Hello Tech Support, I’m lost. I have done little with Scrivener so far, because I’m trying to final format 2 books to publish. I had imported one to Scrivener and ended up doing some rewriting. I am now trying out OpenOfficeWriter and tried to export it and try it out, as it has a compare function, and I want to track my changes. I’ve tried everything, and can’t get it out of Scrivener as a file to Documents, or right into OpenOfficeWriter. I’ve tried to export it, and compile it, and the most I’ve ended up with is a folder and individual file bits, but no book. I don’t believe I’m as stupid as this makes me feel. I guess I could be wrong though. I am wondering if it is because it’s classified as a project and not a file. If so, I need a way to easily move work back and forth, or in and out, however you want to classify it. Please Help.

Quite Sincerely,


If you want a single file, you need the Compile command. Export will, as you discovered, give you all the individual bits and pieces.

Go to File -> Compile -> Contents. You’ll be able to choose what elements of the project to include and what the destination format should be.


Katherine - I really don’t think I’m as stupid as this makes me feel. I cannot get my book out of Scrivener. I did as you said, I see no “Contents” options, unless you’re referring to when you have to select how to compile. I tried several different methods, selecting custom, pdf, and original, .doc, and others.
I either get pages of scrambled hieroglyphics, or 1 blank page. I’m getting quite fed up with it to tell you the truth. After going through the whole tutorial, I felt like it would be my primary writing program, but I’m now rethinking even buying after the trial. As impossible as it may seem, please make me smarter,… at least as far as this goes.

Almost fully cooked,… Goulash

There’s an arrow button to the very right of the “Format as:” drop-down list. Click that, and you’ll see many more options, including Contents.

Also, go to Formatting, and check the “override text and notes formatting”. This is in case your choice of fonts is the problem for Open Office.

Compile for Rich Text Format (RTF), if you haven’t tried that already. OO Writer can’t read PDF as far as I know, and the “.doc” file is actually .rtf inside, to trick MS Word into opening it up and converting to it’s native file format.

Thank you RG,
I hope it is as easy in the future as the program looks like it will be useful writing. I have been on the verge of giving it up, and I don’t EVER do that. I just can’t afford to have what is my most up to date, and ready to upload to publish copy, held hostage. If it doesn’t work, do you have a couple extra glasses of that? By the way, Open Office had a lot of PDF options, but I’m not sure what exactly they are, because that program is new too. I’m trying to avoid almost $300 for MS Office. Regardless,… thanks for the tip.

Goulash,… aka,… Gizmo49

PS. - Tell your brother Arlo, Goulash said “Hey”,… he’ll remember me. Come to think of it,… he may not remember anything that happened that year.

Pics or it didn’t happen. :wink:

Glad to see you’re back on track! Thanks for the helpful reply, RG.

I’m sorry your first experiences have been frustrating, Goulash. While lots of people do it, bringing an almost finished work into Scrivener is probably not the easiest way to start.

When you get a chance, it would be worth your while to go through the interactive tutorial, accessible from the Help menu. Scrivener is a slightly different way of working from a conventional word processor, and the tutorial can help you see how it might fit into your workflow.


The Compile dialogue is often the most vexing part of Scrivener. If you’re happy with it now that you found that little button, then the rest of it will indeed be a breeze. The introductory videos and the interactive tutorial are still something I would recommend, as they give you an idea of how to use or apply certain features that you may not discover on your own.

He says, “Hey,” back, but I think he thinks I’m the one saying ‘Hey’. Poor Arlo; they demanded Alice’s Restaurant one too many times. It was too much for him.

RG, That little arrow wasn’t the problem Bobby. I wore that arrow out. I haven’t been back there yet, it scares the hell out of me. It was the box just to the right of contents, who’s default is “draft.” Nothing ever changed the first few times I played with it. I was ready to “rain on your parade,” after you thought you solved my problems, until I said, “How many times have I said one more time for something stupid?” I thought I’ll give it one more, I don’t have the heart to tell them. BINGO! All three sections of my book, front matter, body, and the rear end, popped up, or pooped up, waiting for check marks. I never had that option before, and what bothers me, is I still don’t know how it happened. I’m afraid to say that your advice had already been tried, but I didn’t realize it until I went back. The way you and Katherine both helped, is I didn’t have the heart to tell you, your help with the Moron was for nothing. I’ll have to try it till I understand it, before I risk it again. I lost too much time, and hair. Thanks for your help though, and I hope Katherine sees this.


PS - I had an experience with the Draft Board every bit as memorable as Arlo’s, but ended up with an Honorable Discharge, and most of my schmucks,… I think.

As RG said, Compile can be one of the more frustrating parts of Scrivener. Partly because it is so powerful, but at the same time so different from the way most word processors work. And partly because, by definition, you really only need it when you’re almost done with the project.

My husband, who’s a software engineer, describes Scrivener as “like an IDE for writers.” (IDE = integrated development environment, like Scrivener for software people :slight_smile: ) Using that analogy, setting the Compile options is like assembling the make file: it takes all your laboriously constructed pieces and glues them together. And like make files, sometimes there was a dependency that you’d forgotten about that comes back to bite you.

If you’re having trouble getting Compile to do anything reasonable, the things to check, in order, are:

  • Are you showing all the options? As you discovered, you need that blue arrow at the right to unlock the full capabilities of it.
  • Have you chosen an appropriate preset on the Format As: menu at the top of the Compile pane? While you can duplicate all of these yourself, using the presets is faster.
  • Have you chosen the appropriate destination format in the Compile For: menu at the bottom of the Compile pane? Different destination formats have different capabilities, so there are some options that just won’t be available for all formats. Handling of endnotes/footnotes/comments/annotations is especially prone to varying with output format.
  • In the Contents pane, check the dropdown menus at the upper center-left and the lower right. These control, respectively, which subset of your draft is visible and how Scrivener interprets the “Include” checkbox. If large chunks seem to be missing, these menus are probably the reason why.

Hope this helps,


Thank you Katherine,

Every time you try to teach me something I cut and paste it into my notes section and try it out. It doesn’t go to waste, and I may have an epiphany yet that makes it all click. Right now,… I gotta lay down,… I’m feelin’ a little dizzy butt, thanks.