Scrivener for researchers

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Chris_M2018
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Platform: Mac + Windows

Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:46 pm Post

Hello Scrivener community!

First of all, I would like to thank the developers working on the Scrivener project for creating an interesting and unique platform! My perception until now is that Scrivener seems as an ideal tool that is able to boost productivity and efficiency, especially for researchers in academia that usually work with long manuscripts and ideas!
For two weeks, I'm learning and experimenting with this highly versatile product so as to fully migrate all my writings into Scrivener.
However, there exist some crucial points that keeping me from purchasing the Windows and Mac bundle:
  1. MacOS and Windows OS communication: I have noticed that current versions of Scrivener for MacOS (3.0.1) and Windows (1.9.7.0) are not compatible with each other, i.e. I cannot open a scrivener file in Windows that is created in MacOS and uploaded in OneDrive. Is this a bug?
  2. Equations: if I am getting it right, the only way of writing equations in a Scrivener manuscript is to buy a MathType license and link it with Scrivener, but this is a commercial product. So, is there any other free alternative to that?
  3. Mendeley and Scrivener: is there any straight-forward way of importing Mendeley references into Scrivener?
  4. Latex and Scrivener: searching for efficient routines to follow when working in Scrivener, I get that a standard workflow is to create a manuscript in Scrivener and then export it to .tex for further formatting in a Latex editor. Is there any manual for that process so as to avoid back and forth?
  5. Automated lists of tables/figures/references: an automated process that will produce a document listing all tables/figures/references residing in a Scrivener project will be a time-saver capability!
  6. Sharing Scrivener templates: I think that creating a place where users can upload/download Scrivener templates that they have created would be amazing! For example, I would really like to find a Scrivener template for a Master or PhD thesis in Mathematics/Physics/.. or other fields of research.
I would really appreciate any thoughts/suggestions/workarounds to solve these mysteries and get back to Scrivening!!
Thanks again for your great effort!

Some background info: PhD researcher and cross-OS user (Windows and Mac)
Last edited by Chris_M2018 on Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lunk
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Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:07 pm Post

Chris_M2018 wrote:
  1. MacOS and Windows OS communication: I have noticed that current versions of Scrivener for MacOS (3.0.1) and Windows (1.9.7.0) are not compatible with each other, i.e. I cannot open a scrivener file in Windows that is created in MacOS and uploaded in OneDrive. Is this a bug?


Hi, and welcome to the forum!
No, it's not a bug. The Mac version 3 was released late last year and a version 3 for Windows is said to hopefully be released by the end of this year (but don't be surprised if it takes a bit longer). However, you can download Mac version 2.9 which is compatible with the latest official Windows version 1.9.7. There is also a beta version of Windows version 3 available, for the more adventurous writer. On top of that the Mac version 3 can export in the old version 2 format if you need to collaborate with Windows 1.9.7 users. So there are a number of options.

OneDrive? Oh oh... you don't want to use OneDrive with Scrivener. So far only Dropbox and under some circumstances iCloud Drive are the only cloud services recommended to be used with Scrivener, due to the complex file structure. A Scrivener filename.scriv project is not a file, it's a folder. On a Mac it is presented as a package which looks like a file because one doesn't want the users to interfere with the individual files in the project, but it is a folder.

For the rest of the questions you will probably get answers from others. I don't use Mendeley or Latex. Papers 3 for references and no MMD at all.

(Greetings from a fellow academic)
I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
* Mac Scrivener 3 on a Macbook 12”, MacBook Pro 13”, and iMac 27”, all running the latest MacOS
* iOS Scrivener 1 on an iPhone 8, iPad Air 9.7”, and iPad Pro 12.9”, all running the latest iOS

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Chris_M2018
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Platform: Mac + Windows

Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:29 pm Post

Thank you Lunk for your helpful suggestion!
I am glad to see a colleague in the forum!
Since I'm newbie and open to recommendations, would you mind sharing your standard workflow when using Scrivener for academic purposes (lecture notes, papers, etc..)?
Thanks again!

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liz
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Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:06 pm Post

I don't understand why you think you need MathType if you're using LaTeX. MultiMarkdown will push the LaTeX equations over and raw LaTeX can be commented out using `....` for MMD6 and HTML comments for earlier versions of MMD.

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lunk
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Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:05 pm Post

Chris_M2018 wrote:would you mind sharing your standard workflow when using Scrivener for academic purposes (lecture notes, papers, etc..)?


I use Scrivener for writing, not for lecture notes or a lot of other stuff. I use a variety of apps on both my Mac:s and my iPad:s for planning and preparing lectures (Drafts, iThoughts, Indexcard+, Keynote, ...), toying with new ideas for research projects (Scapple, 2Do, Papers by 53, ...), use Papers 3 for searching, reading and annotating scientific articles, collect bits and pieces of anything in Evernote, do statistics in Wizard and Excel, etc.

I have never really liked the idea of a single workflow, of a planned approach to life, or research. That’s one of the reasons I like to write in Scrivener: I can jump back and forth and don’t have to care about the sequential order of traditional programs like Word or Pages.
(but I do use both Word and Pages though, for some things)
I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
* Mac Scrivener 3 on a Macbook 12”, MacBook Pro 13”, and iMac 27”, all running the latest MacOS
* iOS Scrivener 1 on an iPhone 8, iPad Air 9.7”, and iPad Pro 12.9”, all running the latest iOS

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Chris_M2018
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Platform: Mac + Windows

Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:02 am Post

Thank you Lunk for sharing your toolkit!
Happy researching!!

