Looking for Tips on Moving a Manuscript to Scrivener

I have a manuscript in Word that I’d like to move to Scrivener so that I can revise it there.

In the past I’ve found that I get inconsistent formatting, indenting etc. when I do this and it takes a while to clean up so I’m wondering if anyone has any tips for moving from Word to Scrivener?



This is the sort of thing that comes up quite a bit, as you can imagine, so we even have a tool for cleaning up formatting without messing up the sorts of things you might want to keep, such as italic text. The menu command is Documents/Convert/Formatting to Default Text Style. This will operate on many files at once if you wish.

The other tools you’ll probably find useful are in the Documents/Split sub-menu. This will make it easy to slice up the longer single file into something that will better take advantage of how Scrivener works.

Excellent, that sounds great.

Thanks for your help,


Related issue: In importing a Word doc to Scrivener, then working in Scrivener and exporting back out to Word (or Pages), the footnote formatting was bollixed. That is, everything in the document --including the text in the footnotes – had been converted to what Pages and Word call “Body Text” rather than “Footnote Text,” and I could find no way to globally change the footnote formatting all at once. That means the superscripts are no longer super, and the text in the footnotes is in 12 point rather than 9 point type, as our publisher requires.

We just now noticed this so I’m sure at this point precisely where in the process the glitch occurred. I did have footnote style set properly (9 pt type) in Scrivener as well as Pages, but because the text was converted to Body Text, it didn’t help. Of course, I can go back and reformat each of dozens of footnotes one at a time, but it’d likely add a day that I’d rather spend writing. Any ideas for either or both reformatting what we’ve currently got or preventing this from happening with future Word=>Scrivener=>Word docs would be greatly appreciated!

Just to clarify; are you talking about the formatting you see right after you have imported the document into Scrivener, or after you have compiled it? Unless you use the “As is” option when compiling (meaning that the finished product will have the exact formatting that you used on the individual pages while working on the document in scrivener), scrivener will fix the formatting for you upon compiling.

You could use Comic Sans, Times, and Impact all mixed together, and using different sizes with all kinds of indenting varying from one page to another while you are working on the project - but as long as you don’t use the “As is” option on compile you can adjust the formatting to a uniform output via the compiler. For more info on this, check step 16 in part 3 of the Scrivener Interactive tutorial.

I was talking about cleaning up the doc right after the import. I’d like the doc as consistent as possible while I’m working on it.

The suggested options took care of most of the issues although there was still some problems with variable indenting that I had to fix by hand. Didn’t take too long though.


Brett, it sounds to me as though you are referring to the general lack of support for stylesheets in Scrivener, not necessarily anything specific to footnotes. Footnotes themselves, if they are formatted properly as footnotes in the software, should be imported and exported correctly—which of course means there is no such thing as superscript numbers any more once you get into Scrivener, they will either be inline or in the sidebar depending on your preferences. If you require a specific footnote font, I would advise using the Footnotes & Comments compile option pane to override the font to whatever you need. Scrivener should be using superscript formatting for compilation by default, but it could be that the setting in this same pane, “Use period and space instead of superscript in markers” was disabled for some reason (perhaps by the template?).

Returning to the stylesheet issue, I’m afraid that there isn’t much I can do to help you out there since Scrivener just flat out doesn’t support stylesheets. They will always be lost on import, and never recreated on output. We do have plans to improve this in the future.

Thanks, Amber! Will try the override compile option as you suggest. I hope this won’t be such a problem after this book is done, because in future I hope to originate drafts in Scrivener (which is really what it’s intended for) rather than importing my coauthor’s already-footnoted Word files so I can use Scrivener to help reorganize the chapters. Then I assume that Word will read the exported Scrivener footnotes properly, assuming he continues to insist on using it. Thanks again for the help!