which converter for Microsoft Word / Office documents?


I am bit lost with Scrivener’s converter option as they aren’t 100% clear to me – maybe there’s something lost in translation to German or I am simply thinking too complicated …

I’d like to use the more accurate (although slower) converter. I have checked the box:

“Use improved converter for Microsoft Word and Office documents” (this and what follows is my own translation from my German version – may not be the exact wording in English)

However, I’m not sure if I should check the second box:

“If installed, use the java version of the system”

The explanation below this second option says that if activated, it will use the more accurate Scrivener converter. However, checking the option “using the the java version of the system” sounds to me like the exact contrary: That it will use the Mac OSX version instead. I don’t know if “java version of the system” is meant as Scrivener’s version instead of the computer system here or if this explanation isn’t specifically meant only for the second box, but I would be grateful to know if I have to check or un-check the second box for best results.

Thanks a lot for your great work!

The “better” converter itself is written in Java. Scrivener ships with a Java interpreter, but many people have more up to date versions installed on their systems.

The default is to check the box to use the “advanced” converter, but leave the second box unchecked. If the converter hangs or otherwise misbehaves, checking the second box is the first thing to try.


Yes, as Katherine says, the better converter is the Java converter. To facilitate this, Scrivener has a stripped-down version of Java built into it, which it uses to run its Java converter. If you tick “Use system Java version”, then Scrivener just uses the version of Java on your machine (if there is one) to run the converter instead of the version of Java bundled with Scrivener. Either way, though, the same actual converters are used. Only un-ticking “Use enhanced converters” will cause Scrivener to use Apple’s built-in converter (the same TextEdit uses, which is pretty terrible).

All the best,

Thanks a lot for the answers, really appreciated. As I don’t have Java installed on my Mac (if we don’t talk about some baked-in version everybody has), I guess it doesn’t even make a difference if I check or uncheck the second box if the first one is – if I understand you correctly. However, I’ll check the first box and uncheck the second. Thanks again for the help!

Is it no longer possible to use an installed copy of Microsoft Word as the converter?

That’s never been possible from Scrivener itself. Obviously you could just export as RTF, open that in Word, and then export as .docx from Word if you wanted, though.

Am I confusing a feature in the Windows version again?


You are indeed - the Mac version has never used that because I’ve used a third-party Java converter. I’ve also been working on my own custom converter…

Pity. Although I admit I would be shocked if Word for Mac actually could be used as a converter, if it could, I would prefer to have that option. I appear to have a much less adversarial relationship with Word than most of your clientele. :slight_smile:

It sort of can, but it takes two steps: Compile to RTF, then open the resulting file in Word.