Filing a Linked Document

Ka
Katherina_74
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Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:49 pm Post

Is there a way to automatically link a linked document as a child of the document from which it is being created?

Here's my usual scenario: I work in a file, and certain questions emerge that I need to explore in a different file. I usually write the question: [[Where else does XX mention YY?]]. Then I can choose where to file this newly created document. Since I work in one file, I have many subfolders, so the menu of places to file the new document is overwhelmingly large even if I choose the option "Show only containers in destination list." I would find it useful if the new document is filed as a child to the document from which I am creating it. Is there such an option?

My workaround is that I file everything in an Inbox and then I use backlinks (thank goodness for them!) to see where they came from, and I move the files accordingly. However, it is a time-consuming option, so I was wondering if what I need is possible, but I am not aware of it.

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AmberV
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Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:37 pm Post

There isn’t a way of doing that in one move that I can think of, but there are some approaches that could make this process simpler than a central inbox system and periodically filing things where they should go. Here are a few disparate and potentially useful ingredients I’m thinking of:

  • If you drag an icon from anywhere in the project window into the text you get a link to that item.
  • Hitting ⌘3 or ⌘2 while writing will open up the Outliner or Corkboard for that item, respectively. This makes outlining with a text file a simple matter, you can hit the Return key to make a new note. When you’re done, turn the view back off with the same shortcut and you’ll be right where you left off.
  • Dragging a document’s icon from anywhere in the project window into the header bar with the Option key held down will open that item in a Copyholder.

    Incidentally these come with their own icon, suitable for dragging—meaning a Copyholder can be used as a kind of “parking spot” for link creation. I sometimes open Copyholders for no reason at all other than to have that icon parked. It can be great when I’ve written a new section that needs to be cross-referenced from several different locations.
  • And incidentally document links function as “icons” for the purposes of dragging them around in some but not all contexts of the project window. Where it does work for instance is in replacement of the the above tip: drag a hyperlink from the file you’re working on into the header bar with Option held down.
  • From an outliner or corkboard view, you can easily open a selected document into the other split with ⇧⌘O.

That is probably only scratching the surface, but here are some ideas for how some of these tools could be synthesised into a workflow:

  • Work the other way around from what you’re doing: make the item first and then link it. I think this method specifically works best by changing one option: in the Behaviors: Navigation preference pane, set Space key opens selected document in: Quick Reference Panel.

    1. Using the Outliner/Corkboard tip, jump into the text files child list and create a new item. Once you’ve named it, hit Spacebar.
    2. Type in your note.
    3. Switch back to the editor, close the Outliner/Corkboard, and drag the icon from the QR panel into the editor to create your link.

    That’s just one way of doing things. Maybe you don’t like Quick Reference panels or the thought of having to switch between windows and cleaning up panels as you work. Use of simple navigation in the editor (Spacebar to open in the editor) and history you could achieve much of the above. Of course you lose the drag and drop icon, but you can still type in the [[name of note]] as you’re used to doing, only now it points to something that already exists, and as such the ⌃⎋ shortcut can help out (or you could even Copy the title at step #1 above for later pasting in the brackets).
  • In a variation of the above, you could do this at the start of a session, or whenever you first need to, and then just leave the configuration on screen until you’re done working in the section:

    1. Drag the icon of the file you are writing in from the header bar back into the header bar with the Option key held down (alternatively use Navigate ▸ Open ▸ in Copyholder, and consider putting a shortcut on that if you do so frequently). You now have the file open twice.
    2. In the main editor, switch to Outliner or Corkboard, then expand the Copyholder and use that as your main writing area.

    You may see the advantage immediately. We now have a list of this document’s child notes all of the time. Instead of jumping into and out of Quick Reference panels or using history, we can simply toggle between these splits, making new notes, dragging them in as links, etc. The same could of course be accomplished with regular splits—but a Copyholder is nice because you can keep using the split for other stuff, and also it takes up less space if all you want is a simple list of notes to work with to the side/above/below the main editor.
  • Continue with the “inbox” approach, but more seamlessly manage the filing process as you work. For this one, it might work best to change the Behaviors: Document Links preference, Open new document links in: Quick Reference Panel, or “Other Editor” (I believe one of those is the default actually, I tend to run with “do not open” so that I can continue writing and address the link later if need be).

    1. Create your link using the method you already use.
    2. When you’re done typing in the note, switch back to your main editor.
    3. Open the Corkboard or Outliner as before, and drag the icon from the note editor/panel into the list. Flip the view back off and continue writing.

Again—there are probably a 1,001 features that could be useful for this kind of thing, and a bunch of useful combinations I haven’t explored here. So hopefully none of these appeal, you’ll get some ideas from them.

I do something very similar to you in that I really like being able to keep notes and ideas as a child outline to the text I’m working on. That shortcut to flip between view modes is perfect, and with Scrivenings mode I can get the whole enchilada at once if I want. I don’t as often link from these notes in my text however—why? I guess because it is so easy to jump to them when they are organised this way. Having them as child items automatically associates them. I can see the appeal of wanting specific notes tied to specific bits of text however, and I do that as well, just not it seems as consistently as you do. So for me the overhead of clicking and dragging and such described above isn’t too bad, and once one finds a good system they like, it can become second nature once taken as a habit.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

Ka
Katherina_74
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Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:08 pm Post

Thank you, Amber, for the detailed response. I have been experimenting with some of these suggestions, and I like the results. Would you mind explaining how placing links in a copyholder document helps you to create child documents? I was not able to understand this point quite well, and it might be a great solution for me. Thank you for sharing your workflow!

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AmberV
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Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:49 pm Post

The idea is less about using the Copyholder to make links inside of—that all by itself doesn’t do anything a regular editor doesn’t do—the idea is more to take advantage of this facts:

  1. Editing a document in a copyholder is pretty much like editing it in the main editor. But like Quick Reference panels, they only show text.
  2. So if we want to work with a document as both a list of child items and a text document at the same time, we can use the Copyholder for the writing and the main editor as the list.

It means you can click over into the main editor, showing the contents of the text file, make a new file as a child as you normally would, and then once you’ve done that, you can drag it from the outliner/corkboard into the Copyholder where you are writing to create the hyperlink to it.

Instead of making a link and then moving the document into the right place, you’re making the document in the right place, and then dragging it into the text (which is in a copyholder) to link it. Here’s a screenshot of what such a workflow could look like:

Image

The actual editor is of course along the bottom, where we can see an outliner view of “scene a”. The text of “scene a” is loaded into the larger copyholder, placed at the top of the editor. The key thing is that in that bottom half we can do everything an editor can do. We can double-click icons to load the notes, use history buttons to get back to this list, navigate to other areas of the project, etc. Meanwhile that top half remains resolutely fixed on the content we’re working on.

P.S. you can position the copyholder by right-clicking within its narrower header bar. By default it will come up along side the list, which you may prefer. You could also have the text on the bottom and the list of subdocument notes on the top. I like this way though, as it feels a bit like “footnotes”. :)
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles