Sente, Spotlight integration

This is finally the writing software I have been waiting for - especially the flexible footnote integration is crucial for anybody doing academic work. My biggest wish would be to have Sente integration for references, and Spotlight integration to search for items on my Mac within Scrivener. This would allow me a more seamless integration into my Scrivener <> Mellel workflow. Excellent software!

Scrivener already has spotlight integration - it has a spotlight importer built in. So you can search for text within your projects using Spotlight to find them on your system… (Note that you may have to reboot for it to take affect after installing.)
All the best,

I didn’t do the restart, thanks!

Checking the postings here, I noticed that I am not alone in my liking of Sente. I tried to find a good way to create a link from Sente to Scrivener that would later be recognized when I export it to Mellel for editing. I couldn’t come up with something meaningful that’s not an awkward work-around. Would it be very hard to create a link to Sente? Or maybe I did overlook a tip for how to do this?

To be honest, I’ve never even heard of Sente until now. I will look into it, but it probably won’t be until the current busy period (following the release) has died down.

Great! Sente is one of the three reference management programs in use in OS X. Endnote is the big bad kid on the block. I used it since v2 (when it was still Mac-only) but have given up on it. Especially in combination with MS Word it was simply unusable. Bookends and Sente are the two main competitors in the Mac-only world, and both have their merits, while Sente is a clear winner in my mind when it comes to organizing references and searching.

I only mentioned it, because the writers in the forum here that use Scrivener for academic writing are also more likely to use a program such as Bookends or Sente and it would be a dream come true if I had the one thing that is still missing from my perfect writing work-flow integrated in your amazing piece of software.

References are important for academic writers, and those who use a reference manager would probably see it as a big bonus to have this integrated. I am of course aware that most of them use Endnote - so maybe a solution that would work for all THREE of them would be the way to go.

Hmm. Now that I think of it…There is a way to make references recognizable as “variables” in the text (something like {Author, 1999} and the reference softwares than try to match this. I haven’t really tried this yet, so maybe this would be easiest way to get the integration and I have just overlooked it. Posting it here for newbies like me under the tricks categories would most certainly be a real selling point for Scrivener. I’ll be sure to post something here if I figure it.

There are actually four major OS X reference managers. The fourth is BibDesk <>, which has many of the nice features of BookEnds and is favored by many LaTeX users.

Since BibDesk is open source, it might be easier to integrate with Scriv than the others – not that we can expect that anytime soon.


I’ve been thinking of writing in to suggest support for Bookends. I own both Bookends and Sente. Sente is pretty, but functionally it’s really lacking. You can’t follow APA standards with Sente, for example.

Scriv almost does work with Bookends. If I set Scriv as the word processor in Bookends, and then do the normal operation that would copy and enter a citation (Cmd-Y), Bookends does switch back to Scriv but it doesn’t do the paste. If I manually paste at that point, it does insert the citation. Then, if I export to RTF and open in Nisus, for example, and do scan to build the bibliography, all works well.

This process also works with Mellel: export to RTF (with the citation inserted in Scriv), open in Mellel. At this point you need to convert the citations to Mellel’s format of citations (a command within Mellel does that). You can then scan and format a bibliography just fine.

So it’s that initial process of inserting a citation in Scrivener that’s the hang up with Bookends. Sure would be nice to have. Jon at Sunnysoft is a great developer. I have his email address, Keith, if you’d like it (I beta test for Bookends).

This sort of integration will be more of a 1.5 consideration - i.e. I am interested in researching this, but not in the next few months. The main focus now is making sure Scrivener is strong as it stands, then using it myself to write my own stuff, and then thinking about the next cycle of development.

Like I say, definitely interested, but this is on the “future” list.


Meanwhile, over at the Sente forums, several Sente users have been asking the developers for Scrivener integration.

In response, the developers have said:

I know Keith has said that he will look into this sort of thing in the future, but as the Sente folks are apparently interested in feedback, it seems worthwhile for those that can provide useful feedback to the Sente developers to do so.

That’s very helpful information - I will most certainly contact the Sente folks about this!

