Export to Mellel


I am a new user of Scrivener and I really like it but I do have a problem.

Just started my first project with Scrivener, the only thing that drives me away is that there is no useful export mechanism to Mellel, which I use for layout and polishing.

I have been searching the board for Mellel related hints. Well, I did not find what I was looking for. Essentially my problem boils down to the fact that I use a lot of footnotes, and there is no easy way of getting them into Mellel. I tried a few workarounds involving export to RTF and text but none of them was satisfying.

I am not interested in maintaining the style I applied within Scrivener. Instead I would like to use the styles I defined in Mellel, and keep only the structure information, such as “this is a heading”, from Scrivener.

Since the format of Mellel is documented, it should be possible to write an exporter for it. Right?

I definitely would benefit from such a feature.

Best regards,

The more exporters, the better, that is without question. And personally, as both a Mellel and Scrivener user like you, I would benefit from it too.

But I am not sure if this has priority for Keith, being a one man army that he is. Or if it should be him at all that writes the exporter or if this should be done by the Redlers (twice as much manpower!).

I am not even sure if their text format is documented properly. I vaguely remember them asking in their forum about how this has to be done.

But maybe my memory is wrong about this, so don’t quote me about it! I have huge respect for the Redlers because they are trying what the biggest software company in the world hasn’t been able to do for over two decades. They are just two guys and they started from the scratch as the Apple text engine was of no use for what they were aiming at. This takes a lot of time, though we’d all want to have the big features right now.

But anyway – an exporter/importer of Mellel files is one thing, rtf import of Mellel is another. It was never good and under Leopard it got even worse!

For example, check out this thread in the Mellel support forum: http://forum.redlers.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1406&p=8633#p8633

It would be great if the Redlers could provide some kind of XSLT template for their file format. That would be really helpful. I have no idea what it takes to write a valid Mellel XML file. The format is documented, all right, but it still feels like reverse engineering if you want to go from an arbitrary XML format to Mellel. I came a cropper when I tried to create my own OPML-to-Mellel converter a little while ago (that was before the Redlers made their own OPML filter, so I finally gave up on my converter).

I believe it is the updated RTF writer that came with Leopard that was the efficient or immediate cause of the broken Scrivener → RTF → Mellel workflow. I’d guess the RTF is well-formed, and that it is a defect in the Mellel RTF reader that it cannot read character styles in the new Leopard format–but I’ll leave that to someone who is more of an RTF expert than I.

In the mean time, I have just included an additional “resave in Word” step to get the RTF into a form that Mellel will use.

Does anyone have experience with Nisus on this front?


I used Nisus for a 125 page document from Scrivener. It exported all right, but then it kept freezing when I was doing the final edits. Very alarming. I sent the file to Nisus support (twice) but have had no reply. So I gave up, went to Mellel - which I like using - but it’s a real nusiance having to sort out the formatting for a book length document. If anyone knows a non-tech way to make Scriv>Mellel>publisher work, I’d really appreciate it.

I’m not sure of the problems in exporting an RTF file to Mellel - if someone can send me a test Scrivener project that compiles an RTF file that will be broken in Mellel, I’d appreciate it.

As for writing an exporter to Mellel… They have the format up on the website, but this would be a big job. If I was going to write my own importer/exporter, I would start with one for Pages. However, I just don’t have the resources. Writing an importer/exporter that would parse the generated OS X text system’s text into the correct format would take weeks for one person. (Likewise for Pages.)

Honestly, I would love to provide direct import/export options to both Mellel and Pages, but without Apple or Mellel releasing NSAttributedString additions that include importers/exporters, I just won’t be able to do it. Sorry.


The problem seems to be not with Scrivener itself, but with Mellel’s ability to handle the new Leopard Cocoa RTF writer. The same problem occurs with TextEdit.

I’m sending you some example files.


Unfortunately the only workaround I know of right now for getting formatting in Mellel is to open the RTF in another program and then save it again. In particular, use a program that has its own non-Cocoa RTF generator, like Word or Nisus or maybe NeoOffice (I had some trouble with the latter as an RTF reader, but YMMV). It might take a few extra seconds but may be worthwhile to you so you can retain your formatting and continue to work in Mellel if that’s what you prefer.

Good news: I heard back from the developers of Mellel, and they said they are working on a fix for the RTF formatting loss for the next update.


Even better news: The update has arrived and looks really good!

I just did a quick test – italics, bold etc. are not flattened anymore.

Go here for immediate satisfaction:


After the Redlers updated the rtf im/exporter everything seemed okay but today I got a new issue:

If you export a Scrivener text with footnotes that contain just a link – not only an url but a real link – to Mellel these link-only notes will cause one or more words right after the footnote number in the text to be superscripted too!

When I watch the print version of the Scrivener file in Preview or open it in NeoOffice Writer there are no unwanted superscripted words in the text. This seems to indicate that it is not a Scrivener but a Mellel problem. But I’m not sure about that.