Remove formatting

I find TextEdit’s ‘Make Plain Text’ command very useful, yet I cannot find anything comparable in Scrivener. If I am pasting formatted text into Scrivener and want to ‘clean’ it of formatting, I need to put the formatted text through a plain text editor before pasting it into Scrivener. Scrivener’s ability to change style to ‘default’ does part of the job, but not enough.

Perhaps I can make a custom style that is plain text, or there can be a Make Plain Text command in the next version.



First of all, there is a fundamental difference between rich text and plain text, and much of Scrivener wouldn’t work without rich text parsing. There are features built into the editor which rely upon it, like footnotes and links. So it’s a little more involved than just a surface reset of the fonts to a uniform appearance. When you invoke that command in Text Edit, you are actually stripping all formatting code out of the file and left with something that is just the characters you can see. If you open a plain text file next to a rich text file in a raw text editor (like TextMate, or Text Wranger) that looks like a plain text file, you’ll see what I mean.

All of that said, Scrivener already has you covered. First, this entry in the FAQ will explain pasting text into Scrivener so that it conforms to the existing styles. Secondly, you can always use the menu command Documents/Convert/Formatting to Default Text Style to take an existing document and make it look uniform.

I’m using a ‘Service’ in Snow Leopard to remove all formatting from selected text in Scrivener i.e. I can select some text, right click and select ‘Services > Convert to Plain Text’ from the contextual menu.

The Service was created using, and uses an applescript to copy the text, remove formatting and then paste it back. The applescript was something I found on the web.

I’ve attached the workflow file. It needs to be copied into your home’s Library/Services folder. It works for me on Snow Leopard, but not sure about Leopard.
Convert to Plain (70.1 KB)

Thank you, that works for me.


Glad it worked. I’ve just experimented a bit further with the applescript, and have added a bit that also invokes the Scrivener menu item to ‘Convert to Default Text Style’. The modified workflow file is attached. It will show up in the Services menu as “Scrivener: Convert to Plain Text and Default Style”.
Convert to Plain Text and Default (60.8 KB)

Thank you, I will more often use the first version, but I can see a use for the second.