Reliability of export to Microsoft Word and best practice?

Using a MacBook, I’ve created documents using pages and OpenOffice which when exported to Word format have lost their formatting when opened on a Microsoft computer. How reliable is the conversion from Scrivener to Word format?

is there any best practice to ensure a trouble-free export e.g. fonts to use and avoid etc?

For over 7 years, I have used Scrivener’s standard RTF export and Times New Roman for any docs I’ve sent to other people on whatever platform, with no trouble at all.

Mr X

We likely need more information on what you did in Pages and LO – what was the original format in which you created the documents, what format you tried to open them in Word, and so on. Paper size should be less of a problem, assuming you use standard (US, JP, or ISO) paper sizes).

One thing that can mess up formatting is when you create a document using one font that the computer on which you try to open the document lacks. These differences should be minor, however. A note in this regard re: LO: in the document properties, you can now embed the fonts used.

  • asotir

All the people I’ve worked with have been using Word in whatever version mostly on Windows, though some on Mac, and none has had any trouble opening RTFs produced from Scrivener (and my files include Chinese as well as English, plus some accented characters in European names). While the .DOC/.DOCX exporters may be reliable, they use third party converters on the RTF compiled by Scrivener. If you don’t think other people will understand that Word (and LO/OO/NO) opens RTFs without problem and insist on .DOC/DOCX, I’d just compile to RTF, open that in Word and save out as .DOC/.DOCX. Minimises potential errors.

Caveat: the current version of Pages won’t open RTF files … completely bonkers! Pages as part of iWork ’09 can do so.


Mr X

Thanks - rtf gives a ‘nearly there’ result. The problem seems associated with bullet points. I’m using 10pt Ariel in Scrivener and bulleted lists. On opening the rtf document in Open Office, the bullet points have gone. It’s perfect using Libre Office.

And as Mr X comments, you can’t open rtf in Pages. Which is really stupid. I like using a mac but sometimes the Apple decides what we can and can’t do is a pain.

Is your ultimate destination Microsoft Word, or OpenOffice? I ask because some people have reported various issues when opening Scrivener-created .DOC/X format files in third party programs, which vanish when the file is opened in Word itself.

From our point of view, if the file works correctly in Microsoft Word, then Scrivener has done its job. Misbehavior of that same file in a third-party program is really an issue to raise with the developer of that program.

RTF is even trickier. RTF itself is a standard format that’s been around for a long time, but many programs do not support the full RTF standard. So, for instance, if your Scrivener-created footnotes disappear when the RTF file is opened in TextEdit, but reappear when the same file is opened in Word, is that a Scrivener problem, or a TextEdit problem?