Papers vs Scrivener vs EndNote

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by SilverStCloud, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. SilverStCloud macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2011
    Which is the best software for writing a research paper, designing surveys and doing up graphs and other statistical 'sparklies'? I'm torn between Papers, Scrivener (expensive!) and my university-provided EndNote (free!)?

    I have never used any of these before, but have downloaded the trial version of Scrivener. The learning curve seems a little steep, but manageable. Not sure if I would end up using every feature which would make the hefty price tag a waste.

    On the other hand, I've heard that Papers is simpler but a little lacklustre in features and that EndNote is quite an old software that hasn't been updated in a while.

    What's your experience with these three?
  2. reputationZed macrumors 65816

    Mar 9, 2011
    34°55′42″N 80°44′41″W (34.
    Depends on what you mean by writing a research paper. Of the three Scrivener is the only one in which you would actually write anything. Papers and EndNote are bibliography managers for gathering and managing research material. Your best bet may be to use EndNote if its free and what ever word processor or text editor you have. Once you have a handle on EndNote download the trial version of Scrivener and see if it meets your needs. Scrivener may be expensive but its definitely of of those apps thats well worth the price.
  3. xizar macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2009
    If you can afford to wait, Scrivener usually (last two(?) years) goes on sale during NaNoWriMo. I think I paid 20 or 25 for it last year. (I don't remember.)

    There's a bit of honor-code involved, implying that you're going to use it for that.
  4. jcgacd macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    Endnote vs papers

    I have used both Endnote (on a PC with MS word) and Papers with libre office. I found Papers to be more user friendly and was better at indexing the pdf files I already had on my computer.
  5. MacGenius101 macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2010

    I tried Scrivener but ultimately it didn't work for me. It was too free-flowing which isn't the way I like to write (though it could be for some folks). I went with Storymill which kind of keeps me on task a little better. I think it's a little more intuitive and feature-rich too (but I suppose that's relative). And cheaper.

  6. victoria stiles macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2011
    Scrivener is the good software for writing research papers. Scrivener is not a word processor. But as one who does a fair bit of writing of long pieces, that’s why anyone will found Scriviener so refreshing.
  7. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Bibliographical Software
    1. Bookends is pricey, but it is excellent software that a lot of researchers use. There is a student discount.
    2. Endnote is fine too. A lot of students use it. I just happen to prefer Bookends.
    3. I have used Refworks, but the web interface is slow and kind of annoys me. It is probably one of the most accessible-from-anywhere options.

    1. Scrivener. I didn't take to it the first time I used it. I am thinking about giving it another try, though.
    2. DevonThink. This is the most expensive, but also the most exciting. I am going to give it another try as well.
    3. Evernote. Until a few hours ago I was a big fan. I have been using it for a couple of years and even bought the premium plan. But, it just lost a huge chunk of important data (changes to a note). It was quite a shock and I don't trust the software at the moment. Apparently others have had similar problems (Evernote forums).
    4. CircusPony. I have heard great things about this.
    5. VoodooPad. A personal wiki. Quite nice and very free form.
  8. SilverStCloud thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2011
    Scrivener... now maybe Papers?

    I finally took the plunge and bought Scrivener. Although I am still climbing the learning curve, I can see why it has its fans. And by breaking up my writing into little chunks, my thesis no longer looks like an over-sized monster that I can't tackle.

    I'm now leaning towards Papers to further enhance my productivity based on feedback that it is a lot friendlier to use than EndNote. Bookends is appealing, but oh my... the cost! :eek:
  9. PurpleMarmalade macrumors regular

    Aug 29, 2010
    It depends on which word processor you prefer (once you've exported from Scrivener), but Bookends can normally be had as a bundle with, say, Mellel.

    At one time I was a big pseudo-fan of a lot of these applications (Scrivener, Bookends, Devonthink), but I had an epiphany one day: they didn't really make my workflow more efficient, or my work any better. I now use MS Word (in my part of academia, everything must be formatted in Word), Finder (that's all I used Devonthink for - a glorified repository), and a notepad with a propelling pencil.

    Your mileage, of course, may vary.
  10. H. Armitage macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2011
    Free alternatives

    Congratulations on buying Scrivener -- I use it for all my writing.

    For bibliographic management I'm personally a user and big fan of Bookends, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it unless you're doing multi-year projects with hundreds of sources.

    What field are you working or studying in? Papers and Sente are focused on the sciences and have limited citation options. If you need to insert references into footnotes, as in many humanities fields, these programs won't work well for you. Bookends, though, is excellent for humanities citations.

