Tables, Scrivener, and Word


I’m posting this in the buggery section, but it’s really more of an advisory. So, FYI…

I recently completed two chapters that I wanted to send to my editor. They total about 16,000 words. The second of the two contains a table. This is the first time I’ve ever exported a document with a table in it, and it’s likely not something I’ll have to do very often.

First, I found the table function itself in Scriv pretty fiddly. I recognize this is an Apple text engine issue, but thought you should know. I had difficulty navigating within the table. Sometimes I could only get the cursor into a cell I was aiming at if I spaced into it. It simply wouldn’t accept a mouse click. Also, I lost a cell at the end of a five column line (I mean the cell just disappeared!) and could do nothing to get it back.

Second, when I tried to open the RTF export in Word, Word alerted me that the document was too long for it to handle. The only thing Word allowed me to do at that point was exit. I then split the chaps into two separate exports. The one without the table (the longer of the two) was easily opened by Word. The one with the table caused Word to unexpectedly quit (though the alert “Word has unexpectedly quit” seems somehow oxymoronic to me). This happened about three times before I decided to delete the table from the original Scriv doc. I was then able to open the newly exported file in Word with no problem.

It might be relevant that the table in question was the weird one that mysteriously lost the cell. Who knows?

In any case, it’s really a shame to have to use word to communicate with my editor. Every time I do so, I feel like I’m downgrading from a Beemer to a Yugo.

Hope this helps,


Like you say, this doesn’t really have anything to do with Scrivener - it’s all down to the OS X text engine and Word.

I agree that the table functionality is rubbish, frankly. They are hard to navigate, difficult to format, and tend to get screwed up easily. I tend to create them in another app and then copy them in if I need them. But all of this is down to Apple’s implementation, not mine - we just have to hope things improve in Leopard.

All the best,

Thanks, Keith. As expected. Just thought you might want to know about the export issue.