Why not sync in more file formats?

Scrivener is capable of compiling drafts in a wide variety of text formats, yet the sync feature with an external folder is limited to TXT, RTF and FDX.

I am using Pages on the iPad a lot and neither of these formats us useful to me. I need to maintain my formatting - at least things, such as italics, underlines and boldening - so TXT is out of the question.

Sadly, Pages cannot import RTF or FDX files, but it would be capable of handling DOC files just fine. So, I was wondering, if there is any chance or hope to see DOC support in the sync feature some time soon? Since it is such an important file format, the de facto word processing standard format, one could say, I am surprised it hasn’t been implemented yet, especially since Scrivener itself is perfectly capable of creating it.

The reason is that Scrivener’s .doc and .docx exporters will lose lots of data - images, footnotes, comments, and even line spacing. This is because Scrivener relies on the standard OS X exporters for these (the same ones TextEdit uses - Apple created different importers and exporters for Pages). We don’t have the resources to build our own importers and exporters for the .doc and .docx formats, as that would require a whole team (and Scrivener to get concomitantly more expensive of course). RTF, on the other hand, is essentially plain text, so it is possible for me to extend the standard OS X importer/exporter for that format in a way that is not possible with .doc or .docx.

Unlike us, Apple does have a whole team working on Pages, so it would definitely be worth asking them to provide better RTF support. (Pages can in fact import RTF files, it’s just that it will strip any images, comments and footnotes on doing so.) You can do so here:


RTF is a fairly straightforward format to support, so I’m not really sure why they don’t support it better.

(Regarding .doc, note that by default Scrivener .doc files are really just renamed .rtf files - something that is fine for Word, but Pages will have the same problems with them as with any other .rtf file.)

All the best,


Thanks for the info. While Pages for Mac supports RTF, Pages for the iPad does not read RTF files, at least not that I know. All RTF files are grayed out and cannot be imported. Since you say the Scrivener DOC files are really just renamed RTF files, I will try to see what happens if I rename them, but still it is not nearly as elegant as it could be. Perhaps at least let people set the file extension then instead of automatically making it .rtf could solve the problem.

Even a completely stripped down DOC format would be fine for the syncing process, as long as it keeps italics, etc intact. Everything else would be irrelevant. I just would like to get my text into Pages on the iPad with the most basic formatting intact.

Yeah, I just tried to rename the RTF files to DOC and import them into Pages for the iPad, but it doesn’t work. It opens the file but then tells me that it does not support RTF files. :frowning:

So, as I said, would it please, please, please, be possible to just add very, very minimal DOC support to the Sync feature? I’m sure a lot of people could use that.

That’s what I was saying - that .doc files exported from Scrivener are just renamed .rtf files so would work the same as RTF files. I’m sorry, but I don’t think that .doc sync would be a good idea, because it would cause the user to lose too much data. You would open the file externally, edit it, and instantly lose line spacing, images, footnotes and comments. So there are no plans to add .doc to external sync for these reasons.

Too bad. That makes the sync feature practically useless for iPad users because I do not see any halfway decent writing application that supports RTF - unless I am missing something here.

Hardly - we have many, many users syncing with plain text applications, so they are not finding it “useless”. You may equally wish to write to Apple and tell them that Pages is “practically useless” without RTF support.

I am not sure why anyone would use PlainText — unless you’re a programmer in need of an ASCII editor. As a writer, you need the ability to handle, at the very least, stuff like italics, which neither PlainText nor the bigger WriteRoom offer.

Maybe I’m just stupid, but what good is a writing app without italics? It’s integral part of the writer’s vocabulary to emphasize certain words. To me that is like writing a word processor that lets you use all letters, except for the “e”.

I really don’t try to sound mean, Keith, don’t get me wrong. I love Scrivener and I’ve always been a huge supporter of it — and will be. I’ve written 14 books with it and I keep telling the world about it, but somehow I am confused as to the purpose/value the sync feature brings to the table the way it currently is set up.

Well, the main purpose of it is that most iPad apps only support plain text. When we have a whole team of programmers working for us and are able assign two or three programmers to working for several months straight on implementing our own .doc or .docx exporter/importer, then what you are asking for will be possible; as Apple already have teams of programmers, it’s certainly worth asking them for RTF support though.

I hear ya, Keith.