Scrivener to InDesign

I did a search and read the prior topics, but I didn’t see a clean way to bring text from Scrivener into InDesign that retains all the formatting. Italics in particular are a challenge. At present, I’m copy/pasting the text from Scrivener into WordPad, applying the font I want, and then using either copy/paste from WordPad to InDesign, or using ‘Place’ in InDesign to bring in the whole file. Then apply Paragraph Styles to get it to align the way I want.

This works and is fine as long as I’m not adding a lot of invisible code cruft in the background. Has anyone found a better way?

I’m not a Windows user, and my answer depends on Scrivener 3 and using Pandoc (and I don’t own InDesign so haven’t tested this). Scrivener 3’s styles allow you to export via markdown and Pandoc to output proper ICML (Adobe Incopy content markup language) which should preserve all styles. The brief tests I’ve done paragraph and inline styles were preserved just fine. That should be much more robust and efficient than using intermediate formats and copy/paste and manual tedium, but YMMV…

1 Like

What does WordPad give you that applying the font directly in Scrivener doesn’t?


TBH, I never thought of formatting the text in Scrivener. I’m used to thinking of it as an organizational tool, so I’ve become used to seeing it in Courier! Since I’m also compiling to .MOBI, do I really want that formatting in the master file, or does it not matter?

However, as an experiment, I applied the font in Scrivener, and copy/pasted the text to InDesign. I get blocks of pink boxes interspersed with the number ‘4’ (randomly replacing portions of the original text) mixed throughout the pasted text in InDesign. If I go through WordPad, that doesn’t happen.

nontroppo - Pandoc looks like a much bigger hammer than I need. Since I’m using threaded frames in InDesign and I want the threading to stop at the end of each chapter, I bring in the text one chapter at a time anyway. Then there’s lots of fussing with orphans, widows, and kerning to get the layout to work. The real tedium starts -after- the text is in InDesign!

I’m not sure what format WordPad uses. Is it DOC or RTF?

In any case, if it were me I would use the Compile command to create an output document with the font settings I wanted, then import from that document to InDesign. You still might end up using WordPad as an intermediate step, but manually reformatting one chunk at a time in WordPad seems unnecessarily painful.


WordPad files are DOC files.

Setting up the formatting in the Compile window does the trick. I’ve been so focused on ebook output that I never investigated it for print until now. Compile to DOCX then use the InDesign ‘Place’ command to import the text into the frames. From there I can apply Paragraph Styles to get it exactly like I want.


Edited to clarify: InDesign expects DOCX files when using the ‘Place’ command.

Happy to help. The Compile command exists for exactly this kind of scenario.

Scrivener’s native format is RTF. Pasting RTF directly into InDesign if it’s expecting DOC could definitely cause some anomalies. Glad it’s sorted out.