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Tech Tuesday: Inserting Images in Scrivener

[Using Scrivener 3? Check out the updated Images post.]

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about using images in Scrivener lately, especially from those interested in producing e-books. There are several ways to handle images in Scrivener, and I’ll provide a run down of the basics here. Note that this applies to inserting an image into the text, not importing images into the Scrivener project as files.

These options work in both Mac and Windows.

  • Copy the image from somewhere and paste it into the text.
  • Go to Edit—>Insert—>Image From File…
  • Import the image into the Binder (anywhere outside the Manuscript/Draft folder) and drag it into the desired document.
  • Go to Edit—>Insert—>Image Linked to File…

The last option is closest to using an image tag with an external file (UPDATE: was Mac only, but works in Scrivener 3 for Windows) because it doesn't insert the actual image into your project (thus keeping your project file size down). Instead, it shows a placeholder image (a cached version of the original) that is linked to the image file. When you compile, the linked file will be inserted into the compiled output. This is handy if you don't yet have print quality versions of artwork, but want to include a placeholder in your text. Just save the print-ready image to the same name/location as the original linked file and Scrivener will use your quality images.

Images in Scrivener are added inline, so they’re treated like a character as far as word-wrapping goes. Which means that text does not wrap around the image. To resize an image, right-click and choose Edit Image (Windows) or Scale Image (Mac).

NOTE: To avoid image display problems when compiling to EPUB or MOBI, make sure your image name doesn't contain special characters (e.g. # + @ * !).

Working with Image Tags (was Mac only, but works in Scrivener 3 for Windows)

Inserting an Image into the Text

If you have quite a few images you want to use within your manuscript, there’s no need to insert them into the text directly. Instead, you can use the IMG tag to refer to the desired image in the Binder or on a drive you have access to.

Also, because image tags are text based, they give you additional capabilities: the flexibility to insert images into places where they can't normally go, and the ability to search for images by image name or the image tag.

Here's how to insert an image with an image tag.

1. Import the desired image into your project (or see NOTE below for using external image files).

An easy way to import is to right-click (or control+click) the folder where you want to store the image (must be outside of the Manuscript/Draft folder) and choose Add—>Existing Files. Then choose the desired image file.

2. Select the desired document, and click within the editor in the exact location where you’d like to insert the image.

3. Type <$img:ImageName> (where ImageName is the name of the image as it appears in the Binder).

TIP: To designate the size of the image, you can enter either its height or width and the image will adjust the other measurement accordingly. You can also enter both dimensions, if desired. Do so in the following manner:

<$img:ImageName;w=100> to assign a width of 100 pixels

<$img:ImageName;h=80> to assign a height of 80 pixels

<$img:ImageName;w=100;h=80> to assign both measurements


4. I suggest adding a blank line above and below the image for spacing.

The image will appear in the text with the same indents and format as the text. To give it different formatting, such as centering or full left alignment, adjust the format, select the image, then go to Format—>Formatting—>Preserve Formatting. The image will have a blue tint and a dashed line around it. This will prevent the standard compile settings from being applied to the image.


NOTE: If you have a lot of images to include and don't want to bloat your project, you can also use the image tag to reference files that are not imported to your project. You just need to know the file path. For example, the following IMG tag points to a file on my hard drive and resizes it to 100 pixels in height. If you center it and preserve the formatting, the picture will be centered. Just make sure not to move the original image without modifying the file path in the IMG tag.

<$img:/Users/Evergreen/Pictures/BernSuisse1980.jpg; h=100>

For a good primer on how to copy a file's path on a Mac, check out:

Using an Image at the Start of Each Chapter

You can set up Compile to insert an image either before or after the title of each chapter. Below are the steps for inserting it below the chapter auto-number.

1. Import the image as outlined in Step 1 of the previous section.

2. Open the Compile window (File—>Compile), and make sure that the All Options button is selected at the top.

3. Select the Formatting tab on the left.

4. Select the folder Level 1+ row at the top of the table (this assumes a standard set up of chapter folders and text documents for scenes).

5. If you plan to use chapter auto-numbering instead of folder titles, be sure to deselect the Title checkbox.

Find more on this in the post on Compiling.

6. Click the Section Layout button at the top of the small Editor pane.

7. The Prefix text box is where the auto-numbering placeholder goes, as shown in the example. In the Suffix text box, type: <$img:ImageName>. (If you want more space after the image, you may insert one or more Return characters).

If desired, add a height or width dimension, as mentioned in Step 3 of the previous section.


8. Click OK. Then, when all other settings are as desired, click Compile.

To have the image appear before the title or auto-number, put the image tag in the Prefix text box, and the auto-number tag (if using) into the Suffix text box.


Using an Image as a Scene Separator

If you’d like an image to appear between each scene, you can add an image tag as a Custom separator in the Compile window.

1. Import the image as outlined in Step 1 of the Inserting an Image into the Text section above.

2. Open the Compile window (File—>Compile), and make sure that the All Options button is selected at the top.

3. Select the Separators tab on the left.

4. In the Text Separator drop-down menu, choose Custom.

5. In the Text Separator text box, type: <$img:ImageName>. Unless your image is already small, I suggest adding a height or width adjustment as outlined in Step 3 of the Inserting an Image into the Text section above.


6. When all other settings are as desired, click Compile.


Using an Image as an End-of-Text Marker

Want to mark the end of your manuscript with a special image? The process is similar to those outlined above. NOTE: This only works with Print, PDF, and text-type output, not e-books.

1. Import the image as outlined in Step 1 of the Inserting an Image into the Text section above.

2. Open the Compile window (File—>Compile), and make sure that the All Options button is selected at the top.

3. Select the Layout tab at the left.

4. Select Mark End of Text With checkbox.

5. In the Mark End of Text With text box, type <$img:ImageName>.


6. When all other settings are as desired, click Compile.


I’ve been asked about inserting images into headers and footers, but headers and footers in Scrivener do not support the IMG tag at this time.

Good luck!

Need more help? Sign up for an online class, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session. If you don't already have it, you can download Scrivener here.

{Updated 13 April 2023}

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    • Reply

      amcateesd: Glad to help! If you’re using Windows, the img tag isn’t supported yet. If you’re using Mac, make sure you remember the $ sign. That’s where I usually go wrong. 🙂

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  2. Reply

    Nice post, Gwen! Very informative on how to use those placeholder tags for inserting images. I will be using them to “spruce up” my chapter titles and scene divisions. Thanks…Mark

  3. Steve


    Hi Gwen, thanks for the post. I have been waiting for someone to address this issue. I am writing a book on the history of my parent’s home and the surrounding area so it is going to be photo intensive (not sure if this makes Scrivener the less than ideal choice but I have liked it so far). I am using the Windows version of Scrivener so my options are pretty limited right now in terms of how I insert my images. Are there any tips/guidelines you can offer in terms of what size to make the images that are inserted? I plan on making an ebook but also a print version with the help of the local historical society. Its obviously pretty easy to re-size them so that they look good within Scrivener but I don’t expect that to translate to the outputted format. Thanks for any input!

    • Reply

      Steve: If you’re going to have a lot of images, I wouldn’t import them and then insert them, I’d just insert them where you want them and leave the originals on your hard drive. This should help keep the overall project size down. You also might want to resize them down to about 300 dpi before you insert them so that they don’t bog down your project too much. I’m not sure if resizing the image once it’s embedded in your Scrivener document will change the amount of MB the image adds to your project.

