Scrivener and Other Writing Tutorials, Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Scrivener Quick Start | Import Your Fiction Manuscript from Microsoft Word Split into Chapters

You can import your manuscript from Microsoft Word or other writing applications already split into chapters and scenes

1. Select the Draft/Manuscript folder in Scrivener's Binder because this is where you want your document to land when you import it. 

2. Open your novel document in Microsoft Word. Place a hash sign directly before each instance where you want your document to be split. In this case I want my splits to occur at each chapter title and at the beginning of every scene including the first scene in a chapter.

I choose titles rather than numbered chapter headings so that I can re-arrange the chapters in the Scrivener Binder without having to rename them to keep them in numerical order. 


Save your changes in MS Word.


3. Back in Scrivener go to Main Menu > File > Import > Import and Split.

4. Insert your hash symbol into the Sections are separated by box. 

5. Navigate to the file you just saved.

6. Toggle on the Split into sections by finding separators in the text radio button.

7. Click on Import.

1. Your manuscript imports directly into Scrivener's Draft/Manuscript folder in the Binder with a new document starting at each point where you entered your symbol and entitled whatever came directly after the symbol. The chapter headings are capitalized in the Binder because they were capitalized in the original document.  

2. If your original MS Word document already had numbered chapter headings, headers and footers, they will show up at the bottom of the previous chapter when you import to Scrivener using this method. In this example my chapter titles are in a document of their own because I split the document at the beginning of every first scene.

3. In the Binder, scene documents are automatically named the first sentence in the scene. You can go in and call them scene one, scene two etc.

4. Scroll through your Draft/Manuscript in the Editor and delete any irrelevant numbered chapter headings, headers and footers as well as all chapter headings.

5. Rename all scene files in the binder and drag them in to their relevant chapter heading documents.

The quickest way to tidy up your Binder after importing from MS Word

1. Contract your documents to chapter level

2. Select all your chapters

3. Right click and convert to folders.

4. You will end up with your document configured as a standard Scrivener novel and now you can move scenes within a chapter or move whole chapters by dragging and dropping them.

Your manuscript may have retained its style from Microsoft Word. In this case, select the Draft/Manuscript folder in your Binder, make sure you are in Scrivenings mode, click inside the Editor and then go to Main Menu > Documents > Convert > Formatting to Default Text Styles… 


If you are uncertain, test this on a small document first. If you Remove all styles you will still have capitals, bold and italic as well as paragraph breaks as seen below.

But you won't keep unwanted tab stops and other MS Word eccentric formatting like the page padding shown in the image below which comes with the Heading 1 style.

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