Tag Archives: Scrivener

Importing documents and structure from Scrivener to MaxQDA


Here’s my triumph of the day: getting Scrivener to export about 400 separate documents into a single file that you can then import into MaxQDA with a code that will then separate them out again into individual documents in MaxQDA.  If you’re wondering why, it’s because the bulk of my data and a lot of memos and notes were entered in Scrivener, but I want to export it into MaxQDA to analyse it. Time taken? About 10 minutes to figure it out, 10 seconds to execute it.

To do such an import in MaxQDA, you need to prefix every title or separate section with #TEXT, so that the resulting document has #TEXTYourTitleHere before each section. When you import that document, MaxQDA creates a separate document at every point where it reads #TEXT, adding a title of its own if you haven’t specified one.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. In the Scrivener compile dialog, select the folder(s) that contain(s) the documents and subdocuments (if any) you want to send to MaxQDA.
  2. Use the “Custom” compile format, so that you can tweak the output
  3. In the compile dialog, select the formatting box, and make sure that the “title” box is checked against the level where the documents are that you want to see as separate documents in MaxQDA. When you click on the different levels, the corresponding documents in the binder are highlighted, so you can see exactly which level you need.  ( I found that the titles of the subdocuments I wanted to include (level 2+) weren’t included in the compile by default, so I had to manually check the box) scrivener-formatting
  4. Click on the “Section Layout” button underneath the levels
  5. In the dialog box that appears (Title Prefix and Suffix) Add the word #TEXT – ensuring that you don’t put a space after the word #TEXT prefix
  6. Now run the compile
  7. You will now have one big file that contains all your Scrivener subdocuments, with #TEXT appended to each title.
  8. Now import the compile file into  MaxQDA using the “Import structured document (Preprocessor)” option. importMax
  9. Sit back and watch all your Scrivener document structure replicate itself in MaxQDA.

IT tips #15: Four ways to help you remember where you put things


In a comment on a previous tip, Ninette wanted to know how to make sure to be able to find tips again in the future because she’s ‘rubbish at remembering things like this’.  Join the club. Here are my suggestions (in addition to yesterday’s blog about Delicious).

  • Evernote is like iTunes for ‘stuff’ (free for a basic account). It syncs itself across different devices, so apart from storing websites and documents, you can do things like take a photo or audio note with your phone, store it on Evernote for mobile, and then sync it with your home computer. I know that a lot of people swear by it. I’ve got it, and it’s great, but because most of my work is geared towards writing projects, I tend to use the next two suggestions more.
  • Scrivener is what everyone should be using for any large-scale writing job. It enables you to keep multiple notes, sections of text, research materials such as snapshots of  websites, photos, pdfs, and other bits and pieces  in an easy-to-organize outliner, and when you’ve finished working in bits, you ‘compile’ it into one long document.  It’s the best program I have ever used, and I now couldn’t live without it for writing extended documents. And it’s only about £30 at current exchange rates.
  • Zotero is free bibliographic software, and is like the iTunes of books. However, you can use it to store,  catalogue and search absolutely anything – books, articles, pdfs, music, pictures, websites. So in my Zotero, alongside collections of articles about rhythm, metre, neuroscience and the sociology of music education, I also have one called ‘Recipes’ where I store snapshots web pages with recipes on, and where I link to files of recipes that people have given me.

The fourth way is to keep a blog, and that’s why I do it.