      It’s my experience that whatever size they are in relation to the text holds when you create the e-pub. At least it did when I looked at a test. You can use Adobe Digital Editions (free) to view an epub file and how the format will appear on most non-Kindle readers. You can view Kindle MOBI files on Amazon’s Kindle Previewer (free and available at That way you can check on multiple types of devices what the images will look like.

      I’d suggest keeping an eye out for future updates to the Windows version, because when the img tag finally makes it into Windows, you should be able to use a file path outside of Scrivener so you don’t have to import the photos into your project at all if you don’t want to.

      Good luck!

  4. Steve


    Thanks so much for the response Gwen. You answered questions I didn’t even ask 🙂

  5. Reply

    Hi Gwen–I heard your interview on the Self Publishing Podcast and found your site. This article and the whole site are both really awesome and quite helpful.

    Just wondering if there’s a trick to get the text to wrap around an image. I’ve tried align=left included inside the but the text starts on a line even with the bottom corner of the image rather than the top. Am I missing something obvious?

    Thanks again!

    • Reply

      Baker: Thanks for letting me know how you found me. Glad you’re finding the site helpful! 🙂

      Unfortunately, there’s no text wrapping in Scrivener. All images are inline only, which means they’re treated as a text character from an alignment standpoint. So, you’re not missing anything, it just doesn’t do it. For ebooks, inline is probably what you want anyway. Just put the image on its own line. For other output types, you’ll need to use a word processor or layout program to set up word wrapping.

  6. crispin


    Thank you so much for this post! It has helped me immensely!

    I am using a scene spacer between scenes, and I have followed your tips to include a space above and below the image, and I highlighted the tag and centered it, and checked “preserve formatting”. However, when I compile it, the image is STILL flushed to the left. Is there anything I can write directly in the code of the tag to keep it centered?

    • Reply

      Crispin: There are no additional qualifiers that you can put inside the tag other than height and width.

      Does your tag have the blue highlight with a dashed line around it, identifying it as preserved formatting? If not, try applying preserve formatting again.

      Another option would be to paste the image itself (or import and the drag from the Binder to the desired spot), rather than using a tag. I found that when I inserted the image and centered it, I didn’t need to use Preserve Formatting to keep it centered like I did with the img tag.

      Also, if you divide your scenes into separate documents, you can use the Separators tab for the image tag instead (using a Custom separator as described in the post), which will ensure they’re always centered.

      I hope that helps.

  7. Reply

    Hmmm, I am trying to avoid the scene separator option for the time being (I am looking at it as a last resort, but there would be a lot of extra footwork involved in the getting the document divided up)

    I’ve used both the image tag placeholder, and dragging and dropping the image onto the page, as methods for bringing in the image. And the image shows up well on the Previewer and mobile devices… it just flushes left despite all of my endeavors. I’ll select it and then choose “preserve formatting” from the formatting menu, as well as opening up the options pane under compile>formatting and making sure the boxes for alignment are checked in that area as well.

    Looks like I’ll have to make a strong cup of tea and keep working at it. Thanks for the advice! I know it has to be something as simple as another box that needs to be checked/unchecked 😉

  8. Steve


    Hi Gwen – I’ve added a few photos in the way suggested (I’m using the Windows version) and I’m finding that Scrivener is lagging horribly, sometimes for 15-20 seconds or more (sometimes getting the not responding message at the top). This is making Scrivener nearly unusable for my purposes. I’m not sure if it’s something that I am doing wrong or not but it’s quite frustrating. I’m not using the world’s fastest computer but I run programs such as Photoshop and Lightroom all the time without too much difficulty. I’m just wondering if Scrivener isn’t the right program for what I’m doing. I’ve written to support to see if they have any suggestions but have yet to receive a response.

    • Reply

      Steve: You might see that depending on how large the photos are and how many of them you have inside one text document within your project. If you’re outputting to another word processor, it might be better to add the images in after you compile. I hope you hear from L&L soon. They’re usually pretty good at responding, but they’re a small crew. Sorry I can’t be more help.

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  10. Reply

    Thanks Gwen. I have only been using Scrivener for two days now, but it is an awesome tools. I have bought your Kindle version of ‘Scrivener for Dummies’ and find it very helpful as I do your blog. I am using Windows platform. I can copy in an image using Cut and Paste as suggested and it works. I tried using your suggestion to put the images elsewhere (first I tried as a Folder under Research and then within the Manuscript itself) and to reference the image as you suggested by entering

    directly into the text. But when I Compile, I do not get the image, only the text string as presented above. I do not appear to have a typo and cannot figure out what is wrong. Is this feature supported in Windows? I cannot find any explicit documentation that it is not.

    Also, when I use the actual image imbedded into the text, regardless if I center the text, or right align it, it still appears left aligned when Compiled? I notice most of your images in SFD are left aligned also, but some look right aligned. I am not sure how to control this.

    And sorry to beg your patience further and it may be covered in another blog post, but I want to use exactly the same type of TOC you use in SFD. Parts and Chapters numbered sequentially and continuously. Currently it appears to be numbered mixed together (as I am using for both. (Also, I would like to have some Up Front ‘chapters’ such as Preface, Acknowledgments, etc. treated as being in the TOC but not having a Chapter #. I have figured out several ways to do that so not to worry.) Are there two different type of Placeholders or do you have a suggestion on how to get this right.

    Finally, I am not certain that I like the way the TOC is automatically created anyway for ePub and mobi formats, so wanted to just use my own TOC with hyperlinks and be able to override and ignore the automatically generated TOC. It is clear from your TOC in SFD that you have either figured out the way to generate it perfectl,y or used your own TOC Text file and compiled ‘as-is’ and were able to ignore the automatically generated one, or you must have edited out after having Compiled.

    Any help would be most appreciated. All I can offer in return is (1) I promise to write a good review for the book on Amazon and a blog post on it, and (2) I am an avid learner and experiment a lot to get the perfect templates and may be able to provide some good fodder for your blog posts or test out and try to solve some problems on your behalf. Thanks so much for SFD and this and any help you can provide in response to this comment on your blog.

    (BTW, my current book is on wine and I have previously published another book (both done in Word, but now switching to Scrivener for my WIP) under the pseudonym Blake Stevens.

    I understand in advance if you do not have the time to answers my several questions in addition to the other many you must receive, but if you can, it would be most appreciated.

    Keep well!

    • Reply

      It appears my line of ” ” did not show up when I posted the previous post. That may make a portion of the post non-sensical.

      If it happens again with this post, I will try to explain in text. Also, I figured out why my images were getting Compiled to the Left. That is the way I have my Text formatted in the Compile option. When I switched to using the ‘as-is’ flag, it corrected it. Seems strange though that you cannot use centered text once or twice in a document where almost all other text is left aligned. You could make a next level down document but that creates problems on its own.

      • Reply

        It happened again. I am trying to use the image tag as you mentioned above with the $ sign before the ‘img:’ followed by the image name all enclosed in brackets. That is what is showing up as text when I compile – the image is not showing up.

    • Reply

      Steve: I’m glad you’re finding SFD and the blog helpful! The reason you’re only getting the text and not an image is because Windows doesn’t yet support the image tag. I did mention that in the 2nd paragraph above, but it’s easy to skip right over when reading. Hopefully, the Windows version will catch up soon in that area.

      As for centering, that’s a tough one. Since Windows doesn’t yet have preserve formatting, the easiest way to get the book to look the way you want it is to set everything up as desired in the editor. Indents, centered images, font, everything. Then, when you go into Compile, choose Original from the Format As dropdown box. This will keep everything as you’ve set it up in the editor. You can still make adjustments to some of the settings. The main Compile tab this affects is the Formatting tab. You can still use the checkboxes to include titles, but you won’t want to click the Override Text Notes and Formatting box. Once you do, it’ll change everything. The downside of this approach is that you can’t autonumber your chapters. However, you can still have a TOC.

