Suitable Companions for Scrivener?

I have a WIP that is almost 20 gigs inside Scrivener. It is getting unmanageable as far as backups, loading and saving are concerned. I am blind, so I keep everything I need inside Scrivener (PDFs, photos, research, and the like), and simply putting things in an “outside folder” isn’t practical for me, as the constant searching for what I need is problematic with my limited vision. What I am wondering is if there is a program (or programs) out there that I could use alongside Scrivener that would allow me to completely organize, categorize and access all of my research and other materials efficiently, so that I can still readily access everything I need, when I need it, thus leaving Scrivener lighter so that I no longer run the risk of completely destroying my WIP due to it being too big to load, save and backup properly within Scrivener.

Lots of people like either Evernote (popular, not that hard to understand), or Devonthink (harder to get the most out of, but doesn’t have or require a subscription, saves all of your data locally).

I can’t say if either of them are any good when it comes to accessibility however.

Good software hunting!

Depending on your needs, I recommend DevonThink and/or Curio

Devonthink is a database, so it’s really good at searching, tagging, and handling enormous datasets.

Curio is like an infinite working notebook. It has powerful searching capabilities, but it’s primary interface are the graphic pages you lay out to organize your projects.

I use both apps every day. My DevonThink captures everything from tax receipts to URLs of interesting articles. Curio has a project file for just about every project I’m working on. As part of bulding a Curio project, I always embed a Scrivener project inside for the actual writing.

My brief description doesn’t do it justice. Click the link to the Curio product page and see how people are using this very helpful app.

Good luck.

Oh my… I just downloaded Curio. It is VoiceOver accessible. I am learning about what it can do right now. It seems like it has a lot of options. I hope it will suit my needs. Thank you,

This thing has an INTENSE learning curve… I have NO IDEA what I am doing… or really how to begin. :frowning:

I used Curio for a while, but I stopped because I found I was spending too much time formatting things and not enough time actually working with the data. In an odd way, I found it was TOO visual for me. I believe the program has been described as a sort of virtual white board where you can brainstorm things. All well and good, but I don’t do that very often, and when I do, I prefer a simpler program like iThoughts for mind-mapping. So I ditched Curio, with some regret, because I like the program.

I have tried many programs for notes, data storage and retrieval, and the only one that has stuck with me is DEVONthink. Its interface is not very attractive, and it has a lot of features, so that learning what it will do takes time and effort, but it does seem to be a program that you can learn incrementally. If you only use the basics, it seems fairly simple – not really any much more complex than the Finder. But there is a lot of power there when you need it. And it swallows masses of data without blinking. I almost get the impression that it is not possible to overload it, though no doubt someone will say they have done it.

Anyway, for something that works well with Scrivener, and scales very well with lots of material, I would suggest that DEVONthink is worth considering. Just don’t try to learn it all at once.

NB: I have just checked, and DEVONthink Pro is said to be VoiceOver compatible:

Another recommendation for DevonThink Pro. My main database has well over 5 million words, and DTP doesn’t even blink.


Okay, I’ve downloaded DEVONThink Pro. I will try it, and if it’s what I need, I will probably ditch Curio, as Curio is annoyingly hard to configure. I guess there is a thing such as too many options. Thank you all for your suggestions thus far.

My advice for DEVONthink would be to start small, and ignore all the bells and whistles for the time being. Just start with a test database, and make a few folders (DEVONthink likes to call them “groups”) inside the database. Then start filing your material inside the appropriate folder. When I was writing a book I imaginatively put all the material for chapter one inside a folder (group) called Chapter One, and so forth.

The clever trick comes later, when you start to use the “See Also” feature (which is not much use until you have a lot of material in the database). Because DEVONthink reads and indexes the whole contents of any file you put in it, it is capable of showing you a selection of files that have similar content (irrespective of what you might have called the file, or what tags and labels it has).

If you need help, there is a forum for the program, with some very good people. There is also a “Take Control” book on DEVONthink. There are also lots of blog posts about using the program, which is a way of finding techniques you might not have thought of.

But start small. Treat the thing a bit like a Finder replacement to begin with. You can learn the rest as you need it.

Good luck, and I hope you find something that works for you.

It’s really not that tough, once you get used to how it’s organized.

Start simple. Make a new project, then drag a number of files onto it that are related to the same project. Organize them on the screen like you were putting them in a scrapbook or a bulletin board. When you want to use one of them, like Scrivener project, double click on it, and its app will launch.

If you think of an idea, double-click on the background, and a text object will appear. You can type in it. When you’re done typing, hit ESC or click outside the box to deselect the text box. You can click and drag the text box and arrange it on the page.

Here’s the most important shortcut: the letter Q.

Pressing the letter Q displays your entire page shrunk to fit on your screen. The figures on the page are active, so as long as you hold down the Q, you can drag and resize things while viewing the whole page. Picking up the Q key will return your view to the previous magnification.

Realize that there are all kinds of tools in Curio, and most people only use a small subset of them. I never use the date and project-tracking features. Other people don’t use the outliner or the mind-mapper.

Start simple, add features as they appear useful to you. Good luck.