Importing Work into Scrivener

Importing Text Files

Scrivener supports importing the following text file formats:

  • Rich Text Format (RTF)
  • Rich Text Format Directory (RTFD)
  • Microsoft Word Document (DOC & DOCX)
  • OpenDocument Text (ODT)
  • Plain Text (TXT)
  • Final Draft Format (FDX)
  • Fountain Plain Text Screenplay (.fountain)
  • Outline Processor Markup Language (OPML)

Many Scrivener users are also previous (or simultaneous) users of word processors like Apple Pages or Google Docs. Unfortunately, because Google and Apple use file formats that are exclusive to their software, we are unable to support their native file types. However, before you start the tedious process of copying and pasting everything into Scrivener, note that both these applications provide you with a way to export your work in a file format that is compatible with Scrivener.

Apple Pages

  1. Open up the File menu and hover over the Export To > option.
  2. Select from the three supported text file formats (Word, Plain Text, or Rich Text Format).
  3. In the window that pops up, click Next... .
  4. Enter a name for your document and select a location to save it.
  5. Click Export.
  6. Once you've got your document exported in a compatible file format, open up Scrivener and use the File ▸ Import ▸ Files... menu command to import the document.

Google Docs

  1. Open up the File menu and hover over the Download > option.
  2. Select from the four supported text file formats (Word, OpenDocument Format, Rich Text Format or Plain Text).
  3. The file will download immediately, and you will find it in the downloads list in your browser, or in your Downloads folder.
  4. Once you've got your document exported in a compatible file format, open up Scrivener and use the File ▸ Import ▸ Files... menu command to import the document.

If you are using another word processor apart from Docs or Pages and you're having difficulty importing your work from that program into Scrivener, check the application's File menu for an export option. If you don't find one there, make use of the application's support material to find out if exporting into a supported text format is possible.

Import and Split

The Import and Split feature allows you to automatically split up existing work upon import, so that each "section" (whether that be each chapter, scene, or other dividing element in your manuscript) is imported as a separate document in your Binder. You can do this by inserting a special symbol wherever you would like to divide your work (e.g., #, //, ***, etc.), then using Scrivener's File > Import > Import and Split... menu command and indicating what symbol Scrivener should use to divide your work.

Please note that this feature is not available in Scrivener for iOS, though you can split the document up within Scrivener once it is imported. To do this, tap in the document to place the insertion point where you would like to split, then tap again to bring up the menu of options. Tap the > to continue through the options, then select Split. The text after the insertion point will be split into a new text document.

Importing Non-Text Files

You can import any non-text file into Scrivener, so long as it is not imported into the Draft/Manuscript folder (that folder is reserved for text documents only). However, note that not all file types will be viewable in Scrivener. File types that you will be able to view within Scrivener's editor include webpages, all of the main image file types (TIF, JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, etc.) and all of the main audio/visual formats (MOV, MPG, WAV, MP3, etc). Any other file types can be imported into Scrivener's Binder for the sake of keeping the file with the rest of your research, and can even be opened in its default application from within Scrivener with the Navigate ▸ Open ▸ in External Editor menu command.

Importing into Scrivener for iOS

To import a document into a project on the iOS version of Scrivener (iPhone or iPad), open up the project and select the folder in which you would like to import the document. Click the import icon in the footer bar, which looks like a box with an arrow pointing downward within it. From the menu, select Browse... to open the Files app. Select the document you would like to import, then tap Open.