      As for the TOC, it’s based on every element that gets a section/page break, and is automatically generated. Right now, there’s no way to turn it off. If you like working in Scrivener, but find it’s not yet ready for your e-publishing needs, you might try generating the epub in Scrivener, then using the free program called Sigil to tweak it. You can find Sigil at Sigil lets you view the file in WYSIWYG or HTML.

      Just a note, I didn’t format SFD for epub. My publisher handled all of that, and I’m guessing they used HTML to do it. 🙂

      I hope that helps some. Good luck with your books!

      • Reply

        Thanks so much Gwen. And apologies for quickly reading over and misunderstanding the notation that image tag not yet supported in Windows. I am learning more and more advantages of current Mac version over Windows version of Scrivener.

        I have been wrestling with and trying to push to the limit having one source copy in Scrivener to minimize manual changes at the end of the publishing workflow and will continue to push that, but need to recognize that it is just not possible to do completely. Thanks for the reference on Sigil – I will certainly download it.

        After much more experimentation, I have come to do exactly what you mentioned. I can do all this formatting exactly the way I want to in Word, so I am no longer really valuing the editing or compile components of Scrivener, but still greatly value using multiple windows for improved efficiency in re-writing and restructuring sections and the project management capabilities that I had been doing separately.

        Thanks again!

      • Reply

        Gwen, thanks for the tip on Sigil. I have started to use it and it looks like a brilliant freeware program for editing ePub / HTML / CSS. I have now proven I can do everything I need in our just outside of Scrivener and just converted my 90,000 word WIP to Scrivener, and finally back to writing instead of figuring out the technology. But the small diversion was well worth it as my productivity has increased significantly and I have learned a lot in the process.

        Back to writing! Thanks again.

  11. Reply

    BTW, I love the idea of using an image as a separator after the Chapter Headings. Very classy idea! Now I just need to find the right image for my wine book. Thanks.

  12. Reply

    Thanks for this post. I followed the instructions and it worked beautifully to insert images into a manuscript I’m helping a friend with. When she decided to change the images, I deleted the former one, imported the new ones and set up the tags again, but they are no longer appearing. After re-reading this post and all comments, I can see that the problem is probably that the blue highlight is no longer appearing around the tag. I’ve reapplied Preserve Formatting but that has not solved the problem. I’ve carefully checked the form of the tag to be sure all elements are included and in the right order. I can’t imagine what I’m doing differently.

    I’d appreciate any suggestions you have. Thanks.

    • Reply

      phcd: Weird. If you email me through my Contact page (above), I can try to help you offline. It would help me to see a screenshot from your project. Thanks!

  13. Reply

    THANK YOU!!!

    I’ve been trying for two days to figure out how to get my book cover image in Scrivener, and I had searched everywhere on the Internet, but you are the first one who mentioned that you couldn’t put it in the manuscript/draft folder. That was extremely helpful. I couldn’t figure out why it would only insert text docs. Thanks for sharing. You’re a life saver! 🙂

  14. Reply

    As always, I should have looked here first. I’ve been trying to get this info for so long. Any idea when img tags will be supported in Windows?

    • Reply

      Sherrey: My understanding is that Windows is supposed to catch up to Mac by early next year. Of course, software development is notoriously hard to predict, but that’s the plan. 🙂

  15. Reev


    Hi Gwen! Hope you can help. I’ve searched everywhere but can’t find an answer. How come when I right-click on a folder “Add – Existing Files”, the image files on my folder can’t be selected? Also, is it any different from simply dragging an image to the document? Although I did notice that when exporting to PDF, the images are pixelated. Help, please! 🙂

    • Reply

      Reev: My guess is that you’re trying to import to a folder that’s within the Draft/Manuscript folder. If so, you can’t do it. You have to be on Research or one of the other folders outside the Draft to import files that aren’t text-type.

      You can drag an image directly into a document in the Draft/Manuscript folder, but you can’t import the image as a file itself. Scrivener wouldn’t know how to treat a stand-alone image file during the compile process. Make sense?

      Not sure why the images would be pixelated. They should be at the same quality as the original. If you’re taking a low-quality image and enlarging it, that might cause your issue. Hope that helps!

      • Reev


        Thanks for the quick reply Gwen. Appreciate it.

        Yes, I missed making a folder outside the Manuscript folder. My apologies. 🙂 However, after adding the existing file, when I type “”, replacing the “ImageName” of course, and export to epub, the image doesn’t appear, only the command which I typed.

        Dragging an image into the document, from outside the program, yields the same result after exporting to epub. So my follow up question is, why would I need to “add as existing file” when the image dragged from outside the program shows up after exporting to epub anyway?

        With regard to the image being pixelated, I think my problem is “size”. Here is a screenshot of my exported PDF:

        The first line is text typed directly into the editor; the second is an image dragged from outside the program and not resized; the third is a duplicate of the image resized, to match the size of the text in the first line.

        The third one seems the right size—but only in PDF. When I export the document to epub, it’s too small. The second one is actually the correct size (when exported to epub) but appears too big in PDF.

        Sorry for the long post. I’m trying to find a way to be able to export to PDF and/or epub without having to keep changing the file size of images. I’m using this font (image) for each chapter in the novel I’m writing and it would mean double the work if there’s no workaround.

        Hope to hear from you again. Thanks!

        • Reply

          Reev: I’m not clear what “” is supposed to represent. There shouldn’t be any quotes in your image tag. You don’t have to import the picture, but since you only have one, it makes referencing it easy, and will let you do the fix below (though you could reference it on your hard drive instead). I do agree your pixelation issue is quality related.

          So, I have a fix for your need to have different sized images for different types of outputs. What you can do, is insert the image tag for the file in one size, say the smaller size for PDFs. So it might look like at the beginning of each chapter. Then when you’re ready to compile for EPUB, you go into the Replacements tab and replace the with something like . I’m attaching a link to a screenshot that shows what I’m talking about. You don’t need to check any of the checkboxes in the Replacements tab. I used a Preset replacement so it would be available to any project where I apply that saved preset (see the next paragraph), but you can use a project replacement instead.

          If you’re going to do this more than once, after you get it working properly, I’d save your EPUB setup as a compile preset, which you can do by choosing Manage Compile Presets from the Format As drop-down list. Then you won’t have to remember to do this every time.

          Here’s the screenshot link:

          I hope all that makes sense. 🙂

          • Reev


            Hi Gwen. I think what I posted in between the ” ” was prevented from showing up on your blog. It was the command you insert for pictures (the less-than sign, followed by a dollar sign followed by img:Imagename). It’s what shows up when exported, not the image. I’m sure I missed something again.

            I will try out your fix and get back to you. Is it safe to assume that it will work even if every chapter has a different image-title?

            One workaround I do is export the document as epub then do some hand-coding in Sigil. I’m really hoping I can do all of it in Scrivener.

            Thanks so much!

            • Reply

              If you’re seeing the tag and not the image, then something is entered incorrectly. Double-check the image name and the tag. If you have different image names for each chapter, but their sizes are the same, you can just replace the PDF size with the EPUB size in the Replacements tab (i.e. replace w=100 with w=400). Otherwise, you may need to add a line for each of the various size changes you want to make. That or a replacement line for each image tag if they’re all unique sizes.

              EPUBS usually come out really well in Scrivener without any extra help, but it depends on what you’re trying to do. You can get rid of first line indents at the start of a chapter, make the first few words of each chapter be uppercase, and so on. The only thing I know of that you can’t do is drop caps.

