Using MS Word templates

Hi there!
I am currently evaluating Scrivener and think about using it for a technical book.

The problem is that my publisher expects the script to be in MS Word. I got a template (a *.dot file) that I have to use, so the publisher can easily print the book by applying their own formatting rules based on the used template.

I wonder if anybody here has experience with this problem. Having just read the thread “Questions on MS Word version”, it seems that it is common usage to combine Scrivener and Word.

Can I somehow “import” a *.dot file, or can I convert it into a Scrivener script template? Will the template information still be there when exporting the text to RTF?


What you probably need to do is work the other way around - draft your text in Scrivener, then export it as a .doc file which you can open in Word. Then you should be able to cut and paste, or re-style the doc, into your template.

Actually, I’d work slightly differently. Since you want it to go into an existing template, I would draft it in Scrivener, complete with the text for the various headings and subheadings etc. as you want them, and then export it as plain text and copy that into your Word template. You’re going to have to go through it and set the styles once you have it in the template anyway, so by using plain text you won’t be importing any RTF information that may either duplicate or conflict with the styles set up in the Word template.


Thanks for your answers.
I was hoping that I could avoid restyling the whole text. I mean, this is a big project having anticipated about 400 pages. And since it will be a textbook about a programming framework, it will be much more structured than a novel (having headings, subheadings, lists, code examples, notes, references etc).

Is there any convincing reason to use Scrivener then?
Actually the alternative is not Word but NeoOffice.

I thought I could use the script mode for this (creating the settings manually if there’s no automatic way). Am I wrong?

Although others might have workarounds that could help you, I would think that for a programming textbook, you might be better off doing it in a proper word processor from the start.

I know I would automatically spend a lot of time visually aligning code all the time (I can’t concentrate with crooked code), and there is a high chance that you would have to do it all over again when it gets exported.

In such a case, I think you are better off doing it poperly from the start. Although perhaps you could compose the in-between prose in Scrivener and shift that later, and then do the example code last.

Or at least keep the example code in separate documents in the binder so that their layout can be handled differently (added bonus, you can split the screen and have the code you are writing about in one pane, and the code in the other).


Mmm … reading what Matt has said, I tend to agree, though I would still write the main text in Scrivener. In fact, what I think I would do is write the code in a suitable text editor which would handle any indenting and other code-technical aspects — TextWrangler or BBEdit, or whatever you use for writing code — save each bit out as a separate file and import them into Scrivener under the research folder, so that they wouldn’t be exported with the draft. As Matt says, you could then have each bit of code open in a separate window for reference as you were writing the main text on it.
If you don’t want to do all the style-setting in NeoOffice, you could set up basic styles within Scrivener as necessary and break up your text into chapters, sections, subsections, with the title of each document in the binder to be the heading of that section or whatever. On exporting you could choose not to overwrite styles and export both text and the titles as a .doc and open that in NeoOffice, though I would imagine you will still need to go through it to tweak the styles.
I would then import the separate code files I had created with the text editor directly into the final document and give them appropriate styling there.
Someone else might be able to show you how you can do the whole job in Scrivener, but my suspicion is that whatever you do, you are going to have to go through the whole thing in NeoOffice to check the formatting. I would simply prefer not to have to do the major job of drafting within NeoOffice/Word/OpenOffice, though you may do. As I see it, it comes down to a choice between writing in a comfortable environment for drafting and then spending time formatting, versus doing the formatting as you go at the cost of writing in — to me — a far less conducive environment.


Do the worries that used to attach themselves to the lack of stability of longform documents in Word (and may still do so) also apply to NeoOffice? I don’t know, but after one or two bad experiences that risk is convincing enough as far as I’m concerned to persuade me to use a piece of software specifically created for the longform job. This is of course in addition to all the other reasons for using Scrivener summed up in Mark’s phrase “conducive environment”.

Ah. Of course, I didn’t know it was a programming book, or that the .dot template would be so complex. To be honest - and much as I’m always loathe not to recommend Scriv :wink: - I’d agree that just using Word from the get-go is probably going to be the easiest path, in this case. Otherwise, yes, you have a lot of format-applying to go through once it’s all finished…