Exporting APA to Word

Hi all,

I’m hoping you’ll be able to assist, as I’ve been trying everything in the book.

I’m trying to use Scrivener to retool my dissertation. I need to be able to compile drafts to send to advisors…but will be able to quickly go back and revise sections needed. The trouble is that no matter what the settings are…when I compile the paper and send it out to .docx or .doc…it is all messed up. The lines are not double spaced, headings are all over the place. I think I can figure out how to add in correctly formatted tables…but the double spacing is a deal breaker.

I want to continue to use the tool…but may not be able to.

Thanks again,

Hi Ian,

The best format to use for exporting to Word is RTF. .doc should be fine too, but if you have problems with that then stick to RTF. The .docx exporter is the standard Apple one used by TextEdit, and when you export to that format you should see a warning about how some formatting may be lost. All versions of MS Word fully support RTF, and RTF maintains all formatting. If you have any issues when exporting to RTF, then you need to look at your Compile settings.

All the best,

I am writing my psychology thesis (hence I use APA style) in Scrivener and regularly export documents to Word for review by my supervisors. The thing to remember is you can write in whatever style you want and then set up compile to export it in the correct way. Having said that, however, I am now editing in APA style (double spaced, bold headings, etc) and have set up my compile to leave all styles alone.

I recommend that, after exporting to RTF, you open the resultant file in Word and then re-save in .docx - it takes all of 5 seconds. You will get better results and can do more with the final document than RTF will allow.

Oh Goodness…

Thank you nom and KB…that worked. I also have been typing it double spaced, trying to keep the formatting the same style. I compiled to RTF and it actually “looks” the way it should. I now can play with the tables, citations, titles and such to get them to fit in as well…and then my anxiety will (should) be relieved.

Thanks again,

Some additional advice:
(1) Leave formatting your tables until you compile into Word. The OS X text system, which Scrivener uses, is not good with tables unless they are very basic (& if you have to use APA style then they won’t be basic).

(2) If you change your fonts slightly for different levels of heading (using a unique size or typeface for each level - you can set these up using Scrivener’s formatting presets) then when you compile into Word you can search for text with the specific formatting of each heading level and change it to a Style (and you can subsequently change the style back to the same typeface or point size). Using Styles for your headings then makes constructing your Table of Contents a two minute (and subsequently self-adjusting) job instead of a day of pain. I didn’t do this (use different typefaces for different heading levels) so had to change the styles manually. It still only took an hour instead of a day, but thought I’d pass on what I learned. :slight_smile:

Good luck!

Hi Nom…

I was just about to come back and ask about formatting of tables. The amount of time I’ll spend editing and building tables…and setting them up properly in Word…will for the most part have to be redone every time I go back and forth on revisions with my advisor.

I don’t think I’ll be able to use Scrivener for this reason. I love being able to chuck all the sections of the paper and focus on the smaller elements. But, because of needing to get everything perfect for every week…I don’t think I can use Scrivener just yet.


One of things to remember is that everything doesn’t have to be perfect every time. Remember that these are drafts.

Importing tables from Word into Scriv generally works OK, but if you really have to have tables that are perfect every time during your drafting process, then place them all together at the end of your document (which, technically, is proper APA style anyway, even if it is discouraged for theses and dissertations) for now. A 10 second cut & paste between docs each round of emails is all that it would take to include them. When you preparing your final drafts you can then move them into place within your thesis/dissertation - at that stage you will be working almost exclusively in Word anyway. In the meantime, keep editing the rest of your paper in Scrivener.

I tell my supervisors (Australian equivalent of advisors) that I don’t use Word for my drafts and hence some of the formatting, especially in tables, may not be correct. Where necessary, I flag this for them with comments (e.g. “This table will be reformatted in APA style prior to the final draft” or “I can send APA formatted version of this table if required” or “The version of this table that you approved will be used for submission - this version is for draft purposes only”).

In my case, I sent a complete draft to my supervisors in near submission format (tables fixed, spacing correct, Styles used for APA formatted headings, etc). I then re-imported their comments into Scrivener (save as RTF in Word, then drag the file into Scriv) for further editing. The only issue I had was with EndNote citations (I’ll save that story for another time). However, the time I save by editing in Scrivener, especially when it involves structural work, far exceeds the time I spend in importing/exporting and redoing styles and tables (which I won’t do again until I prepare my submission version in a couple of weeks). By that time, all the structural changes should be done and only minor proofreading corrections will be required. I’m happy to do those within Word.