Converting underlined text

I have a rather odd need – I’m writing a screenplay in Scrivener, and then compiling to plain text (not RTF*). What I would very much like to do is underline text in Scrivener, then at the point of compilation, strip out that formatting and replace it with underscores flanking the text like so. I realize this is probably beyond Scrivener’s capabilities, but thought I’d ask here to see if any gurus had a workaround. If not, I’ll simply write the underscores in myself and export it as is.

[size=85]*The reason I’m not using RTF: My pro screenwriting app, Movie Magic Screenwriter, imports from RTF… badly. The elegant, compact RTFs created by Scrivener (and Pages, and TextEdit) have weird glitches, not least of which is underlining. The bloated, incomprehensible RTFs created by Word, of course, work fine. But I don’t own my own copy of Word, nor would I want to launch it as an intermediary format in the first place. Argh.[/size]

I can’t think of a way to do that unfortunately. You can convert underscores to italics (and vice versa) with the compiler, but there are no options for searching for a specific type of formatting and then inserting characters around that range of text.

P.S. For MMS, check out the “Plain Text Screenplay (Celtx, Movie Magic)” compile preset, from the Format As menu. That should set things up so that you can transfer a screenplay into MMS without too much fury.

One thing you could try is exporting to Fountain format, which is a plain text script format. This adds underscores around underlined areas, as that is part of the Fountain specs. I just tried importing a Fountain file (you’ll need to change the extension to .txt, get rid of any meta-data from the “Meta-Data” pane of Compile, and turn off all of the options under “Sections and Synopses” in the “Script Settings” pane) into Movie Magic, and it came across nearly perfectly. The only thing that didn’t work very well was Transitions, which were only recognised as Action and had a “>” before them (which is part of the Fountain spec, but maybe they wouldn’t be too difficult to clean up as you could search for “>” in MMS and convert those elements to Transition manually.

As Ioa says, the “Plain Text Screenplay” Compile format is set up to work well with Movie Magic, although that doesn’t support underlines and such.

All the best,
Keith