Mellel and OPML import/export


The new Mellel 2.2.7 can import and export outliner text as OPML data. It works great with Omni Outliner, exchanging both titles and ordinary text (as notes in OO). Wouldn’t it be a great way of exchanging documents between Mellel and Scrivener, if this latter supported the OPML format?


As others have mentioned, you can import OPML into OmniOutliner, and export from OmniOutliner into MultiMarkdown, which can be imported into Scrivener.

Another option is to use my opml2markdown.xlst XSLT stylesheet to convert an OPML file into a markdown file directly, skipping the OmniOutliner step.

2 caveats:

First, you’ll have to google around a bit, or ask others, to learn how to use the xsltproc tool (or XSLT tool of your choice) to apply this stylesheet. (Pretty straightforward if you are comfortable in the command line.)

Second, I’ll warn you that the OPML format is actually a pretty crappy file format - for me it was an intermediate step on the way to using the native OmniOutliner XML format, which is much more robust. OPML doesn’t handle whitespace properly, so it’s rather useless for longer documents. It’s good for lists of short items, but that’s about it IMHO.

I tried the other way: from Scrivener to Mellel, via Omni Outliner. When loading into OO an MM/RTF file generated by Scrivener, everything is converted in main level items. When loading the resulting OPML file in Mellel, everything becomes a first level Auto-Title.

The only solution I can see is to manually edit the items in OO, but I find this solution less than ideal.


I can’t speak to OmniOutliner’s importing of RTF documents, but it doesn’t surprise me that you did not achieve the expected results.

It is feasible to have an XSLT for MMD that exports the document to an OPML format, which could then be readily imported into Mellel directly. It would not be hard to write, as it would basically be the header, and the text with no formatting. But, unfortunately OPML ranks right around RTF amongst my least favorite document formats and not very intellectually interesting as a “fun” project.

I guess if someone came up with some ways to make it interesting for me, I could get talked into doing it. Or there might be others out there willing to write it.

Quite interested in this thread…

The main issue I have is that although OPML might be a technically inferior format, it’s very convenient. For smaller docs, I outline in OmniOutliner. Export as OPML and import into Mellel. If you’ve setup a Mellel template and styles correctly, I need to spend maybe 2 mins to fully format the document properly with all the level numbers intact.

With the next Scrivener release due to provide OPML imports (have I got that right?) then I can use OO to quickly outline stuff and then import into Scrivener (with hopefully all the level numbering intact in the doc structure - no need to code in <$n> tags).

But for Scrivener to export OPML for me is very useful as I can page layout in Mellel and still move the doc structure around if I want, giving flexibility up to the final stage… Importing RTFs into Mellel is much more work and not nearly so attractive and there’s no structure and no recognition of different paragraph style names for title and notes.

So for me, Scrivener OPML import and export functions would be extremely useful as it greatly simplifies workflows ending up in Mellel.

Well, as we “speak” I happen to be working with OmniOutliner on a presentation. I have also recently purchased a newer version of OmniGraffle, and discovered that Omnifocus can import from OO.

The upshot of this is that OPML could play a bigger role for me than it used to, so it’s possible that I could interested enough to work on it if there was enough interest/support/ideas from others to make it worth making time for (unfortunately my “real” job is keeping me pretty busy and not much time for computer projects at the moment.)


Yes love Omni tools, got all the above + OmniWeb. I’m a BIG fan and they give cracking support. Not tried the OO > OF bit yet! My pet wish is that more authors in technical fields would describe things in piccies with something like OG. Page after page of text can be tedious. OG would be excellent to describe complex workflows for authors with different requirements and different target formats. Sometimes, it does get bewildering… Working with OG is a dream… Can you ‘hotlink’ it all in a PDF format? I wonder…

Well I’m happy to give some support, ideas on it. Have done a lot of systems programming but absolutely no experience in this texty field at all. It certainly has my interest for tech docs, presentations etc but I also like the purely creative stuff where OPML isn’t much use.

At the moment, my workflows are primarily ending up in Mellel as it has very strong integration with Bookends. So for anyone writing with a large slice of refs in the final print, it’s a powerful combo.