Importing other notebooks into Scrivener

I’m new to Scrivener and looking to import my existing notebook from Circus Ponies. Has anyone ever done that? If so, how did it go? Thanks!

If Circus Ponies can export your notes in RTF, DOC, OPML, or HTML format, Scrivener should be able to pull them right in. Worst case, you can print to PDF from Circus Ponies, and import the resulting file into Scrivener’s Research (but not Draft) folder. The full list of Scrivener’s importable file formats is in section 11.1 of the manual.

The hard part is likely to be on the Circus Ponies side. I’m not sure how much of the “note” structure it preserves when exporting data, so you might need to play around with different strategies.


Thanks, Katherine. Yes, you can export Circus Ponies notebook a doc file but I fear chaos will reign when I try to use it in Scrivener. If anyone reads this and has done the Circus Ponies>Scrivener transfer, please let me know how it went. Thanks!!

You could always just try it and see what happens. Export should be non-destructive to the original Circus Ponies file, and you can import into a blank Scrivener project for testing purposes. Even if it fails spectacularly, you’re no worse off than you are now.


Yes, I certainly will be trying it, but I’m still trolling for others’ experiences, tips. Thanks!

Be sure to have a look at Scrivener’s Import and Split command. That will split a monolithic file into sub-documents, provided there’s a clear delineator between sections. If Circus Ponies can put something like that in the export file, it will go a long way toward minimizing the chaos.


Update to my post: I have not been able to export my Circus Ponies notebook in .rtf format but I can export it as a .doc file. However, when I import it into Scrivener, all that is there is two lines of strange characters and that’s all. Any idea if there’s anything I can tweak on the Scrivener end? Thanks.

The first thing to check is that the material from your notebook is actually in the .rtf and .doc file that you have exported from NoteBook. If you open those files in another suitable application (such as Word or Nisus Writer Pro), is all the information there that you expect to see?

Are you importing to the Draft folder in Scrivener, or to the Research folder? If you select the Research folder in the binder and import to there, do you see the same result?

Finally, what sort of material have you stored in the Circus Ponies NoteBook file? Is it just text, or have you included the plethora of other things that NoteBook allows you to import?

All the best,

Thanks, Astrid. The problem was in fact on the export end. Now Circus Ponies Notebook is importing into Scrivener, into the research folder. I have one more question. The Notebook is importing now, but as one huge block of continuous text, without any of the page divisions/folders between sections, which look very much like Scrivener’s binder format. I suppose there’s no way to import the Notebook so that it retains individual pages/folders? Just checking if there are other ideas because reformatting in Scrivener will be a huge task.

As noted above, you might want to look at the Import and Split command.


Sorry! I should have written that I did use Import>Split and that created some sub-documents for my imported notebook (in the Scrivener research section) but it’s still one big mess. I’ll fix manually, or skip it and use two programs. Thanks for all of your help.