An Alternative Way to Access Research

Today I want to discuss an alternative way to access PDFs, web pages, and video and audio, which normally would go straight into your research section.

Oh, no, she’s still stuck on research.

We know how to import text files, PDFS, images, audio and video in the research section. We know how to create notes in Evernote and bring those as a PDF into the research section. But…did you know you can also create what essentially boils down to an alias (or shortcut) in Project/Document References?

Whaaaat? You lost me there.

Ah, grasshopper, it’s easy, and it all takes place in the Inspector. I still have a lot of material in my Finder that I haven’t imported into my research section that I’m hesitant to do because there are videos, images and PDFs saved in Google Documents that look better there, and I don’t want these in Scrivener because all those megabytes can bog down the program. I want, however, a method to access the material and not have to be searching high and low in the many folders I have in my Finder.

To do this, unhide the Inspector. Now take a look at the footer. Do you see the stacked books icon?Click on it and this is what you get.

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Let’s go on a mini-tour for each function. To the right of Project References, there are two arrows that allow you to toggle between Document References and Project References. Let’s say your scene/chapter focuses on American progressive publications during the 1930s. You want to create your references in Document References, but let’s say your overall project deals with the POUM, you want to create those references in Project References.

I’m not getting this.

Okay…let’s look at this way: Micro level: documents. Macro level: Project. Got it?

Oh. Got it. I think…

Fine. Now see that plus sign next to the two arrows? Click on that. Here you’ll be adding, looking up, and creating your references.  Say you want to add an internal reference from within the project that is specific to the document you’re writing. You select one of the submenus and make your selection. This is what you get:

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What you see below is the icon, the description, and the URL stating it’s an internal link.

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Note you can also drag a text file, image, PDF, etc into document references. Next you know you have in your computer’s directory a bunch of videos you want to include, but don’t want them in the research section and bog down your project. Go back to the plus sign and click on Look Up & Add External Reference.  Once you find the document, select it and hit Open (or you can drop and drag). If you want to edit the title, you can do that in Description. In the example below, you see in the section that says URL the file was found in my directory.

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Next, you may want to create an External Reference. In other words, from the Web. I’ve created external references from Evernote, YouTube, and from a website from the University of California, San Diego.

When you want to access any of the material all you have to do is click on the PDF or browser icon, and it opens up in an external editor (your browser or in Adobe Reader).

And if for whatever reason you want to delete a reference all you need to do is select the reference and hit the minus sign.

Wow. That was easy!

I told you so.

Going Steady with Scrivener and Evernote

My favorite Scrivener feature without any doubt is the research folder of the Binder.  As you can see with one of my WIPs, I use it for the outlining process, images, documents, PDFs and so forth.

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For several years now I’ve used Scrivener as the hub for my research, but I discovered I needed something else to store all the material I gathered. I played around with DevonThink, and I’m not 100 percent convinced I need it.

Evernote was an app I downloaded, but rarely used until this year when I decided to spring for the premium version. Conclusion: it was well worth the $45 investment.

Gwen Hernandez recently posted an Evernote/Scrivener tutorial on her site and you can see how she uses it to import a note or a hyperlinked Table of Contents.

I go about importing a note in a different manner. How so? Let me show you.

This week I’m taking a how to structure a short story/novella course. At the moment, I have a vague storyline about three women who have ties with the Spanish Civil War. There’s quite a bit of literature about it so I plan to Google and save whatever I can find in Evernote.

After conducting a simple search, I found a senior thesis about women prisoners during and after the Spanish Civil War that I want to save in Evernote using my Evernote extension in Google Chrome.  I save the web page as “Simplified Article.” The reason behind this is that I don’t want all the garbage that appears on a web page.

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When it’s saved in Evernote, I select the note and in the pane to the left I see the entire article. Typically the page still has a lot of unnecessary text so I clean it up more. A couple of things to note…because I have the Premium version of Evernote, I can highlight sections of the note that I’m interested in as well as write comments.

Next, I go to File->Print. At the bottom of the print menu, I have several choices of how I want to print it. I want to save it as PDF. Once I select that choice, a window will open of where to save it. I save it on the desktop so I can easily drag it into my open Scrivener project’s research section. That’s the way, I’ve been importing my PDFs from Evernote. But as I scrolled further down the menu I noticed that I can actually skip the save to my desktop step and save it directly into my open Scrivener project.

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Now remember, you can only import PDFs into the research folder so before you select Save PDF to Scrivener in Evernote, the research folder needs to be selected. Once I’ve done that, I click on Save PDF to Scrivener, and in seconds, the PDF appears at the bottom of the research section. When it imports into Scrivener it’s untitled so click on it and label it.

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I find this method easier and it’s fast. Give it a whirl and let me know in the comments if it works for you.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now?

(Click on the link. It will download. Open it and listen).

And now for text if you prefer reading….

I tend to conduct numerous email interviews. I like email interviews because it’s easier to not misquote the person you interviewed. But I also need to be prepared for phone interviews. That means I need a decent recording application.

Today’s tutorial encompasses how you can transfer audio files from other recording applications into Scrivener.

Method One:

I use SuperNote, a recording app for the iPhone. SuperNote has the capability to upload an audio file directly into Dropbox and from Dropbox I can download it into iTunes. From my iTunes song library, I simply drag the recording into the research section of that particular project (if you’re curious, I’m writing an article about invasive species in the Adirondacks).

In the research section, you’ll see a file with a musical note. Click on it, and it will open to a black page in the editor. At the bottom, you’ll see the play, pause, rewind and forward controls along with the volume control to the left, and to the right a tiny rewind control for when you pause it and want to hear what was said a few seconds earlier.

