Viewing / copying out of files

I’m new to Scrivener; I’m trying it out for poetry collection, organization, and editing. I have a vast collection of poems in Pages documents currently. I know this isn’t a fully supported import format, but Scrivener was able to import them as documents within folders in the binder. It can display them, too, but not edit them—understandable. However, it doesn’t even seem to be able to select the text to copy it—I have to open the document in the external editor (Pages), and copy from there to paste into a new Scrivener text.

Is there any way of copying text from a Pages document that’s imported into a Scrivener binder? It’s clearly rendering the Pages document text in the application—it just isn’t letting me select it for some reason.

Not expecting a full import, it’d just be nice if I didn’t have to re-open Pages every time I wanted to copy the text into a formattable/usable Text, as that kind of defeats the point of initially importing the Pages documents.

(I know there is an option to export the Pages documents to Word or rtf documents to then import, but that’s even more of a slog.)

Anyway, just wondering what’s possible here. Thanks so much!

Given that Pages is proprietary to Apple who haven’t/won’t release any details of the file format to developers, Pages documents cannot be imported or opened by any other (third-party) app. So your choice is export to docx or rtf and import that, or use copy and paste into a Scrivener file.

Sorry; fact of life until Apple change their mind, if they ever do.



PS What you are seeing when you import them into the research area of the binder is a “quick look” view, equivalent of selecting the doc in the Finder and tapping the spacebar.

And further to that: what you have done is literally copy the Pages file into your Scrivener project (which is not really what you wanted to do). Scrivener can house in its Research folder files of any kind – just so you can hold files related to a project in one place. But it can’t do anything with most file types except let you open them in their original applications.

What you were hoping was that Scrivener would import the content of your Pages docs and render it as Scrivener docs, but as @xiamenese sez, Apple has made that impossible to do directly.


p.s. If you are conversant with Applescript, it would be quite easy to make an Applescript droplet that you could drop Pages files onto in order to generate rtf or docx copies of same. If you have sufficiently many poems in separate Pages docs to convert this might worth doing.

Ah, it’s using the quick look functionality, OK. Weird as even Finder allows some copy/paste out of a quick look window, but it looks like it’s via a PDF rendering or similar… So, even if Scrivener could copy/paste out of a quick look, it’d probably be a mess as copying out of a PDF often is.

And yeah, I knew that Scrivener was just creating a copy in the project (and editing them externally is editing the copy within the project package, etc.), and wasn’t going to be able to actually import the content directly. I was just pleasantly surprised to be able to view any of the content at all within Scrivener, and wondered if that meant it was selectable (and thus copyable) there. Sounds like not, so, all good—I’ll look into an Automator/AppleScript flow! Thanks for the help and clarifications, @xiamenese and @gr.

Here is a quick (and untested!) script sketch for that. Might be useful to you.

Lacks some niceties (what if you drop a non-Pages doc on this? or those while-loops without any provision to self-terminate at some point if something goes sideways).

Oh, very kind of you! I’m actually already being successful with Batch Convert pages to Word Document- Mac… - Apple Community - isn’t turning out to be as much a pain as I was expecting, though I’ll still have to think through workflow and such going forward. But, this has all been really helpful, thanks again. :slight_smile:

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Simple! Going forward, write all your poems in a Scrivener project to begin with! :smile:

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Using a delimiter (# is default) at the end of each section, export to Word, then Import and Split into Scrivener is pretty painless.

Alternatively, have them open side by side and copy and paste works fine.

Adding written work from Pages into Scrivner…I can’t figure it out

Export from Pages to something like DOCX. (You need the intermediate format because Apple hasn’t published the Pages format.)

Open the destination project in Scrivener. (If you don’t have a destination project, you need to create one first.)

File → Import → Files.

If you haven’t already, I’d recommend taking a look at our Interactive Tutorial, available from the Help menu. It’s a good overview of Scrivener’s fundamental operations.

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Before i saw your response i copied and pasted from Pages to Scriv…thanks

You needn’t have copied and pasted. File-----> Export to-----Word

Hiya - I wanted to add a little perspective on this after going through the process for a large number of files and occasionally still moving things over. Often the docx route is the right way to go, but my personal experience is that sometimes copy/paste is the better route.

First, if you’re handling more than a few Pages documents, absolutely take the time to use the Automator batch convert mentioned above if you’re comfortable with it. Turn everything into docx en masse, import en masse into Scrivener. It was relatively easy to recreate my folder hierarchies in Finder, convert each folder using the script, and then Scrivener can import the hierarchies + docx at the same time.

That said, I wouldn’t say that the Export to Word > Import into Scrivener workflow is always the best option if you’re just dealing with a couple of documents—sometimes copy and paste has turned out better. Here’s just my experience:

  • Time/effort difference for a couple of files on the copy/paste vs. export as docx+import method has seemed negligible.
  • The docx export method preserves things like comments from Pages > Word > Scrivener, and I would assume things like footnotes. So, if that kind of thing is important, this is absolutely the better route. There are probably some other things that also convert across to docx and then come into Scrivener nicely that I don’t use/am not aware of.
  • If formatting is a primary concern, a direct copy/paste from Pages loses the comments, etc, but generally does a better job of being faithful when it comes to formatting. I ran into the occasional issue there with the Pages docx export > Scrivener import method. (Really, it’s the Pages > Word conversion process that’s ultimately the issue, not Scrivener.) I’m working with poetry which occasionally has more form and formatting that don’t carry through the Word conversion process as nicely. So, if a lot of nonstandard formatting really matters and you’re not dealing with a batch situation or needing comments and the like, you may want to at least try going with copy/paste. Scrivener tends to do a quite solid job of picking up whatever is on the clipboard in terms of formatting, which is why I’ve found it’s a good option here.

Even now, if I’m working on a poem with more complicated formatting, I admit I sometimes start some of that in Pages and then copy/paste into Scrivener for further editing and smaller format tweaks. Scrivener is certainly capable of most of the formatting, but Pages is just more oriented towards working with it. Thus, tends to be easier as a starting point for me. (Again, only for things that are getting a bit tougher to work with in Scrivener’s editor, particularly around tabs—otherwise it’s Scrivener first and only.)

Anyway, might not be a one size fits all situation, so hopefully this is helpful to others looking into the process down the line.