Daunting task of converting a very long text in RTF format to a Scrivener project with multiple documents


I have a long text in RTF format which I want to convert to a Scrivener project with multiple documents.

I have been using Scrivener Mac OS (now Monterey) for many years.

The objective of this post is to ask forum members if have any suggestions to make the process as quick and painless as possible.

I could create a series of documents, into which I would paste sections of text from the main document but that would be rather tedious.

Take the text below. Let’s say that I want to extract the paragraphs numbered 1 to 3, cut (delete) them from the main document, and create 3 sub-documents containing each respective paragraph, to which I would add a title. Adding the title is simple and not part of my problem.

What is the most efficient way to do so ?

thanks very much for your time and help

Hi :slight_smile:

You can use :
(Windows screenshot and shortcuts)

if you want to manage the splits manually. (Say you have some documents you wish to hold more content than others – nothing systematic.)

Else, there is likely an automatic way to split the whole thing as documents at once.
(That I can’t help you with though – I’ve never done it.)

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Hello dorindon. You have a couple of ways you could approach this.

You could add hash marks before each paragraph that you’d like to turn into a separate document and then use the File > Import > Import and Split command. Scrivener can look for those markers and use them to create a document break. §9.1.6 of the Scrivener manual provides more on this approach. You can access a PDF of the manual via Scrivener’s Help menu.

Or, as Vincent_Vincent says, you can use the Documents > Split commands. §15.4.1 of the manual provides additional information about those options.

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Well then: Say you want to systematically split all paragraphs to their own document.

Have Scrivener replace ¶ with ¶#, then run the auto-split operation.
(That should work. @RuthS ?)

[EDIT] Hmm… looks like the file needs not to be already in the project…
Nevermind then, I guess.

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If the material is already in Scrivener, then adding hash marks won’t work.

It’s something Scrivener can look for when importing RTFs or .docx files. Often, those documents will have have chapter headings to break up the document and use hash marks as scene breaks within a chapter.

If those indicators are already in the file that’s being imported, Scrivener’s importer and converter tools can scan the document for those markers and use them to split the text into different documents in the binder.

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Well, now that I think of it:

Perhaps one could add the #s, or use auto-replace (¶ for ¶#), in Scrivener…
then export or compile the file to a new RTF file…
then import/auto-split the new file.
(And then move the original to the trash, to avoid confusion.)

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Another approach would be to make use of drag and drop, with the Delete text dragged to other areas setting enabled, in the Behaviors: Folders & Files preference pane. This setting was specifically designed for this kind of ad hoc rapid splitting up of a longer document into multiple items. The trick is that if you drag and drop the text into the binder between items, or onto folders, then it will create a new item from that snippet of text, as well as removing it from the original.

So it’s like split, but without split having to be a linear top to bottom operation that breaks up the original text. You can pull out pieces from here or there as you go through, and you can file them wherever you want in the binder.

Maybe it’s not the entire solution, but it’s another tool you have available to use where it makes sense to.

Now if the idea is truly to break every paragraph up into separate items, I agree with the above tactic about using a text editor to insert a separator string between each paragraph, and then use import and split. That will save you lots of time, and it doesn’t really matter too much if you need to export and then re-import to do it.


That’s great.
Can’t wait to have this implemented in the Windows’ version. :wink:


What I just described as a workflow was in fact added to 3.1.2! What hasn’t been added yet is the checkbox that turns it off. :slight_smile: Right now all drag and drop moves the text rather than copying it, and that is the bigger thing that was changed from how it worked before.

We got most of the setting implemented, but it still had some rough edges, so the setting will come later. We felt that more people would benefit from it working this way than as a copy action (it is by default turned on in the Mac version).


Was wondering how I managed to miss it in the changelog…
…the part of this new implementation where the text selection is automatically cut from the source document is not mentioned.

:slight_smile: Good to know.

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the perfect solution. thanks a million. The setting “delete text …” makes the difference