TXT Export to Celtx

Dear everybody,

since I started creative writing (especially of short film screenplays), I’ve been looking for the right tools for my hobby. Pre-production and screenwriting can be done very nicely with the open source Celtx, especially because you can tag characters, props, locations and so on to create automatic “reports” on what you have to take with you on set.

However, more complex projects just can’t be edited so “beautifully” like in Scrivener. I found it by accident and am still in “Try” mode. Just because of the wonderful GUI and the great ideas it’s already worth buying, e.g. for notes, comments and the screenplay itself. So I’m on the hook, I’m afraid. :wink:

The problem is: Pre-production still has to be organised in Celtx, since Scrivener just doesn’t have the tools for this or is just a “container” for self-made Excel files. Not very streamlined.

Hence, I’d like to brainstorm and write in Scrivener and then export to Celtx. An older post by Kev… er… Keith suggested to do this in TXT format which I tried. Celtx imported it and even recognised many scene headers and dialogs. Unfortunately, all my German umlauts (ä, ü, ö, ß) ended up being gibberish. When I open the files in BBEdit, it shows the umlauts, but BBEdit is specialised on these tasks and maybe translates Scrivener’s TXT files correctly. Celtx doesn’t.

Can anybody tell me which TXT encoding Scrivener exactly uses? Celtx has its problems. Can this be changed so it gets more common and usable foreign languages? Or is it Celtx’ mistake alone?

Apart from that: Wouldn’t a Celtx export be nice? Their website claims it’s completely open source, based on Mozilla’s engine. Final Draft doesn’t seem to be a problem for Scrivener. What about Celtx? Would be great!

Best regards,


Anybody who can tell me how Scrivener encodes its .txt files and why Celtx messes them up (at least my German umlauts ü, ä, ö) when importing a .txt screenplay from Scrivener?

Thanks and best regards,


Hi Christian,

Sorry, I meant to answer this a few days ago but must have got distracted - I didn’t mean to keep you waiting.

Scrivener exports plain text using the UTF8 format, which is generally necessary to encode umlauts and accents (saving in ASCII, for instance, would lose such text features). Almost all text editors support UTF8, but unfortunately, it seems that the problem here seems to be on Celtx’s side. You can confirm this for yourself - try creating a script in Celtx with umlauts, and then go to Script > Export Script… and export the script from Celtx as a plain text file. Then go to Script > Import Script… and re-import the plain text file you have just exported - you will see that the umlauts are corrupted again. I therefore recommend reporting the problem to the Celtx guys, as it should be straightforward enough to fix, and for them to support UTF8.

No chance of a Celtx exporter in the near future, I’m afraid. The Final Draft exporter was possible because Final Draft made the format available to me and it’s a fairly straightforward XML format, and it made sense to support given that Final Draft is the industry standard. Even so it was a lot of work (over a month) and there is still a lot of work involved in maintaining the code. As a one-man development team it’s just not feasible for me to write and maintain my own exporters for too many formats, unfortunately.

All the best,

Hi Keith,

thanks a lot for your answer! I was afraid of something like that, but Celtx development doesn’t seem to be very quick and flexible. So, I’ll drop them a line without much hope.

Of course, it’s understandable that you can’t support many different formats. Since I’m still learning Scrivener, Celtx appears to be less and less interesting anyway: It seems that I can do EVERYTHING in Scrivener! It feels much faster, and I don’t get lost as much as in Celtx. It supports the creative process, and even for pre-production, it offers a lot of tools - I just have to create all the templates for myself and be good with it. At the moment, I collect a complete storyboard, contact cards for cast & crew, character and location descriptions along with my screenplay in one file. Absolutely fabulous!

I just have to find the right way to mark-up props, FX, special camera settings and such. In Celtx I can do that with selectable categories and create “reports” on everything that’s needed. In Scrivener, I probably go with comments or footnotes and their different colors.

Custom meta data would have been THE perfect tool. I could have created data like “prop”, “fx”, “sound” etc. Unfortunately, it seems to be connected to entire documents, not to single words or phrases in the text. So, comments it is, I guess. But if you ever modify comment integration: Why not adding custom meta data to the comments as well? Every comment could have a “tag” then… :mrgreen:

When I have finished my first short movie, I’ll create a template for such a pre-production and share it.

You really got me here, Scrivener is GREAT!

Best regards,


Have you tried using keywords to do this?

I use a similar technique in my fiction to keep track of things.

You might get some ideas from this thread as well–ways to add your own textual tags to comments and build collections off of them; you could also use annotations with a text tag (“PROP:” etc.) and use Find by Formatting to find all annotations with that tag to quickly jump through your documents and create your list. (You can use FbF for the comments as well.)