Best practice for Mellel export

I’m using Scrivener 2 with Bookends and Mellel. I just had a try of Nisus, and realized that it would easy enough to specify nearly all of the formatting in Scrivener, export to Nisus, scan with Bookends and the document would be ready to go.
But a few things make me reluctant to shift to Nisus, including the price of another application, the reports of crashes (Mellel doesn’t ever do this), the slowing down with complex footnotes and long documents.
So, I’m trying to speed up my work by using the Scrivener-Mellel combination in a more smart way. What I’ve been doing is preparing the document in Scrivener, then exporting RTF to Mellel, into a document with a suitable template, and then going through the document manually selecting some text as Autotitles, and specifying other text as Body Style, or Footnote Style etc. Then, at the end, I’d run Bookends.
Now, I’d like to be able to make this as automatic as possible. But I don’t appear to have the patience to decipher the Replace Styles function of Mellel, because the information it gives me about margins and spacing is too much. I thought that if there is a way to export from Scrivener in a way that makes it easier to identify my various styles (i.e. what I want to end up as different styles, e.g. body text, indented quotation, body text after indented quotation, footnote…), by using some sort of marker in the compilation stage that I can easily recognize when it comes to the Replace Styles window in Mellel, then the whole things might be quite quick.
As far as I know, I’d still have to go and apply the autotitles to my headings, but that wouldn’t be too bad.
Anybody else figure out how to do this efficiently?
Or am I better to move to Nisus, and put up with the occasional crash and slowdown?

The only real advice I can give you is to be a little patient. And to pray, maybe.

According to the Mellel forum the Redlers hope Mellel 2.8 will go beta next week. Maybe then importing will get easier.

I have been using Nisus for years … in fact since before it was Nisus … and I can’t remember when I had a crash, if ever. If I have, it has been during private beta testing of new versions. For me, the current version has been totally stable. There are certain issues, it seems, if you are using Hebrew, and sometimes with Arabic, when importing documents from Nisus Classic, and they seem mostly to do with fonts and mismatches between Mac-OS 9 fonts and OS-X fonts in those languages. Slowing down with very long documents has been reported, and with very long footnotes. I gather they are working on these problems; they’ve not been of concern to me, yet.

My understanding is that, if you are an academic and need footnotes and endnotes in the same document, then Mellel is the one to go for. I, on the other hand, had to abandon Mellel because of it’s inability to import .docs in Chinese, without converting them to RTF with Nisus (or with TextEdit) first. If those are not of concern for you, it comes down to personal preference, which you are more comfortable with, and of course, as you say, the price of another application.

It is the latter that stops me bothering to see whether Mellel has changed with respect to Chinese in the intervening years … that and the fact that I love Nisus – to which I am no way related except as a very happy user.


The problem is at both ends, though. Mellel doesn’t import named styles, and Scrivener doesn’t have styles at all (for understandable reasons, often explained on this forum). So I doubt that any changes to Mellel will make a big difference to the workflow.

As you suggest, the best way to go is to work with the Replace Styles feature in Mellel, using paragraph formatting in Scrivener that is recognisably different for body text, block quotes etc. It might be easiest to differentiate your different ‘styles’ in Scrivener by only one parameter: for example give them all different left margins. That should make it easier to pick them out in the Replace Styles dialogue.

Another thing that might simplify your task is not to try to do too much in Scrivener. Do you really want to format your text in Scrivener to the level of detail implied by differentiating between body text, and body text after indented quotation, for example? It’s always going to be a pain doing this reliably in an application that doesn’t keep track of styles.

I’d really like an improvement in this workflow too, but I can’t see one coming, unless Replace Styles in Mellel becomes scriptable, or Mellel’s Find and Replace is revised to work on paragraph formatting (which would allow the creation of Find Sets that could impose styles on Scrivener-formatted text). I’m not holding my breath…

Thanks for responses. I’m looking forward to finding out what’s going to happen with Mellel. The great improvements to the compile process, and the inspector footnotes, in the new version of Scrivener make me want to keep writing projects in Scrivener until close to the moment of final formatting. This in turn is making me look more closely at Nisus as the ideal partner application. Previously, I was happy to move to Mellel at an earlier stage, so the matter didn’t arise. Now I am more confident to entrust the task of imposing consistent formatting to Scrivener. It seems that Nisus will be better at knowing what to do with the Scrivener output.
Does that sound about right?

The only advantage that I can see to using Nisus is that you will be able to write macros that impose paragraph styles based on the ad hoc formatting coming out of Scrivener.