Numbers to Scrivener

Version 3.5.1 on Ventura 13.4.

Is it possible to paste the contents of a Numbers table into a Table native to Scrivener; that is an identically-sized table created with Scrivener’s Insert > Table, please?


Apple has not published the Numbers (or Pages) format. So probably the best solution would be to export from Numbers to something like Word, and then import the result. (Word is the best commonly available exchange format for Pages.)

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Thanks, @kewms - I tried that. It doesn’t really work… everything gets pasted (if at all) into one cell.

I can export everything in the Numbers doc as I want it… a good format has been tsv, which I can then edit in BBEdit.

I don’t need the Numbers formatting.

It’s being able to paste it into the table in Scrivener that’s the difficult part; I’d really like it there to manipulate my rows inside Scrivener - if that’s possible.

Tables are, unfortunately, not a strength of the Mac OS text kit that Scrivener uses.

If your project needs a lot of tables, my recommendation would be to treat them like images: use the external tool of your choice, and place them in Scrivener toward the end of the process.

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No problem, @kewms; it’s a small part of my latest project.

Your suggestions appreciated :slight_smile:

What I’ve done so far is import the Numbers doc(s) as Research resources and link to them as documents; then I can ‘Open in Numbers’ and go from there. All possible - and enjoyable as ever :slight_smile:


What I do, all the time, with this sort of thing is simply setup the Numbers spreadsheet view on the screen how I want it to look, then do a screen shot into PNG, then pasting that into the Scrivener document.

To help me keep organised, I keep the Numbers file inside the Research folder in Scrivener.

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I use this method, with the Insert Image Linked To File - that way if I change the spreadsheet, I save a new screenshot with the original name and whenever I open or compile Scrivener it updates the linked image.

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Thanks, @rms - I can see how that would work well. In my case it’s an active sheet, which I need to update often, though.

Small price to pay: I’m getting so much from Scrivener!

If I understand the question correctly, one thing you should also try is pasting an identically sized table into another table all from within Scrivener, to see if this even works in theory.

In my testing, using TextEdit to get a baseline test of the underlying technology, pasting a whole table into another table’s cell is just how this works. It doesn’t matter where the table is coming from, it doesn’t have the ability to map cell rows and columns from one table into another’s layout. (The only difference with Scrivener here is that when you copy a table and paste it into another table cell it drops the table formatting and just pastes the data.)

Numbers tables do paste correctly in general though, but only when pasted on a fresh line.

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Thanks, @RuffPub; because I need to update the sheet often (it’s a table of the most often used commands I’m learning in a music notation package) and their priorities as I annotate keypresses, menu commands and so on, I think the best equivalent to what you do is tolling to the Numbers document itself and just update it ‘from’ Scrivener as I need it. Your help appreciated :slight_smile: .

That sounds like the ticket. When you need to update the table in Scriv, delete the table and then just paste the new data in from Numbers — which pastes a simple tab delimited form. Select all that and convert to table. Admittedly, if you have given your table some fancy look you would have to now recreate that, but maybe for present purposes unadorned table is best!

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Thanks, @AmberV; I think you do :slight_smile:

It’s almost simpler than that: I have a set of data referring to the way another app altogether works - commands, menus, popovers, keyboard equivalents etc - which is best presented in table format.

So I already have it in Numbers.

Now that I’m combining all my notes, PDFs, research, screen grabs etc for that other macOS app inside a new, dedicated Scrivener project, it seems to make sense to import the spreadsheet into a ‘native’ Scrivener table.

Formatting, size, styles etc completely unimportant - although when I saw (I haven’t used Scrivener tables before) that a Scrivener table allows sorting on a numerical column, I decided that an inbuilt table (in Scrivener) will work perfectly.

Great idea; no - it doesn’t:


Yes, that’s what I found as well. And even with plain text with tabs (\t etc) in BBEdit… all in cell A1

You mean - paste as if it were a graphic?

In this case the ability to update my table regularly is necessary.

I think it may be quicker to copy and paste one cell at a time.

I’m prepared togo to almost any lengths with this kind of thing, so much in love with Scrivener in general am I :slight_smile:

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Yes, I could do that. There’s always a way. But for the moment I suspect that an internal link to the Numbers doc (stored in ‘Research’ may be the most expedient.

I had good results just copying cells from a spreadsheet and pasting that into the text editor directly. It seems Numbers creates an RTF table when copying, which is suitable for pasting into programs like Scrivener. What I did not try was pasting a whole spreadsheet (if there is a way to copy one as a whole), either as an entire “sub-table” or multiple tables.

This is using a fairly recent version of Numbers on macOS 13. I’m not entirely up to date, so maybe if you are, something broke more recently with that.


Thanks again, @AmberV.

Scrivener’s own?

Yes, that works. It keeps the formatting too. Thanks.

Although, because I haven’t used Scrivener’s actual Table before, I don’t know how flexible and amenable to sorting, for instance, it’ll be that way.

Yes, I have the latest versions.

Shall keep experimenting. Pasting the text from just the (‘interior’) cells of Numbers didn’t work.

Yes they do but the whole table alignment can be an issue