Using Scrivener while working with a copyeditor

Does anyone have any suggested scenarios for using Scrivener while working with other people who are copyediting or proofreading your work?

In the past, I’ve been a big fan of getting editing feedback on paper, as I find that’s easiest for me to visually review and decide which editing changes I will use.

However, my current editor wants to submit feedback electronically, using track changes in Microsoft Word.

Now I’m trying to figure out a fully electronic workflow that would allow me to accept/reject/manually alter changes, and get that into Scrivener, without me having to manually enter them all.


Welcome to the tyranny of MS Word; that app has become the dominant word processor in the publishing/editing world. And no, there is no graceful digital way to blend a marked-up Word document back into your Scrivener document, as far as I know.

I’d print the Word document to paper, and manually make the changes to my Scrivener file. Or, if you’ve already compiled & output your Scrivener manuscript to Word, then I’d stay with the Word version and apply the changes there.

The key concept is that the Scrivener manuscript is the foundation leading up the the final compilation; once it is compiled and output to a word processor format (.doc, .docx, .odt, .rtf, etc) then you generally don’t go back. Further edits & corrections will be made to the word processor version.

Author David Hewson has this to say in his eBook, “Writing a Novel with Scrivener”:

Hewson, David (2011-07-28). Writing a Novel with Scrivener (Kindle Locations 1091-1093). David Hewson. Kindle Edition.

Hope this helps.

Really good points, and I do appreciate the feedback. For me, I don’t think the strategy would work as:

  1. I am doing an initial round of copyediting long before the novel is final, so I still plan to make more edits after integrating this round of copyediting feedback.
  2. I prefer to generate my epub and mobi direct from Scrivener, so having an edited Word document doesn’t do me much good.

My first novel was done in Word, and I find it to be a pain when I need to go back and make corrections.

For my second novel, I kept Scrivener as the master version, and so it’s easy to update the e-reader versions whenever I’ve accumulated enough fixes. As 85% of my sales are e-reader editions, I like to focus on having those be the best I can.

I wish that change tracking could be rendered visually in a way that was easier to interpret.

I would suggest reviewing the changes in Word.

A straight accept/reject is easy: just use the appropriate Word command.

If the change requires more thought than that, just make a note in the text to deal with it later.

Once you’ve done that, import the whole thing back into Scrivener. Create a new section for it in the Binder of your original project, leaving the original MS untouched for reference.

Proceed from there.


This topic comes up often, the last time, just one month ago.


Keywords to search are editor and copyeditor

If you set up your compile to put in custom chapter and scene divider characters (like <<<<< >>>>> and #######, for instance), then you can re-import the word document and then use the auto-split to divide your novel back up into pieces. I may be mistaken, but I believe that comments are preserved when importing Word documents, but not the “track changes” stuff; Also, once you’ve split things, then you’ll still have to rearrange things if you had chapter folders and scene documents inside them. Still, this can allow you to compare each bit of each document side-by-side, and use Statuses, keywords, and other metadata to track your progress through the editing /comparison process.