Scrivener, BibDesk, LaTeX, and symlinks


  • Writing in Scrivener on OSX
  • Using BibDesk for bibliography
  • Writing several different articles or books using the same BibDesk database
  • Getting the database into the local folder tree so that it is included in version control

Assume the database is at:


In Scrivener, use the following in the meta-data page, which is the first page in the manuscript:

Base Header Level: 1
Title: Rethinking the EHR
Author: Martin Wehlou, MD, CISSP
BibTeX: ../BibRef
mycopyright: 2014 Man in The Middle AB, Sweden.

Then, in the base folder of your book or article, create a symbolic link to the real BibDesk database file:

ln -s ~/Documents/BibDesk/Database/References.bib BibRef.bib

The “base folder” is the folder where your .scriv file is. Scrivener creates the .tex files in a subfolder, so that’s why you need the “..” before “BibRef” above. By the way, I called the link “BibRef” just to make it clearly different from the actual database name, but you can use anything you like. As long as it doesn’t contain blanks or strange symbols.

Now everything works and life is good.