Very specific linking to text in documents

I’ve got a feeling I might be asking a really dumb question, but I figured I can always ask and then run away if anyone points and laughs.

Is there any way - at all - in Scrivener that I can, say, have a way of quickly navigating through specific pieces of text within a document (say, a paragraph) where a particular word or name comes up? For instance, say I want to find a way of quickly navigating to all paragraphs where the name ‘Kevin’ is mentioned - is there a way to do that?

I am aware it’s possible to use the keywords menu to link to specific chapters, but if the name ‘Kevin’ or the word ‘twist’ or whatever is mentioned in many or all chapters, it’s a bit useless, especially if the chapters are long and you have to keep scrolling around just to find that mention each and every time. I want to be able to easily find specific mentions of names or concepts throughout the book, such that I can skip through them all quickly, and with ease, to see that they all match.

Is there a way to do this, or is it outside of Scrivener’s abilities?

There are a few things you could do to improve the situation. First off the easiest way to find a name in a document is to search for it. :slight_smile: Just press Cmd-F, type in “Kevin” and from there you can use Cmd-G to jump to each instance in the text. Note that if you used project search to find all chapters with “Kevin” the find palette will be pre-loaded with the search term, and you can use Cmd-G immediately without even revealing the panel.

You can combine this technique with Edit Scrivenings to jump through large portions of the book at once. Ordinarily, the Cmd-G shortcut only works within a single document, but if you are displaying ten documents at once with Edit Scrivenings, you can rapidly skim through all ten documents at once.

The second thing you can do is more strategic. It sounds like you are putting quite a lot of text into binder documents, when Scrivener really works best with smaller pieces. It’s entirely up to you of course, but if you break things down into scenes or thereabouts, your searches and linkages will automatically become more relevant. Again, with Edit Scrivenings it is easy to view all of the smaller segments together as a chapter, if you want to.

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by this. Keywords are terms you can add to your documents and folders in the Inspector. It is possible to quickly find all documents with a keyword by using the Keywords HUD (Shift-Opt-Cmd-H) by clicking the Search button in that, but this doesn’t actually link to the documents. Perhaps this is a semantic misunderstanding. For clarity, the term “linking” in Scrivener is very specific to a feature which lets you create an underlined text link to another document from within a document, much like you do with the Web. It’s like hyperlinks for your project. And to be clear with those there is no way to jump to a spot in the document, those are just strictly interdocument linking—there is no intradocument linking.

There is another method which is sometimes referred to as linking as well, but References is the proper term. That is when you drag documents from the Binder into another document’s Reference pane in the Inspector. You can then double-click on these to jump to the referenced document. I don’t think that is what you are referring to either, though.

I think maybe what it is, after all, is that I don’t break chapters down into scenes in Scrivener; it never even really occurred to me to do that.

I remember it took a period of adjustment to think of even breaking an entire novel down into chapters, at least in the sense of storing them as separate documents within Scrivener. Before that, I was too used to just having a book as a single huge document I could scroll through with ease. Once I got my head around the fact that I could still view a book as a single document with edit scrivenings, I started breaking books up into distinct chapters. But going all the way to breaking it down into scenes as well is another matter, particularly given that in some cases my chapters are also scenes (at least in terms of the way my mind works), of four or five thousand words.

I suppose I could break chapters down into scenes, but it just seems like too much work. I suspect other people like to break it down that far so they can move it around, but I plot everything very carefully indeed, so am very unlikely to move even chapters around by the time I start writing.

However, Amber, I didn’t know about the cmd-G thing. That’s new to me, and is very useful, so thanks for that. I think I’ll just have to insert code-words in ghost notes mode through the book to tag particular paragraphs and jump between them with cmd-g, since it’s the only way I’ll get to navigate through them with any kind of ease.

This is definitely true, which is why the question of where and when to split really cannot be dictated by a formula. Everyone works different, and even for every person, there are different approaches to each book. For me, the way things work out is the opposite. I tend to very roughly outline out a section without filling anything in, and then later find that four small points really ought to be in a single section and use the Merge feature. This is probably because I’ve been writing in Scrivener for so long now that I no longer thing of a text in terms of “breaking it down into sections” but rather just letting small ideas and points grow out of the outline.

Which brings me to this: there is definitely a point, early in transition, where that is true. You’ve imported an 80,000 word (or whatever) document into Scrivener and going through breaking the whole out into small pieces would be a major effort in itself—probably not worth it unless you foresee a lot of editing and shuffling going on (which you say, the latter at least, isn’t something you typically do). I think though, once you start creating a lot of original work entirely within Scrivener that could become less of an issue—because like I say at that point it isn’t a matter of breaking things down, your ideas for what happens when are already in a dozen index cards for the chapter—at that point it is more a matter of sewing it all together.

That trick is useful in most native Mac applications, so it’s good to know in general as well.

With annotation notes, you might also find use for the Find Annotation feature (Ctrl-Cmd-A). Using that you needn’t worry about selecting the right documents to begin with, it will jump through the entire book from note to note. You can also put a search term into that dialogue which will cause it to only find annotations with the code-word in it.

Also - and I’m diving in here during Friday night beer time so apologies if Ioa has already mentioned this and I’ve skipped it - remember that you can use project search in conjunction with regular find. So, you could enter “Kevin”* into the search field in the toolbar, and the binder will be replaced with a list of documents that contain the word “Kevin”. Now, when you click on each one in the search results list, with the focus in the text you can just hit cmd-F to bring up the Find panel, and “Kevin” will automatically be loaded into it, as Scrivener will load the current project search into the Find panel. So then you just have to hit cmd-G to go through (as Ioa says), and then when you’re done in that document, click on the next document in the search results list to check there (the word “Kevin” will be highlighted in the document too, to show it is the found word).

There is no reason to break chapters down further into scenes if you don’t want to - the idea of Scrivener is that it is entirely up to you how much you do or don’t want to break documents up.

Hope that helps.

All the best,

  • Why “Kevin” particularly? I’m paranoid about the word, given that I keep getting called it by users (and I actually have a brother by the name). :slight_smile:

I think that was an unfortunately slip. There has been a secret movement by up to 82% of the authors using Scrivener to only use the name Kevin for protagonists from here on out. Kaufman is going to be taking that to another level of extreme in his next film, though it might get panned for being derivative.