Word style definitions

This is my first post here. I have recently started using Scrivener. I’m a technical writer working on software user reference manuals.

I strictly assign Word styles to every element in my documents when I’m writing. I have brought some Word documents into Scrivener, and after working on them in Scrivener, I need to compile them back to Word 2011 .docx format for final formatting and polishing in Word. However, I can’t figure out how to preserve the Word style definitions. When I compile from Scrivener to a Word document, and then open it in Word, I find that all the styles that I originally assigned to headings and paragraphs have been stripped out.

Can you point me to some references on how best to “round trip” between Word and Scrivener? Or would it be better if I adopt a totally different approach if I’m to use Scrivener in my workflow?

This is a topic that comes up with great regularity, and if you search around you will find numerous posts on the subject. To summarise, Scrivener knows nothing of styles in the way that Word implements them. It only knows of formatting presets that work a little like a format painter (in other words, you can select some text, then click on the format preset to have that setting applied to the text you have selected – it doesn’t affect any other text).

The best solution for round-tripping is to format each element in Scrivener in some unique way, e.g. by using a font size that you use nowhere else, or perhaps a text colour that you use nowhere else. When you polish the material in Word, you can do a Find and Replace using formatting – anything that is in 15pt type is converted to Heading 2, or whatever.

I hope the basic idea is clear enough – it’s a slightly hurried explanation.

Cheers, Martin.