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Using Grammarly with Scrivener

Scrivener and Grammarly

A few months back, I explored how you can export and sync your Scrivener projects with an Android device (or any device) for writing on the go. Since then, I’ve had a lot of good feedback on that post. It made me wonder whether this sync functionality Scrivener has can be used for other things.

One complaint I’ve seen from time to time is that the grammar checking capabilities of Scrivener leave a lot to be desired. Since I started using Grammarly, I’ve always wondered in the back of my mind about somehow integrating the two.

Grammarly is, in case you didn’t know, an app that will help check your text for errors and suggest changes. It’s far from perfect but for me, it’s actually helping quite a bit (see my review here). The great thing about Grammarly is that it can be integrated into Chrome and Word, even used as a stand-alone app. As such, it can be directly integrated into the environments that writers use for their work, whether it be your WordPress blog, Wattpad story or novel you’re writing in Word. Unfortunately, Scrivener is not on the list of supported apps into which Grammarly integrates. So if you want to use Grammarly to check the novel you’re writing, you have to copy and paste back and forth to be able to benefit from the technology solution Grammarly offers.

Or do you?

As it turns out, not quite. Although Grammarly and Scrivener don’t integrate, I had a thought: What if Grammarly can import the text that Scrivener exports with its “External sync” function, show what needs to be corrected and then save it back in a format Scrivener can then just sync back into your project?

Lo and behold, this actually works! The key here is that if the text exported from Scrivener is in text format (txt) and Grammarly can export the corrected text in the same format, which allows Grammarly to kind of take the place of the Android app I described in the Sync with Android article.

Here’s how it works.

1. First of all, you want to go ahead and set up an external sync folder for your project. You’ll find this under the file menu:

2. Make sure that you have selected .txt as the format for the file format.

3. Then sync with external folders. This saves the documents from your project with file names that are easier to read in the folder of your choice.

4. Open the Grammarly desktop app and open the chapter you want to check.

5. Go through all errors the app finds, if any. Make corrections as needed. Remember, not all errors are truly errors. Use your own judgment.

6. Once you’re satisfied that Grammarly has done its job to the best of its abilities, you need to save the document using the Export function. This allows you to save the document as a .txt file.

Note that Grammarly will be default add “edited” to the old file name to indicate which your new file is.

7. Once the file is saved, hop on back over to Scrivener and click “Sync external folders Now”.

Scrivener should show you new or changed files. Click on the binder and you should also see any changes there.

As you can see below, the edited file from Grammarly has now been imported to Scrivener.

And that’s it.

OK so wait a minute, you ask: What’s the benefit of doing this over just a straight copy/paste? To be honest, not an awful lot. You can copy and paste and it’s going to be just as fast. In fact, if your text is plain in Scrivener, it will be faster to just do that. There are a couple of benefits that I’ve noticed though.

For one, you can avoid formatting issues that seem to occur when you copy and paste between applications. For example, comments I added in Scrivener that were not technically part of the text showed up in a copy/paste into the Grammarly app.

The above steps also will seamlessly leave you a copy of the original text while saving the edited text as a separate file. It’s a good way to retain your original writing in case you’d want to go back and reference it later.

I should also note that I’ve only tested this on Windows. It definitely won’t work on Linux, since the unsupported Linux version does not have the external sync option, not to mention there’s no Grammarly app either (unless you run both through Wine). I imagine that on a Mac, it should work largely the way I’ve described it above.

There you have it. In itself, this solution is not revolutionary. In fact,  it is mostly just a little trick that can just as easily be accomplished through copy and paste. However, what it does is demonstrate that the sync feature of Scrivener can be used for something besides what it was intended for and that, I think, in itself is worth pointing out.

What do you think? Is this a better way to do it? What other things could you possibly use the sync feature of Scrivener for?

You can try Scrivener for free. Check it out here.
You can try Grammarly for free. Check it out here.

I'm just one of those guys that like well as drawing, writing, reading, coding and a whole bunch of other things I rarely have time for.

