What's the use of internal Scrivener links?

When I compile my Scrivener document into an ebook, the internal links I put in place are not translated into the ebook format.

What’s the use of these links? Is there some way to link from one section of a document to another in such a way that it will turn into a link in the ebook?

Generally speaking, they are a tool for you to cross-reference between various sections, research material and notes—a bit like a personal wiki. We will be broadening what can be done with them as time goes by however.

I find them very useful during the writing process. Say I am writing an article on how widgets are being transformed into wodgets in the post-widget age, and I have a note on the history of widgets, another on the usefulness of wodgets, and two more on Brewster Weedget, MBA, and his company Weedget Widget to Wodget, Inc. In the document in which I am drafting the article, or one or more sections of it, I can include Scrivener links to those notes. When I click on one, it opens the linked note in the other editor window, and I can copy info into the draft article, etc. I’m sure they have other uses as well, but that’s what I find handy.

Yeah, for me that is all I ever use them for. If I did not make use of a compile format (MultiMarkdown) that ignored links in the output by its very nature, I would make use of the checkbox that intentionally strips out all links, in the Transformations compile option pane.

To me, the value of being able to create a rich and non-linear web of interconnections between snippets of writing and their supporting materials far outweighs any kind of post-compile production details. Being able to see what sections relate to other sections and traverse their inter-relationships makes editing and referencing easier. For example if I have to change a detail in one section, I can trace all related sections and make sure they do not require edits to reflect the updated text. (We’ll be making that even better too, in that whenever you link to something a backlink will be created in the inspector so that all links become circular and you can see everything that refers to an item as well).

For myself, with MMD I have a choice in how a link works. If I link to a section by name or phrase alone then it is for me—but if I link to a section and put [brackets] around the name, then it is for me and the reader. I realise not everyone has that luxury, where in rich text you either have formatting or you do not, but I think even if I worked that way I would rather save cross-referencing for the final stages of the project, post final compile, and retain that workflow for myself in the writing interface.

Of course not everyone has that preference, which is why we will have better flexibility on the matter. But yeah, for me that is one of the powerful things Scrivener does: there is the outline and then there is the web.

They’re also extremely useful for academic writing with a lot of internal references, since you can make a replacement in the Compile dialog that converts the Scrivener link syntax to the internal reference syntax in MMD or LaTeX.

Make’s a good DIY wiki

Okay, but I’m writing a book that’s only ever going to be an ebook, where I’d like to be able to say “see (such and such other chapter)” and have that be a clickable link in the final ebook. Is there not any way to do this?

Scrivener also supports internal links within your manuscript, but only at the document level. These are added via Edit => Scrivener Link. If you select text and select Edit => Scrivener Link it underlines the text and makes it a link to the document. If you don’t provide text it inserts the document title and makes this a link. Of course, when you click on either link you will go the desired place, and there is no link to return.

I do wish that I could make Scrivener links at a level lower than a binder entry, but I can make this work.

@liz, could you kindly explain how you do so?

I’m considering using them for writing a large technical writing project where I’ll need a lot of interlinking. It would be particularly useful for building an interactive user guide to the software I’m documenting. Just have to find a way to make collaboration work in Scrivener–likely through getting a Dropbox account since that seems to be the best choice according to the Scrivener team. We have Google apps suite but I hear that’s not recommended at all.

It’s been 3 years, has this made it into the product eventually?

Yes, and all of the other things discussed and requested in this thread have been added over the years as well—and quite a few nobody has even thought to bring up.