How to Import Your Novel Research Into Scrivener

How to Import your Novel Research into Scrivener via

Alright, welcome to another Story Writing with Scrivener post.

Today, we are talking about how to import all of your novel research into Scrivener.

The important thing to know about Scrivener is that it is compatible with practically every type of media file. Photos, videos, audio, web pages, text files, other Scrivener can upload them all into your Scrivener Research folder.

Sound good? Let's get started.

the research folder

The first thing you need to know about importing your files into Scrivener is that every single one must first be imported into the Research folder in your Binder before you can move them anywhere else. The only exception to this is regular old text files. Those you can import directly into any folder.

You might have noticed that the Research folder can't be deleted just like the Manuscript folder. This is because Research and Manuscript are root folders. Scrivener needs them to work properly.

Moving on, once you've imported your files into the Research folder (which we'll talk about below), you are welcome to move them into any other folders in your Binder.

Just like your Manuscript files, Research files can be viewed in three modes: Scrivenings, Corkboard, and Outliner. You can find each of these modes in your project toolbar.


1) Scrivenings Mode. Scrivenings mode allows you to view all of your Research documents as one long document. This is helpful when you want to view all of your research in the second editor while you write.

2) Corkboard Mode. Corkboard mode allows you to view all of your Research sub-folders and documents as notecards that can be written on and rearranged for easy organization.

3) Outliner Mode. Outliner mode allows you to view all of your Research sub-folders and documents as an expandable list that can be easily rearranged to suit your needs.

When working within your Research folder, you may notice that your Inspector looks a little different. (If you don't see your Inspector, you can open it at any time by clicking the blue 'i' icon in your Project Toolbar or by going to View > Inspect and choosing your preferred option.)

When you have no document selected, the Inspector will change to show off your Project Notes and References. You can easily switch between these two elements using the notepad and book icons located in the Inspector's bottom toolbar.


Understanding Project Notes. Project Notes allows you to keep separate notes for your entire project. You can view Project Notes outside of the Research Inspector by going to Project > Project Notes. Your notes will open up as a new window.

Understanding Project References. Project References allows you to keep track of all your citations. Every time you use quotes or statistics from a webpage, media, essay, etc., you must take down the proper citations, which you can then insert right into your Project References. References is probably more useful for essays and research papers, but you may have occasion to take down a few references for your novel, so it's best to be aware.

If you have clicked on a document within your Research folder, you will notice that the Inspector displays its standard options.

Remember, the Research folder essentially works the same as any other folder in your Binder. You can always create new sub-folders and documents by clicking on the appropriate icons in the bottom toolbar of your Binder or Editor.

importing research

Alright, now that we've gotten all of the basics out of the way, let's talk about how to actually import your files into Scrivener.

First things first. If you are importing something other than a text file, make sure you have your Research folder selected. Remember, you must import all files into Research first before you can move them to another folder in your Binder.

The easiest way to add files to your Scrivener Project is to click and drag them from elsewhere on your computer into your Scrivener Research folder. Scrivener should automatically import them as individual documents for you.

If that isn't working for some reason, here's a step-by-step guide to importing your research manually.


1. Make sure your Research folder is selected. Just one last reminder since this step is so important. If you aren't importing a text file, make sure you have the Research folder selected.

2. Go to File > Import > . Find File at the top of your project and scroll down to Import. From there, you will have several options. We're going to cover the most important ones today.

3. Option #1: Files. Use this option to upload your standard text, photo, video, and audio files.

4. Option #2: Webpages. Use this option to upload an entire webpage. You can also do this by clicking on the small page icon next the site's URL in your browser and dragging it into the Scrivener binder.

5. Option #3: Scrivener Project. Use this option if you want to upload an entirely different Scrivener Project into your current project.

Want to split a text file into several different documents? First, go ahead and import the entire file. Once it is imported, open up your document and click on where you'd like to split your files. Then, go to Document > Split > At Selection and Scrivener will split your document into two.

The second document should begin right where you had placed your cursor. Repeat this process to break up your work into as many documents as you desire.


Let's Chat!

That sums up my Scrivener tips for this week. Do you have any other advice for importing your research? How do you prefer to organize your notes once you've got them imported? Happy researching!

P.S. Looking to buy the Scrivener software for yourself? You can click here to purchase Scrivener for Mac and click here to purchase Scrivener for PC.

(Those links are affiliate links that come at absolutely no extra cost to you. You can click here to learn more about my affiliate policy and why I choose to employ affiliate links. Thank you!)

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Kristen Kieffer is a writer of fantasy fiction and the creative writing coach behind She's Novel. She's made it her mission to help aspiring authors write sensational novels because obliterating expectations is her jam. Her other passions? Coffee and Tolkien, of course!

Kristen is the author of the upcoming The Books of Maveryn series and The Astral Series, as well as several non-fiction books for writers.