Why are Notes (i.e. document notes) not integrated into Document Bookmarks?

Project notes are part of project bookmarks. Why do document notes receive a similar handling, i.e. why aren’t they part of the document bookmarks?
The current Document Notes panel allow only one note per document. However, it often happens that you want to insert several different subjects as notes of the same document) (new ideas, alternative approaches to the document subject, further developments, etc., etc.). In this case you cannot see at a glance the different subjects contained as parts of the unique note, subjects that you can only differentiate by a title, line, symbol, different font, etc.; and you have to resort to tedious scrolling when the content of the note is too long. In project bookmarks, on the contrary, each note has its own heading row and its content can be read directly in a window beneath it.
On the other side, in Document Bookmarks you cannot create new document notes; you have to create them in Document Notes, a panel that -beside its above mentioned limitations- you cannot see at the same time with the document bookmarks. The treatment is thus very different in the case of project notes,though, mutatis mutandi, the needs are equivalent…
Using Comments, annotations or footnotes are not an alternative to Document Notes (or, better, to Document Bookmarks): they are rather useful for content referring to specific, circumscribed parts or elements of the document. I feel that Document Notes, so as they currently appear in Scrivener, lack visibility and structure, and, in consequence, do not trust them to store information that, in spite of its importance, I could easily overlook and forget (the small star in their icon is not much help).
Maybe I am overlooking some other way -already existing in Scrivener 3- to add several notes to a document in a similar form to what is possible in the really useful project bookmarks. I havn’t found such a way; that is the reason of my question.
Many thanks for any help/information

Hi Andres,

You’ll be glad to know that there is a simple way of doing what you want…

You can attach other documents (which is all Bookmarks are) to individual documents in the same way as you do Project Bookmarks. In the Inspector Bookmarks panel, just click on the Project Bookmarks header and it will change to Document Bookmarks. The difference is that you will see these bookmarks only in THIS document (or any others which you decide to attach it to) — you see project bookmarks in every document. To toggle between them, use cmd-6.

If you want to add a new Document Bookmark, create it any of the normal ways (cmd-N etc) in the binder location where you want to keep it, then you’ll be able to link to it from the ‘host’ document just as you would a Project Bookmark.

The downside is that of course you’re going to proliferate the number of individual documents in the binder – but that’s manageable.

To answer your query in a more general way, Scrivener has many levels and ways of associating and viewing information with individual documents. You have to choose which one makes sense to you in the circumstances.

Each document or folder in the Binder has three main parts:

  • the main text
  • the synopsis (plain text which is seen in both the inspector and the front of the cork board and can be seen in the Outline)
  • the notes (which is actually a fully fledged RTF document in its own right behind the scenes)

You can see all of the above either in the editor (main text) or inspector (synopsis and notes) OR you can see any of them in a Quick Reference panel, which you open by right-clicking on the document and choosing Open > as QuickReference in the binder.

So that’s the first way of seeing more of the notes at once – just open a quick reference panel for the document and set it to view the Notes – that will reduce the scrolling significantly.

As a general rule (and actually it’s completely up to you…) you’d use the various elements in this broad way of annotating documents

  • Synopsis – short paragraph or two
  • Notes – a few paragraphs with more details
  • Document bookmarks — actually full binder items in their own right which you only want to associate with one or more individual documents
  • Project bookmarks — the same, but which you want every document to have easy access to.

Document and Project bookmark differ only in where they’re used, they’re both just ordinary binder documents which are pointed to from different places.

