compile draft loses para return

I’ve been using Scrivner and compiling drafts successfully for a few months, but since I downloaded the latest version, I can’t get compile draft to work properly. When I compile a draft to DOC format, it drops all my hard paragraph returns and turns them into soft returns – meaning that it looks like there’s a hard return between paragraphs, but there isn’t really. I have to manually hit return to tell the word doc that there’s a return in there.

I’ve got preserve formatting checked in the compile draft menu, if that makes any difference. I tried unchecking that but it didn’t make a difference.

I hope this makes sense – it’s driving me crazy and I need to send my manuscript to my editor asap!

thanks for any help you can give!

Try to compile to a different format which you can open with Word and see if the hard returns are still lost. If they are preserved you could save the document from within Word (or maybe OpenOffice/NeoOffice or else) as DOC. How about RTF?

That is not a proper fix for this problem but maybe a workaround which would help you for the next deadline.

(I hesitate to recommend a downgrade from 1.5.1 to 1.50 because as I’m not the programmer of Scrivener I’m not 100% sure if that would work flawlessly. As far as I know it should. If you decide to do so make sure to backup your projects before. And do not downgrade to anything earlier than 1.50.)

Another idea: Can Word do a search and replace of soft returns with hard returns?

I got curious about this and just tried it myself.

Result: When I compile a manuscript (wether written in 1.5.1 or prior to it) to DOC and open the compiled file it in Bean or OpenOffice I do not loose any hard returns or soft returns but at least paragraph borders and typography settings like OldStyle Numbers.

Admittedly this is way minor than the problem the OP has reported. But it has definitely worked before. And it still works with RTF.

Suavito – thanks for the suggestion – I tried compiling a draft in RTF and it worked (why didn’t I think of that before?!). I resaved the file as a word doc and am hoping editor will be able to open.

Still no luck compiling directly to Word, but at least the document is out the door! Thanks!

Previous versions of Scrivener did not export to “true” Word format - instead they exported to RTF but renamed it and altered the creator codes so that the .rtf file had a .doc extension and opened in Word by default; this was legitimate for Word but other programs didn’t like this sort of .doc file as much. 1.50 and above exports to true .doc using the OS X .doc exporter if the file doesn’t contain anything that the OS X .doc exporter doesn’t support - i.e. if the file contains no images, no footnotes and no header or footer, it exports using the OS X .doc exporter; if it contains any of those elements it uses Scrivener’s old method and exports as .rtf disguised as .doc.

Unfortunately, it seems that the OS X .doc exporter is, for want of a better adjective, c**p. It does not maintain line spacing or indents. Try it in TextEdit. Open TextEdit and create a document with indents and line spacing of, say, 2. Then save it as a .doc and open it in Word - you will see that all the line spacing etc is lost. So this, unfortunately, is a bug in the OS X .doc exporter.

To get around it, in Compile Draft, just add a header or footer to the document - this will force it to save using the old methods.

The question is, should I return to the old method? The reason I changed it in the first place is that the old method - creating disguised .rtf files - doesn’t work on certain platforms (e.g. portable platforms). So a number of users asked for true .doc export - and this is the side effect (thanks to Apple’s OS X text system).

The answer in general is to export to .rtf if you want the best compatibility with Word.

All the best,

Hey Keith – that’s pretty wacky – I did as you suggested and added a header and it worked perfectly. Thanks for the in-depth reply. I love love love my Scrivner (it honestly makes me a better writer) so I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to use it for my next novel. Thanks for the rescue!

Glad that helped. For 2.0 at the moment you get to choose whether to use the RTF-based format or the true .doc format if the file has stuff like headers (using .doc would lose them); I may change this to just be a choice to use RTF-based always before 2.0 comes out, and have that as the default, so that most users won’t see any problems and those who really need true .doc format for mobile devices can choose it via the Preferences.
All the best,