Importing Columns

Hi all,

Perhaps someone out there can help me. I presently have a number of Word documents that contain information on my various characters. One of the things I’ve learned to create for each is a loose list of character traits; these are generally just one word descriptions, perhaps twenty or so per character. Before, I’ve always maintained these lists within the .doc file for each character. I convert a section of the document to column formatting, throw a line of asterisks above and below, and have a neat little “table”.

The problem is that once these documents are imported into Scrivener (after conversion to RTF), I’m left with long lists of single words stretching for a page, sometimes more. I’d like to corral them into some semblance of order. I’ve tried the table feature, but all I’ve managed is to insert 20 words into the first field. I guess I could tab each word individually, but this seems tedious, since I have dozens of such lists. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks much, cg

Do the lists need to remain editable or not? If you don’t need to edit them, then print as pdf and import them in the regular way.


This is not what you are asking for, but…for this kind of case, I would not mess with trying to recreate this kind of typographical layout in Scrivener at all.

Instead, before importing one of these things from Word, I would select the list of traits you have, do a search and replace on it replacing all the carriage returns with a comma-followed-by-a-space and thereby turn your paragraph-delimited list into a nice comma-delimited list in one compact and tidy paragraph for that character. This will import likewise into Scrivener.

I guess the question is whether the use you put these trait words to is worth doing anything less simple than the above.

Just my humble thought on the topic.


Scrivener doesn’t support column layout, I’m afraid, so importing columns will indeed result in something like this. Converting to a table is the best bet, but it will be a little arduous as you will need to create a table and copy paste each chunk of text into it.
All the best,

Thanks for the answers, everyone. In the grand scheme, I suppose it doesn’t matter, anyway–just a few more pages to scroll through. Don’t know why my over-active brain craves this sort of order; probably just another attempt at avoiding the work of actually using all the lovely information I’ve accumulated. Take care, cg

Two thoughts:

  1. To look at documents that you have already created, link them to your Scrivener project as Project or Document References (Inspector). They will open in Word.

  2. To create substitute documents in Scrivener, create a folder in Research, named “Character Traits”; make a separate Scrivene document for each character; switch to the Corkboard and list the traits in the synopses. That way you can view the traits for several characters at one time… If you want to view these as you write , put this folder into a second Scrivener project, link this to the main project, and open it as needed.


Nifty trick! I hadn’t thought about the corkboard view. Thanks!


One last comment on this (at least from me :slight_smile: )

I discovered I was able to accomplish what I wanted by following these steps:

  1. In Word, I selected the columned lists I was interested in, and eliminated the column formatting.
  2. With the text still selected (now in one long, cumbersome line), I asked Word to alphabetize it for me. I’m already there–why not?
  3. From the Table menu (still in Word), I selected ‘convert text to table’, and chose 3 rows. I now had a nice, organized, orderly table.
  4. From here, it was an easy matter of cutting and pasting the nice new table overtop the long string of text already in Scrivener.

This may be of no interest to most people, might not translate to other word processors, but I’ve found so many great hints here myself, I thought I’d finish out the thought. Take care, and happy writing! cg