1. Chapter Structure

  2. Citing

  3. Cross-Referencing

Your Canvas: Functions of the Editor

The Format Bar explained here gives the venue to write and edit your text further and place text elements like citations, figures, tables, and equations. Writing is done via the keyboard, and the placement of text elements depends on the current position of the cursor in the running text when you select the desired function from the Format Bar.

Chapter Structure

Another important dimension of academic writing is structure. The structure of a text in SciFlow is developed through its chapters. The central structural units are first-order headings (H1) that you can string together as you see fit. These main chapters are signaled by the thin frame around them and can then be further divided into several subchapters—up to the fifth subchapter level (H2 - H5).

When a document is created from a template, a correlating premade chapter structure comes with it already. As shown below, you can further alter that suggested structure to your needs.

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Adding New Chapters

You can place a new main chapter (H1) before, between, and after every other main chapter. You’ll find a corresponding plus icon in those spots that let you do that. Please note that you can only add a new H1. How to add subchapters to already existing chapters is shown below.

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Creating Subchapters

Once you start writing within a chapter, a context menu appears on the left-hand side of your text. This menu regulates the properties of the respective section. By default, it is set to paragraph. After selecting the menu icon, you can choose a needed subchapter level or reapply paragraph status. That way, you can also change a current subchapter level to another one if it needs adjustment. Please note that you can only add subchapters this way. New main chapters are added via the plus icons.

Chapter Menu

Using a template to create a SciFlow document usually brings all the needed settings for chapters so that you only need to apply a substructure or add a new H1 to create the structure you need. If you are curious, you can find advanced settings regarding a chapter by clicking on the context menu named chapter next to a main chapter’s title.

There you have access to the respective chapter’s numbering, positional, spellchecking, or advanced properties.


Two ways of referencing something are automized in SciFlow. That is referencing other works via citation or referencing elements of the document itself via cross-referencing.


Naturally, you can cite in SciFlow by hand. Still, if you are looking to automatically apply a given citation style and create the corresponding bibliography, SciFlow lets you do that.

But to apply a citation style to a reference correctly, SciFlow needs to know the crucial metadata of that reference first. The most efficient way to maintain and import this metadata is by incorporating a reference manager or any other tool that can produce .bib files. These files are necessary because they comprise the needed information for SciFlow to process. Suitable for the work with SciFlow are, among others, the following apps:

Our recommendation: If you are currently not using a reference manager, we recommend Zotero since its API with SciFlow allows for direct synchronization and immediate updating and maintaining references.

For everyone looking for a quick solution, zbib might be suited because it generates bib-files in a few clicks and doesn’t need installation (Although it doesn’t allow for metadata editing).

Importing References

With a fitting .bib file at hand, you can upload it to SciFlow via the Reference Library of the sidebar. Open the Manage references menu in the top right corner, choose the reference manager you generated the file with, and select upload.

After successfully uploading your references, they appear under the rider Personal in the Reference Library and are ready for citing.

Using references

The references in your personal SciFlow reference library are available for citing either by using the cite button of the format bar or placing the desired reference per drag and drop at the intended position from the Reference Library menu.

Another click on the already placed entry opens the citation menu. There, you have additional settings at your disposal, like adding page numbers, a prefix, or changing the displayed in-text citation.

These references are simultaneously gathered in the bibliography, and the citation style is automatically applied when the document is exported. Depending on the template, you can choose from different viable citation styles in the Export & Submit menu.

References placed in a document are also separately listed in the This Document tab of the Reference Library for easier access and possible sharing.

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Updating references

Ensure your reference manager is set up correctly for a smooth and flawless workflow. If you follow the instructions for implementing the specific reference managers provided above, any updates to reference entries transfer to SciFlow via uploading an additional .bib file containing the new information. SciFlow recognizes the same references and updates an entry if applicable. In the case of managers with API, any updates to references can be conveyed to SciFlow directly via the Synchronize connected apps button.

References already placed are updated by either clicking on the refresh button of the entry in the This Document tab to update that specific one or clicking the refresh button in the right bottom corner of the menu to update all already placed references.


To reference a text element within the same document, simply drag the desired component from the Document outline to the intended place within the running text. The generated cross-reference corresponds only to that element and applies the respective numbering only when exported and is thus always up to date.

Viable elements for cross-referencing are chapters, figures, tables, and equations.

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