Export documents with tables to doc, docx, odt, rtf

Hi everyone,

so far, I’ve used Scrivener for organising projects of different types and rarely for writing (except for non-fiction stuff and a few screenplays).

Now I wanted to switch to Scrivener for my lesson preparation. I usually fill in tables in LibreOffice, save them for further editing and co-operation with my colleagues, and export them as PDFs for quick reference during the lesson (via an iPad mini on my desk).

I would like to have complete lesson units organised in Scrivener, so I figured I could set up the table in Scrivener, fill it in, export as .doc / .odt for further editing or handing it over to my colleagues and save PDFs for my own reference.

Well, everything works except for the export. The files that Scrivener saves are unusable: the table is much smaller than the (correctly exported) margin settings, and the columns are evenly distributed instead of showing the exact widths I set up in Scrivener. This happens with whatever format I export and in whatever word processor I open these files: no matter if I export to .rtf, .doc, .docx, or .odt - the problem stays the same. I attached two screenshots: one from Scrivener, one from the export result in LibreOffice (same when opened in Word for Mac or Apple Preview).

Is it something I do wrong? I guess there must be thousands of non-fiction writers who handle tables in Scrivener and at some point have to export them to a word processor for final formatting. I never heard of these problems, but for them, it would be impossible to set up and export any tables in Scrivener at all, wouldn’t it?

Any ideas on what I could do?

Thanks and best regards,



Now that Scrivener iOS is out, maybe someone can help me with this one. I would have thought that tables are extremely common in scientific / academic writing?! Doesn’t anybody ever export them to .doc / .docx /.odt / .rtf and stumbles upon this issue? For the intended workflow, it’s a bit of a deal breaker for me. Nothing dramatic but strange.

Any ideas?

Best regards,


Actually it’s not strange at all. If you trawl through the forums, you’ll find that the question of tables has come up time and time again and the answer is given.

Scrivener uses the pretty basic table code provided by Apple’s TextKit. Word and Pages both use proprietary text engines, as does Mellel on the Mac. Keith has said on various occasions that while he knows that tables in Scrivener do not cut the mustard, he and Lit&Lat do not have the resources to write not only their own table-generating code, but also all the import and export code that would allow seamless movement between Scrivener and .doc/.docx, .odt, .rtf as used by Nisus, and perhaps other formats that people will complain of not being supported.

Scrivener was never intended to be the final solution; the intention has always been that it is a drafting tool and that final layout should be done in a program intended for that purpose, like Word, OpenOffice and clones, Nisus Writer Pro, Pages, Mellel, InDesign, etc.

Yes, it would be wonderful to be able to produce tables in Scrivener of the complexity of Word’s. Scrivener is 2½ coders over 2 platforms; Word has Microsoft’s legions.


Thank you, Mark.

Didn’t want to sound offensive. I know Scrivener for years now, I know the philosophy and the discussion around its layout capabilities. I actually searched the forums, but I wasn’t able to think of a concise search term : “table” wouldn’t get me results for my problem, at least not on the first few pages.

I just didn’t think that width of table columns could be any problem for Scrivener at all. Of course, I never heard of TextKit, but I would have thought it wouldn’t be a problem to export information on column width somehow. I would rather have thought that the colours might be a issue, but not the most basic parameters of a table.

Anyway, obviously gotta think of something else. Maybe just structure my lessons inside Scrivener, collect ideas etc. I even could live with the PDF export of those tables, but then, my job is based on co-operation, so I need to be able to give them colleagues editable documents. Maybe best to stick with LibreOffice when creating them.

Love Scrivener anyway. :wink:

Best regards,