Importing a Screenplay

Is there any convincing way of doing this?

I’ve tried exporting an existing screenplay (from Screenwriter) as rtf and importing this into Scriv. You get a good-looking document, but it turns out that everything in it is General Text and the individual elements (Action, Char, Dialogue, etc) aren’t recognised.


The issue here is that Scrivener recognises the elements based on formatting. So, for instance, if a piece of text has a 0.5 inch left indent and a certain right indent, has two line spaces before it and so forth, it will recognise it as a Scene Heading or whatever.

When you import from Screenwriter, the chances are that the formatting of the elements is not identical to the ones that Scrivener expects.

(Another big difference is that in Screenwriter and FD, the left indent is 1.5 inches - from the edge of the paper - whereas in Scrivener, the left indent is 0.5, as it expects a 1 inch printed margin.)

I am overhauling the script system for 1.04, though. In 1.04, you will be able to change the formatting of the elements of Scrivener’s scriptwriting mode, and even rename it to something else (e.g. “Comic Book”). This should mean that you can format the elements in Scrivener to match those of the screenwriting package you use. (You will be able to share any formats you create, too - so if you create a screenwriting format to match that of Screenwriter’s in Scrivener, you will be able to share it with other Scrivener’s who want to use Screenwriter as a template.) This will hopefully resolve this issue.

However, I am only partway through this overhaul and have not yet tried matching up attributes in this manner, so for now, this is theoretical until tested.

All the best,

Thanks, Keith. Of course I accept that it isn’t a primary job of Scriv to import screenplays. But I see you’re doing quite a lot to make screenscripting within Scriv viable, and the reality is that many screenwriters coming to Scriv will have, perhaps multiple, projects in Final Draft, ScreenWriter or whatever. Some kind of fluid import system does therefore become an asset.

I’ve suggested in response to your reply about this elsewhere (although this may be the best place to continue this thread) that it would be good if the screenplay import system in future versions of Scriv could loosen up a bit. Instead of saying “Dialogue in this template has a margin of exactly 2.5 inches from the left”, for import purposes it would be a lot more useful to say: “Ah, this is more than 2 inches from the left and less than 3.5 inches from the left, so I guess it’s Dialogue.”



Not possible I’m afraid. It has nothing to do with the import at all. Import just imports the RTF exactly as it is. It is all down to the way the script formatter recognises the elements. It has to be precise, otherwise it could easily get confused between elements.

This will be a non-issue, though, if you can set up the script element formatting to match what is getting imported, like I say.