Workflow out of Scrivener to multicolumn MS Word?

Hi there…

I’m using Scrivener to write documentary film scripts.

The shop I’m working at now wants to adopt Scrivener for writing as well, but we have to turn in 3 column formatted scripts at several points during each film with a current client.

Can anyone suggest a decent workflow for getting a scrivener file to happily flow to multiple columns? Word seems intent on breaking each line into a new row regardless of what my setting is for separator…I’m open to any suggestions, using an intermediary application to help would be fine as well.

Thanks so much!


Cut and paste into a Mellel document with the right number of columns, export as rtf. (Note that Mellel can only do equal-width columns, though.)

Thanks. Mellel looks pretty fantastic, but as far as I can see it’s text to table conversion is no more sophisticated than that of MS Word. I might be misunderstanding, but I don’t see how pasting into a table in Mellel is any different than pasting directly into a Word table.

Right now we’re going to just write with Scrivener and then see if our interns can figure out a smart or quicker way to get from internal to delivery format.



You didn’t say anything about tables before. I was answering on the assumption that when you mentioned columns, you were asking about columns… (Like in an newspaper or a magazine, I mean.)

You are right about the text-to-table feature in Mellel. It’s nothing special.

Right…I suspect my poorly chosen subject line might have pointed you in that direction. My bad.

TV scripts often use a side-by-side format that leaves one or the other column empty at times…syncing the spacing within the two colums is most easily managed with tables, alas.

I’m sure I can figure something out with all the great tools there are out there. I wonder if we have to play with final draft AV somehow. :frowning:


I’ve never used this and I doubt it’s what you need (I don’t know if it’ll let you save the doc in columns), but…



MyColumn is a shameless copy of Amar Sagoo’s Tofu (which lets you view text in columns), except that it adds editing capabilities and a live word count (Tofu is read-only). MyColumn started out as an experiment. I liked Tofu so much that I thought having a multi-column view in Scrivener might be a good idea, but then I decided against it. You can read Amar Sagoo’s theory on why he thinks reading text in columns is easier on the eyes over at his site. I think he is right. But what I found out is that whilst it may be better for reading, it is not better for editing - when editing, because the text moves around, columns make the text seem less stable. I offer this freeware download so that you can decide for yourself. If you do like reading text in columns, be sure to download Tofu from Amar’s site, which is a lot more refined (it has smooth scrolling and allows you simply to drop a file into a window to open it, for instance). The source code for MyColumn is also available (see below for details).
Requires Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) - Universal for both Intel and PPC

A little bump for this topic. I also use Scrivener to write scripts for television. I’ve tried to make a dual-column AV script template, but I’ve run into several frustrations working with OS X’s default table system. Another potential solution would rest with Keith, and I’d hate to bother him with yet another feature request, but I thought it might be possible, when compiling a draft, to convert annotations into text which appears in a second column.

In other words, say you have a document with annotations inline, just regular Scrivener annotations. Might it be possible to compile a draft wherein those annotations were given their own column to the left of the text, and each note would appear next to the sentence or paragraph before which it was written?

The idea is similar to Celtx’s implementation of AV scripts. I really don’t like Celtx for this sort of thing, though, as it won’t allow you to export your output to anything but PDF, and my clients need editable copy. Plus I’d like to be able to work in Scrivener for exclusively until the formatting and polishing stage.

Never mind. I think I could live with using a table. It would be lovely, though, if there was a way to force the table to remember your cell settings when adding new ones. If I add rows, I get new cells with the default one pixel gray border and vertically centered text. I wish they could inherit the attributes from the cells above. And header cells would be nice, but impossible to implement without a layout program.

Unfortunately the tables implementation isn’t great - it was implemented by Apple in the OS X text engine in Tiger and hasn’t improved much since. Even worse, the API for controlling tables in the text system is mostly private, meaning that it is very difficult for developers to improve on it without relying on Apple to do so… I’m not really sure what a good column solution would be for scripts unless I can provide better export to a program that provides such formatting in the future. I’ll have to see about that…
Thanks for your comments and all the best,


This is a comment to the OP and any others wishing to write scripts for videos or other forms of multimedia production.

I don’t think you will successfully get Scrivener to work as you wish. Whilst Scrivener is absolutely the best for single column writing it is not able to do “table style” multi-column writing that these scripts require.

However OmniOutliner Pro is, imho superb for writing multimedia scripts.

As everyone knows it is multicolumn, in table fashion, and a very accomplished outliner.

As an aside it is also brilliant for logging rushes.

To take your OmniOutliner Pro finished script to MS Word do this:

Export as CSV or Microsoft Excel (XML)

Open with Excel then copy and paste into MS Word.

I can’t remember if the CSV or Excel (XML) export options come with the standard OmniOutliner Pro or if they are plug ins. If they are the later then they can be easily obtained from OmniGroup website.

Personally I don’t export from OOP to Word much, I just create a PDF from OOP and then others can leave comments on the PDF if they wish.