Just out of curiousity (and maybe this will start a useful discussion): what kind of integration is needed? I currently use Bookends with Scrivener…in other words, with the RTF files it produces.

It seems to work well: I switch to Bookends with Command-Tab, find the citation, and then hit Command-Y followed by Command-V to have it pasted into the text in Scrivener. Sometimes I add a % in front of citations to include only the year in the citation.


Yeah, that’s the one feature I really miss about Bookends (the RTF insert). Unfortunately, that does not work in Sente. Instead, you always get a formatted insert.

One thing I have not been able to achieve is to find information I store in my projects (say, a webarchive) through spotlight OUTSIDE of the project. If this would be possible, I could skip using DevonThink. I’d just store relevant articles in one project, knowing that I can always find it through a search, even from another project or even outside of Scrivener. Maybe this is already possible, but I wasn’t able to find a webarchive I had stored in a project using spotlight.

When Spotlight searches a .scriv file, it treats it as a single file (which is how it looks and how it should be treated), so it will not - and should not - return individual files contained inside the .scriv package. There is a very good reason for this: if this happened, you might inadvertantly open up an RTFD file that is stored inside a .scriv file during a Spotlight search, and (although unlikely) this could mess up a few things. So instead, Spotlight is told by the Scrivener Spotlight plugin to look at a certain text file which contains a plain text version of all of the text in the project, including any text contained in webarchives. In short, this means that Spotlight will search the text of webarchives contained inside Scrivener documents, but it will return the .scriv file, not the webarchive itself.

Excellent! That makes sense. As long as spotlight finds the .scriv file, that’s all I really need. Scrivener starts to cut down my programs in use for writing and resarch by about 70 percent. Amazing. My dreams have come true, no more switching back and forth between DevonThink or myNotes or NoteBook or Yep - now it’s just a one-stop heaven of focus :smiley:

I am pretty new to Scrivener but have been using CopyWrite for the past few moths to put a draft together. Thats fine and well until you need to insert refernces or footnotes into the body text. I have swicthed to Scrivener today as it has many more features than CopyWrite and I can see the whole flow of my work via the synopsis cards.

However my problem is having two/three programs in play, to get a small job done:

  1. I write/compose in CopyWrite (eventually Scrivener) with copious Notes in the Notes panel.
  2. Open Bookends to format the Footnotes ( Author, Title, Publisher, date, Vol etc.) as a separate exercise - very tedious.
  3. Have to export to MS Word to be able to add Footnotes from Bookends in the proper place.

I then have difficulty revising - as backward importing loses all my footnotes…

What I want - is a writing program which can accept my footnotes (Author, Title, Publisher, date, Vol etc) in a small database on the side as I write (otherwise I may/will forget!!), and can eventually be exported to MS Word with footnotes intact.

This would be the Killer App for me, as I could really get ahead, and when all is said and done - export in one shot, as a draft to MS Word.
If I wanted to revise this could be done in Scrivener again and re-exported again.

I do not think that integration with BookEnds/Sente is the way to go, as I suspect that about 90% of writers may only use about 30% of their capabilities.
A stripped down “light” form of footnote integration wold be great.[/i]

I would value the opinions of users who use Sente/BookEnds etc on what you would want from the future of Scrivener in this area. Upfront, I would like to say that this may ultimately be a 2.0 consideration (given that it may entail radical changes), but I would like opinions nonetheless. i.e.:

  • Should Scrivener find a better way to integrate with such citation apps? If so, how would you suggest? (Bear in mind that I do not use any of these applications myself, so have no idea about how they work.)
  • Or, should Scrivener integrate some of the basic features of these apps so that you can do it all inside Scrivener? In this case, bear in mind that Scrivener cannot be a dedicated citation app and therefore could not do as much as these programs. I dread the day when a user says, “Sente does such and such so Scrivener should…” :slight_smile: What would the core features be?

Basically, this is just open to discussion. I would value feedback over the coming months, so that in a year or so when I come to start thinking about 2.0, I have something to go on… :slight_smile: