Reminders, or "The Problem Of Using Scriv As A Database

This might be a little odd as a feature request, and maybe I’m just getting a little loopy from trying to make Scriv my sole program in the universe, but…

I write a lot of different things, and the thing that won me over to Scriv is not the bells and whistles (but oh how I love them), but the possibility of having all my writings in one program. So I’ve imported tons of stuff – several book manuscripts, chapters, papers, reviews, columns, whatnot – and have this magic playground of text. As I am an academic, I’ve also imported calls for papers and instructions for authors. One jumbled heap, in other words.

So, for the feature request: A simple alarm/reminder for documents. I have tried to look through the forums, but this seems not to have been discussed (or I’m just really bad at searching). And if there is a magic button in Scriv which enables this, I’ve yet to find it.

With the potential of having hundreds of documents in a writing database, there is the risk of forgetting stuff in there. A simple alarm for deadlines and reminders would be nice, even though one can do all this in iCal and suchlike (“Move out of Scriv for anything except basic hygiene? Never!”). With Scriv becoming something of a one-stop-shop, I assume that quite a lot of folks have enough little things in there that the risk of forgetting stuff in the folder tree increases.

Just a humble suggestion, would not want Scriv to become bloated, but something I thought could be genuinely useful.

Scrivener is very much designed around the concept of Projects being related to a single work. You will find that most of the exporting features are tuned to this philosophy and as such, you may eventually discover that keeping everything in one project (as one might in DEVONthink Pro), is less efficient than having many projects, one for each book or short story (or whatever). With single-purpose projects, the problem of lost content in a massive hive is somewhat mitigated.

But of course, it is up to you to figure out how the program works best for you.

Well, I wouldn’t dream of telling you what your philosophy is, but the fact is that Scriv’s actual layout makes it the best multiple-project editor out there. I’ve happily exported manuscripts and the likes from my behemoth of a project, and have actually never found any aspect of the program that would indicate that the philosophy is one of “one work–one project”. Quite the contrary, it does multiple writing-projects far better than DevonThink, or any other product on the market.

In other words, I believe Scriv may have evolved beyond your original philosophy for it, and if one looks at the actual developing features, these point towards multiple and complex usages. On the level of semantics, if one reads “Project” as “What I Do” and “Document” as “What I’m Writing Right Now”, the very notion of single work disappears. Most people who write for a living have multiple projects, so maybe the philosophy needs an overhaul?

This isn’t written in a malicious tone, BTW, and I totally respect your choices. I was just amazed at the notion that anyone would see the single work as the default value for a Scriv-project. As I’m finishing a book in it, and in parallel have written about seven columns and a few reviews, with two book chapters thrown in for good measure, all in the same project, I think that this is a rather limited way to see the program and its potential.

I dont now if we talk about the same thing, if i agree about the missing of a database within Scrivener.

For a month ago I test to use Scrivener when I write a script for a short.

Wow what I like this software. Just let your fantasy flow away, make new cards/ notes - brainstorm your story. After that you can begin organize your story.

Some scenes here maybe not match your story but you like the scene and here I lack the opportunity to have a database with ideas, scenes or whatever that not fit in.

Today I have to use both Scrivener and Yojimbo, and unfortunality Yojimbo doesnt really match my wish of function.

Small note about the idea of having alarms/reminders associated with Scrivener documents:

  1. I seem to recall that one of the previewed features of upcoming OS X Leopard was a system-wide to-do functionality. The idea being that you could make to-do items anywhere and they would be agglomerated in and synced with iCal (or something like that). So, it may be that Scrivener will (more or less) just inherit this functionality when Leopard comes along because the functionality will be built into Leopard’s text engine. [I don’t know if this new Leopard feature is strictly to-do or whether you can set timed/dated/alarmed items as well.]

  2. You can tag your documents/folders with colors and labels and statuses that you define, so you could use these features for your purpose (though it would not give you alarms, of course). But you knew that, I know.


When I’m starting a project, I’ve started putting everything on the computer into a Scrivener Project. I’ve started to think of the Folders and Index Cards as subdirectories and organizing my hard drive for backup that way.

Because you don’t need multiple programs for them any more.

Hi alfrehn,

I don’t think there is anything contradictory in what you and/or others are saying here. While Scr. might have been conceived a a ‘single-project’ program, you are not alone in using a single Scr. file/db for multiple projects, and Scr. accommodates this quite well. I have an ‘idea development’ db where I do research and house ideas that are nascient and might become actual projects. There’s all kinds of stuff going on in this Scr. file! Lots of ideas, few of which will actually become real projects, but it’s a very active environment to play in. But as soon as something becomes a 'real project, it goes to one of two places–it gets its own, single Scr. db for really large projects (are only a very few of these, of course) that are entities unto themselves (i.e., don’t relate to other projects I’m working on) or another ‘master’ Scr. file that houses just about everything else. All of my short pieces, essays, articles, short stories, whatever, are part of this file. But there is nothing that says I couldn’t have ALL my projects in one file if I want to keep all research and development material in one place and all projects together in one db.

What is great about Scr., in my opinion, is that it accommodates a whole host of ways to work and organize your work. It’s incredibly flexible. You can definitely use it as a single-project-at-a-time kind of program or a one-size fits all kind of deal, where you toss it all into one Scr. file and run with all your projects at once. Either way, you have many ways to organize things and tag and flag things that need prioritizing. You can use labels, status indicators, or keywords to tag entries, do a search specifying one of these criteria, then save that search. I do that with a file for a field of study I’m undertaking right now, to tag and collect all unfinished assignments. I have a saved search with certain tag parameters and whenever I click on that saved search folder, there are all my unfinished projects, waiting with nice, red labels, telling me in no uncertain terms what needs my attention!

This is just one simple example of course. I know it’s not quite the alarm you were looking for, but still, a fast and easy way to track things. It does require that you set the parameters and tag your documents, which you would have to do anyway to tell the program to notify you that attention was needed. And it does require you actually check the saved search folder.

Anyway, there might also be other ways to accommodate what you want here, either within Scr. or in tandem with other programs. Just wanted to toss in my two cents, since I kind of doubt you’ll be seeing anything approaching the kind of project management alarm-type system you requested in Scr. any time soon, if at all (of course, anything is possible!!).


[Brief use of internet whilst holidaying in Norway:]

Hi alfrehn,

Just for the record, AmberV is a very helpful user, but I am the developer of Scrivener. However, AmberV - as one of the first users - does know my philosophy of Scrivener inside out. It was indeed intended as a project-per-piece kind of thing, where these pieces are long works of texts such as books or novels. In the case of short stories, related academic essays, course notes or journalistic pieces, you might, indeed, want to put them in the same project. Programs like DevonThink Personal allow you only one database for everything, because they really are database programs. Scrivener is a project-based program. A “project” can be anything you want to be, but things like alarms I see as outside the scope of Scrivener, I am afraid. Obviously, I have to have some boundaries, or Scrivener would soon become a very nebulous program!

Thanks for your comments and for taking the time to post,
All the best,

Go away. You’re supposed to be on vacation. :smiling_imp:


Hi KB,

And thanks for your reply (Go back to vacation!). Sure, it’s your program and you should decide. I’m just happy to have a great tool at my disposal!

alf rehn

Easiest way to alarm is to use another program with services. I use SOHO Notes. Just select what you need to alarm in Scrivener, go to services and select SOHO notes to import the selection into whatever folder yoiu designate. The selection will appear as it was in Scrivener. SOHO allows many mods and features the unending alarm if you really need it. Can use it to dBase anything. SOHO uses Openbase, and it will sync multiple computers if you purchase the multiple edition.