How to import & format file from MS Word?

I just bought & installed Scrivener, went through the whole tutorial (which is very good, by the way), and scanned the manual. But I’m stuck on what I’m sure is very basic:

I’ve got a 180-page partial novel in MS Word, and I’d like to continue working on it in Scrivener. I can import the document, and split it up into chapters and scenes. But I can’t get basic formatting right.

I want to use the default Scrivener page settings (e.g., half-inch indent at start of paragraph); but whether I import my file as a Word doc or as a rtf doc, it retains all the formatting I have in Word.

Is there an option to set so that Scrivener ignores all the formatting on the imported file and simply applies defaults?


What should always work is importing it as a plain text file.

To really get rid of all Word-proprietory formatting, first paste your whole text into a freeware editor like TedPad, PsPad, RJTextEd, or any other text-editor.

Then save it out as plain text and paste or import it into Scrivener.

But keep a copy of your original, and be aware that you will lose ALL formatting, including footnotes, headings, and what not.

You might try “Convert Formatting to Default Text Style.” Documents -> Convert -> Formatting to Default Text Style.

Thanks to StefanG – using a plain-text editor as an intermediary did the trick.

Instead of having to put it in plain text, I would suggest you click the small down arrow by the big green circle with a + sign and choose New Text
OR use the CTRL + SHIFT+ N keys
this will give you a new blank section

then select the section you want to paste from your original document

THEN instead of a simple PASTE (CTRl +V)
OR use the CTRL+ SHIFT+ V keys

This will give you the format you’ve selected for your project

Hope that helps,

Thanks for the suggestion, which worked like a charm for a couple of MSWord files. But my main one has some issue with Tabs/Indents, which no matter what I do, carry over into Scrivener. The easiest solution (since this is just a one-time thing) was just to search/delete all the Tabs/Indents in my Word doc, then copy over to Scrivener.

Thanks to all for the multiple replies & suggestions. I’ve been lurking on the forum for a while (testing out the Betas), and was pleased to see the participation here.

  • Ken