How to open Word doc with chapter breaks.

My editor is using Windows Word (docx) to editor a manuscript. I wrote the manuscript originally in Scrivener. Each chapter was a separate file. The final manuscript will be output for epub.

How do I take these Word docx edits from the editor, open them in Scrivener and have each chapter in its own separate file, as I did originally?

If that is not possible? How do I insert a page break that will work in ebooks?

It isn’t possible to take a flattened text document and convert it back into an outliner based format like Scrivener’s. Compiling is for the most part a one-way process because it is a destructive process. It extracts only the data that is important to the document (text manuscript) and discards everything else about your outline.

Most people either abandon the Scrivener project (likely never to return to it until the next book) once it gets to the editing phase, convince their editor to use Scrivener or build some kind of workflow to reconstruct an outline from a flattened text document (the least and simplest of these merely being copy and paste, section by section). Some for instance use the Separators panel to insert a custom sequence of characters that they can use the File/Import/Import & Split... command on, to automatically break the manuscript back up into sections. The problem with most of these, copy and paste excluded, is that it replaces the original outline, which for some people is unacceptable as it is heavily annotated with meta-data such as keywords, snapshots, notes and so on. One other thing that some people use is the folder sync tool, which basically just automates the copy and paste work for you. Whether that works is up to your editor’s willingness to work in section-sized files rather than “a document”.

In a nutshell, this is one area of the software that is still quite embedded in the first draft mentality that drove the original design. The increased sophistication of the compiler has made it possible to take Scrivener beyond the first draft for many people, but the integration with collaborators and editors is an area that isn’t fully addressed by the software—mainly because there actually isn’t a good solution to that problem so long as the writing industry uses Word for this phase.


I’m doing copy/paste back into Scrivener for now. Once editing is complete, I’ll format in Scrivener ebook output.

For now, how do I get a page break between chapters? I did do an insert page break in Scrivener but it didn’t have any effect. When I view the epub in Kindle Preview, I can see one chapter ends and another begins on the same page.

I believe for the above chapter page breaks, it isn’t necessary to put each chapter into a separate file?

Okay, yeah copy and paste is in my opinion the best way to work right now as it gives your editor something familiar to work with, and it lets you continue using Scrivener to its maximum potential in the project.

Well for one thing there isn’t a page break in e-book formats, but a section break usually accomplishes the same thing. It’s completely up to the display device to handle section breaks, but most do perform a visual analogy to a page break where you have to flip past an incomplete screen at the end of one section to get to the next section.

That somewhat minor technical detail aside, it’s hard to say what is best for your book because I don’t know what structure you’ve chosen to work in. A simple example that many people use is a folder for each chapter, with a number of files inside the folder, typically for sub-sections or scenes. In a structure like that, one would set the Text/Folder separator to “Section Break” in the Separators compile option pane—and indeed since this way of working is the most popular, the default settings for compile always assume that a folder following a text file will generate a section or page break if applicable.

That should have worked, but in general it’s better to use Separators and insert section breaks procedurally based on how your work is structures. It’s just easier and more flexible.

Well, okay, I would highly recommend considering at the very least using a different outline section per section. You’ll be battling against how Scrivener is designed, otherwise. The e-book export is really designed around the assumption that each section is at a minimum composed of one outline section (though it can be of many more as desired/needed). The e-book export also works better if you let the compiler generate the titles rather than typing them into the text editor (it doesn’t really know that anything is special about anything in the text editor, so they won’t be handled as intelligently when it comes to ToC entries and so forth). But that aspect is more flexible.

What you don’t want is to use manually inserted page break characters inside an outline entity that is in fact multiple sections. You’ll get “Chapter 1” “Chapter 1” “Chapter 1” or whatever over and over because a section break only considers the section name of the outline, not any happenstance text that may be following the section break.

Well, you can, but just expect to do a lot of post-process editing in Sigil to fix the e-book’s ToC files.