Workaround Suggestions for Lack of Keywords in iOS


As KB has explained in another post, lack of space is one reason why keywords have not been included in S3 (or S2) for iOS. I, for one, am pretty reliant on using keywords in the MacOS version and can’t use the iOS version as much as I’d like owing to their absence. (Every note I type in iOS, for example, has to be gone through on the Mac to add the keywords.)

So, does anyone have any suggestions as to a workaround, in the sense of finding a way to replace keywords with another method (via Custom Metadata?) that does sync between MacOS and iOS? I’m happy to lose the keyword facility if there were a sound alternative way of doing more-or-less the same thing. (If it helps, I tend to use 30 or 40 keywords, not just one or two.)

Custom metadata isn’t available in iOS Scrivener, either. :frowning: My best suggestion: put your keywords list in a document that you then bookmark in project bookmarks. Prefix each keyword with a symbol combination you don’t use anywhere in your text (example: xxxFred, xxxBarney, etc.). Finally, mark your documents by placing each document’s keywords either in its document notes or its synopsis, prefixed with the combo you selected.

Now you can pop up that keyword list in iOS, and use iOS project search to produce a list of documents with the prefixed keyword you copy from the list.

It would be a pain in the keister to maintain both the official keywords AND this home-brew keyword substitute, so if I were doing it, I’d just ignore official keywords.

This is the most disappointing omission in Scrivener for iOS.

Not everything can fit on a stripped-down platform such as iOS.

Happy Christmas!

Good point well made, Mr. Blount: iPad Pros are great, but contra Tim Cook, they’re really not laptop replacements, except for email, basic writing, etc. Sometimes, we forget that.

Thanks, too, Silverdragon, for the advice. I’ll have a look into it. They’re not the biggest thing in the world – keywords – but they would be useful at some point. Oh, and thanks for bringing Scrivener to the world; I think I’ve been using it since maybe 0.8 or something, Anyway, a very long time, and I still find out new stuff.

Disappointing attitude.
I do not understand the excuses that iOs is a small platform to implement the keywords (Ulysses for iOs does it perfectly, even with complex searches) We are grateful for the creation and development of this fabulous software, but we are clients and we deserve an answer that is not a simple evasive. The keywords are a fundamental element to keep our collection of notes organized and accessible. I, the client who opted to buy scrivener for iOs, was patiently waiting for a scrivener with, at least, the essential functions, and Keywords is one of them. I thank silverdragon for his imaginative and valuable contribution, but to developers this should make them blush or, at least, make them think. I would pay something more for the implementation of the keywords. Without it, the program does not work for me.

I don’t understand how users can buy software without reading to see what the limitations are first. L&L is very good about stating what major features were not able to be included in the iOS version.

I completely agree. IOS is robust enough to include this simple feature. I can create tags and append them to documents on the IOS for iPad but I can’t append a keyword to a document in Scrivener. it seems evasive on their part.
The interesting thing is, if enough people complain, they will conveniently adapt and give the users what they/we want.
And as for the gentleman commenting about the number of people purchasing products without looking at the fine print and details, well it’s easy to say that when companies list features that they’ve included in the products but fail to mention what they are not including, especially when it’s an integral part such as keywords. you’ll never truly know what you’re getting until you download the app and all of this could have been avoided if there was a free and limited version clients could download (from the App Store) but that is not the case.

None of us have access to the source code. None of us know how KB implemented the feature, and what native functions it relies on. We have seen credible explanations, here on the forums, of other places where iOS features are not nearly as robust as their counterparts on Mac OS. None of us here know what UI issues KB has worked through to get iOS Scrivener to the point of usability that it’s gotten to.

It’s really easy to armchair quarterback when you have no skin in the game.

The keyword metadata is already there in a Scrivener project. That’s not the issue. But how do you integrate the keyword interface into the iOS Scrivener screen, particularly on a smaller device like the iPhone?

If you think it’s easy, you might start by doing a few concept sketches to show us all how it would work. Remember that you can’t throw out existing features to do it.


Before I bought iOS Scriv, I was aware that this feature wasn’t included. Just took a little research. This might help others: … er-for-ios

Another workaround is to use inline annotations as a ‘tag’. Create a document for listing the unique ‘tags’ you use.

Ahm… no, you’re not a client. You are a customer who bought a product. The seller has no obligation to answer questions about why the product does not contain something that you assumed that it would but which the information about the product does not state that it does.

FWIW, my contracts with my clients very clearly spell out what services are and are not covered by the quote, and I’m not particularly sympathetic when clients demand services for which they have not agreed to pay.


-This is a computer translation, because my English is very basic (sorry for inaccuracies)-

This are the suggestions that you are asking me for allowing “keywords” and “collections” without changing the interface:

  1. Add a line for “keywords” in the inspector (space required in the interface: similar to the “notes” space that has an unlimited size and is folded into a single line)
  2. Extend the existing search from simple to complex. I think that the undervalued iOs would be able to handle these operations.
  3. Allow the “search results” (which already have their space in the current interface) to be stored in a folder, that could be called “collections”, located at the “binder” level (space required in the interface: the same as a created folder by the user; space required in the memory: minimum, since the files are not repeated, but a link to them, similar to what happens in the “recent” or “bookmarks” folders).
    Anyway, I’m not a programmer, the only thing I know for sure is that other programs implement this feature in iOs.
    I end my participation in this forum. I hope these suggestions help. If they are not useful, no problem. Regards.

Thanks @anorgo for this - this is a great batch of constructive suggestions & I agree, all would help to address this significant omission in Scrivener for iOS.

I use the ios text replacement function with shortcuts, which is under Settings/General/Keyboard/Text Replacment.

So for the name Jaxi, I’ve created a jx shortcut and whenever I type in jx, the name pops right in.

I’m seeing quite a bit of hostility here and not understanding it. I initially came ask the same question and found viable answers. Nothing has been evasive or an excuse as far as I can tell, and it seems like on this and other questions, people aren’t understanding that there is a limit to what you can make a program do. Yes, other programs have tag-searching systems, but most of those programs don’t have features that Scrivener does.
Furthermore, there are already several workarounds mentioned that would require no more effort than using an integrated tag system. My favorite is using notes and the project search, since that is just as effective and arguably more customizable than a standard tag search.
At the moment, though, many of you only seem interested in venting frustrations on someone who has already answered your question.

Wouldn’t one solution be to not have the Keywords appearing as part of the iOS interface, per se, but to allow them to be searchable? A sort of Read-only option.

The metadata must be there in the files… so then a quick Search on what you know is the title of your keyword and hey presto, you’ve got a list of all the documents containing it?