Project Format Changes#
Most of the changes to the file formats over the history of novelWriter have no impact on the user-side of things. The project files are generally updated automatically. However, some of the changes require minor actions from the user.
The key changes in the formats are listed below, as well as the user actions required, where applicable.
When you update a project from one format version to the next, the project can no longer be opened by a version of novelWriter prior to the version where the new file format was introduced. You will get a notification about any updates to your project file format and will have the option to decline the upgrade.
A full description of the current file format is available in the File Format Spec 1.5 document, available as a PDF. This document is intended for contributors to novelWriter, those building project conversion tools, either to or from tne novelWriter format, and for those who wish to make their own templating system.
Format 1.5 Changes#
This project format was introduced in novelWriter version 2.0 RC 2.
This is a modification of the 1.4 format. It makes the XML more consistent in that meta data have been moved to their respective section nodes as attributes, and key/value settings now have a consistent format. Logical flags are saved as yes/no instead of Python True/False, and the main heading of the document is now saved to the item rather than in the index. The conversion is done automatically the first time a project is loaded. No user action is required.
Format 1.4 Changes#
This project format was introduced in novelWriter version 2.0 RC 1. Since this was a release candidate, it is unlikely that your project uses it, but it may be the case if you’ve installed a pre-release.
This format changes the way project items (folders, documents and notes) are stored. It is a more compact format that is simpler and faster to parse, and easier to extend. The conversion is done automatically the first time a project is loaded. No user action is required.
Format 1.3 Changes#
This project format was introduced in novelWriter version 1.5.
With this format, the number of document layouts was reduced from 8 to 2. The conversion of document layouts is performed automatically when the project is opened.
Due to the reduction of layouts, some features that were previously controlled by these layouts will be lost. These features are instead now controlled by syntax codes, so to recover these features, some minor modification must be made to select documents by the user.
The manual changes the user must make should be very few as they apply to document layouts that should be used only a few places in any given project. These are as follows:
The formatting of the level one title on the title page must be changed from
# Title Textto
#! Title Textin order to retain the previous functionality. See Headings.
Any text that was previously centred on the page must be manually centred using the new text alignment feature. See Paragraph Alignment and Indentation.
Since the specific layout for unnumbered chapters has been dropped, such chapters must all use the
##! Chapter Nameformatting code instead of
## Chapter Name. This also includes chapters marked by an asterisk:
## *Chapter Name, as this feature has also been dropped. See Headings.
The layout named “Plain Page” has also been removed. The only feature of this layout was that it ensured that the content always started on a fresh page. In the new format, fresh pages can be set anywhere in the text with the
[NEW PAGE]code. See Vertical Space and Page Breaks.
Format 1.2 Changes#
This project format was introduced in novelWriter version 0.10.
With this format, the way auto-replace entries were stored in the main project XML file changed.
Format 1.1 Changes#
This project format was introduced in novelWriter version 0.7.
With this format, the
content folder was introduced in the project storage. Previously, all
novelWriter documents were saved in a series of folders numbered from
It also reduces the number of meta data and cache files. These files are automatically deleted if an old project is opened. This was also when the Table of Contents file was introduced.
Format 1.0 Changes#
This is the original file format and project structure. It was in use up to version 0.6.3.