Pasting, with format from Google Docs (iOS only!)


I am using Scrivener on an iPad Pro. I do not have a computer, so the iPad is my only option.

I am trying to bring into Scrivener a number of Google docs. I have yet to find a way to bring them over while keeping the formatting they have in Google docs. Any suggestions? The main issue I have is moving over outlines which do not maintain formatting at all. If I convert to Word as an interim stage some of the formatting is maintained but the number scheme of the outline is very messy. Basically, the indents continue the numbering rather than switching to A, B, etc.

There is an option for ‘paste formatting’ but that is grayed out. Not sure what it does but can’t try it! I did try command-shift-option V and that did not work.

Any suggestions for how to best bring a Google doc into Scrivener? All help is most appreciated!


Hi, Ericc22.

OK, I have a work-around for you. It involves a $2.99 USD app called The File Converter by SmoothMobile. There may be other apps in the App Store that will do the job for less or free, but this is one I know about and have tested.

What any conversion app needs to do to get a fancy list from Google Docs to Scrivener, is to be able to input a .docx file (from which Scrivener can’t digest fancy lists properly) and output to either a .rtf file or a .html file (from which Scrivener CAN digest fancy lists.) File converter does the job; open a .docx from Google Docs in File Converter. Select HTML as your output format. Let FC do its conversion thing. Then open the resulting .html file in Scrivener – voila! Fancy list!

I hope this helps.


I am wrong, :blush: you need Doc Converter from SmoothMobile, not File Converter (that’ll teach me to post without consulting my notes from three weeks ago!)

Same process as above , but use Doc Converter and output to RTF. All the lists and formatting should come across intact. Doc converter is the same price as File Converter.

I have way too many little text manipulation apps on my iPad.

Thank you so much for the reply! Much appreciated!! So I guess there is no direct way, but a need to go through an intermediary step. I will give that a try.

One other question somewhat related… I can’t seem to get outlining to work within a document. What might I be missing? I can get it into a numbered list, where numbers will indent, but I can’t get to classic outlining structure. Any suggestions?

Thank you!

Only simple flat bullet lists and one-level numbered lists can be created and modified in iOS Scrivener, for reasons explained here: … and-tables

I found, when testing this stuff, that Scrivener is not alone, and creating fancy outline style lists is a rare ability among iOS rich text editing apps. It’s basically available in v. large word processing apps like Google Docs and Microsoft Word. You may need to keep your outline style lists in Docs for editing.

Thank you so much, once again!

So I am assuming then if I have an outline and keep it in Google docs, there is no way to view that from within Scrivener. So as I have outlines, I will just have to maintain those outlines outside of Scrivener and put everything else within Scrivener and refer between the 2 apps. Bummer. If there is a better solution let me know.

Thank you!


You can always insert a copy of your outlines into Scrivener by the method I suggested. If I were doing it live, that’s what I’d do – making sure that each outline was in its own little document in Scrivener so that if/when I needed to edit it or create another, I’d go to Google Docs, do the edit, and export it back into Scrivener again, deleting the first one.

Something else that would be helpful, should you start using that workflow, is to mark your outline docs in Scrivener somehow so they’re easy to see and/or find. You could use a label with a glaring color and turn label tinting on for the Binder. Or you could put a phrase like “Edit in Google Docs” into the synopses so you could search for them easily. Or both – suspenders and belt. :slight_smile:

If you can bring things in in RTF format, Scrivener should open and show your outlined lists absolutely fine; it’s just creating and editing multi-level lists that is problematic. Apple’s TextKit frameworks (which Scrivener uses) read and format lists just fine, using the same internal special formatting features for this as on macOS. The problem is that Apple hasn’t made these features available to developers as they have on the Mac. So Apple’s RTF reading and editor display code will show the lists fine, and they’ll be saved okay inside Scrivener. It’s just that Apple hasn’t made available the tools I would need to add other multi-level list items when the user hits return and so on. I’m hoping they add this soon, given that the code is all there under the hood, it’s just not accessible to developers outside of Apple.

All the best,

Thanks for the response, and great product!

  1. Scrivener supports split-screen functionality for ipads that have it (mine doesn’t), so it stands to reason that you can look at your Google docs outline while also being in Scriv.

  2. That you wanted to see your outline while in Scriv made me wonder what the function of the outline is in your workflow. Is the outline itself meant to be part of your finished output. Or is the outline rather more like a skeleton of your writing project which will be filled out to make your finished project (the outline scaffolding ultimately not part of the output, but merely scaffolding).

If your use is more like the latter, it would be well to note that the Binder itself is an outline structure which could be set up to reflect the structure of your outline.