Just starting out...

I’m not convinced that Scrivener will work at all, but I’m hoping it will. I searched the tutorial, the help features, and my hard drive without finding any clues to how to answer these really basic questions:

  1. Where are the binder files?

  2. How do I open one binder and not another binder?

I’ve got several ongoing projects and am considering importing versions of each project into Scrivener and keeping the Scrivener version of each project with the other versions of each project.

Several of my projects involve graphic concerns (creating maps, charts, etc.). I need to be able to include and update the graphics files.

At this point I’m using Textedit for most basic word processing, Appleworks for the graphic elements and for any word processing which requires footnotes, and Word 5.1 using classic for parts of my older projects, since Appleworks and Textedit can’t really handle old Word 5.1 files. I can export Word 5.1 to RTF but Appleworks will mangle the tables, and Textedit will both mangle the tables and drop the footnotes.

Now Scrivener doesn’t import Appleworks files at all. I don’t know whether Scrivener imports each other file format that I’m using, I just know that I get the warning that Scrivener didn’t import every file. I’m in no mood to compare the list of 400-odd files for one of my larger projects in Scrivener and outside Scrivener. How do I get the list of which files Scrivener failed to import?

Also, are there alternate ways to convert files which Scrivener didn’t import or did import but with major bugs (like losing footnotes, or adding gibberish everywhere)?

Finally, how do I know that 10-15 years down the line, I won’t be stuck having the same trouble getting out of Scrivener that I’ve had for the past several years getting out of Word 5.1?

Hi Marja,

You open different “binders” (or projects) the same way you would in any other program - by going to File > Open or File > New Project.

As for your other questions - I know you say that you have searched the tutorial, but have you gone through it all? I think that it will answer most of your questions. It should take less than an hour and have you up and running in Scrivener with some confidence.

All the best,

Yes. I’ve gone through it. Of course I’ve gone through it. Do you think I’d ask here before using the tutorial (particularly since the confirmation email got caught in the spam filter (not my onboard spam filter) and the confirmation screen and login screen here both kept crashing even after that)? Well, partway through it, then it froze while it spent a few hours important part of one of my projects, and then the rest of the way through it. I had no end of trouble with what was supposed to end up in the top pane, what was supposed to end up in the bottom pane, why closing the top pane closed the bottom pane instead, etc. I don’t recall the tutorial mentioning anything except the inability to open Appleworks and the two-step procedure to import Word files, relating to my questions.

I want to save things where I can find them and use them and I often have to spend some time finding where the software default-saves the file to move the file to go with the rest of the appropriate project (which has interesting effects on some other software, e.g. iPhoto). It said various stuff about .scriv files, and their folder-like attributes, but I can’t find any .scriv files on my hard disk, not even the mess from the end of the tutorial (where I’d imported part of one …). (That’s what made me wonder if Scrivener kept all its saves inside itself and only supported one protect at a time). Anyway, where are the .scriv files so I can put them where they belong and open them when I need to?

You did not mention that you had gone through the tutorial and my ability to read minds is dimming as I age, so I asked to be sure; not everyone reads it before posting.

The tutorial is stored inside Scrivener itself. You should not import files into that, really. Instead, the same as with any other app, go to File > New Project. That shows the project assistant, from which you choose where to save your new project. New .scriv files created thus will, by default, be saved to your Documents folder, though you can change that to whatever you want, of course.

The forum is having problems because of the high volume of traffic generated by the NY Times article; it has been fairly modest until now.

You will find more information on importing in the Help file (search for “Importing” and then go to the section with that title) - this lists compatible files etc, so if you convert your incompatible files to one of those file types (RTF is the best if you wish to preserve footnotes etc) you will be fine. There is also some more info in the FAQ section in this forum.


Okay, thanks. The tutorial includes importing things into the tutorial, unless I got mixed up. Sorry, but the whole thing has been messy. I’m thinking of tossing the copy I used/screwed up in the tutorial and installing a clean one.

That might be a good idea, because if you’ve imported a lot into the tutorial, it could make Scrivener bigger in file size. To be honest, I only put the tutorial inside Scrivener because people used to get confused when it was on the DMG (because Scrivener files can’t be read-only, so it used to be that you would have to drag the tutorial off the DMG, but a lot of users didn’t do that so got confused why it wouldn’t open). I may move it elsewhere again, I don’t know. I keep trying to find the best ways so that new users don’t get too confused, but it’s difficult. :slight_smile:

All the best,

Marja, I get the sense that you’re coming to Scrivener with a certain distrust for software, which is not an unfounded position since many applications out there are ill-conceived and poorly developed.

