From Pages to Scrivener on iPad Pro

I thought this would be simple! I’ve been editing my book on the iPad, having written it originally on Scrivener. I want to put it back again into Scrivener. The tutorial on how to do this appears to be out of date. Monterey does not have iTunes. This facility has been taken over by Finder. Having spent nearly an hour on phone with Apple Customer Care, I am still unable to move my book from Pages into Scrivener. Can you please advise me how to do this?

Export the book from Pages as a Word DOCX file, then import to Scrivener.

It’s worth noting that the user manual’s documentation on how to manage files on your device, from a Mac, has been updated to reflect the changes made to the operating system (in 10.15 as I recall, so it’s been a few years now). You’ll find them in §14.2.1, under the subheading, Managing Projects Directly with File Management, on pg. 350.

The checklist is understandably geared toward managing Scrivener projects directly, but the instructions can be equally applied to any iOS app that makes its files available through this mechanism.

You will, as noted above, still need to save these files in a format Scrivener can understand, which means .docx files in this case. So just open them in Pages for Mac and export them from there, before importing into Scrivener. You can import .pages files, but they will be “read only” essentially. That’s a useful option if there is fancy formatting that is important to retain, you’ll just need to open them in Pages from your binder, by clicking the “Open in” button in the footer bar.

Thanks for your prompt response. Can you be more explicit? If I export the file in Word, where do I export it to? Scrivener is not an option. If I export it to Files, how do I then send it to Scrivener? Share does not give me the option. Move has Scrivener listed but the option is greyed out.

If you’re working exclusively on an iPad, you’ll want to open the file in Pages and then do the export command to export the file to the .docx extension. You don’t need to export it to anywhere at this point, you’re just saving the file to a different file extension.

Once you have the file saved as a .docx instead of .pages, you can open Scrivener. Create a new project and then click the Import icon in the bottom menu (square with a down arrow). Select “Browse.” This will pull up the Files app. Locate your .docx file and select it. It will then import to the bottom of the binder. You can then click the Edit button in the upper right and drag the file wherever you’d like it to be in the binder.

I don’t think Import & Split is available in the iOS app, so if you want to do that, you’d need to do that from a computer and then sync the file over via Dropbox or manually transfer it.


Thanks for your reply, Jen. I think we are nearly there but the iPad crashes and no file is transferred to Scrivener. I followed your instructions. The file is now doc.X. I go to Scrivener, created new project, click import button. Then select. Tick file. Then - this is probably where I go wrong. At top of page are Browser - Select All - 1 item selected - icon of files - icon of 4 squares - Open - Done
I’ve tried each one and each time iPad crashes and file is not transferred to Scrivener.

If you’re only importing a single file, you don’t need to turn on select. You can just tap the file. The Files app window will close and the Scrivener app will pop back up with the file at the bottom.

If the iPad keeps freezing when trying that way, I would double-check if you have any iOS updates available. Restart the iPad. Then, try again.

Thanks for your help, Jen. All sorted.

I’m sorry to come back to you again with this problem but I still cannot transfer my book in Pages on my iPad to the Scrivener app on my iPad. I convert it to Word, go to Scrivener, open new project, Browse, find the file. But when I tap on it Scrivener closes and I am back at desktop. iPad is iPad Pro 15.3.1. I’ve closed iPad down and tried again. But still no success. Is there any other way of getting the Pages version into Scrivener? I’ve achieved it on my MacBookPro. I want to have the same versions on MacBook and iPad so that I can work on both and sync them.

As you have succeeded on the MacBook, why not rely on that and sync the project. I don’t see the need to import the Pages version twice (unless what you have on your iPad is a completely different project).

One must always remember that the iPad is not a real computer when compared to the Macbook. You’re always kinda stuck in how Apple segregates apps into their own sandbox, amongst so many other things. Don’t know if this is what is getting in your way, but seems to me you don’t need to do it given you report success on the Macbook.

Once you get the sync going I suspect all will be well for you to write on both devices (but only one at a time).

Yes! It’s obvious that is the way forward. But I don’t understand Dropbox, although I have used it for years in the background. Can you advise me how I get it to sync with my iPad? On MBP, when I look at list of files in Dropbox, my book is not listed although it is open in Scrivener. On iPad if I sync Dropbox, it tells me it is up to date but there is no version of my book on iPad. Sorry for my inefficiency! It must be settings I have not conquered but I don’t know how.

