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Preparing a document for import
Preparing a document for import

πŸ“ Follow these guidelines to prepare your existing draft for import.

Updated over a week ago
An image of the import guidelines for First Draft Pro's import feature.

Importing an existing project into First Draft Pro is quick and easy, but you'll see the best results if your document is properly prepared for import.

Supported file types for import

Make sure that your document has either a .doc or .docx file extension, as these are the file types we support for import.

Converting from Pages (Mac) to .doc or .docx to import? Sometimes Pages documents will lose critical formatting information when you convert to .doc or .docx formats. As a result, these documents may not import to First Draft Pro properly (you may see 0 words imported, or a blank import screen). To resolve this issue, you will need to fix the formatting in Word or Google Docs, and then re-import the .doc or .docx document to First Draft Pro.

Support for other file types is forthcoming!

What we'll do automatically when you import your file

If your file is correctly set up, we'll be able to:

  • Split the manuscript into chapters

  • Split your chapters into separate scenes

  • Summarise the content of scenes and chapters on your outline (if you enable AI summarisation)

  • Summarise the main description of your project

  • Give your project a title

  • Suggest the wordcount on your project

  • Suggest the genre of your project

How to set your file up correctly

Follow these guidelines to ensure that your import goes smoothly:

  1. File Name: The name of your file should be the title of your project.

  2. Chapter Titles: Make sure that each of your chapter titles is an H1 heading level, as this is how we will know when to split the manuscript into a new chapter.

  3. Other H1 Headings: To avoid your document being split incorrectly, remove other H1 headings from the document (we suggest changing these to H2 headings).

  4. Scene Breaks: If you'd like to create a scene break in the middle of a chapter, insert five dashes (-----) at the point where you want the scene break to be inserted. Note: some word processors will change the first three of the five dashs into an em-dash. This is fine, and it will still work as long as there is one em-dash followed by two dashes.

  5. Headers & Footers: Remove any headers and footers from the document, as these may interfere with the import process.

  6. Paragraph Styles: For best formatting results, please use paragraph styles for text formatting in your document.

A heads-up: Currently, the import feature will not import images or comments associated with your .doc or .docx file into First Draft Pro. We're working on adding this functionality to the import feature in the future!

Please reach out if you see anything strange happening on an import. This is a brand new feature and many writers have different approaches to document set-up that we may not have accounted for yet, so we'd appreciate the feedback! Also see: How to send debugging information to the First Draft Pro team.


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