Converting to .doc and Loss of Paragraph Indent

In the previous version of Scrivener, I had no problem converting to .doc format. Now I compile into .rtf as suggested by the program. Then I Save As a .doc document. That used to work. With the new update, some of the paragraph indents are preserved (at the beginning of the document) but then they disappear later on. I’m about to submit to agents and I think the .doc format is preferred. Any way to get around the loss of formatting?

Are you sure you’re not saving to .docx instead? If you are definitely exporting to .doc, then ensure that the Import & Export preferences have “Microsoft .doc export” set to “Export as RTF-based .doc file”. If you don’t have it set like that, then Scrivener will use OS X’s standard .doc exporter (which is what it uses for .docx files), and and the standard OS X exporter is buggy and strips line spacing and paragraph indents (as in TextEdit). Scrivener has always used RTF-based .doc export to avoid this.

All the best,

Thanks, Keith! :smiley:

Glad it helped!

Hi - I believe I’m having the same issue, but I don’t understand how to fix it (sorry if this has already been covered!). I’m trying to compile and export my Scrivener draft to a .doc or .docx file - but when I do this, exporting first into .RTF and then into .Doc/.docx, all my indentations are stripped. I know I’m missing a step but I don’t know what.

Can you help?

Thank you!


Hi Emily,

Can you explain exactly what you have tried? Basically the OS X .docx exporter has this problem, as does the default .doc exporter, although Scrivener normally exports .doc using RTF “under the hood”, so .doc should be fine. So you should just need to choose “RTF (Word Compatible)” from the “Compile For” list in the Compile panel, and then open the resulting RTF file in your word processor of choice. What word processor are you using? Also, are you overriding the formatting at all in the “Formatting” pane of Compile?

All the best,

Hi, Keith - Thanks for your quick response. Maybe I don’t know where the “Compile For” panel is - when I’m doing “Compile Draft” I see only an “Export Format” drop-down? And there’s an option for RTF but not for RTF compatible with .doc. After I get it to an RTF file, when I try to open that it appears in “Text Edit” - but still looks okay, indent-wise. The problem is when I try to “Save as” from that RTF, either into .doc or .docx, it strips the indentation.

I’m sorry this is so muddled - I’ve figured this out before (with your help, I believe!), but for some reason I can’t get it straight now.

Oh, and I use Microsoft Word as my word processing program.

Thanks for your help -


Hi Emily,

Are you running Scrivener 1.54 or 2.0? It’s called “Compile For” in 2.0, so it sounds as though you are still on 1.x.

However, the problem is that you are opening the RTF file in TextEdit - TextEdit uses the same .doc and .docx exporters as Scrivener (or rather, Scrivener uses the same .doc and .docx exporters as TextEdit) - the standard OS X ones. So if you save a .doc or .docx file from TextEdit, all indents will be stripped.

Instead, what you want to do is open your word processor of choice - Word or whatever - and then go to File > Open… and select the RTF file. When you double-click on an RTF file in the Finder, it will open by default in TextEdit, but Word, Nisus, OpenOffice and so on can all open RTF files, you just need to open the program first and use File > Open to open the RTF file. After that, you can Save As from Word, Nisus or OpenOffice to save as a .doc or .docx if need be - just not from TextEdit.

Hope that helps!

All the best,

Hi, Keith - That worked! Opening the RTF file through MSword solved the indent problem - it’s clearly a TextEdit issue. Thank you!!

The weird thing is, I thought I had updated Scrivener but it does seem I’m still using the 1.50 version - was there an update to that I might have done semi-recently? I guess I missed that I need to update again.

I’m at the end of a novel draft so I’m nervous about losing my files while updating…any tips or tricks to ensure that doesn’t happen??

Many thanks - I truly love your program and it’s been so great for me working on this novel (my second!) using it.


The upgrade you are missing is a fairly major one, up to 2.0.4. It’s a paid upgrade ($25 for existing users). Since you are close to the end of a project, you might just want to hold off for now just to keep your environment familiar. Deadlines are no time to be messing with new versions. If you do want to play, or even consider upgrading now, you can download the application from the main web page. It’s safe to run both versions at once, they use their own preferences. What you’ll want to do is rename your current version to “Scrivener Old” or something, so that when you install the new one you don’t lose it.

Projects you want to work on will need to be ugpraded. This is important. The new version can update old projects, but the old version can not read an upgraded project. As part of the upgrade process, it will create a backup in the old version for you, so this procedure is pretty safe (I recommend making your own backups first, though), but if you open up the new one and start working in that, it’ll be a bit of a pain to go back to the old one if you decide to not upgrade. So either upgrade with the full intention of moving forward, or stick to playing with the tutorial and starting new projects, and keep the current WIP in 1.x.

As always, the new version will have a 30-days of use trial, so you’ll have plenty of time to make a decision.

Thanks, AmberV. I really appreciate your help. I think the new version looks awesome (I’m esp excited about the page view feature), and I’ve just purchased.

I’ve backed up my WIP both as .scriv files and a .docx - and now, when I begin to install the new version, it’s asking me this:

An older item named “Scrivener” already exists in this location. Do you want to replace it with the newer one you’re moving?

Do I want to replace? I guess I do, in order to update my project into the new version. But I just want to be sure. I don’t think I want to run two versions of Scrivener - I’m not really computer savvy, and I think that would just confuse me. So I just wanted to check before I do anything irrevocable.

Thank you for help and advice!


Hi Emily,

Thanks for upgrading to 2.0! Yes, just choose to replace, and that will overwrite your old version of Scrivener with the new one. It won’t affect your project, just Scrivener itself - your project will be updated when you launch Scrivener and open the project. Just double-check that you have backed up the project safely before updating your project - updating shouldn’t cause any problems, but there’s always a small risk when updating files in any program, so it’s always best to be on the safe side when updating a valuable writing project.

Thanks and all the best,