Issue importing documents and text

Hi, I’m new to Scrivener and really like the look of it, but I’m having some issues with importing documents and text from OpenOffice Writer. Basically, even if I convert a document into RTF before I import it, random words get lost when it opens in Scrivener. Which is problematic, because the documents I’m importing are rather long, and I can’t really go through them all to see what Scrivener has decided not to copy.

So I’m a bit stuck - like I say I like the look of the trial program, but I can’t really justify buying it if this is going to be a problem when I import documents. I’d really appreciate any tips on this issue!

Many thanks!

Hi kirs,

I believe this is caused by an encoding issue. I’ve seen only a couple other instances of text not importing or copying completely when coming from OpenOffice, and there are a lot of people successfully coming from OO, so it’s not always a problem (corollary though is that it’s also not as easy to reproduce and find a solid solution for).

There are a few workarounds:

  1. Rather than importing, you can copy the text and then use Paste and Match Style in Scrivener. This strips all the formatting, so it cleans up potential problematic elements but also of course removes any character or paragraph formatting you had.

  2. If you have a copy of Word available, opening the .odt file there and then saving to .rtf will create an RTF that Scrivener can import cleanly, while preserving formatting.

  3. You can save as a Word .doc file from OpenOffice and import that. This should get in all the text, though I’ve had some cases where the encoding causes a ? to follow some punctuation characters (e.g. smart apostrophes and em dashes). So you may need to do a little clean up with a find/replace after import, but all your text and formatting should come over.

Which is best depends on what you’ve got available and what kind of text you’re working with. The second will give you the best import but obviously requires that you have a copy of Word; the first is quick if you’re just moving chunks of text and don’t have italics or tables or such that you need to preserve (remember that in general the paragraph formatting isn’t a big deal in Scrivener since you can override it all during compile, and even in the editor it’s simply to quickly convert multiple documents to your default formatting). Third is a good middle ground that will just potentially need an extra step for tidying.

Thanks for giving Scrivener a try! I’m sorry you’ve started off on a rough note, but I hope this helps you get around it so you can enjoy using the program.