    There are also free alternatives: Zotero if you're in humanities or social sciences, or Mendeley for the hard sciences. I know many professors who use Zotero to write their books.
  11. PsyD2Be macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2012
    Am I missing something on cost?

    Hello all,

    I came across this thread while trying to compare some software for my dissertation. I just purchased Scrivener because it seems overall to be the most highly recommended for the lengthy writing. However, I only paid about $38 for my student copy and the regular one was $45. Was it at one time expensive? When I think of the programs over $100 I think anything under $50 is a drop in the bucket if you're utilizing it regularly or for something that will be consuming most of your time.

    Additionally, I have been using a software that is now available for both Mac and PC called PERRLA and it is for shorter papers and has a more in depth citation portion and is an add-in for Word. It's not free, but it has been helpful for standard term papers and things that would be less lengthy than a thesis or dissertation. :apple:
  12. alvindarkness macrumors 6502a

    Jul 11, 2009
    The thing about scrivener is that you don't need to use any preconceived workflow, including breaking up a thesis.. Unless you want too. Its software that can meld to your way of working.

    I've been using it to write all my papers in a masters course I'm in. In the past I'd have countless text documents with notes open, and countless pdf's open, as i try to juggle windows and sift through everything. Now I just create a few 'folders' within a scrivener project, drag all the research pdf's into one folder, create text notes nested below each pdf with relevant notes I keep, and so forth. It helps keep me some what organised, and I can do almost everything from within scrivener.

    My methods won't work for a lot of people, but it doesn't matter, scrivener can be used in countless different ways, to suit the way you work. The only issue is a very slight learning curve at the start (all I did was watch the intro video at ) and then jumped right in.

    (not affiliated with the developers, just a happy customer)

    update: oops sorry didn't see the thread was from last year, and only resurrected a few minutes ago..
  13. ahmadyan, Aug 20, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012

    ahmadyan macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2012
    Replacing EndNote with Papers

    I've been using combination of Scrivener/EndNote X5/MMD2Latex for a while. The main reason that I used Endnote instead of Papers was that I would share my libraries between My Macbook and Windows PC at my Office using Google drive/Dropbox. I needed a software that supported both platform. So I chose endnote over papers. Scrivener also has two version for windows and mac. So I put all my research file on google drive, so I can edit it on both computer. (Although at my university, the EndNote is not free! (65$ instead of >200$, but you need to get two different license, since the endnote's mac serial doesn't work on windows :( ).

    It was a very functional workflow. I typed my papers in scrivener. Then I would compiled them to latex, I would export endnote collection to bibtex and finally, it would generate the bibliography. Also, scrivener supports endnote pretty well (Not as good as word, but it's OK).

    Then after Papers for windows released, I was a bit hesitant to switch at first.
    Now, I've switched to papers and I'm really happy. Mostly because papers directly supports and matches some of my favorite DBs such as IEEE and ACM. Whereas EndNote didn't support them (or I didn't know how).

    The workflow is basically the same, I write in scrivener (most of the times between <!-- --> :) ), I use paper's \cite insertions, then I compile it to latex. And that's it. If I have to manually write extensive latex code (like for generating tikz figures, my favorite latex editor on mac is texnicle, then I use \input to put them back in scrivener)

    BTW, my archive is ~1000 papers. I remember that the older version of papers had a huge performance issues even on this moderate-size archive, I think this was another reason why I chose EndNote back then. But now, Papers 2+ are handling it very well.

    Also, Another important upgrade: SSD. Adding SSD drive can hugely improve performance of Papers or EndNote or any other app for that matter.

    I also keep my papers-endnote libraries in sync just in case I want to turn back to endnote. I've not used end-note for a while. So I'm probably going to drop it.

    Also, I never saw any reason to get the papers for ipad. I use good-reader for reading and it can open my google drive folders. In there, all of paper's archive is sorted by authors and years. So I can easily open & annotate those PDFs in ipad without any problem.

    I'm quite new to using scrivener/papers/latex workflow. If someone has any suggestion to improve this workflow, I would gladly appreciate it.
  14. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Endnote + Word.

    It's the only scenario that allows input from your advisor and collaborators. Anything else will just create havoc when someone other than yourself tries to edit your manuscripts.
  15. andegerd macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2012
    Uppsala, Sweden
    I work with Endnote since 1990s or so, but was fascinated by how Papers both is archive and reference SW. But can you import and convert the 2-3000 posts in Endnote I have and automatically get them into Papers format? And what do I do with old manuscripts I have with endnote tags? How do you keep Papers and Endnote synced?

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