Compile to DOC problem


I just bought your software yesterday, and I loved it! Thanks for writing such a nice software! I am currently using it to write my academic papers and future dissertation.

However, I encountered some weird problem when I compile to DOC. I have set up double space and indent in the compile configurations (I checked the “overwrite text formatting”), but when I compile the draft to DOC, it becomes single space and only indent on the first paragraph.

Interestingly, when I compile to RTF or PDF using the same configuration, both double space and indent are performed as anticipated.

I really have no clue why this happens. I searched this forum and found no other instances. Help!

BTW, I am using Snow Leopard.



Hi Denny,

Thanks for buying. Unfortunately this is a bug in Apple’s OS X .doc exporter - you will see exactly the same problem if you save a .doc or .docx file from TextEdit. I have reported it to Apple, but it’s been around for a long time. In general I recommend exporting to RTF anyway, as all versions of Word support RTF and the RTF export is much, much better.

Thanks and all the best,

Hi KB,

I really appreciate your prompt feedback! Now I see where the problem comes from…

One note: this problem does not seem to be universal. My girlfriend used Scrivener to compile to DOC in her MacBook, and her DOC looks as anticipated, while mine does not. I am wondering why…

Anyway, your solution seems good enough for now. I will just export to RTF.

Wish you have a great day!


I should explain a little more, as there is a good reason why your girlfriend may not have seen the problem - and it’s something you can use to avoid it too.

Basically, the OS X .doc exporter is very limited. Not only is there this bug, but also it doesn’t support images, footnotes, comments or headers and footers (that is, although the .doc format supports all of these things and more, the standard OS X importers and exporters don’t - although Apple have extended them for Pages, they are not available to us plebs). But a neat feature of Word is that it will accept .doc files that are really RTF files “under the hood” as it were. That is, Word doesn’t only support regular binary .doc files but also RTF files that have been renamed to have the .doc extension and had their creator codes changed. (This is a trick I learned from the great guys at Nisus.) Now, the OS X RTF importers and exporters are rather limited too, but the RTF format is really a plain-text-with-markup format, and it’s specifications are fairly straightforward, so I have been able to add a lot of features lacking from the standard translators to Scrivener’s RTF importer and exporter - something not really possible for .doc. So what happens is that if you try to export a .doc file with features not supported by the standard exporters, Scrivener switches to using RTF under the hood. So if you have a header or footer, or some footnotes or comments or an image in your file, Scrivener will export to an RTF file that just looks like a DOC file - which Word will accept fine.

Scrivener used to do this for all .doc files, but the trouble was that although Word accepts them, some mobile platforms did not, so some users wanted access to binary .doc files as well. Thus the current system - which isn’t ideal either. In 2.0, rather than leave it to Scrivener to decide on whether to use RTF under the hood for DOC files or not depending on features within the document, there will be a preference so that you can set it how you want it to be behave (it will use RTF by default).

But for now, you can just set your exported document to have a header or a footer (even just a page number in the footer), and it will switch to RTF for the DOC file and look fine.

Hope that helps!
All the best,

Thanks for your detailed explanation!! Yes, the document my girlfriend used has a footnote, which is consistent with your explanation. Now I can just add a page number to avoid this problem.

Thanks again!

Hi there -

I’m a big fan of Scrivener but I think I also have a question about compiling a draft and then exporting to a word-processing program. What I would like to end up with is a document that has uniform double spacing throughout. I wasn’t able to do this with export to .doc (because of the bug, I guess), and when I export to .RTF, I get double-spacing throughout individual paragraphs, but then a larger space (multiple spacing?) in between paragraphs.

I’ve tried to select all and work with this in the RTF file, but I don’t seem to be able to get it uniform.

Can anyone help? I’m also kind of a technophobe, so go easy on me!


OK - I think I solved my problem! There’s a button in the .RTF paragraph/spacing section I hadn’t noticed, “Don’t add space btwn paragraphs of the same style” and if I click that, my uniform spacing is restored!

Hi Emily, glad you figured it out! Let me know if you have any more problems.
All the best,