Columns in Converted Web Pages

I do a lot of Internet research for my writing. I’m realizing the benefits of pulling the files in for internal links for reference rather than navigating to the website every time I wanna look at it.

I like the concept of the Webarchive file better than I do the end result (mostly b/c I now use Opera instead of Safari), so I’ve taken to converting the web pages to text. Unfortunately, on BabyNameWorld, it produces a weird format with columns and tables, and I can’t get rid of some of the columns in the format.

I haven’t played around enough to find other sites that do this, but a quick peek at the site’s web coding shows that it’s formatted in tables; might that affect the conversion?


  • Visit
  • Drag into Scrivener.
  • If it comes over as a web archive, “Convert to Text”.
  • Now, start deleting the ads and such–all but the name and the table with the origins & meanings.
  • When you’ve done that, you should be left with a page that still behaves with columns. If not, please tell me what you did!

Even though I can see it behaving with columns, I don’t see any in the ruler. “Show invisibles” doesn’t reveal anything, either. Am I just blind and missing the place to view columns, or is something funky going on? How can I work around this?

(And yes, I realize that this is likely an issue with the Apple text editing module—or whatever the jargon is.)

I’m getting tempted to just save the HTML to the harddrive, edit it, then drag that. I’m not exactly bad in HTML. …Or, I guess, I could try editing the HTML in Opera before I drag it over. That might be easier for some sites. Anyone else have suggestions?

My suggestion is to use DevonThink Pro as a research database, and Scrivener mainly for outlines and drafts. DTP accepts all kinds of files and provides sophisticated searching and matching. You may also use it as a repository of data for many different Scrivener projects. See … rison.html

Thanks, but I don’t exactly need a research database—I’ve never used one before; haven’t really needed 'em. I’ve downloaded a demo and found it to be overkill. So while I appreciate the thought, I’m not exactly interested.

I have my own system and it works. Now that I’m using Scrivener, it looks like I might be able to make that system more efficient and emergency-friendly than “Oh, what was enough in Italian, again? Okay, here’s the list of links in my notes file under my “Italian” heading—but Internet’s down and I can’t access 'em! Crud!”

What I want is to make sure I can take full advantage of the research tools that Scrivener has.

…And not to sound unappreciative of your thought, but is that really polite to say “Use this—it’s better” on the a program’s official site :question: I was asking how I could handle the columns showing up in Scrivener when I use it for link collection, not what other program might be used for the link collection.

Relax, we talk about other products here all the time.

I just tried dragging that BabyName site into a Research folder.
It comes in as a regular URL, labeled “Web Page” until I rename it.
All the links work. So that’s the way I would save it.

I’m using Safari. It also works with Camino.
Could the problem be with your Opera browser?


Keith (KB here) is a big proponent of the “use what works” philosophy. As such he often makes suggestions of other software products such as Mellel, Nesus and several other. Some of these products are direct competitors to scrivener. KB’s approach is one that has him serving those who use scrivener, not those who want to make it “like XXX feature in YYY”.

Now if you suggest “use windows” that is a different story…

:smiley: I am (and was) relaxed. I was just concerned about Mr. Keith’s toes getting stepped on, and I’m relieved to hear they’re not.

It isn’t a matter of the links not working. I was converting to text and cutting it up to get rid of the ads—which I don’t exactly want to click on accidentally—and THAT’s the part where I’m running into some difficulties with weird invisible and irremovable columns.

Sounds like y’all have no idea what I’m talking about, so I’ll just go back to the leaving WebArchives be, and converting to text if I need to enlarge it.

sounds to me like an HTML table is being embedded in the page. My use of scriv is so stinking simple that I can’t even begin to tell you how to fix it other than export the offending segment to a txt file then edit that file in vi. Now remove HTML tags.

Sorry I can’t be more help than that.

Hi Caradee,

I’ve done a bit of web-to-text reformatting and I can tell you that tables are difficult and tricky and it’s not the fault of Scriv but rather the way that Apple (Cocoa) limits one’s options.

The only way you can disassemble tables (which may be nested in all sorts of complicated configurations) is to click once in each paragraph and then - using the ‘tables’ palette (Text > Tables…) - give the columns and rows a value of 0 (or 1). It’s annoying, but necessary to go one paragraph at a time because you can’t see where the individual cells are demarcated. Selecting all and applying a border value may help though.

It’s impossible to try any re-formatting - the Cocoa table tools aren’t good enough. The best you can you is to remove the table formatting inherited after importing to Scriv.

And don’t forget Text > Unlink… to get rid of any pesky links you don’t need.

Sorry if this sounds a bit complicated. I hope it helps. :confused:

Yes, it does. :slight_smile:

I’d realized it likely wasn’t Scrivener’s fault—but I wasn’t sure about how to go about trying to find/be rid of the columns/tables/whatever they were.

And I had either not known or had forgotten about that “Unlink” function. (My memory’s been shoddy, lately.) Thanks!