Virginia, Dropbox on an iPad can be pretty troublesome at times about opening files from it.

I think this goes back to where they went to not holding files on a device, rather retrieving them from the cloud when you want one from its file entry. This is actually good, mostly, as it avoids filling up your iPad, but it doesn’t work reliably for me, and when it fails, the iPad hangs until it times out. Not fun.

I’m interested in doing as you are, so I’ll try some experiments with transerring Pages docx back to Scrivener, and report back if I learn something…

That is interesting what you say about Dropbox. I’ve given up for the moment and am just writing on MBP. Do let me know if you find a way to do it. Virginia

Instructions for using Dropbox to sync Scrivener projects can be found here:


Is the project saved in the Dropbox app on your computer?

Virginia, thanks for patience. I’ve had something else going on; also had to look at this a few times and think about the results. In short,

  • On my iPad (only), running 15.4beta2 which shouldn’t be different from yours as they’re just working on shared display with Mac, I can quite successfully export a medium-complicated Pages doc into Word docx, then simply import it into Scrivener.

  • The result matches what’s actually in the Pages file down to small details, which originally came from InDesign, exporrted to Word, and then imported to Pages. It’s about as complicated structurally as say a chapter in a non-fiction book, and about that length.

  • The export from Pages works fine also via Dropbox importing into Scrivener on Windows, with one big exception: the structure is no longer compatible with Import and Split. You’d get myriad small chunks of text matching paragraphs. Fortunately I had long ones, so not entirely many. Plain Import works fine, and then it’s not trouble to break down the single Scrivener document into a document per section – a manual split.

  • Now, what doesn’t work, can pretty clearly be Dropbox, as I’ve seen before. But this occurs in a way that doesn’t match your description, I think. I never see a crash of Scrivener, or any other app accessing Dropbox.

In fact, for Katherine @kewms ’ benefit, I want to be clear that I have never had trouble with Dropbox using Scrivener itself. I put this down to some very careful work we may be aware of years ago, where I think programming was done which actually followed the Dropbox needs. Dropbox in Scrivener ‘just works’, all the time, iPad to Windows and back.

But this is not the case with many other iPad apps. What happens is that they freeze, or become unable to even open Dropbox when you are trying to access it for opening a file or for sharing. There’s still not a crash involved, and I’ll come back to that.

But an interesting thing I may have recognized in this work on your issue is that there may be finally a cure, besides rebooting the iPad or waiting some long time where everything would finally straignten out again. This is to use the slow-single-swipe-up-from-bottom to access the task listing in multiple blocks, and ‘throw away’, toss upwards each of the apps that may have recently been involved with Dropbox, including Dropbox itself. What this does is actually shut down the processes, and not incidentally clear the results typical programmers get when they don’t understand multitasking’s intricate requirements, which by far most don’t.

So, coming back to your problem, does this have anything to do with your apparent ‘crash’ of Scrivener? I keep wondering about what that word meant, as again i have never seen it. If you really have a crash of Scrivener, this would seem to be due to some corruption of perhaps the configuration of the app, and the way to fix that would be to uninstall it from the iPad, and then install it again. The same for any other apps that might be involved in your problem, such as Dropbox. You won’t lose and documents doing this, and probably not any important configuration, I think, unless there really has been a problem with it.

The summary would be that I think you should be able to do your Pages export-Scrivener import entireiy on the iPad with success. It’s possible Pages export to docx on the Mac gives better results for import to Scrivener there, where you could successfully use Import and Split to do that automatically. In either case, Dropbox should be involved only for the usual sharing Scrivener does, as Apple makes Pages sharing work properly with iCloud, as I believe outside developers find not reliable. Once again, I find Dropbox to be entirely reliable for Scrivener’s use of it.

Hope this is at all clear – it’s not the worst of software fandangos, but partakes a bit, doesn’t it…


Thank you very much for your helpful response, Clive. Like you I am immersed in other work at the moment and have turned my attention away from Dropbox. But as soon as I have some spare time, I will go back to it again. At present I am writing my book on Scrivener on my MacBook and not using the iPad for this at all.

Sounds definitely the wise way, and good fortune on it :slight_smile: