OPML import?

My first post; though I first went through Scrivener’s built-in tutorial over the summer, while drinking tea in a warm summer resort, in the Levant, in June. Alas, it is now cold, and wet, and Oxford, and November (though I’m still drinking tea). But that’s besides the point: I love this program, and thank you Keith for developing it.

So I, like many other academic users it appears, live in DEVONthink Pro to store my PDFs and notes. But, like others, I’ve come tor realize it’s not set up for writing anywhere near how Scrivener is. But because so many of my notes are in there, I like to make a folder (err, group) in DT, and arrange my notes in hierarchies using the “Outline” features that DT provides. Using the “vertical split” view, I have my essay/article’s outline on the left, and for each outline entry, on the right I have its notes, references, etc., in the text box.

To cut to the chase: DT can export to OMPL. Scrivener cannot import from OPML. Though I’d love to do just that; I’d love for it to be able to IMPORT my hard-work-of-an-outline from DT (or OmniOutliner, or your outliner here…), instead of having to manually remake my outline in the Binder before I start writing. Is there anyway to do this that I am missing? Or is this mysterious (to me) MMD the key to this problem as well?

Thanks again for such a wonderful piece of software.

While Scrivener’s MMD import does do precisely what you want, it probably does not do it the way that you want. It is a system for plain text files. You would not be able to place the title marks into a styled RTF file and then import that. Something has emphasis in MMD if it has asterisks around it, for example. RTF style italics would get lost in the translation. Now, there might be something that can convert RTF to Markdown syntax, but it is not Scrivener – and once you go down that path it can be a whole different way of working.

On the other hand, the amount of work it would take to put in all of those hash marks (unless DTP had a way of doing this automatically) would probably be less than the amount of work it would take to do a bunch of Cmd-Ctrl-Arrow commands to get everything sorted out right in the Binder.

I wrote an export plugin for OmniOutliner that exports an outline has a MMD file (if I’m not mistaken OPML is a plain text format only, not RTF? - in either case, as always, going through MMD uses plain text files, not RTF).

So you could import an OPML into OmniOutliner, export using my plugin as MMD, and then import the MMD into Scrivener. I originally wrote the plugin to allow me to do what I now use Scrivener for - as a tool to help organize and structure longer documents. But it just didn’t feel right…

fletcher.freeshell.org/wiki/Omni … downPlugin

Right, OPML is just XML. If all you want to do is transfer an outliner structure (divorced of any content) from DTP to Scrivener, that shouldn’t be too hard.

To clarify and make sure we are all on the same page - if you use my process, the content of each item in the outline IS transferred over and kept. It just doesn’t have any formatting (bold, etc) unless you used the Markdown syntax for it.

Oh, I thought DEVONThink Pro just exported the outline structure itself. I didn’t realise that it was putting data into the OPML file, too.


Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. EXACTLY what I was hoping for. It brought over the hierarchy and the contents of each note.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.


Thank you both, AmberV and Fletcher.

There are, of course, other options for getting your work out of DT and into Scrivener, too.

Currently, you cannot drag files directly from DT into Scrivener, unfortunately. This is because beta 4 does not support the drag type of DT. I have fixed it so that beta 5 does support this drag type, but unfortunately DT has a bug in this regard which means that it still won’t work. :slight_smile: The guys at DT know about this, and hopefully you should be able to drag directly from DT into Scrivener when BOTH the next beta of Scrivener AND the next update of DT comes out.

In the meantime - or in case that never works - you can use the intermediate step of just dragging the files from DT to the Finder and then dragging them from the Finder into Scrivener. This way, all folders and (supported) files will be dragged in using the hierachy you set up in DT.

Of course, the MMD import is another option too, as Amber and Fletcher have pointed out, but using the above method maintains any rich text formatting you have in your documents, and supports PDF, image, QuickTime and web files too.

All the best,

Even better. :slight_smile: Thanks Keith, and keep up the great work!

Keep in mind that you can use my approach for OPML files created from other applications - import into OmniOutliner and then export to MMD.

At one point I had an opml 2 markdown XSLT file as well that could do this directly. Some time I’ll try and dig that up, but I would recommend the OmniOutliner route…

Just in case someone searches this thread - I use ConceptDraw Mindmap a lot which has a show as outline feature - but its outlining isn’t as good as OmniOutliner Pro. So, my workflow for some chunks of stuff is Mindmap - OPML export - Import into OOPro, add to if appropriate - then use the MMD Export (as above - Thanks!!) and import into Scrivener.

Seems a lot of programs to do this - buy hey, I don’t have to do the retyping anymore - and it would be much better if Scrivener could switch to mindmap mode (as well as outline and cork board) or even just cut out the OOPro bit by importing OPML, but that ground’s been covered before :laughing:.

And if only I could grasp how to do it I could Automate it all, but life’s too short and I have to get on with writing that damn report …

I’ve recently been trying out NovaMind as a means to map out writing projects using mind maps. I find them a great way to capture all the important points and flesh out the basic structure of a project. I’ve used outlines for 20 years or so, but have only just discovered that mind maps offer a visual representation that’s a lot easier to work with. I’m not writing fiction at the moment, but I think many novelists would find mind maps a great way to start out.

Anyway, the point of this rambling is that after using NovaMind to flesh out the main concepts of a project, it’s then time for me to import the structure of the mind map into Scrivener’s outline view prior to getting started on the writing - i.e. fleshing out the hierarchy of headings into a proper body of text.

This is easy enough to do by exporting from NovaMind into OPML, then importing into OmniOutliner, exporting back out from OO using the MMD export discussed near the top of this thread, then finally importing into Scriv. HOWEVER, the addition of an OPML import option for Scrivener would turn this into a single operation, and would also work for those who don’t own a copy of OmniOutliner. I’m right with Keith when it comes to avoiding feature bloat, but this single filter would accommodate users of most outlining programs, mind-mappers, DEVONThink, Circus Ponies NoteBook, etc, etc. As OPML (with all its faults) is something of an Esperanto for outliners, it would kill lots of birds with a single stone.

From my perspective I simply want to import a ‘tree’ of topic headings into Scrivener - I’m not trying to import body text or styles…

If anyone is interested in mind mapping as a way to start out their projects and perhaps help clear a little writer’s block, I’d suggest giving NovaMind (nova-mind.com) a try. There are a number of free mind mapping programs for Mac OS and a few other paid-for options, but I’ve found NovaMind by far the most polished. It comes in three versions (at $50, $150 and $250), with all the basic features you need in the $50 version and some amazing presentation, project planning and time management tools in the $250 version.