wish: ability to search pdfs

Hello –

I am trying out this software and I’ve run into a major issue… there is no ability to search pdfs!

This would be an extremely useful feature for those of us who are researchers in academia, who sometimes need to go back to the original research.

In particular, I’d like the ability to search pdfs that have been OCRed, AND to see each instance of the search that has been found in context.

blah blah blah search term bleh
blah search term blah blah blah
blah blah search term bleh blah

blah blah blah search term bleh
blah blah search term bleh blah
blah search term blah blah blah
etc etc

Thank you!

I also use a lot of PDF references. I find it much more convenient to drop PDF links in as document or project references rather than dropping the PDF itself into the project. And then set your favorite PDF reader/annotator to be the default PDF editor. Sometimes I also make screenshots of the bit of the PDF that I’m referencing and make a Scrivener doc of those that I can link to.

If we use File Explorer to navigate to the Docs folder for our project, and Search for a phrase, Explorer will return a list of the files in which the phrase appears, depending perhaps on our Windows index settings. The list will include RTFs, HTMLs, PDFs and more, and the filenames will correspond to Scriv DocIDs. Unfortunately, Scrivener has no streamlined way to locate these files by name in our project. Of course we can click on them in Explorer to display in our PDF or other viewer.

So this is another excellent use case for an old wish-list request. We need an easy way to display, as a Scrivener collection, the results of file searches performed outside of Scrivener. Whether we’re considering writing assist parsers, plagiarism catchers, spelling consistency checkers or content searches, I believe we need a generalized capability to make use of externally generated filter results, more than the integration of any particular bespoke filter into Scrivener.

Import a list of documents into a Collection

Rgds – Jerome

If the OP is doing academic research, she is probably already using reference management software for her research library (and not just the OS file manager). In this case it makes more sense to link to the file rather than import it into the Scrivener project. Reference management unfortunately is not one of Scrivener’s strengths and is better handled with a dedicated app.

Reference management software is ideal for tracking and excerpting reference materials where they are, enabling the user to cite them accurately. Whereas Scrivener is a writer’s tool that provides a second editing pane to display materials that inform the writing, and a binder, a research folder and tagging capabilities to keep those sources close at hand and portable with the project.

So I think there’s some good logic behind the OP’s wanting PDFs both project-packaged and searchable. Absent that capability, I’d like Scrivener to take advantage of outside searches in the binder’s folder, using their returned filenames and excerpts to locate those particulars in Scrivener’s own environment. It might well be reference management software generating those search results; I’d still want Scrivener bringing them up for the user.

More sofisticated reference software, like Papers 3, can be used for annotating, highlighting etc, and then you only need to incorporate those annotation into Scrivener.
Use specialized tools for special needs.

In 10+ years of academic publishing from Scrivener, I think I’ve imported maybe a half dozen pdfs I’ve never understood the allure of creating duplicate copies of articles in Scrivener, especially anything I’ve read closely enough to be addressing in a paper.

Hm, historically I often imported big batches of academic PDFs across multiple projects over the years, and yes it has become a real mess!!! I have duplicate PDFs in multiple projects, no standardised annotations and am being forced to slowly replace them with aliases.

Search within PDFs with text highlighting work wonderfully with aliased (linked) PDFs in Scrivener, no need to import.

The only slight annoying thing is one cannot option+drag a PDF into Scrivener, you have to “File > Import > Research File as Alias…” which is slower.