Preserve text styles when compiling to Microsoft Word docx

Is there any way to preserve the text styles when compiling to Microsoft Word?
I am new to Scrivener and Pandoc, so hopefully, there is an easy fix that I am not aware of.
The “Normal” template in Word contains several predefined text styles, and I thought the simple solution was to define the same paragraph and character styles in Scrivener. The text in the resulting Word document would then take the styles defined in Normal.dotx, e.g. “List Bullet”, “List Number”, “Heading 3”, “Caption” etc. I see that “Heading 1” and “Heading 2” is working just fine. My plan was then to attach my own Word template to adjust the look of the resulting document.
I really appreciate any help you can provide.

I’ll follow this with interest so I can learn. But I’ll also comment here MY UNDERSTANDING of the Scrivener mindset concerning compiling. Take it with a grain of salt if someone who knows more posts.

Compiling from Scrivener carries with it an assumption that you DEFINE how it looks in the File > Compile > Compile For > and the Formats you choose like Manuscript (Times) or more likely a format that YOU define.

It is an assumption that the compile output should follow the rules and styles that you define (in that Scrivener Compile Format). Otherwise, there seems to be little point in the overhead of creating such a format (that could be defining what maybe a publisher is demanding). So I submit that the formatting in Normal.doc is not what will be followed but rather it will carefully follow what you define in that Scrivener Format.

I recommend that you go to one of the formats (in Compile window you can bring up with File > Compile), right-click, select Duplicate & Edit Format, give it your own name, and there is where you should define how you want it to look. There is overhead in learning this, but it is a key strength of Scrivener. When you get it right, then it’s not such a big deal to re-create the outputs.

1 Like

It might be useful to determine just what Oddivh is trying to accomplish, exactly what kind of output is sought, and for what purpose. Scrivener offers a few different ways of getting work out of it, and then from there into Word, and “compiling” is just one of those ways. The OP mentions attaching Word templates, which suggests they will still be working on the document in Word, and perhaps moving between Scrivener and Word. If so, and depending on particulars, exporting or syncing Scrivener documents might be useful alternate options to compiling.

I work between Scrivener and Word, using Sync, and have not played at all with actual Compiling in Scrivener 3. But using sync, and outputting to rtf and opening in Word, it is possible to get the Heading “styles” to work between S and W, which is useful not only or mainly for consistent text formatting, but also, in Word, heading styles can be used for navigating through the doc and for other outlining and tagging purposes, somewhat incidental to text formatting per se. But the main heading styles in Word documents can be kept in sync with the same-named styles in Scrivener. For character styles, the names transfer between S and W, but the formatting may not always be full fidelity. Again - this is using Scrivener’s sync feature. How results may differ with the compile output, I don’t know.

Also, you may be tempted to create a style in Scrivener named “Normal,” to correspond to the default Normal style in your Word template. But Scrivener’s “No Style” will always end up as Normal in Word, and vice versa. I find that with my No Style in Scriv set the same as my Normal in Word, I never have to think about the default text in either, when using sync, or when copying and pasting between.


Searching for “Word Styles” in this forum yields 50+ results…


If the question is “how to have style assignation be preserved between the two softwares ?”
as far as I know the answer is : it can’t be automatically done. (At least not for (custom) styles other than the standard body and headers. ← this being said solely based on Mad_Girl_Disease’s answer…)
But, one could have the styles more or less match, and use the select by similar formatting function (if one exists in MSword), and from there reassign the paragraphs to the corresponding (desired) style later on.
→ That is obviously not an operation one could wish to be doing over and over. So perhaps it’d be best then to elaborate a work strategy that doesn’t involve going back and forth between the two softwares on a constant basis.
Should the user learn to use it to its full potential, Scrivener has everything one needs to get the work done from start to finish. (Or at least pretty damn close, in the case one has ultra specific page formatting needs. (A children book with lots of images and warped text, for e.g., will most likely need to be tweaked afterwards in some other software.) …but other than that, all the tools and output capabilities are there.)

To have Scrivener’s styles match those you have in MSword, paste text segments from MSword in your project, then create new styles – matching the names so you know what is what – from those segments in Scrivener.

Otherwise, I’d say that @Mad_Girl_Disease answer seems promising.

P.S. → In case you have chunks of your book that for some reason absolutely require to be handled parallelly in MSword, note that you can link to this/those file(s) inside your Scrivener project, and open them when needed from that said link. :wink: (You could even have them split across smaller files if and as needed, and have them be represented as the chunks that they are, where they should be among the whole book, as separate binder documents – otherwise empty – with their respective links inside.)