Formatting Lost on Copy/Paste into Rich Text

Here’s on from long ago that I would really like to see get cleaned up before it slips further within a crack.

Misformatting in Copy and Paste from Scrivener in Rich Text:

  • If you copy and paste to a program which accepts Text Only format by default, text from Scriveners looks right. in particular, there’s an extra line break to properly separate paragraphs.

  • however, if you copy and paste to a program which prefers Rich Text, like Microsoft Word or OneNote, you get no formatted paragraph situation: the paragraphs all run together as if they had no separating line break.

  • if you use the clipboard-icon choice after pasting to set Text Only, then you get a line break, but neither of the formatted options work, which is a clue, since one of them is to format as the destination rather than as the source.

  • further, Wordpad, which perhaps is being used for testing, gives wrong results. It adds two element of spacing by default, one for the paragraph itself, and one for the extra line break between . This leads to a very wide paragraph spacing, which may be tricking development into taking out the extra line feed to make Wordpad ‘look right’. But note that Wordpad makes this same mistake on text copy-pasted from a web page, for example. It’s not a reference.


My suggestion is that Rich Text clipboard format should supply two thing properly:

  • it should present the proper original number of line feeds, including the extra one that makes paragraphs separated in default Scrivener. Most people type this way, as on a typewriter, rather than using a Paragraph Formatting to separate paragraphs. In other words, don’t modify whatever someone typed into Scrivener.

  • Pass the Scrivener-set formatting to include any additional paragraph line spacing.

  • This combination will cover all cases properly, whether a person has set an extra spacing or not; and whether they use two line feeds to separate paragraphs or not.

  • leave the Plain Text clipboard format alone - it’s fine.

  • now pasted text in rich text programs will have the proper choices available: source, destination, or plain text formatting.

That should get things right. Wordpad is a special case, at least in Windows 7; along with a remarkably badly designed ‘ribbon’ to confuse things, along with no apparent preferences, there is a very odd setting on the Line Spacing, if you can find it. It both sets a 1.25 line height separation (reasonably normal), and then also sets an ‘add 10 pt. space after paragraphs’ by default, which is highly non-normal. I would ignore it as a target.

Oh yes, one more minor thing which would be nice to have. Could the Backup dialog remember the checkbox setting for Zip or not? Thanks :wink:

Best on a Monday, and nice to see how things are proceeding,

All right, testing this out a bit, I get some different results depending on the word processor I’m pasting into, but generally speaking it looks like it’s just losing paragraph and line spacing, not other formatting (so font face, size, color, etc. all copy fine), and empty lines are being removed. Does that agree with what you’re seeing? I’ll make sure it’s on Lee’s list.

Also the zip checkbox. I agree, that’s annoying. :slight_smile:

Hmm, well, I was about to entirely agree here, and mostly do, Jennifer, [edited to correct], but just tried a quick test with different font, line spacing, italicization compared to destination, pasting into OneNote, and then Word to cross-check.

  • it kept all the text attributes; you were right about that

  • it lost the 2.0 line spacing I set, and went to zero line spacing. 0.0.

  • most crucially, it clipped the extra line I and I think many others put between paragraphs, when not writing specifically in InDesign. Thus there was no paragraph spacing at all.

As background to practices, understanding styles well, long ago, I tried to use them, but found they confused most every place text might go, so gave up and went back to typewriter formatting. I think most people use it, and when you bring text inside a real layout program, it’s a matter of a moment to use the sophisticated search/replace there to zap all double-space sentence endings and double-line paragraph separators. I expect many people do this way, with or without InDesign.

Not detail enough, was it :wink:, the original report. But now we’ve gotten there.


Which version of Word are you using? I know Word for Mac recently changed their default clipboard selection, so there could be something going on there too. I was only testing on 2002, and I assume you’re using a more recent version. Pasting in to Word 2002 removes the empty line, as noted, and line and paragraph spacing, but it doesn’t strip the character attributes, so this may be something additional Lee should look at when fixing this. Thanks.

Good person. And why these things are better as conversations. I corrected the report just above.

  • You’re entirely right. Character attributes are kept (italic, font face, etc.) going to Word and OneNote on Windows 7, and presumably elsewhere. No extra problem for Lee on this.

  • The line spacing setting, however, is lost. I’d set 2.0 lines and it went to zero, both destinations.

  • The crucially clipped extra line has got to stop happening, think we agree.

Jennifer, I did one more check, on Wordpad, which of course looks sort of swimmingly except for their gratuitous extra 10 pts on top of line-height-based line spacing. But something is actually quite wrong with this picture.

What I think Wordpad is doing is actually pasting in just the Unformatted Text clipboard variant. Then it is happily applying its default style, including the gratuitous 10pts, without telling you.

Hoping case is complete, and ready for judge & jury. As a good barrister would suggest, I am not volunteering how I happened to get this wrong the first time this morning…

Take care, and I will go back to my sheep musing :wink:


Hi, I am a new user and I use Open Office as my main text editor.

I have found the same problems in copying text into and out of Scrivener.

As a new user I have copied my work into scrivener from office with no problems - and it is wonderful to be able to set it out scene by scene within chapters - and I have started to work on editing within those scenes. However, in order not to burn by bridges before I can convert to a fully supported and LICENSED copy, I am keeping my original open office files (.odt) updated; copying the edited files back into the office files.

There lies the problem: blank lines between paragraphs are lost and some of the text has been changed from 1.5 lines to 0 lines while other parts - usually containing speech - have the original spacing.

However to day I tried to copy this quote: “Relativity: The Special and General Theory. 1920.” from here: “” and found that while it copied ok, and I managed to change the font from Times New Roman to Courier New, I cannot change the font size from 10 to 12. Wait a moment - I have for the first part but not fro 1920. and text I have tried to write after that is also stuck at 10. - the text size in the original.

I know this is a 9 year old post, but was a solution ever found? I’m having the same issue when pasting into scrivener from word in office 365. It appears fine in the editor, but after compiling all blank lines between paragraphs are lost. Only happening for pasted in text. Non pasted text using the same layout works fine.

I can get around the problem by cutting and pasting from scrivenar to notepad,adding paragraphs there, and then pasting back to scrivenar. It show as having two blank lines between paragraphs in the editor, but it compiles with one line.

latest beta, but I don’t think it’s a beta specific bug.

copying the formatting from a different scrivener text file and pasting the format to the problem text file is a workaround I’ve found.