Import Word document in order to format for epub

I usually write in Scrivener, but the only version I have of a particular book is in Word.

If I import it and convert it to Default settings and then set about compiling for epub format, will any of those infuriating Word things like extra space between paras be lurking in the final output?

Or does import and convert remove all the previous Word formats, and so the epub formatting is working as if from a clean document?

This will be the first time I’ve tried formatting for epub via Scrivener. It’s a 95,000 word novel. Does anyone have any tips beyond the instructions in the tutorial? Or problems that show up when you download on to an iPad or Smartphone?

Apologies if all this has been covered a hundred times already; I have searched in previous posts but can’t find the answers.

There are likely articles related to this out on the Internet. Fire up Google or your favorite search engine.

There are definitely books/e-books that discuss Scrivener and formatting, in various degrees. Search Amazon on “Scrivener”.

Hope that helps.

You’d probably be better off converting the Word doc directly to epub, and then use some form of ebook editor to fix minor issues with that output. Unless you’re treating this as a “learn more about Scrivener’s editing and compiling process” exercise, moving from Word->Scrivener->epub could require a lot more fiddling, and you might also end up in an epub editing program anyway, depending on how particular you are about the final product.


But if you really want to got Word - Scrivener - epub, you would be well advised to clean up all styles first. Use paragraph styles to get a consistent look. Since you wrote in Word, you likely know Word better than Scrivener’s sometimes-daunting Compile options.

Get all your chapter headings, first paragraphs (usually unindented), main body paragraphs (usually indented), scene breaks (usually three asterisks, centered, with white space above and below), and so on.

Then in Scrivener split the file by chapters. This is helpful because some ereaders have limited memory and slow processing units, and find it simpler to swallow and digest and display a book if it comes as one chapter at a time. Make your table of contents with scrivener, do not rely on word to do this (I am presuming here that there is more likely to be mangling going from the way Word makes a ToC, the way Scrivener understands one, and the way Scrivener will compile one to epub).


Thank you.

The trouble is, I didn’t write in Word; I haven’t written a book in Word for years—not since I discovered Scrivener. This is an edited and revised version of a book that only now exists in Word. The Scrivener original is a different version and I can’t use it.

I usually write in Blank, not in the Novel template. I imported the Word doc into Blank and did the chapter/scene breaks as the tutorials and stuff on the internet tell you to.

Then when I took the first part across to the Novel template, it copied Chapter folders 1-6; 7-12 are empty and 13 appears in a different typeface.

I fear I may have to send the script to a professional formatter, and I really don’t want to.

But, for future reference, is it possible to successfully copy from the Blank template to the Novel one?

(The novel template irritates me as it’s full of stuff I never use. And I write long continuous sections, not chapters. I break it into chapters later.)

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Why not give the import an initial try? Importing a Word document doesn’t modify or delete it; you end up with a copy of the text in your Scrivener project. If after the import, if it looks like a big mess, just trash the import and go a different route.

As for the Novel template, you can delete any file or folder in it but the Manuscript, Research, or Trash. Though why you’d want to bother using the template if you don’t want the initial setup it provides is beyond me. You can just use a novel compile preset if you organize your binder in one of the typical ways that the preset expects.

How did you accomplish the copy, by the way? You should be able to just drag folders & files from one open project’s binder to another and end up with all your text intact.

Thank you for the reply.

Everything I’ve looked at re compiling a novel for ebook with Scrivener starts with your script prepared in the Novel template.

If it doesn’t matter where the text has been written and you can work from a Blank template script, then so much the better.

The Word document I imported is fine. I’ve often done this and while I do have problems if it has to go back into Word, it’s okay in Scrivener.

Why do I bother with Word? Because publishers use Word. Otherwise, believe me, I’d never go near the horrible thing.

I dragged the folders across from one Scrivener doc to the other - did it twice; the content of those folders simply disappeared.

I’ve never had a problem before when I’ve moved folders from one document to another. So I’m mystified.

That is strange. How about importing the whole (old) project into your other project? “File->Import->Scrivener project” might do it. If that doesn’t work, I’d contact the support email address about your data not transferring correctly.