I recently noticed in the Writer Unboxed Community on Facebook that several members asked how to import documents into Scrivener. This is one of the easiest tasks in the program. Because it is so simple I assumed I wrote about when I first started writing these tutorials nearly two years ago. It seems I mentioned that the beta version of the windows version was glitchy and I suggested to cut and paste, and then I promptly forgot to write about it again because, really, it is easy.

But not every person is a dork like me who can figure it out. So today I’ll show how to import text files.

Now, really, it’s easy. The first step is to go to the menu bar. Select File=>Import=>Files

Screen Shot 2013-07-06 at 5.25.25 PM

When you select Files, the directory window (or the Finder on a Mac) will open up and from there you can select the file you want to import. So let’s say I want to import from my Document Files “The Notebook Lady.”

Screen Shot 2013-07-06 at 5.33.57 PM

But before I do that I want to determine where I want it within the binder. In this case, it will go to Manuscript Critiques. I click on it to select it. Then I go through my importing steps, select the document and hit Import. A window will pop up that explains that when you import the text is changed to Rich Text Format.

Screen Shot 2013-07-06 at 5.35.52 PM

DON’T PANIC if you don’t know what that means. Basically if you have footnotes or tables the formatting will be off and you’ll need to fix it. But let’s assume you only have text, which means you’ll be okay. And BOOM! There it is filed under Manuscript Critiques.

Screen Shot 2013-07-06 at 5.46.52 PM

If you want to import PDFs, web pages, or photos it’s the same process, but instead of importing them from the Manuscript section of the binder that only allows text files, you’ll be in the Research section. Same process, but importing within a different area of the binder. Just select the Research icon and go through the same steps.

See, it really is easy.



  • Rebeca: Good overview! Have you tried Import and Split too? It’s available for both versions now and saves a lot of time.
    If you have a character between scenes, like a #, you can use File–>Import and Split, designate the character(s) you used, and Scrivener will automatically split your manuscript into scene documents. Just be sure to add the character at the end of chapters in your Word doc too, otherwise the last scene of one chapter and the beginning of the next will be combined.
    Keep up the great tutorials. Hope your writing is going well! 🙂

  • Rebecca, how do I “fix” the files I imported but can’t get them in any order, I have 14 files in my binder but I can’t work with them, I don’t know how to get them in chapter or manuscript form.
    Any help would be appreciated.