I can assure you from experience that’s not the case with Scrivener. This is a good solid program that shouldn’t let you down.

It might be helpful to know how others work with it, so I’ll tell you that before I started working with Scrivener I created a special folder in my documents area for “Scrivener Projects”. Then I opened Scrivener, chose “new project” and used the dialogue to direct Scrivener to save the new project in my Scrivener Projects folder.

Now every new Scrivener project is saved there by default, unless I choose to save it somewhere else. I know where all my projects are, and all is well with the world.

You can have as many projects going as you want at any one time. Each project uses the concept of a Binder. All files associated with each scrivener project are contained within the project file, not within Scrivener itself. But you should have no need to dig into those individual files. The point of Scrivener is to stop fussing around with all those loose files and open up your Binder with everything you need right there where you need it.

It’s really very calming, even Zen like, when you get into it.

Wishing you well…

I’ve been experimenting but I’m at an impasse.

Scrivener can’t open Appleworks files at all, and Appleworks can’t export its drawings into drawing-editable formats (it can export to JPEG and the like and print to PDF, but I need to revise the drawing, not bog down in painting).

I’ve tried bridging the word-processing files [minus charts and notes] by exporting from Appleworks into RTF format and importing the RTF version. I end up with pages full of stuff like this:



Textedit can read the RTFs [minus charts and notes]. How can Scrivener read these files?

Scrivener has no trouble importing rtf files created by Appleworks as long as the file names have the rtf file format tag.

Appleworks doesn’t seem to add that automatically so you may have to do that manually before you try to import.

Another option for you is to open the files in text edit and cut and paste the text into Scrivener. Just be sure to create a new binder item each time if you want the files to stay separate.

By the way, using that method (adding the rtf tag) it also had no trouble importing a file with a graphic.

And you should be able to drag in any jpegs you wish.

If by this you mean that you need to make further edits to the drawing, then importing to Scrivener won’t help you. It will import and store images, including JPGs, but it can’t edit them.

Can these be of any help?



Don’t get confused because of the discussion is about NeoOffice. You probably would not want to work with it, but if you managed to successfully get your stuff into NeoOffice (free, by the way) to transfer it in another step into Scrivener would be just child’s play in comparison.

And what about Pages '08? The Apple web page says it opens AppleWork files and will probably be able to save them in a newer format, will it not? (I don’t own it so I can just guess.)

A final advice: You are mixing up two things at the moment – you’re trying to learn a new software which has a significantly different approach than the usual word processor plus you’re trying to import ancient file formats into this new program.

I’d say you first let Scrivener rest and concentrate on finding the most comfortable – or any – way to convert your old files into a format the Apple text engine can handle, best rtf or rtfd for texts, jpg, png or tiff for graphics. If you have access to them with TextEdit or Preview or the like you will be able to import them into a Scrivener project too.

The problem is that RTF means losing all my footnotes and screwing with my tables. I can’t do that. I need somewhere to go … converting from software which can handle the files to software like Textedit which can’t handle the files is like crossing a half-finished bridge.

So I’m looking for the other half of the bridge.

I also tried NeoOffice and it. does. not. work. It. can. not. read. the. file. formats. the. documentation. says. to. convert. the. files. into.


I just wouldn’t bother with all this. You apparently have a variety of complex, huge files and projects in old formats. You’re better off finishing them using the old software. You’ll save a lot of hair (if there’s any left :slight_smile: ) by doing so.

Try Scrivener with a new project.

On the subject of graphics, you seem to be implying that you’ve used the Appleworks drawing (not painting) module to do some graphics. I’ve a faint memory of some drawing programs (Canvas?) that could import Appleworks drawings. None of the modern translators can do it. The only way I’ve found is to use Appleworks 6 to print to PDF. Then use Adobe Illustrator to open the PDF and edit it . . . with difficulty.


For what it’s worth, I agree - it sounds like your older projects are heavily based around Appleworks, and it’s probably best just to continue/finish them in that app.

Try Scriv for a new project, and see how it fits you when starting from scratch. (Though, again, I’ll point out that it has no drawing tools, or tools to edit graphics. You’ll have to do those in a separate app.)

Marja, at first you should calm down a bit.

And then read properly. No one ever said NeoOffice could open AppleWork files just like that.

The whole complex is not about Scrivener or NeoOffice, it’s about transferring you old file formats into a common 21st century file format (that can be opened by Scrivener, NeoOffice, TextEdit and so on).

One of the links in my posting leads to a discussion about how you could do this. NeoOffice gets mentioned in it but it is not necessary for the converting methods. It’s just the program that guy wants to open his converted files in.

