Shortcut for using Dragon (DNS) and Scrivener

I’ve discovered a simple way to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Scrivener.
In Scrivener for Windows, it is no problem, of course, to dictate using DNS. But within Scrivener it is difficult to edit using DNS because DNS will not recognize Scrivener text that it has not dictated. So within Scrivener it is impossible to use your voice to select a phrase or a sentence that has not been dictated.
The standard way to get around this problem is to export the file and then edit it using DNS in WordPad or a word processing program and then import it back into Scrivener.

But I have found that the export/import method is not necessary. I’m using Windows 7, and here’s what I do:
First I find out Scrivener’s internal name for the text file I want to edit. That will be a numbered rtf file, such as 333.rtf. I make an insignificant change to the file and check to see that Scrivener has saved it with current time and date. Then I immediately close my Scrivener project and using Windows Explorer navigate to my projectname.scriv/files/doc folder, where all the Scrivener project files live. Sorting by last update quickly reveals the number of the file that has just been saved.
Then, with Scrivener closed (for safety’s sake) I use Wordpad to open that numbered rtf file. DNS regards it as just another rtf file and I can use voice to move around within it, select any word or phrase on the screen, and do the edits. When finished, I make sure to Save it, NOT SAVE AS, and it remains within the Scriv folder for the next Scrivener session.

It’s probably possible to leave the Scrivener project open while this is being done, as long as that particular file is not called up. But I have not tried that because I think that might invite file corruption of some sort. Perhaps the experts will weigh in on that point.

I don’t use DNS, but I think it’s okay (maybe) to make changes while the file is still called up in Scrivener (corruption-wise, anyway). I opened a project, made a change to one of its documents and let Scrivener save. Then I opened the project folder in Windows Explorer, sorted by date and opened the most recently modified file in Word, while that document was still in my Scrivener editor. Then, in Word I deleted the change that I’d made in Scrivener and saved and closed the document. In Scrivener, the change didn’t show immediately, and it didn’t show even after moving to another document in the binder and back again. I don’t know if this is due to any sort of time limit. I didn’t wait to see if the change would show up, though. I closed Scrivener and immediately reopened the project, and the change that I’d made in Word showed up in the Scrivener document. I don’t know if there were any unseen program difficulties that might now be in the project files, but it seems to work.

So, you could probably leave Scrivener open while doing the DNS change, but I don’t think it would show up until you reopen the project (so you might want to close it before you make any changes anyway), and I can’t be certain I didn’t introduce any sort of instabilities into my project with this experiment.

Thanks, Sanqunius,

You’re probably right. But it’s easy enough to close and reopen the project, so I avoid the risk and close it while I’m editing a file externally.

There are times, though, when I’d like to look at something else within Scrivener while doing that external editing. Still hoping for a firm assurance I can do that. My concern is that even if the file in question is not visible in the Scrivener editor it might still be open in some kind of limbo and therefore the unedited limbo version might get saved instead of the externally edited version

What is the easiest way to find out what the filename of a particular document in the Windows version of Scrivener?

I’ve been poking around in Scrivener for a year or two and have not found a method to do this. The filename is quite elusive!


The .scrivx file is a master index of the project and contains this information.

Be aware that editing components of the project using any tool other than Scrivener itself is unsupported and entirely at your own risk.


Thanks, Katherine-

That ,scrivx file looks like all code to me. I can sorta see where to extract the binder index number, but it’s rather involved process.

I’m also taking heed of your warning. My project is too important to screw it up by tinkering with the technical guts of it. I’ll stick with just using Scrivener.

The “official” way to edit a Scrivener project using third party tools is via the Sync with External Folder feature. The external folder is linked to your project so that Scrivener knows which file is which, but it’s still a separate entity.


I’m going to have to try the Sync with External Folder feature. I use Dragon always, for everything, and I have a text editor (Jarte) that’s more Dragon-friendly than Scrivener. Sounds like this will allow me to edit text in Jarte, and keep everything organized in Scrivener. This would be a very fine thing.

– Zoomdoggies