Working with an editor's revisions to a book

I wrote my book in Scrivener – what a delight. But I handed it in to my publisher in MS Word because that’s what they need. Before my editor gives me the first set of revisions I want to give the book a relatively "fresh’ re-read. I haven’t looked at it for a couple of months and before I deal with someone else’s ideas about what needs changing, I want to have my own well in place. (My editor will give me comments/revisions on paper.)

So now I have to choose which version to work with: the Scrivener or the Word. I know using the Word version makes more sense, since its pagination and comments will match the version my editor’s using. Also, I’m going to be inputting two sets of comments, my own (gathered from the impending fresh re-read) and my editor’s (when he sends them to me on paper). Word’s comment features are ideal for that. It’s just that I hate the idea of going back to working in Word!

How do the other authors here deal with this process?

Do it in Word.

I love Scriv with all my heart, but if you’re at the revisions stage and your editor is using Word, you’ll just be causing yourself all sorts of unnecessary pain if you try to carry everything back and forth - and multiple times, most likely - between Word and Scrivener.

I’m at the same stage, and I agree. It feels like losing a limb to give up Scrivener, but trying to roll changes back into Scriv at this point would be like having several limbs, some of which seem to be asleep but which wake up and punch you in the face at random times.

Thanks, guys, I figured as much. Sigh.

I am with Anothony and mamster. Your best bet at this stage is Word. I used it (with track changes) with my editor and things worked out quite well. I’m trying to convince her to move to Scriv, but hers is a big organization and lots of people have to go through the drafts, so I don’t think I’ll be very successful.

Much as I hate word overall, I have to admit that the track changes feature is excellent. Just make sure you save individual chapters and not the whole book. Word doesn’t’ handle long documents very well, but a 20 or so page chapter is no problem.

All the best,


Tim, I did submit the whole ms as a single document with no troubles. Are you saying that problems arise if you include comments/track changes in such a doc?

I know that many people love Pages for its incorporation of change tracking. In my desire never to use Word again I’ve contemplated getting iWork. Is it possible to open a Word doc in Pages, do all the changes and notes, then save it as a Word doc? Has anyone tried this?

I’ve never tried the Pages Word transition with Track Changes. But I can do a little experiment over the weekend and tell you what happens.

Lauram, please, please don’t make a single MS WORD file. It’s MUCH better (and safer) to break it into chapters.

All the best,


Thanks for the warning, Tim. I’ll break it up posthaste.

Say you have a Word file called story.doc.
Control-click on that file, and you see an Open menu.
Open the file with Pages (if it’s installed) :open_mouth:
Pages opens a file that it calls story.pages
Make your changes and notes, and save that file.
Then, Export the file as story-rev.doc (change name so as not to over-write the original)
You thus have two versions, one in Pages and the other in Word.

It works easily, and you no longer have to use Word.
You may also export Pages files as PDF, RTF, or Plain Text.
In a PDF version, web links are live.

So is there a building consensus that Pages can play nice with Word’s track changes?

I don’t/won’t use Track Changes on the stuff I edit, because I’ve found there’s too much learning-curve to impart to the varied pool of writers. (It’s all magazine-length work, and I make them use Word’s marginal comments instead. I also find that, if they can’t quite see everything I did on their edit, they’re much happier with the whole thing; some don’t realize anything got done at all.)

But for books, we certainly want to see everything our editor does (if for nothing else, to prevent embarrassing moments like the one in the opener of Lonesome Dove, when the New York copy editor has Gus building a fire for biscuits inside his Dutch oven), and we’re pretty much locked in to whatever our publisher chooses to use, and that’s invariably Word, and invariably with Track Changes enabled. I’d like not to upgrade to Word 08 when I finally get around to upgrading to Leopard, and would be tickled if I could replace Word with Pages and no one the wiser.

Anyone doing this routinely?

druid, it’s not clear from your posting whether the document that’s been edited in Pages can then be saved as a Word document and retain all the change-tracking and meta-notes. When I send it back to my editor, it has to be a Word document.

Hi Laura,
(i) It seems you still have Word installed however much you don’t want to use it; (ii) it is my memory that all Macs come with a trial version of pages installed. Do you not have that? If you do, you could use the trial period to try round-tripping yourself between Pages and Word with one of your files putting in comments, change-tracking etc. to see how they move backwards and forwards between the apps.


