find it “from the outside.” Same applies to files in Evernote.

Which leads to my second question: Do people think it would be dangerous to import DT or EN files into Scriv as aliases? The idea appeals to me as a way to avoid confusion and duplication. I’d rather work with a single pdf file that exists in one place than to have (1) the pdf in Downloads (called something like 1123.ssn.blahblah.pdf) and (2) the pdf in Scriv (called something like 13.pdf) and (3) the pdf in Devonthink, inside its package and also called 1123.ssn.blahblah.pdf and (4) the pdf in Bookends (if I have to be able to generate academic citations). When each app has its own copy, it takes some time and attention to avoid losing track of which pdf has the notes, highlighting etc. I’d love it if aliases would solve this problem. But maybe it’s not safe to create aliases of files that are in packages manipulated by a particular app, rather than the finder.

Insights from wiser minds welcome.

Great work on 2.1, Keith. I like the new Compile; also being able to keep QuickRef windows in place for the next time I open a project.

As ever,


I’m not sure about Evernote, but generally speaking if you can drag the file then you don’t need to find it in any file browser, ever. Use the Scrivener tool to call up the import window, and then drag the item from DTP that you want to import as an alias. And there you go. :slight_smile:

Many programs like this also provide a “Reveal in Finder” contextual menu command, too. So if they themselves do not support drag and drop you can at least located it in the Finder and drag from there.

It’s pretty safe. Aliases work at a deeper level than you work. They are able to see a file’s internal record, rather than its filesystem assignment (name and path). If you or some software changes its assignment, the underlying file itself is still the same file; the same record. When you move files from one folder to another, they don’t actually physically move anywhere, their assignment is just altered—but the alias pays no attention to that aspect of the file—the alias can remain sound. There are most likely exceptions, but anything using Cocoa is probably going to be safe to work with.

Amazed I didn’t think of that. Thanks for the explanation about aliases, too. I’m going to experiment with this, then.