yWriter 5 to Scrivener


I am seriously considering Scrivener, but I won’t be able to buy it until this summer (I’m getting a college laptop then, but right now I have a PC). I currently use yWriter 5 for doing my WIPs, including a completed nanonovel I’m still finishing (it turned out 50,000 words was not quite enough…).

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone here knows if there is a quick way to export a yWriter file to Scrivener, with the scene/chapter breakups in place. If all else fails, I can copy/paste the text into new files somehow–maybe from the rtf files–but that would be kind of a pain.

Thanks for any help!

Don’t look at it as pain but as an opportunity to review your novel. When you write a novel, you have to go through it again and again anyway, so this would be just another pass. I have transfered a novel-in-progress from one text processor to another several times in my writing career, and my experience is that if you just do it slowly and carefully - like taking a machine apart, cleaning every item and reassembling it thoughtfully - it gives you a view on your book from an angle you normally would not have.

The easiest thing would probably be to export it from yWriter as a single RTF file, and then using Scriveners cutting tools to dice it up. I’m not sure what yWriter is like, but you may end up cutting things more finely in Scrivener—by the scene instead of by the chapter. Another possibility is to use Scrivener’s MMD importer. If yWriter can insert ‘#’ characters in front of chapter titles, you can use these to get an automatically split document.

[code]# Part One

Chapter One

Scene One

Blah blah.

Chapter Two[/code]

The number of hashmarks in front will determine Binder hierarchy during import. The text after the hash gets used for the file title in Scrivener, and any text in between the hashes gets inserted as text into the header above it. So “Blah blah” would be placed into a file called “Scene One”.

That is all the MMD importer does, so you needn’t worry about learning MultiMarkdown or having stuff incorrectly interpreted. Once an MMD file is imported into Scrivener, it becomes normal rich text files. Note, if you use italics or other formatting in yWriter, this method will probably not be suitable for you, as it requires a plain-text file.

Another thing to consider is that since you will not have access for half a year or so, you might be able to take advantage of one of the announced features for Scrivener 2.0, which will let you import a single file and designate a break pattern, like “# # #” which will automatically split up your file. There is absolutely no estimate on the release date though, so I wouldn’t count on that being available.

Hi Wordspinner,

I just had a go at exporting a project from yWriter5 and it doesn’t seem to be any problems. Every scene gets saved separately which is then easy to drag into Scrivener.
You also get the outline from yWriter that allows you to see in which chapter each and every scene goes.
That allows you to make folders easily in Scrivener representing the chapters and then moving the scenes into these folders, thus maintaining the scene/chapter order.

Another option is to drag the complete project as a whole into Scrivener and you can then chop it up in relevant little pieces. For instance using the outline exported from yWriter once again as a guide or making new sections out of it.

Good luck

I’m trying out Scrivener for Windows, and I have yWriter I could not figure out how to use multiple hash marks for binder hierarchy. I have a project with over 20 chapters and multiple scenes per chapter. As you probably know, yWriter stores scenes in seperate RTF files, but the naming of those files is not conducive to importing (I tried dragging them into Scrivener, but that wasn’t very helpful). However, here is what I did to import my yWriter project into Scrivener:

Prepare a file for import:

In yWriter, I exported the project to a big RTF file (Project>Export Project>To RTF). You have a few options when exporting, but it’s pretty basic. This compiles all your scenes into one RTF, adds a Chapter header, followed by your scene descriptions (marked with “Desc:” followed by the description in italics). Each scene break is marked with “* * " but there is no symbol to mark the chapter breaks.
I then opened the RTF in Word and used Find/Replace (Ctrl+H or “Replace” on the Home ribbon). First, I replaced “Chapter” with “### Chapter”. (I chose three hash marks in case a single hash mark appeared elsewhere in the text). Since I kept the default chapter names that yWriter generated (i.e., “Chapter 1,” “Chapter 2,” etc.), This created a break for each chapter. I also had to delete the three hash marks preceeding Chapter 1.
Then I replaced "
* *” (yWriter’s default scene break marker) with “###”. Then I saved the RTF file.

