Google Docs Outline to Scrivener?

Google docs syncs between my iPad and Macbook, which makes it attractive for a possible outlining / first draft tool. (I’ve got the iPad Scrivener app, but it seems to produce a number of sync conflicts.)

Question: Is anyone using Google Docs this way, and which Google Doc outline (list) format plays best with Scrivener?

Imported .docx or .rtf files generally displaying pretty accurately in Scrivener, so if you start out in Google Docs, I’d export the file as one of those files types and import the file into Scrivener and it should work well.

Sync conflicts shouldn’t be the norm if you’re following some basic Dropbox guidelines for syncing between devices. It might be worth reviewing the [iOS Sync documentation](Quick overview of iOS sync: In-depth g or writing into support for some sync help if you want to keep everything in Scrivener.

Thanks. I haven’t tried to track down the source of the sync errors but my base doc is quite large and has hundreds of documents.

You wouldn’t want to use bullet lists for this, but proper heading levels. That is where the document outline really is (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.). This is what gets used in document navigation tools in word processors, and what Scrivener will use when specifying to split by document outline, with the File ▸ Import ▸ Import and Split... command.

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Thanks much for that suggestion. That makes sense.

This. Sync conflicts are an indication of operational issues–not waiting for Dropbox syncing to finish, working on one project in two places, poor wifi, etc.

I’ve found iOS Scriv to be a perfect complement to Desktop Scriv, particularly for drafting. I don’t believe you’ll find another tool for the iPad that works as well, so my unrequested opinion is that you’d be better off solving your syncing issues then incorporating another tool–particularly because you already own iOS Scriv. :innocent:

How much experience do you have with iOS Scriv? Did your syncing errors start as soon as you tried to fit it into your process? Or was it working for a while and all of a sudden you’re experiencing errors?


I wouldn’t be surprised if the errors are down to flaky wifi in my home office. I had a wifi extender and I know the connectivity was weaker there. I upgraded my base modem and it should be better now. So I’ll take your advice.

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There’s another way to use an outliner with Scrivener that I find useful: building out a Binder structure.

Many outliners can export to OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language). If you drag an OPML file into the Binder, Scrivener will translate the outline structure into documents and folders in the Binder.

Remember, it’s really easy to merge documents, so you can take a chapter or a scene and break it down into its narrative componenets in your outliner, and then merge then together later after you’ve written the pages.

If your outliner of choice doesn’t support OPML, I recommend Dynalist. The free version has OPML export.