Scrivener: Collecting Research

Now that you know how to work with text documents and files and folders in your manuscript, you are ready to set up your “bottom” drawer for your research. Scrivener can hold nearly every type of research you might draw upon: Photos, documents, and even videos and web pages. Again, the organizing is up to you. You may want folders to hold names, details, and photos of your characters and locations. You can go as complex or simple as you like.

Once you’ve got your files and folders set up, how do you import your information? 

1. Set up your file and add a text document. When you make it full-screen you will see a card to the side that looks like this.


There is a small icon to the top right of the Character Sketch bit which has a photo or an index card icon. By clicking this you can change what you see to words or images, depending on what you like. To see the opposite of the card, just hit it again. In the image below, I have added details, changing the label to Character and adding a photo by dragging and dropping the photo I want into the photo section. If you use the novel template, there is a built-in section for characters and places. No matter what text and images you use, it’s the same. 


If you want to add web pages or videos from an internet link, select the link you want, then go to “File” and “Import” then “Web page.” A box will pop up with your link. Just name it and hit save.


So there you have it! There are all kinds of great features in Scrivener, but this should get you off and running. Now that you know how to work with folders and files, importing images, you can begin learning the bells and whistles without losing time on writing your important book. (And your book is important!) Though many videos can be confusing, you can find some good ones on YouTube, or if you are part of the SkillShare community, you can see my video explaining the concepts we’ve covered, as well as some other great teachers. 

My classes for WINDOWS can be accessed here:

For Scrivener 2 and before, David does a great job in his classes here:

Likewise, Elaine has begun putting up videos for Scrivener 3:

I have taken classes from both of these teachers and learned things I didn’t know even after five years of using Scrivener after, quite frankly, giving up on YouTube videos because they felt disjointed, covering the subject but never answering the specific question I had. I’m impatient: I would rather read instructions than wait for the teacher to explain, thus why you got this article full of words and screenshots. But these guys taught me a lot so you may want to give them a try.

If you do not have access to Skillshare, don’t worry. Since I teach on there, I can give you a link that will let you have a free trial. If you find it’s for you, you can cancel any time and will not be charged. Should you decide there is enough interesting content to earn your money and use this link, I do make a bit for referencing you, so that’s also a way you can help support me and this website. If you move quick, you can get two free months.

Try this link:

So here we are at the end of this how-to series. Thanks for sticking with me and let me know what you think? What do you love about Scrivener? What would you like to know more about? Do you have tips and tricks you use? I’d love to hear about them.

Drop me a note! (And then get back to writing! Your novel deserves to be finished!)