SmartEdit Writer · SmartEdit for Word · Help

SmartEdit Forums

Request for additional Research Tree function

This request has to do with the Research Tree function of SmartEdit Writer. As it says in the manual “inside the research tree you can also add files, PDF documents, images, and bookmarks to websites and webpages.

I am finding it a real drawback that I cannot add a bookmark/reference/link to documents (such as Word documents, PDF documents) resident on my computer, instead of adding a copy of the original into my project files. I am not a programmer, but I cannot understand why SmartEdit has no problem adding a hyperlink to the web, but cannot add a hyperlink to files on your computer. This feature exists within Scrivener, where it is called ‘References’ (“The References table allows you to hold links to related material within the project itself, elsewhere on your hard drive or on the Internet”), and its use has become an integral part of my work style.
I tried adding the full path name to a file on my computer into the text field of the website bookmark, eg
file:///D:/AAA MY FILES/MyDocs_WRITING/FATA MORGANA/People/Joseph Rogers (1830 - 1899)/Royal Charter.pdf
but it didn’t work. Surprise, surprise. :grinning:

Darren, is there any way you can add this functionality to the research tree? It would make a huge difference to my productivity, as I have my own huge library of books documents and research on my computer, to which I would like to quickly refer as I am progressing through my fictional work. And I really would like to migrate all my current work to SmartEdit Writer from Scrivener, which I find overcomplicated as well as expensive, and updates for its PC version keep getting postponed time after time. As you said in one of your blogs, your intention was not to design a tool which did everything for everyone, but a bespoke program which did not get in the way of the creative process. (And you’re getting pretty damn close.)

By contrast, I make hardly any use at all of the ‘Character Name Search’ function of SmartEdit Writer. I wonder how many users ever have recourse to it.

1 Like

Hi Dali999,

Actually there is a workaround I use myself, John. It’s requires a shortcut preparation first, but it works just fine. :slight_smile:

I have a lot of references to fall back on in the middle of writing on my PC as well.
Personally, I prefer PDFs and convert everything [even Word documents] into a PDF quick. So, I know it works with PDF, but I don’t see why this shouldn’t work with other programs as well.

I have shortcuts for most of these PDFs on my Desktop for quick and easy access, and it saves me to open the program first. All I have to do is to click on the shortcut, and it opens the file in my PDF software. That comes in handy for SEW. :slight_smile:

Here’s what to do:

  1. Simply open the shortcut properties, to get the link in [Target:].
    Like: D:\WRITING_##\Writing_as_a_Business\Amazon_Tax_Info_#_EIN_for_Non_US_Citizen.pdf

  2. Hit Ctrl-C to copy the link, and go to SEW’s Research column you need to have open on the right.

  3. Highlight 'Document & Files, and paste the copied shortcut link there.

  4. Next thing that happens is a window popping up, telling you that an unexpected error happend. Just ignore this error message and close it.

  5. Your copied link apppears in ‘Document & Files’, and works just like a charm. So you have the original file only at its location, and open it from within SEW with your link. It’s a nice reference alternative to HTML files on the web.

Hope that helps you. :slight_smile:


Sorry, John,

I forgot to mention one step, although its obvious. :frowning:
The missing step belongs between 3. and 4.

Once you highlight ‘Documents & Files’, there you have to select ‘Add File’ first of course. That opens the small window where copy your shortcut link. Once you click the button to confirm [after copying], that’s when the error message [item 4] appears.

Sorry for not mentioning it in the first place. :frowning:

Expanded the bookmarks feature to include internal bookmarks to scenes and notes, as well as to local files on a PC is on the plan.

One of the issues with local PC links is that they break the portability of a project. If you import PDFs or other files, those files reside inside your project folder, and copying that folder/project to another PC or thumb drive includes them. With local PC links, moving a project or working on a project on different PCs at different times will not work fully unless you also copy every linked file, from every location, into the exact same location on the other PC. This is the main reason it hasn’t been implemented yet.

Nevertheless, I probably will add this to the bookmarks (with a warning that such links make the project non-portable).

1 Like

Hi Hans,
thanks for that ingenious workaround. Building on your method, I wonder if this variation adds to its simplicity and elegance.

Before I set it out, what I discovered while trying your method out was:-
• the creation of a shortcut supplies the exact format for the path to the file you’re trying to include in the Research panel of SmartEdit Writer
• the method works on .txt and .docx documents just as well as on PDF documents
• the method also works on documents located on my OneDrive, although not many of my files are up there
• the method continues to work even after you delete the shortcut you created to extract the information you need to copy and paste into SEW

So, to integrate my findings into your instructions, here’s what I come up with:

Adding links to local files into the Research Tree

If you wish to add a link to file on your computer to the Research Tree of SmartEdit Writer without making a copy of that file in your project:-

  1. navigate to the file in your file explorer, right click on it, and select ‘Create Shortcut’.

