Exporting > Mellel

See hereunder a small report of an attempt to export a Scrivener document into Mellel (2.1.1).

I created a Scrivener document with some footnotes, some annotations, some notes, some highlighting.

I then exported this document to RTF, with the option “export notes” enabled. The first thing I noted, was that while the document itself was indeed converted into RTF, the notes were instead converted into RTFD.

When I opened the RTF-document, the only thing I saw was the highlighting. Footnotes and annotations had disappeared completely.

The RTFD-document did indeed contain the notes that should be there.

I then tried to import the RTF-document into Mellel. What I got was a Mellel-document not only without highlighting (as could be expected), but also without annotations. The footnotes however were there, as footnotes: in the text itself they were represented by simple reference numbers, without square brackets or something the like.

Importing the RTFD notes into Mellel turned out to be impossible, as perhaps could be expected.

Did others get identical results when doing what I tried to do? Or did I miss something?

Finally, two short remarks:

  1. I find the qualification “footnotes” in Scrivener rather confusing, because in Scrivener they are not footnotes. Wouldn’t it be better to call them just “notes”, and to change the qualification of the present “notes” into “comments”?

  2. Would it be theoretically (and practically!) possible to realize a direct conversion of Scrivener documents into the Mellel XML-format, without the intermediate RTF-step? Given the fact that Mellel can generate any desired number of footnote streams, it would be beautiful if some kind of conversion mechanism could transform Scrivener’s footnotes into a Mellel footnote stream number 1, Scrivener’s annotations into a Mellel footnote stream number 2, and perhaps even Scriveners’s notes into a Mellel footnote which belongs to a third stream.

Anyway, it seems to me that the whole topic of conversion still commands our lively attention.


I’m not sure what the problem is for you, but RTF conversion works as expected, and imports into Mellel just fine.

If you select the RTF export option, footnotes will be converted to true RTF footnotes. Any other option will just convert them internally to normal text, by plonking them at the end of the document and using the square brackets. By “true” RTF footnotes, I mean footnotes in the RTF format, using RTF tags as defined by the RTF format published by Microsoft.

The trouble here is that Apple’s support for the RTF format is somewhat shoddy. Their default RTF importers and exporters do not support RTF footnotes, comments or images. So I wrote my own code that inserts RTF footnotes, comments and images directly into the created RTF stream on export.

This means any program that just uses Apple’s default RTF importers (TextEdit etc) will not be able to the read footnotes, comments or images in an RTF file created by Scrivener. But by the same token, if you use TextEdit or another such program to open an RTF file created by Mellel, Nisus or Word, the footnotes, images and comments will also be lost. This is a problem with the default Apple importers, not the RTF file itself.

Also, if you check “Export annotations as RTF comments” when exporting to RTF, the annotations will be converted to RTF-formatted comments. The only program I know of that can read these comments is Microsoft Word. I believe Mellel have it on their list to support this RTF feature at some point; I don’t know about Nisus. So again, if you check this option, unless you open the RTF in Word, you will not be able to see these comments.

“Footnotes” are called “footnotes” in Scrivener, even though they are not represented as such visually, because this is exactly how they will be exported - as footnotes or endnotes. They are not the same thing as annotations, so “notes” would be confusing.

I won’t be supporting Mellel-XML format, as that would be a lot of work (I’d have to write my own parser and formatter), and the RTF exporter works fine.

The main problem here is the vast difference between various programs in their support of the various RTF features, and also the current lack of documentation in Scrivener to bring this to people’s attention.

Thanks and all the best,

Thanks, Keith! That makes it all much clearer (though unfortunately not always much easier … …)

I agree that it doesn’t make it easier. :slight_smile: Please do use bugreport.apple.com to ask Apple to improve their RTF support. I really do think that they should at least support images and footnotes in RTF. They have some amazing engineers working on the text sysem, so it’s just a matter of convincing them that it’s worth their time. Windows developers get this for free; we get a lot more for free (QuickTime, web views etc), but having better RTF support would make things easier for both developers and users.
All the best,

I have made a first attempt at importing a Scrivener document into Mellel. My attempt went as follows:

I exported a draft from Scrivener (using MMD) to HTML.

Then I wrote a very short test document in Mellel. I saved that and opened the resulting file (Show Package Contents->and double-click on the resulting file to unzip it).

I noticed that the resulting XML-file had a lot of stuff that was concerned with the format, so I skipped that and looked for the conten insteadt. After a little bit of experimenting, I figured out that the markup was indeed similar to XML as we know it, it just needed a little translating, for example:











I substituted these tags by a series of global ‘find and replace’ actions.

Then I copied and pasted the text from my Scrivener-produced HTML-file into the Mellel file, saved (without) bothering to compress it and…

Mellel could read it!

So basically, all we need is a somewhat adjusted XSLT file and we’re good to go! Although I haven’t yet figured out how to do that. I could use some help there, but I will continue trying anyhow!