Saving files in .doc

This is probably a dumb question, but I am a student, and am a new user of Scrivener, and was wondering if it is possible to automatically save writing in the .doc format. A lot of writing submission I do is transferred via email to professors and such, simply for ease, and their preferred format is .doc, which seems to be the easiest for them to open. Just started using the software, so I may be unaware of its capabilities as yet. Thanks!



You can export or compile to .doc format (although .rtf is preferred), but you can’t automatically save to .doc because the .doc format is only capable of saving all the features of a Word document; it could not save all the features of a Scrivener project any more than a .jpg file could, if that makes sense.

In general, the idea is that you draft in Scrivener and then compile your work to a format that you will use to submit it (such as .doc).

Oh, and welcome aboard!

All the best,

Hi, and welcome to the forums!

It sounds like you’re really talking about compile (or maybe export) in your scenario anyway–you write in Scrivener with lots of chunks and bits here and there, hit “compile” to clean it all up into a presentable whole, and then email that file. At the compile stage you can choose .doc and unless you change the settings to force it to use the more limited native .doc exporters provided by Apple, you’re actually just compiling an RTF with all the features provided by the modified RTF exporter but renaming it as .doc so when your professors double-click on the file it opens automatically in their word processor of choice. (Cf. note in the User’s Manual in 24.2.1.) That’s probably all you need, unless your professors are using word processors that don’t have strong RTF support (Pages is a notable one; Word has excellent RTF support.)

Ok, fantastic, that’s exactly what I needed to know. If I run into any difficulties compiling, I’ll come back, but I really appreciate the help. Thanks!


Small warning:

In my experience, if you export from Scrivener to .doc rather than .rtf, and the person you email that to forwards your mail and its attachment to someone else, then the recipient of the forwarded mail will find the attachment is gibberish. I do not know if this problem is:

  1. limited to those who are using the Chinese versions of Windows, Outlook — or other email client — and Word, or if it is true of all language versions;
  2. limited by specific emailer — I presume Outlook, since the Chinese, including my colleagues at the university, seem generally blithely unaware that any alternative exists to what Microsoft provides, which treats anything with a .doc extension as binary for MIME purposes, whereas the Scrivener .doc exports are plain text, or whether it is a general problem on Windows.

So, if there is any risk of them forwarding your stuff to someone else, my advice is to (educate your profs if necessary and) send .rtf exported from Scrivener, rather than .doc, or else export .rtf, open in in Open/Neo/LibreOffice — all free — and re-export it as a binary .doc.


PS In that scenario, if they insist on .doc and you don’t want to go the OpenOffice/whatever route, in order to forward your attachment, they will have to open it in Word, re-save it and then send that.

I would suggest that you ask your professors their position on .rtf files. As a professor myself, I usually tell my students they can submit in .doc because that is the most common format they are familiar with–but for those who use other programs I tell them to use .rtf. In fact, I would prefer all documents in .rtf because then there is no problem opening it with whatever program I want. Your professors may feel much the same. Sometimes it’s just too hard to get die-hard Word users to even recognize that they can save their documents as .rtf!

And since Scrivener compiles cleanest (I believe) in .rtf, you don’t have to worry about gobbledygook when the file is opened by other parties!