I bought Scrivener with the intention of using it primarily as an Outliner. After a few months of working on the project, everything went awry. Literature and Latte claims (in their manual) that “you can create as many folders and files as you wish i the binder” and that the size of the project can be pretty large. Long story short, my entire project broke due to the fact that i’ve created a 600 mb size project using up to 17 headings. I’ve sent my project to Literarature and they couldn’t “unbreak” whatever the issues were. They told me that the app wasn’t intended to be used as an outliner…THE MANUAL CLEARLY MISREPRESENTS THAT INFORMATION and it’s such a shame.

Anyways, I need to export (folder structure end result on iMac) the entire binder and keep the hierarchy intact. However, Scrivener binder titles are both in files and folder format; when exporting as .rftd to extract the outline it will group all of Scrivener’s binder grouped folders into iMAC grouped folders but not Scrivener’s binder grouped files (obviously there is no way of nesting .rtfd files in macOS. Now, of course I can right click -> convert files to folders in the binder but considering I have thousands of groups, it would take forever to do. Scrivener does not allow to select everything and convert to on type of format if the selection contains both types at the same time. I would greatly appreciate if someone could advice if there is a way to accomplish this so I can actually use an app that can accomplish my needs. Maybe some scripts that could allow more complex exporting? I apologize for my tone but it has been a very long and frustrating situation for me.
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You do understand that the Binder is not really a file structure? The ”folders” are not folders in the way you have folders in a file structure in an operating system. They are essentially the same kind of text documents that every other text document in a project is, which can contain text in themselves and no subfolders/text documents if you don’t want them to. The ”folder”thing is essentially only a graphical illustration, an icon, for clarity and to assist in the compile function. Everything you see in the Binder is an .rtf file, nothing else.

In what way did the project break down? Are you unable to compile it?

A side note: the manual says ”as many folders and files as you wish” not as many levels as you wish. Whoever heard of a book with 17 hierarchial levels of chapters and sub-chapters? Scrivener is ”for writers” according to the homepage of their web site.

I can’t find your emails in our support CMS, so I can’t see what we’ve already tried (what title did you give to the email you sent us, so that I can look it up?). But Scrivener can be used as an outliner - one of its core features is the outliner, after all - so I’m not sure why you would have been told that. I don’t know why Scrivener would break a project in any way in so using it, either - that definitely shouldn’t happen.

You can select multiple files in the binder and convert them to folders at once, though, so you don’t need to select each individually.


Considering the theme of the topic, you begin your reply - in your very first phrase - with an instructional tone; I did not ask what the difference is between files and folders in Scrivener and that’s evident by the lack of understanding you’ve extracted from my post. To answer your question, yes i do understand there is no difference between folders and files in scrivener besides different layout view options. However, when you export as files on your Mac, the finder properly keeps the outline structure from scrivener only and only if all the titles are folder titles. For instance, consider the following structure in the binder: Title “X” has subtitle A with sub-subtitle A1 and sub-sub-subtitle A2 , if the binder titles and all of its subtitles are folders than it will keep that hierarchical structure when exporting to mac. on the other hand, if the binder titles and all of its subtitles are files than the export will have a flat structure, no grouping just a list of linear items. You could have done a simple test to figure that out. Also, the folder might function as merely an icon in scrivener for the purpose of compiling but i can assure you it is converted to a folder on a mac (recall that a folder keeps structure a file does not).

“Whoever heard of a book with 17 hierarchial levels of chapters and sub-chapters? Scrivener is ”for writers” according to the homepage of their web site.” … I’ve never mentioned that I was writing a book and I specified that I was using Scrivener primarily as an outliner. And just because you can’t comprehend the methods of deep level hierarchical structure and why someone would use it, doesn’t give you the right to “charade” your opinions without making a fool of yourself. I spent a week without Latte’s ability to unbreak my project, I accepted my faith (a faith of wasted money on the app, months of of learning the app, more time and money on a new app) and come back o the forum to ask (with a reasonable amount of frustration) a simple question on how to convert multiple files to folders without having to go through tens of thousand of individual conversion and I get this idiotic response from you?!! wtf


I’ve first raised this issue on the forum and i believe the topic was “OUT OF MEMORY INTERNAL ERROR” on July 25th. and on the tech support resource page with the topic of “PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS” maybe on July 28th? I was in contact with Jeff ( and his team told me that they couldn’t do anything and the reason being, Scrivener wasn’t made to function as an outliner. Either way, I am passed trying to figure that out. If anyone can just give me an answer to the initial post I will be content.

The Export function does keep the Binder hierarchy intact - including the correct hierarchy structure for Scrivener container documents. So, there would be no reason (as far as that goes) to convert Scriv container docs to Scriv folder docs before Export.

So, I guess I am not yet clear what the problem is that you are facing. What am I not getting?

BTW, could you show us a snapshot of the Binder area of your source project that produced that export snapshot you gave us? Might help us see how to help.


Details: When I select any folder in the Binder and choose Export > Files, the result is a nested set of folders and files on my Mac where folders in the Binder have been converted to MacOS folders and docs in the Binder have been converted to rtf files in MacOS and the hierarchy is intact. Container documents convert to a container folder in MacOS. (Any containers folders or container docs in Scriv that also have body text will, in addition to being represented by a folder upon export will also produce a like-named contained rtf doc within that folder which has the body text in it.)

I have just exported my entire novel from Scrivener to the Finder desktop. There is a single folder there with “Manuscript” as the title, and within it, all the Scrivener “folders” are real folders, with some further folders, and a whole load of text files within them. The only difference between what I got as an export, and the project in Scrivener, is that the export is sorted according to the current Finder default (Name) and not how it’s sequenced in Scrivener (which is a manual sequence entirely within my control; one of the great strengths of Scrivener.)

I admit that I don’t use Scrivener primarily as an outliner, but I COULD if I wanted to, using its Outliner feature. Do be aware that the Binder and Outline features are not the same, nor are they intended to be.

Perhaps you could let us know exactly what you did prior to exporting?

I realize this is a really old topic but I seem to be having basically the same problem.

From this structure - if I select just the folder - Part 1 Writing on the Wall and export files as:

I get the following output:

(continued - next post - can’t add anymore images)

this selection for export:


Which is better than last time - where it produced empty folders - and all of the documents in the root folder (exports). This time - only the first folder was empty and the files were created in the same (exports) folder.

You’ll notice i’ve numbered the scenes in chapter one 01-x so that they sort correctly. They don’t seem to be created in order or at least the timestamp doesn’t have sufficient resolution to order them correctly.

I can’t seem to get consistent results with this - I’m unsure why. Recent OS update maybe?

In any case - the goal is to create individual (and preferably ordered) files so that I can drag them through MS word - then into Grammarly - because my grammar just needs that much help. - When it’s been through both of those - I import it back into Scrivener - sadly, it looks like I’ll have to continue to do it one file at a time. Unless I’m missing something?

I suspect this is what comes of using a tool for something it wasn’t really intended to do.

The output you have shown us so far reflects exactly the structure of the Binder you showed us.

I notice that your first folder has its own textual content (note the difference in the icon) – and this folder body text will get exported as a new file inside the corresponding Finder folder. We can see from the screengrabs that that has worked correctly too. (You did not show use that particular Binder folder twiddled open but judging by the results you got, I would say that folder has no documents inside it.)

You noted that the files that are exported within a folder don’t necessarily preserve their order in the Finder, but just get ordered in the ways Finder folders order things. That definitely happens. So, when you say you say you ar having the exact same problem, I guess you just mean that?