Best workflow from Scrivener to Google Docs for collab? Speccifically making styles transfer

Hi, I’m writing a long project in Scrivener, but I need to put it into google docs for my editors to look at.

I have no problem compiling in default and uploading to google docs as a general principle, but styles are not transferring smoothly, and Google Docs is being completely inadequate about generating a useful outline.

I need the styles to come with the compile, and I need them to match my Google Docs default, which is set to Archive of our Own’s default style options. Is there a way to beat this process into submission so that it is easy?

I suspect Scrivener can create Word DOCX format with better style representation than for Google Docs format (whatever that is). I don’t know for sure as I don’t routinely worry about that.

But if your editors can handle a Word document file, stored on Google Drive, maybe explore that as a place to publish your drafts. Word has all the bells and whistles that I thought editors want.

Ha, no, this is for fanfic, so we’re all working in google docs to proof the thing and I enter the changes in scrivener. Google Docs can read word just fine, and makes a best guess about what belongs in the outline. I’m finding that I have to be very careful about assigning section types and especially “default subsections” but it’s still randomly doing weird things I’m trying to figure out in a custom compiler because default wasn’t cutting it.

If I manage to beat a compiler into submission to the point where it will output Google docs friendly stuff, is there a place to share that?

They don’t have a “Tips” section here, so best to put your learnings here with a good title, I guess. Good luck.

There are some folks here who are terrific at helping with compiler settings, especially when complicated. So as you go, good to ask here. Put into the Windows or Mac version topic as the settings are different in each product, as I understand.

So what I had to do:

  1. Assign all of the folders and text documents styles, because I’d managed to bork up the structure-based thing.
  2. Opened Compile and made a new custom layout. Renamed the styles to be easy to find with the ones I needed. Saved the layout.
  3. At this point (and this is a really weird place to find this thing, IMO) you will be looking at the 3 column “compile” menu. The Assign Styles button is at the bottom of the middle column.
  4. Click a section type. Click the associated formatting. This saves automatically and affects things inside the “edit layout” function, but cannot be accessed from within the edit function, where it fleepin’ belongs. (it could be in both places, I’m just saying.)
  5. This is the critical part for google docs outlines:

You should make paragraph styles like “Title, Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3” however many layers deep your tree is that you want to appear on the outline.

Then you should apply those paragraph styles to whatever you want to appear in the outline.

Then you should go to “separators” and make sure everything where it is supposed to appear in the outline has an empty line or at least a single return in front of it, and probably between sections.

At this point, when you compile to Docx, Google should do a pretty okay job of coughing up an outline, to make it easier for your beta readers/editors to navigate the document.

Figuring this out involved actual tears of frustration, because honestly the “assign styles” button is in the least intuitive place for me, coming from a graphic design background.

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The paragraph style names are actually very specific to the Google docs AND Archive of Our Own default styles. They will port across and be interpreted correctly if you name them those specific things. Google Docs understands that Title is higher in the tree than Heading 1 and so forth. AO3 has style sheets for them all and interprets them in predictable ways.

To be specific, I really, really wanted to be able to click the “assigned to” button in the edit menu and assign it to things! This seems logical? I mean, sure, now that I know how it works, I can avoid the situation, but for a novice, it seems like a no-brainer that the first time I realize the style has to be assigned is when I discover this little grey “assigned to:” button and then can’t click on it. If I could have, it would have saved me about an hour of learning time. I eventually figured it out from a video on Youtube with like, 128 views.