22 thoughts on “Using Grammarly with Scrivener”

  1. I am using Scrivener to write and compose my master’s thesis, Grammarly for correcting grammar, Mendeley as my reference manager and I will use InDesign to format the thesis. I love the puzzle this creates..

    I think I’ll use the sync to external folder function to create rtf’s in Dropbox, which makes them editable across my devices with OfficeSuite and maintain the footnotes.
    Mendeley has to be done via the Word plugin (unfortunately). Perhaps I’ll also use grammarly in Word then.. That means the wordfile will go into ID.

    I have been wondering about syncing scrivener word-files to Adobe InDesign. I want to format my thesis in InDesign with the use of Paragraph Styles etc. and I’m already worried about having to copy paste the text when (not íf ;)) I make last-minute changes. Another concern of mine is that references, which are terribly important in an academical thesis, might be hard to get across.

    I have now found; , which looks like a handy automated script to easily convert scrivener texts to Indesign formatting. I’ve also found Wordsflow (, a plugin for Indesing which links Wordfiles to your ID document and ‘magically’ merges edited text into ID without losing your formatting.

    I have not tried these scripts/plugins out yet, I am just now exploring my options. I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions!

    1. Wow, you really have quite the puzzle there. I don’t have any experience with InDesign, unfortunately, but it sounds like you’re on the right track with the plugins. I’ll have to take a closer look too.

    2. I know this is off the main topic here. Have you found an efficient way of getting Scrivener and Mendeley to play along nicely?

      1. I can’t say that I have. I have run into that question before though. What exactly are you trying to accomplish with those two?

        1. For me Mendeley works great at managing my references alongside comments and annotations, and the fact that it has a good Ipad app is an added bonus. Due to the lack of Mendeley integration with Scrivener, I’m contemplating switching to Citavi.

  2. Thank you, Matthias, for your guidance. Do you know now if the above steps should work on a Mac? My experience has just indicated that it may not.

    Thank you,

    1. Jonathan, unfortunately my experience with the Mac platform is limited. In theory, as long as Dropbox does its thing, the files should at least sync with your computer. What’s the issue you’re running into?

      1. Mattias, thank you for responding.

        The problem appears to be with the renaming and placement of the exported files from Grammarly.

        The problem is occurring when I export a file out of Grammarly. I don’t get the option to export the edited file into the “Draft” folder. The result is a numbered file outside the “Draft” folder. If I understand correctly, the existing file should be replaced (ready for syncing into Scrivener) and the previous copy of the edited file stored outside the “Draft” folder.

        This may just be a Mac incompatibility between Scrivener and Grammarly but it would be great if it could work in the way it works for Windows!

        1. When you say you don’t get the option to export it, can you expand on that?

          You can export it as a new file too, as long as it remains txt. Scrivener will still pick it up. I do that quite a bit, actually, to keep a copy of the original, just in case something gets screwed up by Grammarly. I

          1. I can export (as a .txt file) but I don’t have the option to name it and so a file with a numbered name is created and it places it the folder above the “Draft” folder, i.e. the official backup folder. Scrivener will only pick up from the “Draft” folder so there’s no change.

          2. I took a closer look at Grammarly again tonight. You’re right, something’s different. If I use it from the web interface, the export button simply downloads the file into my download folder. Not at all useful. The “native” Windows app actually lets me select a location and file name, so that part still seems to work. I’ll have to update the post.

            They just updated their UI not too long ago. I’m wondering if this came about around that time. I’ve been using the Chrome plugin a lot lately so that’s why I hadn’t noticed the new behavior.

          3. Thanks for looking into it. Glad to know I wasn’t imagining it.

            Oh well, back to copy and paste … (that works fine!)

            Really appreciate the update.

  3. I’m unable to export my edited file as .txt from Grammarly–only as .docx. I’m on a Mac so I don’t know if I’m missing a setting somewhere.

    1. That’s a good question, I’m not familiar with the Mac version. I do believe they’ve made some changes to the app that changed how that works. I’ll have to go back and look at it again.

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