              Good luck!

              • Reev

                I will resort to replacing each image-title per chapter because all have various widths. Thank you!

                I also noticed that some ebooks have different top-margins. For example, my novel has 3 acts and each acts begins with an image-title. But I want the image to be around 2-3 inches lower from the top…as opposed to the standard 1-inch margin on normal chapters. All I do is press Enter until the image goes down. Problem is, this looks ugly when exported as an ebook. Is there a proper way of setting different top-margins on different pages?

                Btw, I’m really grateful for you sharing your expertise here (as a supplement to your SFD book). If you had video tutorials, say at, I’d subscribe to it! 🙂

              • Reev: I’d use page padding in the Formatting tab of Compile. You’ll have to apply it to the folder or text level that the Acts are on. I’ll have to check out Several people have mentioned it to me. Thanks!

              • “The only thing I know of that you can’t do is drop caps.”

                Do you know if this is still true. Can you think of any easy way to take a Scrivener-produced ePub or .docx or whatever and do this? I’ve tried it with LibreOffice and it Drop Caps every single paragraph. (Which is weird, since LibreOffice used to do it on just the first letter of the first paragraph of the chapter, except with a bug – it would also drop cap a double quote if that began the paragraph/chapter).

              • Jeff: Still no drop caps in Scrivener. You could try using Sigil to manually make the change once you’ve produced the EPUB.

  16. Adam


    Hello Gwen,
    Thanks for the well-written article and for your responses to comments so far. I’m in the same boat as many others–using scrivener on Windows and trying to format images. I tried directly copy and pasting them into the document but when I print it out it becomes a huge mess with the images frequently getting broken in half. As you said, scrivener seems to format them as as though they were text, and so the image is automatically padded with white space corresponding to the “font size” (i.e. image size) which makes formatting impossible. Since we can’t insert images w/ the tag, and we can’t seem to directly insert them with copy and paste, are us Windows users just out of luck until scrivener updates?

    I know this is no fault of yours, but I have to admit I am pretty miffed that this functionality isn’t supported, especially since the website clearly advertises the program having this functionality (

    • Reply

      Adam: You should be able to resize your photos after you paste them in. Just right-click and choose Edit Image. Also, it’s definitely best to offset them with a paragraph return above and below. If you’re producing ebooks, this is probably best for the reader’s experience anyway.

      I understand your frustration. Just know that the Windows version is doing a great job of catching up, especially considering they started five years later. It’s already many leaps ahead of the Mac version I started on. And not only are they trying to catch up to the current Mac version, but stay aligned with whatever Keith has planned for Mac in the future. A tough job for sure!

      Scrivener’s original purpose was as a drafting tool, so image support has been slow to catch up, but it’s coming. Hang in there!

  17. carmen


    Hi Gwen, Can you Help me? I am putting together a childrens’ picture book. I have 31 jpg images and no text. I am using a mac. I have been able to drag and drop the images into the scene folders to create the story. However, when I compile the story into an e book nothing happens ( I just get either a spinning wheel or a book with only the cover image displayed). What am I doing wrong? Thanks much.

    • Reply

      Okay from reading the posts I realized that I should put the images in the research file. I imported them into the research area, but they are not showing in the ebook when it is compiled. I only get my title page and then blank pages. Is there another step?

      • Reply

        Carmen: Images as files cannot be stored in the Draft/Manuscript, but they can be inserted into the text documents there. So, you need to either drag the image from your Research folder to insert it in the text document where you want it, or use an image tag as described in this post to insert the image where you want it. Then, when you compile, ensure the text documents that have all your images in them are included (on the Contents tab). I hope that helps.

        • Reply

          Gwen – Im afraid that I am getting frustrated. Is the Dummies book better for step by step instructions? I have it on request at the library. I am an artist and use photoshop and illustrator but this program has me completely stumped.

          Today I moved the 31 jpg images from the research folder to the Binder and broke down the images into 3 Chapters and 6 scenes.I believe these are the “text documents” you referred to in your response. I could not drag from the Research Sample Output folder (as you suggested) so I cut and pasted each image. Now I have the same images in a Research folder and in the binder Chapter folder(s) (text documents). Again no luck in compiling to an ebook.

          So, I thought I would remove the images in the binder Chapter folders and insert the “$img:name” code instead. But I am a bit confused because when I looked over the instructions in your post it reads, #2 “Select the desired document, and click within the editor in the exact location where you’d like to insert the image.” Should I select the desired document meaning the image files in the research folder or select the desired document meaning the binder chapter?

          Sorry Gwen, I am trying and appreciate you helping me to figure it out.

          • Reply

            Carmen: The book is way more in depth than I can be here on the blog, and has lots of screenshots. And more importantly, you can start at the beginning to learn the terminology. I think that’s where you’re really struggling. In fact, if the book won’t be available for a while, I’d recommend you go through the tutorial before trying to go any further with the program. You can access it from the Help menu or the New Project window (File–>New Project). There are also quite a few video tutorials online, also accessible from the Scrivener Help menu.

            Basically, there are folders and text documents. Folders have a folder icon (except for the Draft/Manuscript folder, the Research folder, the Trash, and any others that came stock with the template you chose), the text documents look like a piece of paper. You can add a text document by selecting the folder you want it in and going to Project–>New Text. So, when I say to drag the image into the text document, I’m expecting you to select the document in the Binder, then drag the photo into it in Editor pane in the center of the screen, where you would normally type. This is similar to copying and pasting into it. Or, you can type the $img tag into the text area.

            The next thing to consider is that your documents must be subitems of the Draft/Manuscript folder or they won’t be included when you compile.

            Really, I’d check out the tutorial and then see if my comments (and post) start to make more sense. I hope that helps.

            • Reply

              Hurray and bless you Gwen! I finally got the images to show up in the ebook compile. I’m getting the Dummies book from the library tomorrow. Your extreme patience is very much appreciated.Thank you-

  18. Reply

    Hi Gwen,
    In a project for ebook, I want to write a small description/title of an image just under it, AND I want this single line to never break from the image like it might when people use different readers or they choose to change the font size. Is there a way to make sure a page break does not occur between the image and the text underneath?

    • Reply

      Great question, Ferd! I had to look this one up, but yes, there’s a way to do it, at least for Mac. I don’t have access to my PC right now. You should be able to select the line the image is on (or select the image if you really want to), then go to Format–>Text–>Keep With Next. This adds an invisible character to the paragraph the image is in (usually on its own) that forces it to stay with the following paragraph (in this case your caption line). HTH!

      • Peter Mitchell


        Wow. I came here looking for exactly this answer, and here it is! Thanks so much! I also need to start importing my images differently, to save file size: I can see that now. Thanks Gwen.

        Peter Mitchell
        Adelaide, Australia

  19. Dan


    Great post, Gwen! Quick question. Is it possible to use percentages when you use IMG tags? Such as

    • Dan Ireland


      WordPress seems to have stripped the code from question. Basically, I’m wondering if after ImageName in the tag can you use w=100%


      • Reply

        Dan: As far I can find, the width and height parts of the tag only support pixels. If you use an image tag without specifying size, it should use the actual size of the image file. So, you could resize the picture ahead of time. If you want to be able to scale it based on the type of output you’re creating (e.g. EPUB vs. PDF), you can use the Replacements tab as I outlined in my responses to Reev on September 21, 2013 at 3:42 and 5:50. HTH!

        • Reply

          Thanks for the response, Gwen! Actually, scaling it based on the type of output would be ideal. I didn’t realize you could do that in Scrivener.