Hope that helps.

thank you very much for your very informative answer; I find it to be a good, compact summary about bookmarks. Unfortunately, I cannot find there an answer to my question.
Knowing the possibility to create project and document bookmarks, my question was: given the existence of the function Document Bookmarks, why is it that you cannot create a document note directly within and as a Document Bookmark, similarly to the case of notes within Project Bookmarks. In other words: why not eliminate the tab Notes in the inspector and incorporate document notes as part of the document bookmarks.
Project Notes, existing in version 2 in a separate, dedicated panel, have been absorbed as part of Project Bookmarks. Via the menu “Project/ OPT + Show Project Bookmarks/” you access a quick reference window of bookmarks (not a quick reference window of any document of folder. This is to be expected, of course, as the bookmarks refer to the whole project). In this quick reference window of bookmarks, it is possible to add one or more new notes that are not references (neither internal nor external). These notes are then added to the default Project Bookmarks Folder and appear also in the Inspector.
In Document Bookmarks, however, there is no quick reference panel of document bookmarks, i.e. no possibility to create notes within it. Contrary to the case of Project Bookmarks, if you do not want to use the Notes panel, you must first create a folder for each new document note and then drag and drop it as a bookmark in the Document Bookmark panel. I cannot see the convenience of this detour. I would like to see all auxiliary material for the writing of a document -i.e. its references and notes- grouped directly as document bookmarks. This would have enorm advantages, for example in the case of research projects. I explain:
when I design a research, initially I have only a generic idea (more or les vague) of the structure of folders and documents, often given only as title and thus almost empty. I begin then to accumulate references and take notes for each document. I do not want at that moment to incorporate those references and notes into the doument editor. Only after having accumulated references, studied, reflected on them and taken my preparatory notes, proceed I to write the content of the document itself in the editor. This task would be much easier if I had the references and my own notes in only one place, i.e. not distributed tussen Notes panel and bookmarks panel. In other words, document bookmarks would become, a sort of locus of the preparatory material for each document.
I have seen that many researches discard the use of Notes (i.e. panel Notes) and create instead folders for notes which can then be referenced via links in the related document. I think, however, that this makes you lose the context of the preparatory notes (which in this case are central to the witing of the document, much more than the references that serve as their support). Besides, generally a document has several notes which, as I mentioned, must be lumped together in one, unique note. I would like to visualize their content at once, i.e. summarized by their titles instead of scrolling them when accompanying their document in a quick reference document (even in this case, it would be much easier to go directly to a specific note if they were synthethiized by their title).

Maybe, thus, is my question more appropiated for the Feedback forum as a feature request; not a new feature, actually, since the path is already shown by the enormously useful Project Bookmarks.

Many thanks again for your kind, informative answer.

P.S.: I noticed the following:

  • When you create a project bookmark for the first time, your choice of where to place the bookmark is limited to any of the folders in the draft, or as as subdocument of the research folder, or the front/back matter folders. You cannot use a folder outside those ones as default project bookmarks folder in the slot Default New Bookmarks Folder of the menu Project/Project Settings/Special Folders.
  • Only once the first project bookmark is created, can you move it to a new “outsider” folder, e.g. a new root container named “Project Bookmarks”. And only then appears this folder as a choice in the mentioned slot (something like the son procreates the father).
    [Add.: There are diverse reasons why you would like to create a special folder (container) outside the three mentioned basic ones; this is the case, e.g., of the “Project Notes” folder created in Scrivener 3 when updating from 2; also to print the content -references and notes- of that folder; etc.

If you’d rather have a per-document bookmark that replaces “Document Notes”, then all you have to do is create a container that will house the files that contain your notes, and then add that container to your document bookmarks. You will run into the limitation of not being able to create new notes via this method within the bookmarks interface, but you can add those new note documents like you would any other binder item.

Example: you want to have a per-chapter set of document notes, but use the Document Bookmarks feature instead.

  1. Create a new document and indent it under the chapter document you have in the binder
  2. Add the chapter document itself to its own bookmarks. Now you have a drop-down list that will reveal your one note; the one nested under it in the binder.
  3. Add any other documents as children of your chapter document to add more notes, and they’ll automatically appear in the drop-down list of your document bookmarks.
  4. Add any other types of bookmarks, including web URLs and external documents from outside the Scrivener project directly to the Document Bookmarks of your chapter document.

