Nisus and Scrivener

What is the advantage of Nisus in collaboration with Scrivener?

I use this pair very often, and I can say how I use them.

When drafting an idea, I work in Scrivener, because it provides several brainstorming/idea shaping tools missing from Nisus or any other wordprocessor. Having a separate Research and Draft areas is another bonus, helping in keeping the text clean. And Scrivener’s Draft area syncs well with my iPads.

When the idea is well shaped and the structure of the final work quite clear, I switch to Nisus, where a linear thinking is prevalent. The side index/outliner allows for a lot of flexibility, so you don’t lose all the flexibility of Scrivener. I also like how the index follows the position of the cursor in the text, so that I can always have the detail and the big picture in my eyes.

The one complement the other, and they work very well together.


Another advantage is that RTF is the native file format for both Scrivener and Nisus. When you export from Scrivener it does so in RTF; if you have designated .doc or .docx, that RTF file is passed through a third party converter and so there may be resultant differences — if you haven’t installed the converter, then the .doc is actually RTF with a changed creator code and extension, which is OK, but doesn’t play nicely with some wordprocessors like Pages. As RTF is Nisus native file format, it preserves everything in the exported file, and gives you all the other page layout possibilities of Nisus.

I am working on what I hope will become a book/course-book on translating Chinese to English, which will include several heavily annoted reference translations. Working on the text is much easier in Scrivener, and I don’t have one of the few problems of NWP, the slowing down you get when you have a lengthy document with many footnotes/endnotes. Fundamentally, all I have to do in NWP is:

Copy and paste the entire text from the Scrivener exported file into a new file based on a pre-prepared template;

Apply semantic styles to headings … easily done through exporting the relevant level headings using different typographical settings, which NWP can select easily … so it’s two clicks to change the whole lot at each level in turn;

Mark the Chinese as such and changing the font to the one I need for final output — Scrivener doesn’t seem to let me choose a secondary font on export — again two clicks to do that throughout the document;

Since I want each reference translation to be in a separate section with the notes on that translation at the end of each section, I use a specific separator string between text and folder on compile … in NWP I just search for that string and replace it with the appropriate section break;

I want my endnote index marks to be followed by a stop and a tab, rather than a stop and a space, so I begin each inspector footnote with >> and then search and replace all ‘space>>’ with a tab.

and NWP does the rest. I guess I’ll put up a feature request for an option to have stop+tab as one of the options for footnote export in addition to those that are there, and another for the possibility of section break between a document and folder in Scrivener, in addition to the page break option.

Mr X

Mr X. You might also add that Nisus has an extremely good macro language so I’m sure that any small glitches could be dealt with in a macro.

Anyone who wants advice on this aspect of Nisus should hop over to the Nisus forum, where there are people who are extremely adept at writing complex macros.

And as an aside, Nisus Writer Pro is participating in the SummerFest sale right now for 20% off. So now is a good time to pick it up if you’re on the fence over the price.

I just checked out Nisus’s page to see how much adding Nisus Writer Pro would set me back and noticed that they list a single license as well as a three seat family pack. Does anyone know if the single seat is mean for a single user of several machines or if their license prohibits that? I am the only one that would use it here, but I interchange between three Mac laptops (well and one sad windows machine that doesn’t count) and so being able to legitimately use the software on any one of them a a given moment is important. The three seat “family” license is not in fact that much more … but something about not being free to use it as I deem necessary without paying for some outmoded way of approaching a computer’s usability … rankles me. :slight_smile:

So … any ideas? I fired off the same question to the developers, but just in case I don’t hear a reply faster than light, or if another person wonders the same thing … I thought I’d ask here as well.


It’s so long ago since I started using Nisus that I’m not entirely sure, but when you register the licence, if I remember rightly, you can register it as “Computer”, which means it is valid for any user accounts on that particular machine, but not on others, or “Personal” which means only you have the legal right to use it with no restrictions, but you can licence your personal account on any machine you own/use with it.

I guess what it means is that if you register as computer, the licence code is put in the root library on your computer and Nisus is informed that it is not transferrable; if you register as personal, the code is in your user library and Nisus knows that it can be duplicated in the libraries of accounts of that person on other computers.

I have been running NWP on two computers for years, having registered as personal … including installing it on replacement computers.

Mr X

Sorry to be so long in replying, Tacitus. Yes, I know about NWP’s macro capabilities, but haven’t had time to try using them, as the few macros I have found a need for so far are either part of the installation, or are available for download from the repository.

As for what I mentioned above — which I mentioned only as an example of how well I think Scrivener and NWP work together — it is all so quick to do that I don’t need to macroize it; though when the final manuscript is put together it might be worth it, particularly as, by then, there might be other things I want to transform. If I can’t work it out myself, I will certainly appeal to the macro-gurus on the forum.

Mr X

I received a speedy reply; and Nisus provides Licensing terms the way (I believe) it should be, in that the single license is for one person on whichever machines they own. The family pack is for three individuals in the same household. :slight_smile:

So that is one issue out of the way!

I do most of writing in Scrivener and then output to Nisus for the final paper. I do very little actual writing in Nisus (I find the inability to have 2 copies of a file open – so that for example you can easily move text around in the document, a strong limitation – but with Scrivener as my primary writing environment, it doesn’t matter).

In Scrivener I use simple presents to indicate what will be basic styles in the final paper – Red text for Heading 1, Blue for Heading 2, Green for block quote. I could use a particular font for each.

When I get to Nisus I scan the document for colors and assign the appropriate style to each indicated paragraph.

It would be wonderful if there was a set of Nisus macros that would do this automatically. Indeed implementing this might mark a semi-official way that the companies could link their programs. I tried to write some macros for this but was not successful. I’m not much of a programmer. Basically have a standard way of marking certain text (paragraphs) and then having Nisus recognize this and assign styles.

I really, really prefer the Scrivener to Nisus way of working to Word. Another big advantage of Nisus is that it easy to put custom commands on the toolbar.

It might be worth you posting on the Nisus forum.

There is a section dedicated to macros and you may find someone there who can help you out.

There is also a macro repository at : so you may find something there that will help.

Also, take a look here:;a195666.1305