          I have a book with about 40 images. I’m trying to export an ebook and a print-ready PDF from the same Scrivener document. The ebook version will use lower resolution JPG graphics to keep the size of the epub/mobi down, and the print-ready PDF will use 300 dpi TIF images. If the images are the same height and width, only different resolutions (ie. house_400x300_72dpi.jpg and house_400x300_300dpi.tif), is there a way to use the Replacements tab to swap all images based on the type of export I am compiling?

          Think I’ll pick up your book today. I’ve heard nothing but good things!

          • Reply

            Dan: I would select the Preset Replacements button on the Replacements tab. Then set it up to replace _300dpi with _72dpi (assuming all of yours are named that way). Then when you have your compile settings all ready to go for your ebook, save them as a preset (go to Format As–>Manage Compile Format Presets and click the [+] button). This way the replacement settings are only saved in that preset (accessible from the Format As drop-down menu). When you choose different preset for your PDF, the replacement settings won’t be there and Scrivener will use the high res images.

  20. Reply


    Thanks for this post – very helpful – I’ve looked long and hard for this info. Thank you! Question; how do you center your image?


    • Reply

      Absolutely, Scott! Glad it helped. If you have the image itself inserted into the text, you should be able to apply centering and have it stick. Apparently, images have a sort of built-in “preserve formatting.” If that doesn’t work, or you’re using the image tag, select the image or the image tag, then go to Format–>Formatting–>Preserve Formatting. The selected image/text will be highlighted in blue with a darker dashed border. This is Mac only right now. HTH!

      • Steve Bivans


        Hi Gwen,
        I know this thread has been here forever, and not sure you’re still responding to it, but I’m also having trouble centering an image at the beginning of the chapters. I have a tag in the ‘prefix’ box of the ‘section layout’. But I can’t get it to center under the title/# on the page? I’ve tried tabs, but they still don’t work when I compile it. Sometimes it’s close on the Kindle reader on my laptop (mac), but when I look at it on my Kindle, it’s all over to one side or the other.

        I tried highlighting the tag and doing the ‘format/preserve formatting’ thing, but the ‘preserve formatting’ option is greyed out…. I don’t get it.
        Thanks ahead of time. I’m kind of on a hard deadline to have this finished by tomorrow night (I’m in preorder), so not much time to fix it.

        • Reply

          Steve: Which version of Scrivener are you using? It’s different between Mac 2 and 3. If you’re using version 3, is your image tag under the Title Options tab, or the Prefix tab?

          The preserve formatting option doesn’t work when you’re in Compile, but if you have access to the image tag in the mini-Editor on the Section Layouts pane, make sure the first-line indent bar on the image line is at 0″ on the ruler, otherwise the line gets indented before it’s centered.

          • steve bivans


            Hi Gwenn,

            Thanks. I using 2.8. I’ve been using Scrivener for years, but I’ve never seen a ‘mini-editor’. I do have the small Sections Layout window, but no ruler. Thanks for you help. There must be a simpler way to center an image, lol. Sometimes I love Scrivener, and sometimes I want to strangle the developers…

            • Reply

              Steve: The “mini-Editor” I’m talking about is the bottom half of the Compile Formatting tab in version 2.8. After you’ve added your image tag to the Prefix pane and returned to the Formatting tab, is the image tag represented in the formatting area at the bottom? (I no longer have this version.)

              If it is, you should be able to click on the line where the image tag (or image, maybe) appears and adjust the first-line indent (a horizontal bar on the ruler) to zero.

              You might also try clicking the Options button at the top right of the Compile window to see if any of the choices there might help you.

              • Stephen Bivans

                Thanks Gwenn,

                Finally figured it out. Apparently you can’t place the image below the title/chapter# in the suffix? At least not in version 2.8. It works just fine at the top.

  21. Reply

    I have a question, I didn’t see it covered so apologize if it was. I am attempting to input a dozen images throughout my text-book. I want to format this book to an output file of epub, mobi, pdf and for print. So the question is, how do I know what sizes to designate in terms of height and width? Thanks!

    • Reply

      Justin: I’m not an expert on using photos in ebooks. When I created PTFW, I played with the sizes in the Kindle Previewer and decided on w=500 for full screen shots, and w=300 for smaller images. My understanding is that if an image is too big, the Kindle will scale it to fit the screen width. The bigger consideration may be image file size. Kindle recommends no more than 127KB, but the highest quality possible, preferably at least 300dpi.

      Note that if you don’t specify a height and/or width, Scrivener will just insert the image at its actual size.

      Wish I could be more help on this. You might check out these pages at Amazon, though I found them annoyingly vague on the subject.

      Again, playing around with the Previewer might be your best bet. You can get it here:

      Good luck!

  22. Reply

    Thank you, this is going to come in extremely handy once we have the charts created! I was looking for a way to mark the text where the images should be inserted after compiling, but this is even better.

  23. Morgan Kegan



    FYI, there’s a known bug in the Mac version of Scrivener affecting images that’s very frustrating if you aren’t aware of it. If you have the “Downsize and resample inline images to visible size” compile option turned on, all images end up left-justified, regardless of what you do. The CSS that’s applied to the image is being generated incorrectly. The details on this bug can be found at

    There’s something else you should be aware of, too. If you decide to use an image for your scene break, Scrivener will make a separate copy of the image file for each use of the scene break, and insert that copy into the .epub or .mobi file. This bloats the file enormously, enough to trigger the download surcharge Amazon charges. Not good.

    The only fix I know of now is to generate a .epub, edit it in Sigil, do a search and replace on the image file name so all the image tags refer to the one same file, then delete all the extraneous copies of the image from the image section of the file. Save it, and open it in the Amazon Previewer, and it will generate a new, slimmer .mobi file for you.

    • Reev


      So the bug has its own thread! Editing in Sigil has been my workaround too. Until they come up with a new version or bug fix, I won’t be relying on Scrivener for proper image handling. Thanks Morgan!

  24. Reply

    Hi, Gwen. I have your book, Scrivener for Dummies, and it is super. However, I’m having a problem inserting images into a Scrivener document to be output as an ebook. When I drag the image into the document, there is far too much space above the image, but the proper amount of space below the image. I’ve tried to delete lines above the image to reduce the space, but this doesn’t seem to help. Can you suggest a fix? Thanks.

    • Reply

      Thanks, Charles! The first thing I’d check is the line spacing of the image. If you have double-spaced (or anything greater than single-spaced) text, you’ll get extra space above the picture. To fix it, select the image, then change the line spacing to 1.0. Hope that helps!

  25. Pingback: How to quickly move photos into Evernote or Scrivener from your camera phone.

  26. Sam


    you say “NOTE: Images cannot be stored within the Manuscript/Draft folder.” but that appears to be what my ‘book’ is in – DRAFT. how do i change that so i can add images. I made a folder ‘images’ but it won’t let me add to it, thanks

    • Reply

      Sam: You can’t store image FILES in the Draft folder, but you can embed/insert the image itself within the text of a file that is in the Draft folder.

      So, your Images folder will need to be located outside of the Draft, but you can drag and drop an image into the text of a document in the Draft. Make sense?

  27. Reply

    so there isn’t a way to insert images that text can wrap around–as in a webpage where images are “embedded” beside a paragraph? (forgive me if that question has already been addressed in the comments thus far)

    thank you!