Import the file:

In Scrivener, I created a new project with the standard novel template.
I went to File>Import>Import and Split.
I changed the number hash marks in the “Sections are separated by…” field to “###”.
I browsed to my file location, selected the RTF file exported from yWriter, and clicked OK.

Chapter-Scene hierarchy:

Next, searched for “Chapter”. (This helped me to converted all the chapter-beginning scenes to folders. You don’t need to do this, but I liked the way it’s organized. You can skip this step if you want.)
Then, I went to the Search Results tab.
Next, I highlighted all the scenes in the Search Results, making sure that they were all chapter-beginning scenes (i.e., their names were “Chapter 1,” “Chapter 2,” etc.).
Then, I right clicked the selections, and chose “Convert to Folder”. This does not affect the hierarchy in the Binder, but it helps to organize things visually. Also, these folders do not lose the text within them. It’s not really a container like folders in Windows Explorer.
Clicking back into the Binder, I then used the Arrow keys and Shift key to select the scenes in between my Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 folders (taking care NOT to select the folders).
Then I used Ctrl+[Right Arrow] to indent these scenes. I repeated this process between all chapters that had multiple scenes. (Single-scene chapters have no scenes between the folders).

Move Scene Descriptions into Note Card:

With the Inspector open, then I went into each scene, one-by-one, and cut-and-pasted each scene description into the Note Card. (Remember, these appear at the beginning of each scene in italics and begin with “Desc:”). - Okay, I didn’t do this for all chapters yet, but I got at least a quarter of the way through, then decided to do the rest as I work through the novel editing it.

Export Chapters from yWriter (or Locations, or Items)

In yWriter, I went to Project>Export>Characters (or Locations, or Items). This exports an “XML” file. Take note of the location it saves the file to.
Open up Excel.
In Excel, went to File>Open, and brows the that location where the XML file was saved. I opened that file.
Excel said, “Please select how you would like to open this file:” - I chose “As an XML Table.
Excel then said, “The specified XML source does not refer to a schema. Excel will create a schema based onthe XML source data.” I clicked OK.
If you want, you can just import this file into your project, either into the Characters folder, or into the Resources folder. Otherwise, this next bit could get tricky, and if you proceed, you should at least save a second copy of this file (e.g. Save it, then do Save As and save it again under a different name).
I placed the focus onto cell A1.
On the Insert ribbon, I chose Pivot Table.
I accepted the default settings, and clicked Ok.
I clicked the checkboxes for fields I used in yWriter (FullName, Title, AKA, Bio, Goals, Desc).
I dragged these fields around the boxes in the bottom right to put FullName in the Column Labels box and the rest into the Row Labels box in an order that made sense to me.
I added another field that I didn’t use (Major) because it had a value of zero (0), a character that I did not use anywhere else in the file. I made this the last field in the Row Labels box. This was important so that I could use Import and Split later.
I selected cell A5 (the first cell that had data in it, just below the header row) and selected all the data in the pivot table.
I opened up a new excel file.
I right clicked on cell A1, chose Paste Special, then chose “Values”, and clicked OK.
In the new file I went to File>Save As.
I gave the file a name and location I could find later, then change the Type to “Text (Tab Delimited)”.
I then opened the text file in TextPad (you could use Word or Wordpad or Notepad as well).
In TextPad, I did a Find/Replace to replace the zero (“0”) with “###” (remember the Major field I added to the file? I placed this last so that the import tool would split each character into its own file).
In Scrivener, I clicked on the Characters folder.
I saved my text file.
I then went to File>Import>Import and Split.
There were still three hash marks (”###") in the “Sections are separated by…” field.
I browsed to select my text file, and clicked OK.

I only used the Characters feature in yWriter, but it should be a similar process with Locations and Items. Just the fields would be different.

If anyone has a better way to get the characters out, or a better way to get those scene descriptions into the note cards, I’d like to hear about that. yWriter is not open source, so I can’t see an easier way to extract the data.

Now, if only the Scrivener Android App would be released, I’d be set!