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Method Two:

Scrivener also provides an internal recording application. You can find it under Project->New Media File->New Audio Note.

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A few things to note, and this is important! Before you click New Audio Note, you need to be in the research folder. This is the only place where you’ll be able to save it. If you’re conducting an interview and you’re in the draft section of the binder, you will lose the entire recording! I suggest you create a recordings folder in the research section, label it as Recordings or Interviews. Hit the expansion button to open it.

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Now…go back to New Audio Note. A window will open.

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If you’re recording from text you’ve written, you can move the window to another part of the screen so as not block it. To record,  hit the red button and start speaking. Once you’re done, hit save. The interviw will go directly into the recording file in the research section. Next label the file with the person’s name or the topic and date it.

And that, dear readers, is how you record in Scrivener!

The Omm of Scrivener

It’s been a very long time since I posted a tutorial online and I am sorry that I’ve neglected my faithful readers, but this business of freelance writing, teaching the five week courses, and private lessons is surprisingly time-consuming.

I’ve been wracking my brains to show you something that’s not only super neat, but useful. After perusing Literature and Latte’s forums, I found the perfect lesson.

So…you all know how I like to customize my work space and change colors, icons, and layouts. This is a neat layout for those of you who rather be in the zen mode to write. In other words–no distractions.

But wait! Scrivener has a Composition mode feature and you’ve provided that tutorial. Stop teasing us!

Patience, grasshopper, for what I’ll be showing you will take you to a very different level. Let’s say you want the features of distraction free Composition mode with the added feature of Split-Screen. For instance, you want to see your document but also the Corkboard in distraction-free space. To do that, activate the Split Screen feature. Next lock in place the Corkboard.

This is what we have thus far:

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But we know how to do this! Tell us something we don’t know!

Next go to Preferences->Appearances. In the section that says Full Screen, check Always Auto-Hide Toolbar in Full-Screen Mode and right beneath it check Hide Binder and Inspector when Entering Full-Screen Mode.

Did you do that? Good. Now enter full-screen mode, and this is what you have:

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It’s still too busy.

Okay…we can do more to make it look less busy. Don’t like the ruler? Take your mouse pointer to the top of the screen to unhide the menu bar. Go to Format->Hide Ruler. Don’t like the format bar? Go to Format->Hide Format Bar.

But now I have something special to show you. Don’t want to see the header or the footer? Well guess what? You can hide those as well. Activate the Editor screen, and like above take the mouse pointer to the top of the screen until the menu bar appears. Go to View->Layout->Hide Header View. Follow the same steps and hide the Footer View. Now activate the corkboard, and follow those same exact steps.This is how it looks like:

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Well, that is kinda neat, but I want the corkboard on the left.

Do you now?

Click on the corkboard, and take your mouse pointer to the top of the screen until the menubar appears. Unlock the Corkboard by going to View->Editor and uncheck Lock In Place. Then go back to View-Layout->Swap Editors.

Oh…that is cool. But I don’t like the corkboard’s background, and I want the editor to be a softer color.

Fine…that can be changed as well. Let’s tackle the corkboard first. Just like you did before make the menu bar appear. Go to Preferences->Corkboard. Go to Corkboard Background and select Custom Color. Activate the color box by clicking on it and the color wheel window will open. Select your color. Close it out by clicking on the red X.

To change the Editor’s text background, simply go to Preferences->Appearance. In the section that says Customizable Colors select Editor->Text Background. Activate the color window by clicking on it, and a window will appear. Select your color and close it out by clicking on the red X.

If the index cards are too white, simply follow the same steps as above, but choose Index Card Background. And this is how it looks:

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But what if I want to select another text file for the editor pane?

Two ways to do this: If you take your mouse pointer to the extreme left the Binder will appear and you can select your text. Once you move the pointer away it will hide itself. The Inspector works in the same manner.

There’s another way to view text files and that’s via the corkboard. Before you hide the corkboard’s footer, make sure the double arrow icon is activated then click on an index card and your text file will change in the Editor.

Wow! That is super neat!

I told you so. Now go write.


New Five Week Course Starts March 2nd!

If you missed the last session, a new five week private class is scheduled and it starts March 2nd. What to expect? Well, here’s a breakdown:

  • A daily tutorial Monday-Friday.
  • The lesson should take no more than 60 minutes to read through and do the homework.
  • A Scrivener group on Facebook for students who have signed up for the class. Here you can ask more questions, post screenshots, trouble shoot and share organizational writing tips.

Here’s what 25 days of lessons consist:

  • An email with what to expect from the lesson.
  • New for this session: A List of Command Shortcuts for each lesson
  • New for this Session: Weekly Quiz
  • New for this Session: Weekly preview and recap

Week One
Lesson 1: Starting a new project in Scrivener
Lesson 2: The Editor
Lesson 3: The Inspector: Synopsis, General Meta-Data, and Document Panes
Lesson 4: Scrivenings Mode
Lesson 5: The Corkboard

Week Two
Lesson 6: Outliner and Custom Meta-Data
Lesson 7: Split Screen Mode

Lesson 8: Document and Project Notes
Lesson 9: The Scratch Pad
Lesson 10: Customizing Layouts

Week Three

Lesson 11: Composition Mode
Lesson 12: Project Find and Replace
Lesson 13: Document Find and Replace
Lesson 14: Project Targets
Project 15: Project and Text Statistics

Week Four

Lesson 16: Sanpshots
Lesson 17: In Annotations
Lesson 18: Comments
Lesson 19: Collections
Lesson 20: Splitting and Merging Documents

Week Five
Lessons 21-25: Compile

Bonus Week Six
Question and Answer Week

Tuition is $200.00 made payable via PayPal. To sign-up for the class contact me at