Export files with colon in title to word


I’m on an intel mac.
I’ve found a problem with exporting documents from scrivener to .doc and .docx when there is a “:” in the document title.

To see what I mean,

  1. Open the scrivener tutorial file

  2. Select a handful of documents containing a colon (eg. Step 2: Header View through to Step 6: End of Part One)

  3. File>Export>Files…

  4. Select a location

  5. Select either of the Microsoft Word formats (both produce the same result)

  6. Click export

  7. Locate the exported files in Finder. The “:” will be displayed as a “/” in the file name

  8. Attempt to open one in Word 2011. The following error will occur (see attachment)

  9. Change the file name to remove the “/”.

  10. Open the file in word again. It should work perfectly.

I’m not sure if Scrivener is replacing the colon for a slash on the export or if that is just the way Finder is displaying the colon. (The error generated by Word displays a colon in the filename).

I have not tried this with every file extension in the export menu, but I did try .odt; the colon was again displayed as a slash in Finder but TextEdit had no problems opening the file.

I think you just need to find a suitable character to replace the colon with if present in a document name on export so that it doesn’t cause a fuss in any other programs.
word error example.jpg


This is actually much tougher than it sounds. While it may indeed be a good idea to remove colons (it’s the Finder that replaces them with a forward slash), which characters are allowed and valid depend on the file system used. Moreover, Word disallows characters that the rest of OS X is happy with - for instance, having double-quotes in file names is fine throughout OS X, but Word will refuse to open such files. I will remove colons though, as that is a good idea.

All the best,