Conversion from Word

I found Scrivener very useful in composing my dissertation in sections. However, I’ve compiled it as a draft and made additional revisions in Word, and now I’d like to import the Word file into a new Scrivener project such that Word headings signal separate binder sections (as in the original). Is that possible? I’ve tried to search this forum, but I can’t find an answer. Converting it back by hand will take some time, so I was hoping that there might be a quicker way to do it. I had some trouble with the Scrivener binder structure translating neatly to a Word outline/TOC structure and had to make those changes manually as well. Am I missing an easier way? Many thanks!

This is a very late reply, but this issue just came up for me. I would like to work in Scrivener and not Word, but I don’t think it’s really possible due to formatting issues. See : In that thread a possible solution is devised, but one that seems hard to fathom given how many documents have complex formatting (footnotes, indexes, tables, figures, cross-references, headings) that Scrivener may import badly.

If I send a large document to someone who edits in Word, and I get corrections back, and I import them in Word, what will happen? If they are commented corrections–the insert comments capabilities of Word–how will they import in Scrivener?

It seems like there are two solutions. One: You work in Scrivener to get to a final draft for submission and then work in Word to do revisions. Two: You work in Scrivener and put the revisions you need to do in Word and put them both on your screen side by side and make corrections.

Is there a more elegant solution?

Not really. The problem is this problem itself. It’s horrendously complicated at the technology level—and involves portions of a solution which require reverse engineering Microsoft’s ever changing formats—and working with file formats that are fundamentally incapable of atomic awareness. They can have atomic awareness of reader-level sectioning, for example the outline mode in Word—but that’s it, and Scrivener’s atomic awareness is completely arbitrary. You can have a single section split up into eight pieces in your Binder. In Scrivener those are the atomic pieces, the pieces you don’t break down any further—however in the book (and thus, in Word, since it is output biased WYSIWYG) the atomic related piece is the entire section. That fundamental disconnect between programs means you need some way of delineating sub-atomic sections in Word, but there is no such cookie. If you break something up in Word, it becomes a book level organisational feature.

So you can see how this is a tangled mess. Scrivener is author-focussed software. Its outline is not publishing-focussed in its implementation, but is rather designed to make your job easier. In a program that is designed to publish documents, all of its outlining is focussed on what the reader benefits from, not you. So how do you sync between these two systems? Even at this broad conceptual level it is a mess, and so you can only imagine the technological hurdles involved in actually coding for this.

To be fair that solution is better suited for simpler documents like biographies or novels. Naturally, documents that are structurally complex like this which use features that are not easily mapped between formats, it’s not going to work.

The comments will come in. You might need to open their file in Word and save it out as an RTF to do so, but you can import Word comments via RTF. If you have your Import/Export settings set up to import them as linked comments in the Inspector, then you’ll get a nice tidy list of all their notes in the sidebar. Click on them to jump to them. It’s actually not that bad of a workflow, and is one of the advantages of Scrivener’s comment system. They are not obscured by the distance of pages like they are in Word.

Mapping the comment location to your Scrivener outline is the more difficult part, but nothing too demanding, considering how set up Scrivener already is for finding pieces of prose with ease.

Thanks for the reply…I just wish EVERYONE used Scrivener, like those editing my work. Imagine a Scrivener hegemony à la Word. I sense a coup d’état!

Wow, this is great. Are those settings the same as “Import comments as inline annotations” under Import/Export ?

Yes, by implication those should be turned off, I wasn’t totally clear on that. Inline notes are different in that they appear in the text itself rather than in the sidebar. So they have a different usage pattern; and some people prefer them to linked comments, hence the option.