Trouble Importing Word files

I’ve been trying to import a Word file and it doesn’t seem to be working. I’ve tried .doc, .docx, and .rtf files and all give me the same thing - a blank document once it is imported into Scrivener. I go through the import process - all seems to be working fine. I get the “Converting” box and the document title shows up in the Binder window - but when I highlight the file, it is blank.

What am I doing wrong?


Does this result only happen with that one file (and the format variations of it)? If for example, you use TextEdit to make a quick one-liner RTF test and drop that into Scrivener, do you get an expected result?

With the original file, when it is selected in the Binder, do you see a non-zero word count in the footer bar? If so, check for white-on-white text.

Just out of curiosity, does the RTF file (excluding the others for now, since those use a different import engine by default) reveal content if you open it in TextEdit, or use Quick Look to examine it from the Finder?

I wanted to resurrect this questions as it doesn’t seem to have an answer and I’m experiencing the same issue.

I have 65,000 word MS that was first built in Writers Cafe, then exported to MS Word. I’ve been revising it in word and want to put it into Scrivener for its final edit.

It comes up with ‘0’ word count

I tried .doc and .rtf.

I deleted the photo on the cover page of the manuscript.
I removed the imbedded table of contents

I tried a different document, a very simple one pager and it imported without a problem.

What other characteristics of a word doc can de-rail the import process?


You mentioned revising in Word, did you use track changes for that by chance? Normally that wouldn’t cause the result you are seeing, but it’s something that comes to mind. Accepting all changes in Word before saving to RTF may do the trick.

If not, is this something you could send to our e-mail address for us to take a look at? If we can see what is happening in front of us, it is much easier to figure out what is going on.

Thank you for your quick reply.

Yes, I have used track changes. I went back and checked and it was showing that all were accepted, then tried again.

I would appreciate any help you can offer - my next step was to start cutting and pasting blocks of text into Scrivener - not my preference.

Please provide instructions for sending it to you.


If copying and pasting works, why not just copy the whole thing at once, paste it into Scrivener, and then split it up? That’s practically identical to importing it anyway.

Our support page has info on getting in touch with us. Just make sure to refer to this forum thread’s URL in the message.

It wasn’t the most elegant solution but it worked.

Perhaps someone will stumble on this thread and share a list of ‘incompatible’ MS Word functions that prevent direct importing on a MAC.

Bye for now