Transformation with underscore and asterisk emphasis

I did a search and didn’t find where anyone had suggested this already, so I thought it was worth a shot.

I write stories that both go on wikis and get posted to email lists or Usenet-style forums. In posting there, since everything is in plain text, the convention is that italic and bold emphasis is represented by underscores or asterisks.

If I write my stories in MS Word, I have to go through a rather unruly conversion process to post them to these mailing lists; the easiest way to do it is to export to wikicode and then search and replace the italicization apostrophes. I’d really like to be able to have that conversion done automatically for me.

I checked Scrivener’s compilation transformation options for text, and while it offers the ability to straighten smartquotes, convert emdashes to double hyphens, and convert ellipses to triple periods for plain text, and the ability to swap between italics and underlining for rich text, it doesn’t yet seem to have an option to convert italics and bold to underscore and asterisk.

This would be insanely useful to me (and to anyone else who has to post stories on straight-text forums), and I’d really appreciate if it could be added.


There isn’t an automatic tool for this at the moment. It’s something that has been considered off and on, with the main argument against it being that it is somewhat easy to produce “invisible errors” given the difference between sloppy formatting and precise formatting systems. In a non-visible formatting code environment like most word processors (Scrivener included) you can include whitespace in the formatting boundaries where it shouldn’t be included, like * this*. In most precision based formatting techniques with visible formatting codes, that would fail to parse correctly because they must include exceptions for the actual use of asterisks as visible text. Since Scrivener includes MultiMarkdown integration, a system for producing documents based on this visible code method of working, having an automated feature like that could produce what I called “invisible errors”. Not that they are actually invisible, but that a stray asterisk in a 400 page document is difficult to find.

There is however a manual conversion tool in Documents/Convert which does what you want directly to the source text in the editor. If that is how you work (but prefer to use rich text tools while drafting), then it might be useful to you. As for myself, I prefer to write in visible formatting code and if I need to go to non-visible I just use MMD to get there. I don’t find Shift-8 to be any more difficult to use than Cmd-I in most cases while writing, so it’s fine by me to write that way.

Anyway, I do have it on the list of things to be revisited, an automatic method. We’ll be going over that some time this spring, so it might make an appearance in the software.

Format > Convert. :slight_smile: It will use MMD syntax, though, so italics and bold rather than underscores. But theoretically if you needed it the other way, you could run the conversion and then use a series of Find/Replace runs to get the syntax you needed.

Thanks, I’ll look for that! Even single and double asterisks would be helpful, as it would give me something to S&R on.

Edit: I can’t seem to find this thing you’re talking about. Could you be more specific about what options I would choose to convert either from italics to italics or in the other direction?

Format > Convert > Bold and Italics to MultiMarkdown Syntax. You can run this on multiple documents at once by selecting them in the binder and viewing them in Scrivenings mode (make sure the focus is in the editor or the command won’t be available).

Edit: Oh cripes, I just realized you’re on Windows. Sorry! Okay, so um, ignore all this. That option isn’t available yet. :blush:

Ooooookay. :imp: Any idea when it will be?

Seriously will this feature be coming to Windows sooner or later? I can get by without it until then if necessary, but it would be a lot nicer to have it.

Yes, it (like all the Mac 2.0 features) will be coming to Windows. I don’t have an exact estimate, but more integrated MMD support is on the sooner-than-later list, and I’d guess this may roll in with that.