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Chris_M2018
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Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:07 am Post

liz wrote:I don't understand why you think you need MathType if you're using LaTeX. MultiMarkdown will push the LaTeX equations over and raw LaTeX can be commented out using `....` for MMD6 and HTML comments for earlier versions of MMD.

Thanks for your suggestion Liz!
I suppose that using Scrivener and Latex together is the scheme that fits me best.
Is there any guide with examples on how to use them in parallel?
For example, what is the standard notation for writing equations/tables/figures/references in a Scrivener project and then recognised once compiled in a Latex editor?
Thanks again!

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antoniomax
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Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:17 pm Post

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Last edited by antoniomax on Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lunk
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Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:24 pm Post

antoniomax wrote:I'm honestly shocked that S3 won't have a proper integration to generate a bibliography.- - - -
But for all thats sacred, for an app like Scrivener not to have a bibliography option is close to obscene given its by far the best app for writing.


I'm honestly extremely surprised that someone would use such language to express an opinion about a computer software. I can't see what religion has to do with Scrivener. :shock:
I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
* Mac Scrivener 3 on a Macbook 12”, MacBook Pro 13”, and iMac 27”, all running the latest MacOS
* iOS Scrivener 1 on an iPhone 8, iPad Air 9.7”, and iPad Pro 12.9”, all running the latest iOS

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liz
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Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:42 pm Post

For example, what is the standard notation for writing equations/tables/figures/references in a Scrivener project and then recognised once compiled in a Latex editor?

Chris,

You've probably notices that there's an "MMD to LaTeX" option in the Compile window. There's a ton of info on this forum about using MMD with LaTeX and a number of ways to do it--you need to figure out what works for you. User nontroppo, for example, likes using pandoc, but I find that this is more steps than necessary.

I use MMD to do all the text formatting, section formatting, and image/figure handling, (I don't use tables, so I can't say whether MMD syntax for that is sufficient for academic purposes.) I use replacements with my own shorthand syntax for theorem environments, and for mathematics I use LaTeX syntax, but I prefer to use the unicode-math package so that I can use math symbol literals instead of LaTeX markup. This is discussed some here:
http://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=38141&hilit=unicode+math

The big disadvantage is that once you've exported your Scrivener project to LaTeX there's no automatic way to get any edits in the LaTeX file back to Scrivener. But Scrivener is so much better than any LaTeX editor on the market that it's worth the hassle.

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kewms
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Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:28 pm Post

antoniomax wrote:I'm honestly shocked that S3 won't have a proper integration to generate a bibliography.
All I could find is people pointing to *very expensive apps like Paper3, Bookends and Endnote with no option to work with Mendeley AT ALL (other than selecting it in S3 options but alt tab already does the same).


The fact that existing bibliography apps are expensive is your clue. That usually indicates that the functionality is both difficult to provide and only needed by a relatively small number of people. More extensive bibliography integration in Scrivener would require a significant development and support effort -- multiplied by *each* supported program -- for a relatively small benefit to our users.

Katherine
Scrivener Support Team

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liz
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Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:49 pm Post

kewms wrote:The fact that existing bibliography apps are expensive is your clue. That usually indicates that the functionality is both difficult to provide and only needed by a relatively small number of people. More extensive bibliography integration in Scrivener would require a significant development and support effort -- multiplied by *each* supported program -- for a relatively small benefit to our users.
Katherine


I completely get this--it would be a small benefit to most Scrivener users, and maybe even a great majority of them, but better bib handling and better research handling in general would be invaluable to academic users. The Scrivener team unfortunately made software which is so good that it is useful for applications outside its original intended purpose. Maybe in some magical unicorn future someone could write a "Scrivener for academics" plugin which would address these gaps.

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devinganger
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Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:55 pm Post

kewms wrote:The fact that existing bibliography apps are expensive is your clue. That usually indicates that the functionality is both difficult to provide and only needed by a relatively small number of people. More extensive bibliography integration in Scrivener would require a significant development and support effort -- multiplied by *each* supported program -- for a relatively small benefit to our users.


Are you implying that getting academics to settle on a single standard is difficult? NO! <gasp><swoon>

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nontroppo
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Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:21 pm Post

Equations: if I am getting it right, the only way of writing equations in a Scrivener manuscript is to buy a MathType license and link it with Scrivener, but this is a commercial product. So, is there any other free alternative to that?


People have already mentioned the MMD to LaTeX route, but it is important to point out that MMD can also output maths to Word and HTML just as easily via Pandoc, which is a supported compile option in Scrivener 3. Pandoc handles maths much more robustly, and e.g. converts TeX maths to the native DOCX maths notation etc. This means with the SAME document in Scrivener, you could output your work for final typesetting in LaTeX if you need, and a Word document if you have a tutor that wants an editable file to work with.

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Kinsey
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Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:35 pm Post

liz wrote:
kewms wrote:The fact that existing bibliography apps are expensive is your clue. That usually indicates that the functionality is both difficult to provide and only needed by a relatively small number of people. More extensive bibliography integration in Scrivener would require a significant development and support effort -- multiplied by *each* supported program -- for a relatively small benefit to our users.
Katherine


I completely get this--it would be a small benefit to most Scrivener users, and maybe even a great majority of them, but better bib handling and better research handling in general would be invaluable to academic users. The Scrivener team unfortunately made software which is so good that it is useful for applications outside its original intended purpose. Maybe in some magical unicorn future someone could write a "Scrivener for academics" plugin which would address these gaps.


I've said it before on this forum, but I believe that Scrivener is a superb tool for academic writing as is. There are many other academics who are heavy users, and employ one of the many Scrivener + [bibliography app of choice] workflows that have been posted on the forums. If I were absolutely in need of a biblio manager, that's the route I'd go down. Personally I do without one.