You can set this up to always have at least one (or as many as you’d like to start with) empty “bookmark note” by making use of Document Templates; just create a generic “Chapter” document, and then “Chapter Notes” document nested under that. Whenever you add a chapter to your draft, just use that document template, and it’s child “Chapter Notes” document will also be created with it.

Well, the simple answer is that you can’t eliminate the Notes panel because many people find it incredibly useful. You’d be adding a more advanced feature and taking away from a very simple and useful one. Leave the Notes Panel alone :smiley:

As far as I can tell, you can do everything you want to do with Document Bookmarks with the single exception of being able to create one in the Documents Bookmark pane of the Inspector. Well that is a feature request and a perfectly valid one (not that it’s up to me!)

Rdale’s post above using Document Templates has a lot of potential for a very flexible approach.

But actually, you don’t even need to do that and in fact, you don’t need to use Bookmarks at all. Look at this setup (the explanation is in the left hand editor):

In other words, I think you get all the advantages of Bookmarks plus the ability to add new ones in a sensible location without using Document Bookmarks at all.

Would this be worth exploring for you?

BTW, to be able to choose where to put Project Notes outside those three main folders, just create the folder wherever you want first and then they will be available for selection. But you can always change this later in Project Settings > Special Folders — you can set it to ‘Ask every time’ if you want.


@RDale, @brookter,
many thanks for your answers. I find that you both present very valuable and useful suggestions that will benefit Scrivener users by providing us ideas of how to make Scrivener functions integrate in the research (or other sort of) workflow.

I am currently using a similar structure to the one you describe and are recommending me. Many thanks.

It is precisely the limitation you mention that I find inconvenient. Though I am myself already using a procedure and structure similar to what you recommend, I still find it too convoluted, given what we now know and can apply in the case of project bookmarks, an admirable conception and implementation of an advanced but very user friendly and flexible tool.

@ brookter:

Well, it is clear, ì think, that I do not want to simply eliminate the Notes panel and by doing that to eliminate the document notes.I only want to find a better place for them, similar to the case of Project notes. Many people found the Project notes panel incredible useful in version 2, but it was eliminated in version 3 and the Project Notes found a better place within Project Bookmarks, a more advanced feature that took away the very simple and useful one in version 2. And now everyone finds this new feature a much better one, and is happy with it “in spite of” being more advanced and more complex.

. This is a good idea. I had come to the same conclusion.
Many thanks again

Hi andres,

I’m glad this discussion is helping – V3 is new so we’re all to some extent exploring what is possible with some of the new features.

But I do want to insist on one point: Document Bookmarks (or the approach we’ve been suggesting) should never replace the standard Notes mechanism or be tied into the representation, because they are doing fundamentally different things.

Notes are there to be explicitly tied to a document: they are a fundamental part of the document themselves, which moves when they move, which can be compiled along with the main document. For all intents and purposes, they are part of that document. There is a one-to-one relationship between the Note and its document.

Document Bookmarks in contrast are full documents in their own right which you choose to associate with the specific documents. Their relevance to your ‘main’ document is something which you have chosen to impose, and which you have to maintain (e.g. if you wanted to compile them together). It’s a more complex relationship and one which may not be necessary for most users. A document can have many Document Bookmark, and each Document Bookmark can appear in many different documents.

For example, say I’m writing a novel. I have detailed character notes on each character in a folder somewhere. I’m writing a scene with two of those characters. Document Bookmarks are perfect for this: link their notes to the scene and I can see what I’ve written about them easily. Each character notes will appear in many scenes.

I keep my notes about the scene itself though in the Notes field, which is provided automatically with any document, and which work perfectly for this. If we got rid of the Notes panel, I’d have to create a new Document Bookmark for each one. It’s unnecessary work and it brings no advantages whatsoever. Moving them to another panel would confuse matters, not simplify them.

So by all means, make the creation and assignment of Document Bookmarks easier, but the standard notes mechanism works very well.