PS If you never used it but deleted it from your hard disk, I think you can re-install iWork from the additional software folder on the System DVD.

I believe it’s only the Pages in iWork 08 that includes the track changes feature, unfortunately, and the version that came with my MacBook Pro is 06.


You’re right, I didn’t address the question of whether Track Changes data is exported back to Word. I can’t say from direct experience, but Apple has video tutorials on tracking and sharing that demo the processes: … l=tracking … l=sharedoc

Apple’s description of exporting to Word is this:

Because of text layout differences between Microsoft Word and Pages, an exported Word document may contain a different number of pages than its Pages counterpart. Also, special typographic features and some graphics may not display as well, particularly those using transparency (alpha channels). Tables and column layouts may not export identically, and charts created in Pages appear as static images. … 12pg9.html

I’ll try to experiment later today to see the results. You’re right, you have to use iWork '08.


You can try the new version of Pages free:

Or use NeoOffice. Or just surrender and use Word, like I had to do with an editor last month, sigh. If Pages will work with Word change tracking seamlessly, I’d love to know, too. I haven’t tried it myself.

If you already have Word, I’d strongly suggest you use it for the back-and-forth with your editor. It may be tempting to use Pages to do it, but it is highly unlikely that the Pages Export/Import module is going to be perfect. Just hide all the Word toolbars except the change editor so you don’t feel vertigo or something. :wink:


I know I already posted in this thread, but I’m going to reiterate to emphasise Dave’s point:


Seriously. Yes, we all hate Word. Yes, NeoOffice is impressive. Yes, Pages 08 claims to be able to handle Word’s track changes feature without a problem. In an ideal world, everyone would be able to use whatever software they like with 100% compatibility and we could all dance in circles with flowers in our hair.

This is not the ideal world. This is the real world, and it’s your book, your editor, your career. If you don’t use Word, and something gets missed or lost, is your editor going to shrug it off and say “oh well, at least you didn’t inconvenience yourself by using Word”? Or is s/he going to be miffed that you decided to be a maverick, and jeopardised your own book as a result? And then tell every other editor what you did?


Amen, brother. I second (third?) that. It doesn’t pay to get too precious.
I haven’t really “liked” Word since the elegant 5.1a for the Mac – but I hold my nose, lie back and think of England on occasion for the sake of the Track Changes command which is fabulous. (Word also had/has an edge in search-and-replace too: recognising special characters ^p ^t & newline etc in the search dialogue – very Pagemaker/inDesign like.)

With my last collaborative project, contributors sent me a Word file, which I imported into Sriv, and (for the first edit) I played to my heart’s content in full screen slicing dicing and editing scrivenings to locate and eliminate needless repetition, focus the points etc… Then I cut-and-pasted from scriv into a blank Word doc and ran the ‘compare documents’ command … generating a Word doc that showed my author what the hell I had done to his typescript.

After he approved or rejected my tweaks and answered the queries he sent it back for another slash.
I sent it to an external (contract) editor who marked it up in Word … and then I carried out the pre layout edit in Word before sliding it into inDesign for the page layout – then another layer of editing.

Anyway, the point is, while not many of us love Word for writing, for collaboration, it’s hard to beat.

I’ve examined the Page 08 implementation of Word’s track changes and it seems very solid… but call me a coward, I haven’t been game to test its to-and-fro compatibility outside our press. (Yet.) It would help if Pages could save in .doc format.)

  • cheers, Peter

Since you mentioned having an older Macbook Pro (with iWork '06 on it), I’ll mention my own experience: Word 2004 works quite well for me on my PPC Powerbook with Tiger; Word 2004 works less well on my Intel Mac (in my case, a Mini) with Leopard on it.

I haven’t tracked down whether the issues are because of the PPC/Intel underneath, or whether the issues are Tiger-/Leopard-based, but if you have the Intel/Leopard combo with Word 2004, I’d recommend saving and backing up often. The crashing gets old after a while. (I do know that Word 2004 uses Rosetta with the Intel systems.)

Note: I do not have Word 2008, so I can’t say how that works on any system.

I haven’t had much trouble with Word 2004, besides memory hoggage. I’m still running Tiger, though, and my MBP is only 8 mos old.