Import docx files without converting - possible?

I would like to add some Word files to my research section without Scrivener converting them into rtf files. Is this at all possible via options?

Would greatly appreciate any tips on this.

Note: I have a workaround for the time being, namely changing the file extension before import to something not recognized by Scrivener (eg. docx -> dodx). The file then “escapes” conversion on import, and can still be opened by Word if desired.

Does Scrivener allow you to open/read these misnamed files?



Beyond the workaround you’ve already found, no, it isn’t possible to do this.

However, you can use the References panel in the Inspector to store links to external files in any format.


Thanks Jim and Katherine,

In answer to your question, Jim, yes Scrivener allows opening the misnamed files with Word. You just have to go through the process of telling Windows what program to associate the file with once. Word will keep trying to save the file with a correct extension, though, so you need to be vigilant.

Overall things work much more smoothly if you use a reference link, as Katherine suggested.

For me, though I find it a) simpler to have Word files displayed in my research folder just like PDFs or any other file and b) preferable to have the relevant files included in the Scrivener project, rather than having to create a separate menu structure for them somewhere else.

Is there a particular reason why you want to do this? Knowing your ultimate goal might help me suggest alternative approaches that would accomplish what you want?


Thanks for the offer Katherine.

The aims are basically as stated as above, to include some docx files in a scrivener project (in the research section) and have them appear in the binder just like a pdf or image file or webpage would. And still remain in their original form as docx files. This is actually linked to my other thread where I have been searching for a way to use Scrivener, Word and Mindmanager together, but I won’t go over all that again here.

To be honest, I don’t really require more support on this question now as I’ve got things setup up to a point that I’m happy. Thanks for the offer and general responsiveness though.

I’m not sure whether other users would like to have the option to attach Word files unconverted, but if so perhaps this can be offered via a checkbox option at the time of import?

Thanks again.

Hi - thanks for the tip.

I was going to suggest this in the wish list forum but I found this thread.

The reason I want to do this is as follows:

I use Scrivener for drafting academic articles. For most of the development of articles it’s absolutely perfect, and I love the way I can include all the research docs too. However, for various reasons, final versions for different audiences end up as word files. There may be many of these, as for a single project I may give several talks of different lengths, and prepare articles for submission for several journals. Quite often I find I ‘fork’ projects, because a section of an article becomes unwieldy and needs an article of its own.

All this means that months may pass between sessions of work on a particular project. I want to keep files for some particular uses in Word. Right now, I try to use Scrivener as the ultimate structure for my work – I mean, I go to the project to find all my drafts and notes and resources for that subject (supplementary PDFs are tagged in Papers). If I wanted to find external copies of files, I wouldn’t immediately know where to look in my directory structure, because it’s not necessarily matched to my conceptual projects in the way that Scrivener projects are. That may be because I’ve created external folders for particular purposes (under ‘seminars’, ‘book reviews’, or ‘lectures’ or whatever).

So because of my terrible memory, it sometimes happens (did happen today), that I start working on something based on recent drafts within the Scrivener project, only to think, after a couple of hours – hold on, I’ve done this work before!

…getting on the long side…will continue…

…then I have to search through my directory structure to find it. Usually, if I remember that it exists, I can find it no problem, but there will still be the matter to searching through different versions of the particular file to find the most recent/suitable for the task in hand.

This kind of problem has often led me to consider some kind of versioning solution along the lines used by software engineers, but I don’t think that would really be suitable.

What would be excellent would be if Scrivener would allow me to import docs into it without converting them (ideally making them searchable/readable within scrivener, but that’s not important, just an alias would do).

I would then have an exhaustive list of files produced from a particular project within the project.

Being able to add meta-data to the files within Scrivener would be invaluable (mainly - notes on why I produced this file, what changes I made to it, what I think needs doing to it etc.)

That way, Scrivener could act, as I want it too, and as it nearly does, as the conceptual centre of my projects drawing everything together in one place and relieving me of the need to rely on my terrible memory!



If you create a shortcut to the document outside of Scrivener (right-click and “Create shortcut”), you can import that shortcut file into the Scrivener project. That will be treated as an unsupported file, so you won’t see the text of the document (or be able to search it), but you’ll be able to click the link to open the file in the default program (Word, presumably) and you’ll also be able to give the alias document a synopsis, document notes, etc.

Hi – Thanks. I’m using a mac, so there’s no ‘make shortcut’ I tried this using the ‘make alias’ option instead, and Scrivener cleverly saw past my ruse and converted the file that the alias linked to. I tried both import file and import research files as aliases.

Ah, sorry; this is the Windows forum, so I assumed you were using that version. On the Mac, right-click the file outside of Scrivener and choose “Make Alias”, then drag that into the binder anywhere outside of the Draft folder (don’t use the File > Import). That should import it as just the alias and allow you to open it in the default editor.

hooray - that works brilliantly, thanks!

Sorry about being in the wrong forum – I got here by search so I didn’t realise this was the PC bit.

thanks again,


What I would like is if Scrivener behaved with .docx files just the way it does with PDFs. That is, that you could right-click on a file in the Binder and be given the choice to open the file with an “external editor,” which in this case would be Word (and for my purposes, “external viewer” would be a more accurate description).

I import Word files that have comments from others, and these do not display well at all in the internal viewer/editor. I’d simply like to open the original Word file as easily as I can open a PDF (with an “external editor”).

I can’t really find out if the import-as-alias function in the Mac version would do this (because I don’t have a Mac). Maybe that’s what I’m looking for.

I understand – or think I do – that Scrivener imports .docx files as RTFs, and that that is the essential problem. But I don’t need to edit the files from Scrivener. I just want to be able to see them with the markups displayed correctly.

Both Mac and Windows convert text files when importing them; the Import as Alias function you refer to only applies to media files, not text. Since Scrivener is first a writing app, by design it converts imported text documents to make them useable within Scrivener.

Since you’re not wanting to work with the DOCX in Scrivener, rather than importing it you can add it to the project references in the inspector (the second tab from the left in the inspector footer, with the icon of books). That will place a link in the project that will open the document in its default program (Word). If you want a binder entry for it, you could create a placeholder document, add whatever notes you want to it, and then add the DOCX file as a document reference to that file rather than a project reference (which would be accessible anywhere in the project; document references, like synopses and document notes, are attached to a single item). You can flip between project references and document references by clicking into the references header bar in the inspector.