Scalability in Scrivener

Hi, I am evaluating Scrivener and have some questions about scalability. What is considered a large Scrivener file? How many documents? characters? Are there any other factors I should understand? If I am storing PDF documents inside Scrivener for research, are the PDFs copied into the Scrivener file or linked to the location on the filesystem? Can I configure where such research documents are stored?

I have a Macbook Pro with maxed out RAM.


Scrivener projects are just special folders. Putting images, PDFS, and other media into a project will do very little to slow things down. When you drag media into the Binder, it is always copied in the project folder to keep everything together. If you want to have a special place outside of the project, or just wish to link to existing files in there current locations, take a look at the Reference pane. You can drop files and URLs into that. Of course, when using that technique, you’ll have to make sure those files travel with the project file when you switch computers. As for text…

From the FAQ:

Hi, in the previous reply from Amber, she eluded to linking to files that were not dragged into the project. She mentioned that if you wanted to link to items not in the project, then to “take a look at the reference pane”. This is what I am interested in doing, but as a newbie, I can’t seem to find where to do it.

Thanks in advance for your help.


It’s in the inspector. Open the inspector on the right (the blue “i” button in the toolbar), then click on the references button (the bookmark icon at the bottom of the inspector) to open the references pane. You can choose between document and project references.