Table Support

Please add support for tables or structured columnar data, especially if they are compatible with iWork Pages / Numbers and/or Nisus table formats.

The ability to add content in a table would make Scriver more useful for anyone who had a need to add this type of structured data into their writing without having to resort to adding it after the fact. I would much rather be able to use Scriver as the source for everything that is going into a story or article.

See menu Text > Table… down at the bottom. These will export as RTF tables, which are more or less supported in most major word processors.

Don’t know how I missed that.

However, it would be great if Scrivener could also support Pages/Numbers type tables.

Currently if I copy a table from Pages to Scrivener it pastes it as a tab delimited list. Since the pasteboard contains multiple types, it would be easy to tell at a minimum that the data is also a table and convert the tab delimited text into an RTF table by default.

It would be awesome if Scrivener could create the RTF table using as much of the style data (width, font, etc) provided in the pasteboard.

The SFVnativePBClassesListPBType08 and SFVNativePBMetaDataPBType08 contains data identifying that the PB contains Table data.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> SFTTableInfo SFWPStorage

The pasteboard format from pages, numbers and keynote also contains all the table data as part of the SFVNativePBObject08 plist, including the widths, styles, etc.

If the originating application (iWork/Pages) doesn’t provide the data in the required format, it’d be a lot of effort to code up a custom solution and it would only work for iWork…

A text-to-RTF table function would do this, and that might be of broader interest than a converter that would only work for iWork. Doing this while preserving styles in the original text might be somewhat complicated. It’d be nice if there were a third-party service or AppleScript that would do this–and that way we would work around Apple’s atrocious RTF table editor–but I don’t know of one right now. :frowning:

Mellel can serve as a pretty decent table editor, and it will copy the table to the clipboard as RTF, losing only the background color. Perhaps there are other applications others can recommend?


Nisus Writer does a pretty good job with tables as well. Copy and pasting them into Scrivener seems to work pretty well but probably using the same RTF classes as Mellel since the background colors are also lost and for some reason the width of the lines seems thicker when pasted into Scrivener.

I suspect that Nisus and Mellel are probably overloading some of the default functions because they don’t exhibit some of the bugs that TextEdit and Scrivener RTF tables do.

iWork 08 has been handling the tables best so far. One can hope that the Cocoa classes used in iWork would become part of the text functions in Cocoa.

I thought Mellel’s text object was completely different from the standard Cocoa implementation but maybe Mellel and Nisus do share some code from the text system… Alternatively, I wonder if there is a technical reason related to the RTF spec that makes background colors for tables “hard” for both programs.

Upon further tinkering with the import and export features in Pages '08, it appears that they don’t have an RTF parser that will read and write tables at all. Table data is dropped from imported or exported RTF documents (not Word binary files). My impression is that this is a regression from Tiger. Seems an odd step given that they had just implemented the buggy table editor in the Cocoa text system.

I agree with you that it’d be great if other Cocoa apps would gain the benefit of this implementation but I hope that they also improve RTF compatibility. In the mean time, it seems like a service or Applescript that does some RTF mangling would do the trick. Use Applescript to tell Pages to copy the selection, then execute a shell script with pbpaste piped into sed, have the sed script look for the beginning and end of the RTF and wrap it in a table and then replace tabs with cell delimiters and paragraph marks with row delimiters (?), then pipe the result back into pbcopy, and bam! :unamused:


I’m pretty sure Mellel is using it’s own text engine. The data format is XML, at any rate, not RTF. I know because I mucked around in it making a Scrivener MMD to Mellel converter. It’s actually a good XML format too. I was nearly done and then suffered a data loss error and lost all of my work. :frowning: I should pick that up again.