I have been trying to compile and export a Scrivener document into a program I can actually format. No matter where I choose to save it, it always saves it as a “TextEdit” version which means that I can’t add any formatting at all. I’ve purchased Nisus Writer Pro but can find nowhere in the compile or export process to have it exported into Nisus and can’t find any way to save those text edit versions into Nisus either. What am I missing? I’m so confused.
This comes down to how files and applications are handled on your Mac. File formats are protocols, basically. A set of instructions that applications can be programmed to understand. Nisus understands RTF files very well, for example. However all by itself, it is just an RTF file, a set of instructions for a program to load and interpret how it will.
The second ingredient in this equation is the operating system. It can be set up to establish whether files should be “associated” with one application or another. You can say: treat all JPEG files as belonging to Acorn, instead of Preview, and from that point on whenever you double-click on a JPEG file it will open in Acorn instead of Preview.
Your Mac is shipped with a bunch of defaults, most of which point back to the basic programs that come for free on your Mac, like TextEdit. If you wish to use another program to handle RTF files, you need to tell the Mac that this is what you want. It isn’t something that you would tell Scrivener to do, because all it does is make the RTF file and save it, as described above, as a series of instructions in a file on your disk. It leaves the finer details of how the file should be opened up to your Mac, and ultimately you, once you know how to control it.
To tell your Mac that you want to open RTF files in Nisus, all you need to do is select any RTF file you can find—it doesn’t matter which one—and use the
[b]File/Get Info[/b] menu command. This will open a palette for the file with a bunch of details. Look for a section called “Open With”, and click the little arrow beside it if necessary to expand it. It should say “TextEdit” in a drop-down menu. Use this menu to select Nisus Writer Pro. Now that one file will always open in Nisus Writer Pro. The rest will still use TextEdit. To fix that, click the
[b]Change All...[/b] button right below. You will be asked for confirmation, do so, and a few seconds later all RTFs on your computer will now be set to open in Nisus when you double-click on them, and any new RTF files will open in Nisus as well. It will stay this way until you (or a program you install, in some cases) change it.
So as you can see, on a Mac you can have two kinds of association. There is a default association that all file types have, and then you can set up individual associations for each file if you wish.
Additionally, there are three ways to temporarily override either forms of default described above.
- You can drag and drop any file onto a program’s application icon in the Dock (or anywhere else you can see that icon). If the file type is something the program recognises, it will let you do this
- From that application itself, use its
[b]File/Open...[/b](or similar) command to select the file with a browser and open it. This varies depending on the application
- Lastly, click on the file in Finder once, and then use the
[b]File/Open With/[/b]sub-menu to choose an application to open it with.
All three of those methods are temporary. They will not change the default, and will only open the file that one time in the selected application. So it is useful if you just want to view something in Nisus once.
Thank you SO much. That is incredibly helpful! I’m new to Macs and really need to get myself a manual and then use it–for dummies, probably. I’m going to try to change the RTF association now. Thanks again!
That worked like a charm. So appreciate the time it took you to write that all out for me, AmberV.
You’re welcome! You might want to check out the “Take Control” series of books. They have a number of e-books on how to use the Mac, and they also have one for Scrivener, too, which you can even pick up from our store.