Circus Ponies Notebook (import function?)

Hi guys & gals:

Just getting into Scrivener (just). Please be gentle.
I did browse (and search) the forums before posting, so I don’t think this material is out there.
(Also, not entirely sure this is the right forum in which to post. Hopefully one of you can correct me if not).

I just organized a ton of material in Circus Ponies’s Notebook (I love Notebook!). Huge outline structure. About 150 pages of outline.

Now I was planning on using Scrivener side-by-side with Notebook. But it occurred to me that if I imported some of my cells from Notebook, that I could get a head start (maybe section by section to try things out, not even chapter by chapter).

Has anyone done this? Is there a way to easily do so? (and if not, there should be. Notebook is a different kind of outliner than scrivener… and, for me in the research phase, a good one).

If not, is there a work around to get the stuff from Notebook (maybe a few pages of outline in one section) in to Scrivener?

Many thanks in advance for whatever advise you can offer.


(P.S. This is a great write-up on how to use Circus Ponies Notebook and Scrivener together.
I read through it in detail a year ago – along with the associated posts. But I don’t recall it touching on any import function for NB notes to Scrivener. It was more of a side-by-side usage tutorial).

I just did a quick search, and it appears the CPN can export to OPML, which is used by a lot of outlining programs for Mac, including Scrivener. You can probably just export to that format, and import it to Scrivener and get the entire outline that way.

I have zero experience with CPN, so I don’t know how it will come out, but the worst that will happen is that you’ll have a group of documents in your project’s binder that you’ll want to delete and start over with.

Well thanks for that great idea.
I have never heard of .OPML so no nothing of how it’s structured.

Unfortunately, all it did was import my notes (in the correct hierarchical structure) with the notes being file names (and also the beginning of the notes being used as synopses).

So, I’ll use cut/paste so I can control what’s going on.

It is too bad, though, as a clever tool could grab the CPN outline structure and suck it into Scrivener. Such a tool would have to be cognizant of how long the notes are (and if you had some long notes whether you wanted them all in the Synopsis, which, I certainly would); and also come up with a method for choosing file names (first 50 or so characters, I suppose, would work).

So: Close(ish) but no cigar


Take a look in the Scrivener preferences under the Import/Export tab; you can choose how notes will be imported for OPML. Try setting the option to have the note placed in the main text, then import again.

Thanks much for the suggestion. I didn’t even realize there was an “input” preferences tab. It was set to main, but still was a bit cumbersome upon import. I’ll definitely fiddle with various options, so I appreciate you pointing me there.

For the benefit of any other CPN/Scrivener users out there (there must be… anyone? Buller? Anyone?), what I’ve settled on doing is collapsing all the notes in CPN and dragging them to the Scrivener, creating a new text item. (Interestingly, CPN interprets this as a “cell drag” which actually removes the cell from the CPN outline. So, I CTRL-Z after the drag to undo the drag in CPN; but the text remains in Scrivener.

I then drill down the hierarchy of the outline and can drag each item to Scrivener in turn. To do it properly, that would have to be automated (and then maybe even part of the stuff could go into a synopsis). But, I guess there aren’t enough CPN/Scrivener dual users out there to make it worth the while. I and get that.

Too bad, but I’ll live.

Frankly, what I’ve settled on is printing out on paper (horrors!) a few pages of various levels of expanded/compressed outline from CPN and sit with that open next to Scrivener and just work down the list. All and all, not a terrible solution.

If you are simply missing the filled-in synopses from OPML imports (where you set it to put the notes into the document’s text area), there’s a new beta of Scrivener for Mac which has an option to show the first few lines of a document’s text in an otherwise empty Synopsis. The beta is available here: