Updating research documents

Hi - I’m a new Scrivener user and need to regularly update the documents I have imported into my Research folder in the binder. It appears that the Word docs I have imported into Scrivener are merely copies of the original docs on my hard drive, and any changes I make to those docs in Scrivener will NOT be reflected in the original docs on my hard drive. I guess I’m just nervous about ONLY making these changes in the Scrivener version of these documents, rather than in the originals as well, in case I want to use those documents outside of Scrivener (or, since I’m a new user, if I decide I don’t want to use Scrivener for this or other projects). Is there any way to update both versions of these documents simultaneously? I suppose I could update the documents on my hard drive and then import them into Scrivener again (and delete the old version in Scrivener) but this seems like a lot of work since I am working on a nonfiction project that requires me to update these research documents frequently. Hope this makes sense and thanks in advance for any advice/guidance!

Scrivener projects are intended to stand alone. When you import a file, as you discovered, you create a copy that’s completely independent of the original.

There are a couple of ways to accomplish what you want.

  • You could trust Scrivener. That is, you could maintain the documents within Scrivener and just export them back out as needed. Should you decide not to use Scrivener for the long term, you can easily export everything out of your project and keep working from there. This is the approach I would recommend if you need to edit the documents extensively.

  • You could bring in references to the documents, rather than copies, as discussed in section 16.3 of the manual, and simply open the external copy in its native editor as needed. This is the approach I’d recommend if the external material is mostly static, or if editing it requires features that Scrivener doesn’t have. (A spreadsheet, for instance.)

Thank you for considering Scrivener!


Thanks, Katherine. It sounds like Option #1 is the way to go, since option #2 does not allow me to work with my research documents within Scrivener, which is really one of the main reasons I want to use Scrivener. The research docs are MS Word docs - transcripts of interviews - which I need to view side-by-side with the piece I’m writing, so option #2 wouldn’t really allow me to do that, if I am understanding you correctly. And the external material is NOT static - it’s constantly changing as I update the transcripts with new material. Feel free to comment on any of the above, but it sounds like Option #1 is the way to go. Thanks again! - Paul

Yes, I’d recommend Option #1. But then, I’ve used Scrivener for years and find it far more trustworthy than Word. :slight_smile:

FWIW, your application is exactly the sort of thing Scrivener is intended to handle.


Great, thanks, Katherine!