Scrivener, Split-Panes and Safari’s Web Archive

One of the many useful tools Scrivener offers is the split pane view. It allows you to open a second pane below or beside the text item you are currently writing or editing. There are many uses for this feature – from referring to another part of your manuscript to maintain consistency to opening a scanned family document for transcription. And, for those who use the Safari browser [Mac & Win – free], it can be used to create a web archive file like the one you see in the example below.

Scrivener split pane view

Split panes showing a WebArchive file in the lower pane. (Click image for larger view.)

Creating split panes is quite simple. Choose View > Layout > Split Horizontally to create the example you see above. The View > Layout > Split Vertically displays the panes side-by-side. When I am ready to return to a single editing pane choose View > Layout > No Split. I can display just about anything in either pane. In this example there’s a text element from the manuscript in the top pane and a web archive file in the bottom pane. The web archive is from a blog site I’m discussing in the text and it’s there so I can see it while I’m writing about it. The web archive file is located in the Research section of this project’s Binder and I just dragged the file to the pane’s title bar (highlighted in blue) to display it in that pane.

So, what exactly is a web archive and why bother with it?

A web archive file is created using the Safari browser. When I save a displayed web page as a web archive file, it saves the entire page including all images and hyperlinks. The hyperlinks will remain functional as long as the destinations for those links still exist. Why not just use a screenshot? Screenshots generally only capture what is currently visible on the screen whereas a web archive captures the entire web page. And, it’s just as easy to capture a web archive file as it is to capture a screenshot – I just save the page as a web archive. Want to capture an entire article in Wikipedia? I can do it with a web archive file.

To add web archive files to a Scrivener project, I just drag and drop the file into the appropriate folder within my Research section of the project. Remember . . . only text can go into the Draft/Manuscript sections.

On Mac systems, the default application for displaying a web archive file is the Safari browser, but in addition to Scrivener, I can also view web archives in my Footnote, MacJournal, Notebooks and Paperless apps. Since web archives are an Apple feature, I doubt that there are many Windows apps supporting the format. While Safari’s web archive feature isn’t the ideal solution for capturing the contents of a web page, it’s still one of the best options we have. And, for people like me who spend most of their online time in the Safari browser, it’s one of the easiest ways to capture the page. Even if you’re not working in Scrivener, there are still a lot of ways to put a web archive file to good use.