  2. Right click on the shortcut file created, and select properties.

  3. When the property window opens, use Ctrl+C to copy the highlighted text in the ‘Target‘ and text field, and close the window.

  4. Go to the Research Tree of SmartEdit Writer and highlight the folder into which you want to place the link. Of course, you can later drag and drop the link into any other folder in the Tree if you wish to.

  5. Select the ‘Add File’ icon, which opens the usual window for this command, but for our purposes all we need to do is paste the text you copied in the earlier step into the ‘File Name’ text field at the bottom of the window and click the ‘Open’ button.

  6. The link to the file will now appear in the Research Tree with the name of the file (without the suffix). Of course, you can change the name of the link you want to by hitting F2 (or right clicking and selecting ‘Rename’).

  7. Once you have tested the link, you can delete the shortcut that you created in step one.

• these links are just shortcuts to files located on your computer, just as bookmarks are just shortcuts to webpages on the Internet. No files have been actually added to your project. Therefore, if you change the location of the file or rename it or deleted, the link will not work any longer. Similarly, if you copy your project to work on it on another PC, the link will not work.
• While links to PDF documents will open them in your default PDF viewer, links to.txt and .docx documents will open them in the tabbed wordprocessor of SmartEdit Writer, but be aware that any changes made while there do not affect the original file in any way whatsoever, and will not be retained inside SmartEdit Writer.
• All the above worked on SmartEdit Writer 7.4, and I note that Darren intends to incorporate this feature in the future, and will point out that when it’s used, portability may be affected.

thankyou Hans :100:

BTW, it works as well with .rtf files of course. Just in case you want to have some formatting of the text you open, which you lack in .txt files. :slight_smile:

To have the written notes pulled up quickly, I have the default for RTF files - even through all former Win OS - set to Win’s built-in write.exe [Write Pad] for years. That way I always prevented it to be pulled up by any of my text editing programs.

As for losing the link if you move the file … the same can happen any time with a HTML bookmark as well. Websites change and linkes get broken. I’m sure you experienced the dreaded 404 Error “Website not found” more than once when you accessed the Internet. The only difference is, that the web’s 404 is out of your control, contrary to the link you create for refs on your PC. :slight_smile:

Addendum: Talking about setting the default apps for a file types, all you have to do is go to Windows’ settings and set the default application for your .txt and .docx files as well.
Depending on what text editor is installed on your PC (Word, LibreOffice, or whatever), set this as the default program for your .docx files. This way they don’t pull up in SEW but separately in – let’s say – MS Word. You can safely edit the content and save the file again, because it’s outside of your SEW. Next time you pull the reference up, either from SEW’s link or from Word by itself, the changes are always there. Nothing is lost, no matter which apps you use to open the file again. :slight_smile:

Darren, thanks for considering this addition. As long as the portability of SEW projects is not harmed in the process, I’m for it too. I doubt I would use it much though since with today’s cheap 64GB thumb drives and cheap terabyte hard drives, I’ve not found any problems with having all my connected documents of any kind piled into the portable project folder. Love your program.

1 Like


To have everything on a 64GB thumb drives is definitely the best solution for portability. I might get me larger ones (mine have usually 16 GB), and do the same thing. Although portability is not an issue for me. But it would declutter my desktop and take a lot of shortcuts off, I keep there grouped for use without SEW. :slight_smile: Might used two, and mirror one as a backup.

Yep, I love this program too. Going from PageFour to AtomicScribbler and then to SEW, I went through the whole ‘evolution’ of Darren’s programs. His program sticks out of the crowd in aspects of usability for writing and in aspects of editing. He does a wonderful job with SEW.

Dali999, I don’t use the “Character Name Search” either. I always go to Beyond the Name website for character names.

I don’t use the research tree often. I find I like having folders and file separate from the SEW better. I just keep the main folder minimized on my lower toolbar and bring it out when I need it.

Hi Glynis,
I assume you’re referring to, which is a wonderful resource. I mention this only for readers who may go looking for

Oops! You’re right. Thanks for the correction.

Hi, I have just started using SEW, having used Scrivener for a while.
I am a huge Evernote user, and I use Trello for ToDo lists. I discovered that using the bookmark feature in the Research pane and then adding the note / card I needed to reference as a linked URL worked really well. It’s good to know I can use the document path to link as well, although I imagine this will be something less often for me.
Thanks heaps for such a fantastic writing tool.