The Scrivener Basics Blog

Scrivener Basics | An Overview of the Project Search and Quick Search Tools in Scrivener 3

Project Search

There are several ways that you can find and work with your content in Scrivener 3.

  1. Click once on the Project Search magnifying glass in the toolbar.
  2. A search field will appear at the top of the Binder
  1. Enter a word or phrase into the search field and Scrivener will return a list of all documents in the project containing that word or phrase in the Binder.
  2. The normal Binder view will be replaced by a purple temporary Search Results display. 
  3. If you select any of the listed documents in this search results display in the Binder window, you will see all instances of your word or phrase highlighted in the document in your Editor. To cycle through them quickly you can keep hitting Command + G.

Click on the little disclosure arrow beside the magnifier to get a list of options to filter your search results.

Search In

The Search In section refers to the type of element that the search engine should look within: 

All: Is the default setting and the entire project will be searched for the word or phrase you have typed in to the project search box including notes and synopses.

Title: Only files and folders in the Binder with a title matching your word or phrase will be searched for.

Text: The text within documents in the Binder will be searched but notes and synopses will be excluded.

Synopsis: Any index card that you have created and added a synopsis to will have the text in it’s synopsis searched.

Keywords: If you have created a keyword list it will be searched

Label: If you have added labels, type in what you called your label and the search engine will bring up all documents associated with that label. See image below

Status: If you have added status stamps, type in what you set your status to be and the search engine will bring up all documents associated with your status stamp. See image below

Section Type: Scrivener uses Section Types to sort documents for compiling for export. So once you have set these up you can type a Section Type heading like ‘Chapter’ or ‘Front Matter’ into the search box and pull up all documents in that Section Type. 


The Operator section refers to the method by which your text will be found:

Any Word: Each of the words in your phrase will be searched for, even partial words. If your phrase contains he every instance of the word the will be partially highlighted

All Words: Only documents containing all the words in a phrase will be searched for but it doesn’t matter what order they are in.

Exact Phrase: The exact phrase with the word in the exact order they appear in the phrase.

Whole Word: If you search for the word he you will see only documents with that word, not documents where it is part of a longer word like other. 


In the Options section you tell the search engine which parts of your project should be included or excluded from the search:

Here’s where you can exclude items in the trash folder or only search within documents inside the Manuscript/Draft folder.

You can select multiple elements from this list by holding down the option key and placing checks inside each criteria you want to include. 

If you select something by mistake, uncheck it whilst still holding down the option key so that you only uncheck the one thing.

The magnifying glass icon in the toolbar

Open the dropdown menu beside the larger magnifying glass tool. By default Scrivener will search through:

  1. The whole project.
  2. Just the currently selected document 
  3. Or find elements other than text by choosing find by formatting 
  4. which brings up the Formatting Finder dialogue box. 

If you choose 'Find By Formatting'

  1. In the Find field you can choose what sort of formatting you want to search through such as all your comments and footnotes, all links in the manuscript or all images. As an example I will search through anything that has a Style applied to it.
  2. You can search all documents or just the currently selected one.
  3. This field is dynamic so it changes according to what you selected in the Find field. For Style you get a dropdown list of Style types. 
  4. If you place a chack beside Block Quote you will search through all instances of text with a Block Quote style assigned to it. Click on next to take you to each instance of a block quote.

If you choose 'Project Replace'

You can replace words or phrases throughout your document.

Enter the word you want to replace in the top field and then the word you want to replace it with in the bottom field and click on swap.

Uncheck any categories in the list below that you don’t want to be effected, and click on replace.

Exit from the Project Search Tool

  1. Click on the small “X” in the top of the search results header bar to return to the binder, 
  2. Or double click on the magnifying glass in the toolbar.

The Quick Search Field

as well as the Project Search Tool you have the Quick Search field which works more like a browser. When you are not using it, the name of the document you are currently working on will show there for

your reference. 

As well as the Project Search Tool you have the Quick Search field which works more like a browser. When you are not using it, the name of the document you are currently working on will show there for your reference. 

If you hover over the box it shows you the word count in the Draft/Manuscript folder on the left and how many words you have written in the current session on the right. This includes things you have copied and pasted.

If you add a search word or phrase:

  1. It brings up the top ten results for titles with your search word in them
  2. The top results with your word or phrase used in a synopsis as long as it was written by you and not automatically generated form the main text.
  3. and the top blocks of text with your search word in them.
  4. If you select Full Project Search, you will activate the Project Search menu where you will see a new Search Result for your word or phrase in the Binder with the purple temporary Search Results display. 

There's an extra search field in Corkboard and Outliner views

  1. If you are in Corkboard view or Outliner view and you hit Command F to bring up the Find menu you will get a filter bar at the top of your Editor where you can search for items that are specific to the Corkboard or Outliner.
  2. Type in your search word to search everything. (I have chosen Gogo)
  3. Place a check inside the filter button to include only items with a Label, a Status stamp or a Section Type containing the word, and then choose from the dropdown list. I have chosen anything labled Karibu
  4. Only documents containing the word Gogo and the label Karibu assigned to them will show up in the search.

Click on Done to remove the search bar and go back to your full list of documents.

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