Getting along with Pages (iWork '08)

So, I have a manuscript in Scrivener. Said manuscript has export settings that will force page breaks in certain places.

When I export the manuscript to Microsoft Word, and then open it using Word, all my page breaks are in the proper place, the header looks good, the page numbers are fine.

When I open the same file in Pages, I lose all my page breaks and the headers.

Now, if I start a file from scratch in Word and layout headers and page breaks, then save it-- they open in the exact same way in Pages.

So, is there an export setting I’m missing in Scrivener (btw-- I get the same “no page break” results exporting rtf and rtfd), or is Pages somehow to blame?

I believe Pages is to blame. It’s to do with the way that page breaks are inserted. In actual fact, a special unicode character (called a “form feed character”) gets inserted into Scrivener. This tells most programs to insert a page break - this is the way it works in TextEdit and suchlike, and has always been the way Apple text engineers have recommended for creating page breaks. When saved as RTF, the form feed character gets correctly converted to the RTF page break syntax, I believe.

However, for some reason, Pages seems to do things differently. Or at least, this is what I have told - I don’t use Pages myself, though I may now install the trial to test this out. I’m not sure why a document saved as RTF from Word would preserve page breaks in Pages and not from Scrivener, though. How do documents created in Nisus and Mellel compare? Have you tried?


I guess I was unclear about “starting from scratch in Word” and saving. I was only saving as a doc not as an rtf. Trying again just now with an rtf file, you’re right-- Word doesn’t export any page break information then.

I have never tried Nisus or Mellel, so I have no idea how they behave with Pages.

It’s really not a big deal for me since I’m not using any images or charts or anything in my exports, and Scrivener’s exporting to Word is always spot on. I was just looking at possibly replacing Word with Pages, and found this weird bit of behavior.

BTW - I make my living in a word processor and Scrivener has very quickly become my tool of choice.

Great to hear that Scrivener has become your tool of choice - thank you.

It sounds as though Pages doesn’t read the page break information from RTF files, then, but only from Word documents, which seems strange. (Which means that Pages wouldn’t read page breaks from a Scrivener-generated Word document, either, because Scrivener-generated Word documents are really just renamed RTF files with altered creator codes - which is valid for Word.)

I do wish Apple would provide more support for RTF… Or, if not, pick an open format that supports elements such as images and that can be opened by major word processors such as Word and do a good job of supporting that. Oh well.

All the best,

It’s tough trying to live in a non-Office world :slight_smile:

The only work-around is to export from Scriv in Word or RTF, open it in Word, and re-save as a proper .doc file. Pages will interpret that correctly.

It seems to me this RTF cheat has exposed problems. Might it be possible to create a proper .DOC export (or better, a Pages one)?

Well, I can do a proper .doc export provided you don’t mind if footnotes, annotations, images, headers and page numbers don’t get included in the document. :slight_smile:

I’ll take your word for it, but I’m a bit confused. Headers, page numbers, etc. are all normal features in Word, and ergo .doc. How would you lose them saving in the native format?

Ah, you’re new (otherwise you would have seen this mentioned before). :slight_smile: I’ll explain:

First, try creating a document in TextEdit. Then go to Save - it lets you save in MS Word format. Now try adding an image to the document and saving again - suddenly, it doesn’t let you save to Word format. Why not?

Well, Apple have implemented certain exporters for their text engine - the one that TextEdit, Scrivener, and many other OS X apps use. So, you can export to .doc, .rtf, .rtfd etc. The only trouble being that, for whatever reason, Apple never included support for images and other such data in their exporters to .doc and .rtf.

Fortunately, the RTF format is public. So I spent a lot of development time hacking into the Apple RTF exporter (and importer as of 1.1) to add features such as images, footnotes, annotations, headers, page numbers and so on, which aren’t supported in the standard OS X exporter.

The .doc format, however, is not public. I believe you can write to MS to ask for it, but given that RTF supports everything that DOC does (at least insofar as what Scrivener can export), and that Word fully supports RTF, the development time involved in such an endeavour would not be worth it. Moreover, whereas I can hack into Apple’s RTF exporter to add extra features, I can only do so because RTF is really a plain text (marked up) format. DOC is a binary format, so I would have to write my own exporter from scratch. No. Way. :slight_smile:

The .doc export from Word is really only there for those who wish a one-stop export to Word that they can send directly to Word users, without having to export as RTF, open in Word and save as .doc.

Hope that clarifies things. As for a direct Pages export, you might want to e-mail Apple and ask them why it is that they don’t make such an exporter available to Cocoa developers when they provide exporters to .doc and .rtf…

All the best,

Yeah, I’m new :slight_smile: I’ve been testing Scrivener for a few weeks now, and loving it (I must admit it took some time to wrap my head around the styles implementation, initially expecting them to behave as a word processor style engine).

Thanks for the clarification on the file formats. Apple sure does pick and choose the most annoying places to cripple functionality, don’t they?

Oh yes. I could not believe how much effort I had to go to just to support images in RTF files - when the RTF format has supported images for over a decade!

As for the styles system - this is another build-in OS X thing. :slight_smile: Basically, Scrivener just uses the same text system as TextEdit, as it was never intended as a word processor replacement. I’ve added stuff like inline annotations, inline footnotes (a bit of an oxymoron, I know), image rescaling, highlighting and suchlike, but it still quite basic when compared to fully-fledged word processors.

Anyway, welcome to the forums!

All the best,

Speaking as a newcomer, I’d LOVE this feature, regardless of the omissions you list. All I really need are those page breaks that carry over into Pages. Right now that’s the only thing that’s keeping me from adopting Scrivener as my new “development environment.” If I could get my chapter page-breaking when I import them into Pages, I’d be good to go! Having a “true” .doc file that would open in Pages with the breaks intact would rule.

Hope this is something you can do, as Scrivener looks like an amazing piece of work.

Here is what I’m thinking of doing: if a document contains no footnotes, no annotations, no images, and if “No header/footer” is selected, it could get exported as a normal .doc file (because nothing would be lost); if any of those things are present, though, it will be exported as an altered RTF.

That sounds great to me!

While it solves the problem here, my gut feeling is that you’ll create yourself a support bugbear doing it that way. No matter how well you document it, you’re going to have users coming on here saying ‘sometimes my .Docs export fine with page breaks, and sometimes they don’t! What gives?’

Features that behave inconsistently depending on the situation confuse and alienate users, even if there’s a very good technical reason for it. :smiley: As a tech writer in an (ugh) Windows shop by day, it’s become one of my mantra. You can guide users, you can patiently explain things to them - but you can’t convince them to accept that a rose is a rose…except when it’s actually a petunia with red spray paint.

Seems to me that as long as the app is checking for the factors that will determine the export, it would be relatively easy to have it pop up a reminder on export: “Hi. Since your file contains [fill in the blank], it will be exported as RTF, rather than as Word.” Or something like that.

Then again, I’m a writer, not a programmer – what do I know? :smiley:

I’ll just put a note in the Help file. I’ve implemented it already, and I think it’s the best solution. If it can be handled by the .doc exporter, it will be; otherwise, it is passed to the RTF exporter. If lots of users ask, it can go in the FAQ and I’ll direct them there. :slight_smile: