How to save your manuscript in UTF-8

When you write a document on your computer, the text is represented in a particular character encoding. This character encoding tells the computer how to store the binary code in the computer’s memory and how to display that information on your screen based on the font you have selected.

Marlowe is smart, but she doesn’t know how to read files written in all of the possible character encodings. For that reason, it’s important to save your files in UTF-8. (Don’t worry, it’s not that hard!) Here is how to do that in several common text editing programs.

Microsoft Word

By default, modern versions of MS Word encode files in Unicode and should be fine. If Marlowe does struggle with your manuscript, please convert it to Unicode.

This is easy to do! Use the “Save As” option under the file menu.

  1. Click “Save As,” then choose “Plain Text (.txt)” from the “File Format” dropdown menu.
  2. After clicking “Save” you’ll get a new window asking about the text encoding.
  3. Select “Other Encoding” and choose UTF-8 from the right-side menu.
  4. Click OK. Boom! That’s it!

Pages

Apple’s Pages encodes text in Unicode automatically.

Simply select either:

  • File > Export To > Word
  • or

  • File > Export To > Plain text.

Marlowe will have no trouble reading the result of either option.

InDesign

Unfortunately, there’s no way to convert InDesign to .docx or plain text directly. For the process to work, you will need to have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Pro and a copy of Microsoft Word.

  1. Open the file in InDesign and choose File > Export. In the Save As menu, select Adobe PDF (Print) as your file format.
  2. Open the new PDF in Acrobat Pro.
  3. In Acrobat Pro, go to File > Export To > Microsoft Word, and select Word document. In the Save As dialogue, click on the Settings button if you need to edit attributes such as Layout Settings and Image Settings. Click the Save button.
  4. Now open the file in Microsoft Word select the File dropdown, then click “Save As,” then choose “Plain Text (.txt)” from the “File Format” dropdown menu.
  5. After clicking “Save” you’ll get a new window asking about the text encoding.
  6. Select “Other Encoding” and choose UTF-8 from the right-side menu.
  7. Click OK.

Scrivener

Scrivener’s process is pretty hassle-free since its text compile feature saves using Unicode.

  1. Select Compile from the File menu
  2. Go to File > Compile and choose Choose Plain Text (.txt) from the dialogue box
  3. Click Compile and save the file to your computer.

Do you write in a different software? Feel free to reach out to our team.