You need something to convert. Try the second link to the viewer/converter programs, give Apple’s Pages a shot. I don’t know both so I can’t say if it works for you.

The other way would be what the previous posters wrote: Finish your old work in AppleWorks and try Scrivener for a new project.

And about your “What about the Scrivener files in 10–15 years?” question: Of course no one can tell you what will be in the future. Technology is changing so fast. But two things: Inside of a Scrivener package (.scriv is actually a package and not a file format of it’s own) are rtfd files. The chance that the very common rtf(d) format – and especially very common for for exchanging files between different programs – is still readable is way bigger than the chance of a propietary format like that of AppleWorks. And second, people get more and more aware that keeping files at least readable for a long time is vital.

The problem you are running in to with TextEdit is very annoying, and Apple’s fault. The RTF format can actually handle footnotes just fine, in fact Scrivener handles RTF footnotes both on import and export. Pages on the other hand does not. So if you are exporting to RTF from AppleWorks, and then trying to import into Pages, you will lose your footnotes. You will lose them in TextEdit too. I think what the other posters suggested is a good idea. Find a word processor which will interface with AppleWorks (either directly or by correctly handling its export), many of them have demos (even Word), which should give you enough time to convert what you need before the demo expires.

Have you tried searching the forums here? I seem to recall one other person migrating away from AppleWorks. You might also try searching the web for solutions. The Pages solution might be good if it opens AppleWorks documents with all tables intact, and if it produces valid RTF footnotes on export. It might only produce them using Word doc format, but if that is the case you can at least use another word processor, like NeoOffice, to do a proper RTF conversion and then import into Scrivener from there.

Footnotes will probably be the easiest thing to solve. Tables on the other hand, that might be more difficult, and again this is Apple’s fault for having such lacklustre support of them.

Rest assured, there is probably a way to save your tables and footnotes, it just might require a little patience and trying a bunch of word processors and intermediate formats. The good news is once you do get a method, you’ll have your data in a format that is universal and this will never happen again (unless computers stop working, and then we’ll have bigger problems than footnotes).

As for the illustrations, it sounds like you composed illustrations in AppleWorks—probably vector based (drawing tools where you can select the shapes and move them around afterward). This is probably going to be something you will lose the ability to edit no matter what. Proprietary document formats are one thing, proprietary graphics formats are another entirely. GraphicConverter might be of some use, but since it is a bitmap (JPEG type) editor and not a vector editor, it will probably not be able to do much for you. I don’t have any experience with AppleWorks. I played with it once back in 2002 and promptly uninstalled it. Depending on how many illustrations you have, it might be easier to look for another graphics program (like Acorn, or DrawBerry which is free and might be more like what you are used to), and just recreate them from scratch, making sure to research and settle on something that can export to a solid universal graphic format like EPS.

I’ll reiterate the advice given by others. Your problem here isn’t really Scrivener. It actually does a better job of interfacing with RTF than most Apple document editors. But it cannot do anything with a bad input file! So getting that first step accomplished is important. The main problem is getting your data out from an obsolete format and going forward from there. Once you do, and your information is in Scrivener, you can be rest assured that this problem will be vanquished. Scrivener uses universally accepted formats, and as others have pointed out, they are stored in what amounts to a folder. In a worst case scenario ten or fifteen years from now, you’ll still have everything. That is absolute worse case. Scrivener, if it is still functioning in twenty years or whatever, has excellent export capabilities. You shouldn’t ever have to rely on mucking around in the project folder itself, but it is nice to know that ability is there if the worst happens.

As frustrating as the task is right now, it is worth it, because whatever difficulties you are having right now will be much worse, if not impossible, in the future.

Marja, please don’t let your frustration with AppleWorks or other formatting carry over into an obnoxious tone in forum postings. One thing that makes Scrivener so wonderful is the contributions of its forum participants, and their cheerfully constructive attitude. I’m aware that such politeness is rare around the intertubes, but I’d sure hate to lose it here in one of my favorite online venues. Forgive me if I’m overreacting, but it doesn’t take too many posts like yours to start contaminating the positive atmosphere and (to mix metaphors) initiate a downward spiral in tone. You might also get more help from us if you respond with gratitude rather than sarcasm to our attempts to solve your problem. It’s not like anyone’s getting paid to help each other out here.

I know these tech impediments can be really infuriating, particularly when they prevent you from being able to enjoy the wonders of our favorite app, but I’d appreciate it if you could pretend that we’re not in front of computer screens but instead are sitting around a table in the L&L cafe, sipping our beverage of choice, and converse accordingly. Thanks!