Scrivener and Evernote: Better Together

I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Scrivener. They all add up to: Scrivener is the best app out there for writers. All kinds of writers. Screenwriters, novelists, short story writers, playwrights, songwriters, copywriters, technical writers, college students…

One thing most writers have in common is the need to engage in research. Gallons and miles and tons of research. And Scrivener loves research. Web pages, images, snippets of text, Scrivener loves it all.

But this is where we, like the proctologist, must reluctantly arrive at a ‘but’.

Scrivener doesn’t always quite fill the bill when it comes to grabbing those lovely bits of research material from the web — or from our microphones, cameras or handwritten notes.

It might, one day. But not today.

All is not lost, however, because you can introduce Scrivener to its new best research-obsessed pal: Evernote.

Evernote, which you can get — oddly enough — at is a cloud-based service that will help you to, in their own words, “Remember Everything.”

And they do mean everything.

Text, audio, photographs both clipped from the web and taken with your very own camera, snippets of web pages, full web pages; anything you can find online, capture with your phone or tablet, or enter via keyboard goes into “notebooks” you create according to your own notational needs and preferences.

Related notebooks can be organized into “stacks” — I’ll give you an example: I have a “Writing Business” stack which contains a notebook for each of my active spec projects. Each project notebook contains separate notes for separate areas of research.

All well and good, you may be thinking, but how does that relate to Scrivener? I’ll be honest: I’m not a Windows user anymore, so I couldn’t tell you how it works in Windows XP, Vista or 7. From all I hear about Windows 8, however, I can easily believe that moving notes from Evernote to Scrivener would work on Windows 8 the same way it does on the Mac:

Drag and drop. Just that easy.

So let’s say you’re writing a scene set in Paris in 1944. You need to research Paris circa 1944. You want a map, photographs, descriptions, reminiscences from people who were there.

Download the free Evernote app for Windows or Mac. Create a notebook in Evernote. Get the Evernote Web Clipper for your browser of choice. Sign into your Evernote account (accounts are what they call “freemium” — while basic service is free, a minimal $45 per year or $5 per month subscription unlocks more storage and other features). Once you’ve signed in on the Web Clipper, just clip all the content that meets your research needs.

Then drag and drop the content you want to use from Evernote into your Scrivener project’s research section. Easy as pie.

So that’s a look at how Scrivener and Evernote can be used together as an easy and robust solution for getting all the research your writing needs right where you need it.

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  • A perfect combination! And after a few clicks, Clearly usually tags it correctly for you, too.


  • unfortunately on the mac side, you can’t really drag and drop notes from notebook directly to Scrivener research folder. there’s a system message that says the file can’t be imported. You have to clip sections from each note you want to add to Scrivener and paste it inside a new doc in Scrivener.


    • Guido Gaudlitz

      You can copy the notes link and clip it directly into Scrivener. The link can be activated in Scrivener, so that’s really a fine solution to this problem.


  • Um, why not just use the built-in clipping feature and go directly from web page to Scrivener? What does the Evernote step get you?


  • I use evernote for research notes all the time and then simply cut and paste the information I decide is the most important to my project into Scrivener. I use Windows 7 and Scrivener for Windows.


  • In Windows, OneNote would probably be a better tool. You can also use the Windows Snip Tool, which is native to the OS. All you do is use the mouse to drag a clip from the screen, whether it’s a web page or any screen, and copy to OneNote or anything, including Scrivener. Way better than holding down all the keys and such that you have to hold down while dragging to do a screen grab with Mac.


    • I have only one issue with OneNote, and that is that OneNote is not (to my knowledge, anyway) platform-agnostic. That’s important in a setting where I use multiple desktop and mobile operating systems.


  • So, is there any way to move folders or files wholesale from Evernote to Scrivener on a Mac? I have over 1200 files for my WIP in Evernote and would LOVE LOVE LOVE to transfer them to Scrivener to organize the writing phase–without doing it 1200 separate copy-and-paste times. Please–somebody…!


    • Speaking candidly, Cynthia, I just don’t have the answer to this question. As I mentioned upthread, I use Evernote to not only gather research data, but to filter it, as well. Much of the information that ends up in any given research folder never gets shifted into Scrivener, so I’ve never had occasion to try moving an entire folder from one app to the other.

      But because your question intrigued me, I decided to give it a try, just as an experiment — and no, apparently, it’s not possible to shift an entire folder and all its notes into Scrivener via drag-and-drop. And I’m not sure what changed, but it now seems that even notes themselves won’t drag-and-drop from one app to the other properly.

      I remember it being quite different one or two releases ago, and I’m not sure what’s changed or why. Needless to say, I’m more than somewhat embarrassed that the information I provided seems to have become inaccurate, and I apologize for that.

      However, copy-and-paste is still a valid transfer technique, and Scrivener seems to be very good about maintaining layout and formatting with regard to copy-and-paste shifted material.


      • Cynthia Levinson

        Thank you so much for responding so quickly, John. There’s certainly no reason for you to apologize! I’ve been experimenting with exporting Evernote files within folders as HTML to my desktop and then importing them into Scrivener, which *might* work. If it does, then all I have to do is learn how to use Evernote!


  • I tried to drag and note per your instructions and received an error. Is there an efficient work around?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve noticed this same problem in subsequent months. My workaround has been less than elegant, but it does get the job done.

      1. Create a new document in your “Research” folder in Scrivener. Have this new document open.
      2. Command+Tab to your note in Evernote.
      3. Command+A to select the entire content of your note.
      4. Drag the highlighted contents.
      5. Command+Tab back to your open Scrivener document.
      6. Drop the contents into your Scrivener document.


  • Another workaround is to Control-click on the note in Evernote, then select Share > Copy Share URL to Clipboard. Then Control-click on the Research folder in Scrivener and select Add > Web Page …


  • Another workaround is to Control-click on the note in Evernote and select Share > Copy Share URL to Clipboard. Then Control-click on the Research folder in Scrivener and select Add > Web Page…


  • There are also some other ways:

    a) Evernote can export a note (or a folder of notes) as HTML file(s). Preferably, I guess, when each note is a different file, even though it can compose the whole folder into one HTML page. Then in Scrivener, in a Research folder you right-click, choose Add – Files and then choose the files. It will add them as “media”.

    This is when the default setting is used, with HTML not transferred to plain text.

    This way then the Evernote notes are added as Research notes, and can be added in a split editor in Scrivener, convenient.

    b) If you open in Scrivener Tools – Options – Import/Export, and check the box next to “Convert HTML files to text”, then Scrivener will even give you the possibility to Add Files into the Drafts folder in the binder! Which for me is excellent, since before I discovered Scrivener, all my books structure and sections etc., was in Evernote.

    I’ll be glad when they add an option to import files preserving the formatting, but to add to Drafts, is already great.

    Will be glad to know if you discovered some other ways, too. :)


  • OMG I was wrong!!! I now tried a note with a rich text in it, exported it from Evernote as an HTML file, then imported it into Scrivener – it worked, and saved all the richness!! Wow, I thought, Scrivener’s “Convert HTML files to text” converts everything to just plain text. I was wrong. How pleasant!! :))


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