Paste a tab-indented outline into Scrivener

Hi all,
I just started using Scrivener and I tried to get a tab indented file into Scrivener so it shows up as hierarchical organized documents in the binder and in the outline. I tried pasting at several places, e.g. the parent folder selected in the binder, in the outline view etc. but none of that worked.

So, what’s the easiest way to get tab-indented files into an existing scrivener document?


Thanks for trying Scrivener!

There’s no way of converting a tab-indented outline to binder documents, but if you can convert it to an OPML document, then Scrivener can import OPML documents and convert them to binder documents, maintaining the hierarchy.

All the best,

Hi Keith,
thanks for this very quick answer. Sounds easy, but (and that may sound dumb) it isn’t. I tried the OPML editor from and it also doesn’t allow pasting. So i tried to import the text file and it messes up the encoding. After converting everything from UTF-8 to MacRoman, the OPML-Editor was able to read the file and showed the correct folding etc. So I tried importing it into Scrivener using Menu File -> Import -> Files…
But I got the following message: “Some files could not be imported because they were of an unsupported file type or contained data that could not be read.”, even with only one single OPML file coming directly from the OPML editor. Closer inspection of the OPML file showed: It’s still just a text file with tab indentations and not OPML.

Three questions:
Did I do anything wrong and how can I do it better?
Can somebody suggest a good OPML editor which allows converting from text files or explain how it works with the above one?
I think pasting of indented lines be a good feature for Scrivener. Should I file a feature request or was this discussed and dismissed before? (I found something about RTF Outline importing but nothing about Tab indented)

Have you tried OmniOutliner?


Yes, OmniOutliner can do this, thanks Hugh. Just download the trial of OmniOutliner, click to the left-most of a row to ensure the text area isn’t selected, and paste in your tab-indented outline. This will create a hierarchical outline in OO. Then just use File > Save As and save as an OPML file that can be imported into Scrivener.

I don’t think that allowing pasting a tab-indented outline into Scrivener’s binder would be a good idea, because it would lead to support incidents whereby users have accidentally pasted text copied from the main text area into the binder and suddenly found that all the paragraphs have been turned into binder documents. But OmniOutliner should allow you to get your file into Scrivener.

Thanks and all the best,

Thanks a lot for the pointer, Hugh and Keith! OmniOutliner did the job instantly and perfectly.
Thanks for your support, that saves a lot of time.