  28. Rachelle


    Hi I was hoping you could help me with this. I tried for hours and hours to get the image embedded per your instructions above and all I got was broken links in the .mobi (kindle) files that said: “Images/break1.jpg” width=”150″ height=”9″ alt=Image”/>

    I couldn’t even get the epub version to work it all. I just got big red text boxes that said: Error

    Ok so it didn’t work out for me. But after I scrubbed all the coding from my compiling presets I can’t get thing out!! Every compile is clean of everything, but it still spits out the above error! Starting to freak out a bit…. been at this all day long.

      • Reply

        Rachelle: If you manually inserted the tag in your title page, you’d have to remove it from the title page to get it not to print. I assume you’re using a Mac. As mentioned in the post–but a few have missed it–the img tag doesn’t work in Windows. If you still want to use the tags, make sure you use the full file path for the image. In my tests, a partial path doesn’t work. Also, make sure the image file name is correct.

        Maybe you could use the Contact page above to email me directly. I’d love to see the actual text of the image tag you used. In my tests when I enter it wrong, I don’t get an error, just no image in the text.

  29. Reply

    I got so excited when I saw that I could incorporate images in chapter headings… and then noticed that as of when you wrote it, the img tag isn’t supported in Windows. Has that changed? Will it change at some point (if you know)? I do love Scrivener, but this functionality is important and I hate to drag everything into word to add this if it’s going to end up as an ebook anyway. Any kind of workaround you can suggest??? Huge fan from SPP!

    • Reply

      Jennifer: It hasn’t changed yet, but my understanding is that the L&L guys are going for full feature parity when 3.0 releases. Until then, you could put an image or link to an image (Edit–>Insert–>Image Linked to File) directly into the text of the chapter folder (select the folder, then go to View and uncheck whichever group view is selected to get single document view). Then make sure when you compile you go into the Formatting tab and check to include Text for the folders.

  30. Reply

    Uggg! It’s November 2014 and STILL no image support for Windows! Has a date been announced for 3.0? If so, when? Also, does Schrivener AUTOMATICALLY update, or do we need to manually do it each time? And if it DOES auto update, will the program notify us?

    Finally, please allow me to extend a huge word of THANKS for all you do for us Schrivener green-horns out there! Not only did you write a terrific book on the topic, but you also provide regular lessons at what must be a great cost of time. God bless you, Gwen!

    • Reply

      philandersonwriter: Yeah, still no placeholder for images. 🙁 No official word on 3.0, but it is supposed to come out sometime next year. I’m thinking mid to late 2015. Scrivener should notify you of any updates and give you the option to update manually or ignore. You can also choose for all future updates to be automatic, if desired. If you’re not sure if you have the latest version, you can go to Help–>Check for Updates (requires an Internet connection). You can choose Help–>Keep Up To Date to sign up for their very infrequent newsletter. The upgrade to 3.0 will be a paid upgrade, but you should get a discount for already owning the software.

      Thanks for your kind words. I really appreciate. Always glad to help. 🙂

  31. Reply

    Hi Gwen, thanks for a really helpful post. I am on the finishing stage of a translation but I’m having problem with the margins on the pictures. I want the cover and chapter pictures to cover the whole page but Scrivener puts a margin on them. Is there any way of working around this problem? Saludos

    • Reply

      matiasbravojara: Scrivener does not let you adjust margins on a page by page basis. They apply to the entire project. So if you don’t want margins on a cover page or other pages, you’ll need to compile your manuscript to a workable file type (e.g. RTF, DOC/X) and make changes in another program. Good luck!

  32. Reply

    Thank you for your crisp, clear directions on images! They are working well for the most part. I do have one issue, I’m wondering if you know the answer.

    Right below four of my scene separators, my final compile is showing three asterisks (***). I have 37 chapters with many, many scene separators, yet in four places these asterisks show up. Is there some kind of behind the scenes code I can look at, or some field I need to clear?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    • Reply

      Christina: Are you compiling for PDF? If so, check the Layout tab in the Compile window. There’s an option there to add *** when the scene break falls on a page break. If that’s checked, you’ve found your culprit. 🙂

  33. Maria


    Hi Gwen, Thanks for taking the time to write this post and answer all our questions. I have been banging my head for hours trying to change the line spacing while compiling from scrivener to mobi. In both Kindle previewer and Kindle for Mac the line spacing never changes. I have tried every conceivable combination and nothing is working. Do you know if mobi ignores this and reverts to a default line spacing? The odd thing is that it is respecting the spacing between paragraphs (set to 12 or 24 or whatever). Any help would be appreciated.

    • Reply

      Maria: In my experience, all of the e-readers do whatever they want to the line spacing, paragraph spacing (Nook e-readers often add extra space here), and font (though they generally try to get close by choosing a serif or sans serif font as applicable). That’s why I tend not to stress too much about formatting for ebooks. I just my layout clean and readable and let it go. 😉 Good luck!

      • Maria


        Thanks, Gwen. It’s jut been frustrating because it took the interparagraph spacing from scrivener but ignored the line spacing inside of scrivener. I was trying to open up my text a bit, not have it so condensed, but instead I just got these big spaces between paragraphs. And I can find nothing from Scrivener as to why this gets ignored. I have an email in to them as well, so if I find a solution, I’ll post here.

  34. Laura


    I’m wondering whether there’s any limit on the number of images Scrivener can handle, either officially or in practice (IOW, maybe it officially has a limit of 100 but in actuality, it may get boggy and not be practical).

    I’ve written an education manual with tons of screenshots and I’d love to use Scrivener to create an updated edition instead of InDesign because it would be far easier to organize. But I’m not sure if it would be a good choice. I also wonder how well it would work at compiling time.

    Thanks for any guidance you can provide!

    • Reply

      Laura: There probably is a practical limit to the number of images you insert, but it’ll come down to things like processor speed and RAM. If the images are just in the project Binder but not inserted into text documents, you shouldn’t notice a slow down except during backups. If you have a lot of them in the text, you may notice a slower response within those documents. I’d suggest using image tags that point to files on your hard drive (or image links). Either way, compiling shouldn’t be an issue though. Good luck!

      • Laura


        Thank you so much for your quick response! That sounds reasonable. I wonder too whether the screenshots will be large enough to be easy to read in ebook formats, but I guess I’ll have to give it a try and preview it to know for sure.

        Thanks again!

  35. Reply

    Dear Gwen,

    Thank you for the informative post.

    Just to check, Image Linked to File is still not available in Windows?

    I am using windows. Where are the images stored if I import the image to the project? I cannot seem to find it in the folder

    • Reply

      Ivan: You should be able to find it under Edit–>Insert–>Image Linked to File. What’s still not in Windows is the image tag.

      If you import an image to your project, it is stored in the folder you selected before you imported. Note that this cannot be the Draft/Manuscript folder or the image won’t import. Hope that helps! 🙂

  36. Reply

    Hi Gwen (Scrivener Goddess;-)

    I am working on an ebook and need to have one image per page. (and only one.) Inserting manual page breaks doesn’t seem to do the trick. Is there a way to ensure that regardless of which device is used to view the book, it will be one image per page?

    • Reply

      LOL, thanks, Monique! 😉 If you make each “page” its own document, then you could set the Text separator (on the Separators tab of Compile) to Section Break (Page Break on Windows). That would start each document on a new page. In MOST cases, the image should resize to fit the e-reader, though I have seen some break across screens. Check the retailer for their images size/dimension recommendations. Good luck!

  37. Reply

    Thanks for this post! I am using image tags on a mac for a dissertation, and have dozens of images. I wonder what files are best, pdf or jpeg? I find that when I compile to word, I am losing quality on some pdfs, but not on others. I can’t figure out why this is. The original pdfs are very sharp, but after running them through Scrivener to Word, they appear blurry. Any tips for me? This is really important because I have more than 100 images, and can’t afford to insert them into Word every time I compile.

