Add not import Word files for opening in external editor

One of the strengths of Scrivener is being able to bring together different sorts of files for opening in external editors. For example, I have mind maps that open in FreeMind, character pictures and maps that open in MS Picture Viewer and so on.

However, Scrivener insists on importing and converting anything that looks like text. This causes two issues:

  • Can’t use Word documents for notes and research where features like vector graphics and styles are useful.
  • Can’t store .doc drafts with comments from editor or agent in the project.

So, the following is on my list:

  • Option to add rather than import documents, preserving their native format.
  • Right-click on Research folder gives option “New” and then a list of formats (as per right-click on Windows folder.)

You can use project and document references for this. Rather than importing the document to the binder, just add it to the reference list in the inspector; you can double-click its icon there to then open it in the default program. If you want a binder item for it, create a new document, fill it out with whatever meta-data you want, and then make the reference a document reference for that item rather than a project reference.


However, this means I still have Word documents floating around outside the project folder doesn’t it?

Wouldn’t it be simpler and more intuitive to handle Word docs the same way you handle other formats? Why make the distinction? I mean, I can add an Excel document without converting it.

Because Scrivener is fundamentally for editing and creating text, all text imported becomes editable. Importing text files that aren’t editable would add a layer of confusion for many users, and it’s really outside the scope of the program, sorry. However, what you can do is just create a PDF file from Word and import that. I’m not sure how well the Windows version of Word can create PDF files, but on the Mac you can generate PDF copies of Word documents that look identical to how they look in Word very easily.

All the best,

Nice workaround. Thanks.

If page layout isn’t crucial, you could try saving it as an HTML file. This gives the added bonus (I think) of having the document resize to fit the width of your editor automatically. I don’t know for sure what happens if you have images in your document, but it can’t hurt to experiment with it.