Is it normal to have this much trouble importing web pages?

New Scrivener user here. I tried importing a web page into my Scrivener project several times and each time the process failed. I chose a random article from Aeon as my test page, but have since tried this with a few other web pages (to no avail).

First I tried importing the web page as plain text into my draft folder. The loading bar displaying import progress stopped after a short while and I got the error message “Scrivener appears to be having trouble downloading the entire contents of this web page. Do you wish to ‘Import’ the content downloaded thus far or continue to ‘Wait’ and see if more data can be downloaded?”. I selected wait and got the same error message again after a few seconds. Then I chose import, and got the message “URL import failed.”

Next, I tried importing the web page into my research folder using various formats. Importing as a PDF document via WebKit and as plain text both failed - sometimes I would get the same error message as before, other times it would tell me “URL import failed” from the get go.

Importing as Webpage Complete (MHT) gave me undesirable results - after the import was complete, all that was displayed was a blank white page with the title of the document (the one you select when giving a title to the import) in the center of the page (blue and underlined like a hyperlink, but unable to be clicked on) with the URL in the bottom toolbar. No text from the actual web page whatsoever.

Importing as PDF document via Microsoft Office was the only option that sort of worked, but this too gave me results I wasn’t happy with. What I got was a PDF (text is very tiny though) that I can’t interact with. I was really hoping I would be able to at least annotate the PDF in Scrivener.

Ideally, I would love to be able to simply import web pages as plain text into Scrivener, so that I can modify and annotate the text as I wish. I want to have the text from the web page imported into Scrivener as text that can be interacted with, just like a normal document. Being able to import only the text from an article would be amazing, but I see no difference between the URL of a normal web page and a web page stripped of all superfluous text that’s been put into reader view (I’m using Firefox).

Any advice? Being able to work with web pages was a huge reason why I bought Scrivener, so I’m pretty disappointed right now. I’m currently using version 1 of the software.

The bad news: this kind of experience is, unfortunately, absolutely normal for the current version of Scrivener for Windows, and has been for quite awhile. (See another recent thread here.) I believe it has something to do with Internet standards evolving past the framework on which Scriv relies.
The good news is that this is supposed to be fixed when the completely rewritten new version of Scriv Windows is released later this year. It is currently available for beta testing, but I don’t know how well Web page import is currently working.
For your purposes, can you copy text from Web pages and paste it without its formatting (Ctrl+Shift+V)?

Thanks for the heads up. Hopefully the new version will be released soon - I’ve been copying and pasting in the meantime, but I don’t want to get too used to this workflow. Maybe someone else will chime in and share how well webpage import works in the beta.

Hi there

I’m also having problems importing web pages into Scrivener 3 for Mac.

I used Scrivener 2 on Yosemite and imported reams of them without a problem. However since I’ve updated to Mojave (mainly so I could run Scrivener 3), I find it won’t import any web pages despite repeated attempts. Since this is one of the main reasons I use Scrivener, to collate my research, it’s a bit of a bummer!

Any help would be much appreciated, please.

Kind regards

The Problem with webpages in Scrivener 3 for Mac is totally different and has no relevance to the OP’s issue. There is a thread in the Mac forum that you should visit.

Can’t have been too hard to post a link to the thread also, given that you’ve taken the time to post a reply!

@sbarba, I believe this is the relevant thread:

If you prefer not to wade through all the noise in there, I believe one of the Scrivener support team recently posted that a fix is imminent.

It was exciting to see that my experience wasn’t unique, but then my heart stopped when I saw how old this post was, (it showed up at the top of my search results for 'importing web pages). And to think that this problem persists in the latest version is disheartening. I know that software changes in a blink and capriciously at that. But, should the tutorial, the manual , training videos, and forum posts also have to be so unhelpful too? The ability to load up on background research for writing projects was the exclusive reason for buying Scrivener. Sadly not one Internet resource has been able to be gathered in my Research folder. I have now obtained quill and ink pot, just have to get some parchment!

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I haven’t read all of this thread. But FYI, it is possible using Chrome’s Print command to save a web page to a regular pdf file, with all formatting, images, links, etc still intact. That pdf can then be brought into Scrivener.

That might be a more effective way of “importing” a web page into Scrivener, than is literally importing the “web page” as such.