    • Reply

      I’d use JPG or PNG files for the best results. It might be that Scrivener is trying to convert the PDF to an image and you’re losing quality in the process, but I’m not sure. Good luck!

  38. Reply

    Just what I needed to know to place the images in my book. I’d copied the image files directly into the text file; placing the images in a separate folder, though, and using image tags was so much easier. Thank you!

  39. Reply

    I really wish this option were available for Scrivener Windows…it sucks so much…Do you know if there’s any auxiliar software (like Sigil) where we could import images to?

    • Reply

      C.S.: I assume you’re lamenting the lack of an IMG tag in Windows–which should be coming with version 3.0–because you can still insert images into the Windows version, just not with the tag. What exactly are you trying to do?

      As for other software, I haven’t really played around with inserting images in anything else. Have you checked the Scrivener forum? That’s where I usually go when I need workaround ideas. Good luck!

    • Reply

      Francois: The cover image file can go anywhere outside of the Draft (or Manuscript) folder in the Binder. So, for example, in the Research folder, not in a folder at all, or in a folder you create. Once you have the cover image file imported into the project, you add it to the project using the Cover tab in the Compile window. It will only show up when you’re producing an e-book file.

      If you want to add a cover image page to a Word document or PDF output, you could add a new document to the top of your Draft folder (or in your Front Matter folder, if you’re using one), then view the blank document in the editor and insert the image onto the blank page (drag from Binder, or use one of the other methods). Hope that helps!

  40. Kelly Sharpe


    I am trying to insert the image OVER the text so that I can slide it next to it without there being a huge gap between lines. Basically, I’m adding an image of the chords needed in a song. I’d like it to be vertical next to the lyrics, but when I insert, it adds it to the current line and leaves a bunch of space below that line for the next line. When I use word, it allows me to use (under wrap text) “on top of text” which lets me slide it into the position I want. How do I do this in Scrivener?

  41. Reply

    I am having trouble getting the to work. Is there something I am missing? I have followed your steps. The picture I want is in the research section, outside of the manuscript. When compiled, It just types the words into my document, and doesn’t insert the picture in the words place. I have worked all night on it. I am completely dumbfounded. I have clicked off the ‘override text and notes formatting’.

    • Reply

      Shannon: You’re using the Mac version, right, because the IMG tag is Mac only right now. I note that in the post, but a few people have missed it. Can you copy/paste the IMG tag into a comment here? The most common problem is just syntax. Either the tag is missing something (like a $), or the file name is wrong. Something like that.

      The “Override text and notes formatting’ shouldn’t have an effect for images, other than maybe centering.

    • Reply

      Tim: You can’t specifically designate something as a caption, though on the Mac version, you can use tags to automatically number tables and figures. I’d just put the caption on the next line, adjust the font as desired, then select the caption and go to Format–>Formatting–>Preserve Formatting. That will prevent the caption text from being changed when you compile the manuscript.

  42. Archy


    Hi, thanks for the helpful blog. My problem is that whenever I compile from Scrivener 2.7.1 on Mac El Capitan) into Word (.docx), a small horizontal sliver is cropped off the top margin of each image. This isn’t a big deal on my photographs, but it is on map images where I have a black border. The result is an uneven bounding box on all my maps.To troubleshoot, I’ve tried compiling documents (1) where the images were cut-and-pasted into Scrivener and (2) where the images were inserted as linked files. Same result. Thoughts on why this is happening? Thank you!

    • Reply

      Archie: Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! The only thing I could find about images getting truncated had to do with compiling EPUBs for iBooks, but it might be worth testing with your manuscript. The problem was happening when the images had a paragraph indent, and went away when the indent was removed.

      If that doesn’t help, you might add your query to the Scrivener forum: Good luck!

  43. Archy


    Hi Gwen,

    Thank you very much for answering my last question. My new question regards moving images around in a document that have been inserted via “Image Linked to File” (Mac version). I want to maintain the links so that I have full resolution images when compiling to word. But I also frequently move my figures around once they are inserted. So, by question is: Once I insert my images via the menu Edit>Images>Image linked to file, is the link maintained or is only the cashed version used when I cut and paste it to another part of my document? Thank you!

    • Reply

      Archy: If you copy/paste, the link goes with the cached image. You can check by right-clicking (Control+clicking) and choosing Reveal in Finder. Scrivener will open a Finder window to the linked image file.

  44. Reply

    Is this still unsupported in the Windows version? I’ve set up manuscripts similarly, but instead of using the Image coding, I simply insert the image in the correct place in the manuscript documents. The outcome looks the same if coming from a Windows machine.

    • Reply

      Hi, Markie. Yep, image tags are not yet supported in Windows. Probably not until 3.0 comes out (hopefully) later this year. The way you do it totally works too. If you’re worried about making changes to the original image and wanting Scrivener to have the latest, you can use Edit–>Insert–>Image Linked to File.

  45. Reply

    Please help! I put all of my images in the text doc itself in Scrivener (which made my file HUGE–42.5MB Scrivener file, 9.8MB .epub file). It is a fiction book, and I have PDFs for the chapter headers and well as some front and back matter, and PNGs and JPEGS for the section dividers/author head shot.

    (I really, really, really, really don’t want to take out all of the images and put in path prefix codes–but I need a smaller file! Argh!) 😉

    When I compile to PDF for print, it is gorgeous. (But still a hefty file.) When I format for ePUB, the PDFs are perfection, but the PNGs and JPEGs are HUGE. When I format for .mobi, the PDFs are, once again, just right, but the other images (PNGs and JPEGs) are minuscule. As in, extremely small. And have a square, gray background. They shouldn’t.

    I tried preserve formatting, I tried compiling as is, I have tried absolutely everything, until I finally gave up and hired a formatter. He made every image exactly the size it should be, compressed the file (at least, it didn’t come back as large as I had sent it), and was crazy reasonable. I was so happy.

    Then the book started popping up on every “free ebooks” and “click for a free PDF” site known to man. The book I had previously formatted and upload myself as an .epub to IngramSpark did not.

    So now I am freaked and back to trying to compile the file myself in Scrivener, but I absolutely cannot get anywhere with these stupid files. (Yes, I am almost in tears! But I WILL conquer this! I WILL figure it out!!!)

    Please help, Scrivener goddess! (Yes, I stole that from someone else’s post because I have read each of these comments in great detail–so funny! Plus it fits.) Thank you so much!!!

    • Reply

      Hi, Michele. I’m so sorry about the pirating. It’s a menace that I have no idea how to stop. 🙁

      I love the Goddess title, but beyond my own experience with images in Scrivener, and knowing how to get them into a project, I’m not a general image file expert (like a graphic artist might be).

      The main problem I’ve encountered with using images in ebooks is that every e-reader displays them differently, even within the same device family (e.g. Kindle). Are you using an actual device to view or the Kindle Previewer?

      Also, images really bloat a file. I’d make the image file sizes as small as you can while still meeting retailer guidelines for quality. This might require you to resize them–either in dimension or quality–before inserting into Scrivener.

      I have a few suggestions to try. What I’d recommend is that you replace only one or two images for testing purposes, and then if something works it might be worth the effort.

      1. When compiling for EPUB or MOBI, on the Layout tab of Compile, there is a setting to “Downsize and resample inline images to visible size” that might help. In the past there was a bug in this option that caused all images to be left justified. Not sure if that’s been fixed.

      2. Try using an image tag that specifies the size. Experiment, maybe starting with a width of 300. If you find that different sizes work better for different output types (EPUB vs MOBI), you can use the Replacements tab in Compile to swap out the sizes for different types of output.

