Internal format

Hello, Keith,

I wanted to ask something: is the rtf format used internally within the file (folder) intrisic to the OSX editor you are utilizing in Scrivener, or would it be theoreticaly possible to specify a different internal format (such as html5 or *tex)?

Or even, if technically only rtf is possible: could (in principle) a “direct edit” “expert mode” be included to edit the rtf file (markup) directly from within scrivener?


It’s not intrinsic, no - in fact, I had to do a lot of work to support so many aspects of the rich text in RTF, seeing as the standard OS X RTF writing is rather limited (it doesn’t support footnotes, images, and suchlike). However, RTF makes the most sense for the design, seeing as the text editor is rich text and RTF is the best choice for cross-platform rich text encoding.

Can I ask why you would need to edit the RTF directly? Is there any reason you can’t just ignore the rich text aspects and then export or compile to a plain text format?

All the best,

Hi, thanks for your reply.

I’m pretty new, so probably I’ll have some more stupid questions. Also, I hope my post did not seem to rough or impolite. I find it hard to express myself with the same finesse as you professional and semi-professional authors; especially in my third tongue, English.

The reason behind my question was that I wanted to save formatting more semantically than the RTF files do (which they do not do at all, to be frank).

Digging myself into the forums and the documentation I figured that it’s probably MMD I’m looking for. So, that will be a good enough solution for my desires, for now. – Though saving the MMD in rtf with all the unnecessary, ugly formatting code overhead in the background seems to be an overkill (I know, I get the clean copy by compiling).

So, looking at the MMD forums, there is a growing set of users adopting MMD, including, it seems to me your colleague, AmberV. I was wondering if you considered an “MMD mode” for a later version of Scrivener (maybe 3.0, as I figure, this would be a really major addition)?

The features of such an MMD mode could be:

  • within the .scriv folder, save the chunks in plain text, not rtf
  • Formatting buttons on the menu bar would insert the markup (e.g. when a word is selected and I is pressed, the selection is surrounded by *-s
  • given that MMD3 is quick now (compared to MMD2), maybe one could select the second pane to contain the nicely formatted preview of the other pane (you could chose this e.g. in the same contextual menu where you chose to lock the pane, e.g. named “Preview other pane” or “Link to other pane”).
  • etc.

Do you think these make sense, or is this completely out of scope, in your view of the future evolution of Scrivener?

Thanks, and I really appreciate the intensive dialogue you keep up with your users,


Hi Sz,

Your comments didn’t seem rough or impolite in the slightest - I have problems expressing myself in my first tongue, so don’t worry!

MMD definitely sounds like a good solution. My advice, though, would be not to worry too much about Scrivener’s underlying format, as that is intended to be invisible. Also, just because you want to write in MMD (or LaTeX, or whatever), it doesn’t mean that the rich text capabilities won’t be of use to you. For instance, Ioa (AmberV) does indeed use MMD for everything, but he still highlights passages to indicate parts that will need work later, and he even uses italics and bold to draw attention to text for his own attention, knowing that all of that rich text formatting will be stripped from the compile or export. In other words, you can use the rich text as an extra layer, for your own reference. Rich text is also required for comments and footnotes (and images), which can all be converted to MMD format on Compile.

Regarding an MMD preview, I don’t rule that out in the future - for a version 3.0 or suchlike, as you say - although I haven’t started planning anything like that yet. I think Ioa has some ideas in this regard for future versions, so there’s certainly still a lot of discussion to be had there.

Thanks and all the best,

Oh, great!

Thanks for the workflow tip, I didn’t think of that! Sounds actually really good and fits the way I’ve worked previously with Word and OpenOffice while composing and editing. This extra layer of “unobstrusive” markups makes sense and will be helpful!
Still, good to hear that a builtin preview is on the radar. For now, I’ve set up something based on the idea of ewancarr ([url]Live-ish preview for MMD with Scrivener]), [size=50]though didn’t manage to get it as a Service, just a script right now, so that it’s not enough to select, but I have to Cmd+C first[/size])