File Exporting and rtf

I don’t even know if this is a problem, but I wanted to get some clarification here.

I want to send my editor the first 50,000 words of my next book. I exported the file as a Word doc. Then I deleted the last 30,000 words, leaving me with the first 50,000.

But now, when I go to save the document, it saves not as a Word document, but as an rtf document. What does that actually MEAN? When I submit the book, they’ll want it as a Word document, which they can edit, massage, etc. If they do something to it, and it converts into an rtf document, will that be a problem for them or for me? Why does merely deleting some words make my document change into rtf?


When you saved the shortened copy in Word, did it not ask you which format to use? I haven’t used Word in a million years, but it seems I recall in the past it would ask from a tremendously huge list of formats, which one you wanted.

In general it should not be a problem. If they want to use track changes and such, they’ll just save it as a DOC, if they are too thick to figure that out, you can do it for them by using Save As. And RTF file can act so much like a DOC file that if you rename the file from blah.rtf to blah.doc, Word will just automatically use it as a doc file.

RTF is readable by every version of Word - .rtf and .doc are both just file formats, and in terms of what they can do, they are quite similar (though RTF can be read by more programs). RTF is in general the best format for exporting from Scrivener, in fact. Given that you are polishing things up in Word before sending to your publishers, you will get the best results from using this workflow:

  • Export/Compile from Scrivener as RTF.
  • Open the RTF file in Word and make any changes or polishes.
  • Use Save As in Word to save the file as a .doc (or .docx depending on how up-to-date your editor is), and send that to your editor.

The standard OS X .doc exporter isn’t very good to be honest, whereas I have been able to add a lot to the standard RTF exporter. You’ll find that exporting as RTF from Scrivener preserves almost all of the formatting (all in 99.9% of cases), whereas you might find some oddities with the .doc export. So exporting as RTF from Scrivener and then saving as DOC using Word is by far the best option.

Hope that helps.
All the best,


I’ve been using Word for Mac 2004 - it may be time to upgrade, since I don’t have an option to save an .rtf file as a .doc file. I’d avoided upgraded to 2008 because I’d heard bad things about it, but it looks like I may have to bite the bullet. I don’t know about my editor, but I can’t use Docx!!!

Hi Jaze

I’m puzzled by this. I have Word 2004 and I can save .rtf documents as a .doc file under File > Save As. It’s the default format.


P.S. I’m vague about this, but I think there’s some free conversion software you can download from Microsoft that allows Word 2004 not only to open .docx documents, but also save documents in that format as well. If you want to, that is.

As suggested, I’d look a little deeper in the file menu or the dialogues that you are using. My memory of being able to save to many different formats pre-dates 2004 by six years or so. RTF support on both load and save has been in since at least the mid-nineties.

You are all correct, and I am an idiot. I misread the dialogue box, which has a pull-down menu of different file formats, but away from that, at the top as a free-floating option, is Word document. I guess in the past I’ve always been saving Word documents, and so the pull-down menu has been various Word options.

Sorry! And thanks.