      3. Try changing the dimensions of an image before you insert it into the project, rather than just adjusting it in the Editor pane so that the actual image is no bigger than you want it. Adjusting the width/height in the Editor pane doesn’t doesn’t change the number of pixels, only the display size. Changing the pixels in a photo editor (or even Mac Preview) does.

      When testing, obvs, do this with a copy of your original image in case the size isn’t right. Also, if you decide to go this route for the whole project, I’d use Edit
      –>Insert–>Image Linked to File or an IMG tag so that if you change the original image, Scrivener will always use the latest version when you Compile.

      I believe some e-readers will still try to fill the screen though.

      Unfortunately, if #2 or #3 solves the problem, you’ll have a bit of work to do. Good luck!

  46. JD Kaplan



    This is great information. I’m struggling with a slightly different issue though and hoped you might have some insight. I’m trying to insert an image in the middle of some text and would like its position relative to that text to change depending on where the natural page break would be. I’d like to minimize textual orphans or largely blank pages if at all possible.
    If you have any ideas or even suggestions on where I might look, I’d really appreciate it.

    Again, thanks for the great information 🙂

    • Reply

      JD: That’s a tough one, especially if you’re trying to compile for an ebook. On an e-reader, where the page breaks changes based on the size of the screen, the font and text size the person reading chooses, etc.

      If you’re working on a PDF or DOCX, you’d have to compile and then go back and fix things in an iterative process. There’s no way to have Scrivener automatically adjust an image’s position. Keep in mind that while Scrivener has some nice formatting capabilities, at its core it’s intended for drafting, not formatting. If you have very specific layout needs in mind, you might be better off writing in Scrivener and formatting in another program. Wish I had a better answer for you. Good luck!

  47. Reply

    Thanks SOO much!
    A query, I’m putting together a book with many lines for people to fill in, and plenty of transparencies behind pages. Am I best to write the text in SCR, export, or copy/paste to InDesign? I have the Creative Cloud suite.
    THanks again for all your WONDERFUL information, in understandable language.
    Lizzi Tremayne

    • Reply

      Absolutely, Lizzi! If you want to do any “fancy” formatting like word wrapping, you’ll definitely want to use something like InDesign (or even Word). If you already have the text in Scrivener, you can either compile to something like a DOCX, or another file type that InDesign supports (I haven’t worked with it, so I’m not familiar).

  48. Reply

    Hi Gwen,
    Thanks again for all your help!
    Two questions, please?
    First, Is the file type for an image retained when image is inserted into SCR, and then compiled into the different outputs? EG, if I insert a GIF, will it stay as such?

    Remembered my other query… 🙂
    Second, do you have a good reference for inserting tracked changes back into SCR? (ie, editor likes to work in Word), without doing it line by line? after the tracked changes have been accepted, or just copy paste whole sections?
    Thanks so much!
    Lizzi Tremayne

    • Reply

      Lizzi: As far as I know, the file type is retained.

      Track Changes is a bit sticky. For myself, I either refer to the editor’s notes and then make the changes directly into Scrivener, or I decline/accept the changes in Word until there are not more tracked changes before importing the file into Scrivener. If you don’t accept the changes first, Scrivener will import the document with both the original and new text showing and might be completely unintelligible. Another option is to copy and paste. If your format gets messed up, you can go to Documents>Convert>Convert Formatting to Default Text Style. 🙂

  49. Ben


    Dear Gwen,

    Thank you for your amazing site!
    Question about Scrivener and images:
    Is it possible to link an image with an external link? (any URL, i.e. http://….. type of link?).
    Thank you!


  50. Reply

    Hi Miss Gwen,
    When I read your article about Scrivener I got curious what is this all about? and what app is this?, I just searching for making a blog and I’m just starting to learn and get more practice in photography. After reading this I have an Idea what to use when I have a chance to improve my blogging and make use my own photos for the article. Thank you! you explain well, keep in touch Miss Gwen.

  51. Reply

    Hello, thanks for this useful post.
    A question: I added images in my scrivener project but I’d like to edit them before inserting them in my book.
    Can I do something like “open with..(name of app) ? or
    Can I do something like “open in finder” to then open it with a specific App
    To be concrete: I added some ai files (illustrator pictures) from a previous edition of my book and I’d like to update the drawings before inserting it in the new version I ‘m writing with scrivener

    • Reply

      Hi, Christian. Once an image is imported, the only things you can do are adjust the scale and placement. So, you’d need to edit the images elsewhere, delete the old ones from the project, and reinsert the edited versions. If you think you might make more changes in the future, I’d recommend using some form of link to the image (Edit—>Insert—>Image Linked to File…, or an image tag) when inserting so you don’t have to redo everything within Scrivener. Good luck!

  52. Reply

    Bit of a long shot here, I really thought I’d struck gold when I found this as it seemed to hold just the answer I wanted but having tried everything I can think of I’m still struggling.

    New to Scrivener 3 on the Mac but enjoying it and am determined to master it before I’m just too old! Wanting to insert an inline image and want the image centred. Have blank line above and below and am using a tag as you recommend, here is the current tag I’m experimenting with:

    When I compile to document the image appears fine but it isn’t centred. It appears nearly centred but it’s clearly visibly and measurably not aligned in the centre of the page. I’ve tried having the blank lines above and below formatted as centred, I’ve highlighted the tag line and set it to “Preserve Formatting” but no matter what I’ve tried the images always appears off centre, to the right.

    Are you able to advise me how to solve this at all Gwen, it’s driving me bonkers!

    • Reply

      Hi, Quentin. My guess is that there’s an indent that’s getting preserved too. You can check by using Command+R to show the ruler. Click on the line that contains the image. Is there a little horizontal bar that’s to the right of zero? (Click here for image of indent bar: If the bar isn’t at zero, drag it back to zero and you should be good. Does that solve it?

      • Reply

        Good grief, that was an incredibly quick reply! You ma’am are a genius, that was exactly the problem. I’d not got as far as investigating indents and the like in this package and I’d never have found this without your post and help, thank you so much.

        Wish I lived in your neck of the woods, I could really do with a course! I looked at your book but I’m guessing it was written for an earlier version of Scrivener.

        • Reply

          Ha, well, you caught me online, Quentin. I’m glad that solved your problem. My book was written for the older version, but my courses are current. They’re online, so you don’t even need to live nearby. 😉 Or, you might try running through the tutorial that comes with Scrivener. It’s about 2 hours, I believe, and free. Thanks!

  53. Reply

    What is you want less space around an inserted image? Right now my file is putting like four returns before and after each image. THANK YOU!!

    • Reply

      Hi, Kara. Extra space usually comes from one of a few things:
      1. Line spacing. Check the spacing for the line the image is on and change it to single with no before- or after-paragraph spacing. Then, select the image and preserve it via Format>Formatting>Preserve Formatting (PC and Mac v2) or Format>Preserve Formatting (Mac v3). Also, if the lines above and below have extra spacing, that could affect the image as well. Preserving will ensure that even if you double-space your manuscript, the line the image is on will retain the single spacing (or whatever you’ve chosen in the Editor).

      2. Image borders. If your image has extra white space above and below it (or all around), that will affect how it looks on the page. Make sure it’s cropped as tightly as possible.

      3. Extra paragraph returns. Ensure that you don’t have extra paragraph returns above or below the image in the text.

      Do any of those solve it?

  54. Reply

    This is a very good article Gwen. I need to add an ‘about the author’ page before the start of contents. It contains text which is wrapped around my photo. How to do that?

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