Thoughts and Comments

Operating System Windows 10

Papyrus Author Version Papyrus Author Free version 10.06a Win64 dated 2020-9-15

Firstly, I welcome anything that challenges Microsoft’s domination of the ‘Office’ software. However, I will point out firstly that I am vehemently opposed to subscription software; I have no problem paying a one-off fee, with small increments for new versions. In my experience, I believe most users would prefer this method.
I find the interface very clean and functional but I have a few thoughts and suggestions that might help with the development of Papyrus Author. I have already scoured the manual to the best of my ability:


  • Internal hyperlinks do not appear to work (e.g. the content list generated with Word). Are the anchors eliminated, or is there a certain keypress (Ctrl-click in Word)?
  • Footnotes reset to ‘1’ for every page. I realise this is the only method in Papyrus, but it is definitely not useful to me (and many others, I suspect).
  • Footnote format not translated across, e.g. tab used instead of the original space.
  • Decimal tabs are tabbing to the comma used as a separator, e.g. 3,456 (although I know this is a European standard).
  • .pap file sizes are much larger than .docx
  • Grammarly support? I appreciate Papyrus has the built-in ‘Style analysis’ – and it looks quite powerful too – but I wonder how that compares to Grammarly.


  • Reduce text size of the Navigator even further from the ‘Small font’ option.
  • Alter action of the mouse pointer when on the left side of the document, to permit whole lines to be selected.
  • Import Word user preferences, in particular the dictionary and autocorrects.
  • Pane/Pinboard to display Paragraph styles. I constantly have to change styles so need an easy one-click access to them.
  • Convert footnotes to endnotes. This is particularly useful when composing a manuscript with hundreds of footnotes to keep track of the indices relative to the page. However, my intention is to convert them to endnotes before publishing.

I would be keen to continue with Papyrus but I will have to carry on with Word until such features are implemented.

If the links were created within Papyrus you need to double click them or right click and select “Go to (#link_target)”.

Go to Document > Layout > Footnotes and select “page by page” or “by document” for footnote numbering

A tab between the footnote number and the footnote text is really helpful for formatting the left margin of the footnote text

Click on the decimal tab in the ruler and change the separator to a period or any other character you like

.docx is zip-compressed and .pap is not compressed. Is that relevant with today’s hard disk sizes and transmission rates?

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My worry is that my current book is about 320,000 words, with thousands of footnotes, although these are for my reference and will get edited back. But if I convert to Papyrus - and it is tempting - I must be sure there are no unforeseen glitches, particularly in formatting. I currently used Word 2007(!) as I’ve got used to it and I do not want to be shackled by subscription software.

Internal hyperlinks: No, this is an imported Word .docx. I could always recreate the contents list if all else fails.

Footnotes reset per page: Apologies, I misread the manual (“Papyrus cannot handle footnotes that extend over more than one page”), however …

There is one limitation for specific academic areas. The exception to the general rule in Papyrus that everything can be changed later: it is not possible to change a footnote to an endnote, or vice versa.

This highlights my last point in the OP.

Footnote tabs: I would have thought the option to create what is desired would be appropriate.

Decimal tabs: Thanks.

File sizes: This was really an observation, but if Papyrus was used to produce a large illustrated book, then the filesize could become an issue. I use separate DTP software so it does not really affect me as such.

One problem that has just surfaced, Papyrus just produced an error on importing a large Word .docx (although it seems to be all there), but the Navigation Pane has disappeared to be replaced by a duplicated Pinboard 1.

Just to expand on the very last issue:

One problem that has just surfaced, Papyrus just produced an error on importing a large Word .docx (although it seems to be all there), but the Navigation Pane has disappeared to be replaced by a duplicated Pinboard 1.

For whatever reason, Papyrus actually deleted this large file from my hard disk – thank God for backups! But this just amplifies my concerns.

Papyrus won’t delete documents. Do you mean the original Word document disappeared? Or the converted .pap document? If you mean the latter - did you save it before closing it? After conversion, the file has been created but still requires saving for it to become a stored document.
If the document was saved, can you see it listed under File / More Recent Documents? You can open it from here and then check the path where the document was saved by going to File / Open Other / Show Folder with this Document.

We would need more details (or a screenshot) of the error to understand what the problem was during conversion. Does the error still occur if you covert the same document again?

You could use the editing process to create the endnote.
If there is more demand for converting footnotes to endnotes it is potentially something we could investigate for the future.

The Navigator is automatically set to closed with new documents, unless you are using a Papyrus Author template document. So when you convert a Word document, the Navigator window will not be open. To open it, click on the grafik icon in the bottom left corner of the Papyrus Author window.

OK, to explain further: I started imported a docx file of 80,400 words. Papyrus then threw up the error - I seem to remember it mentioning something about the conversion failing, although the document did actually load. Later, when I checked, the docx file was definitely missing/deleted. Unfortunately, I cannot replicate this error.
As for the footnote to endnote conversion, this is a serious shortfall for me so I would be unable to use Papyrus until that single feature is present.

I remember reading about editing an annotated bible text in Papyrus without problems, which is about 780,000 words long.

The conversion is the critical step here. I would save the Word document as an .rtf file using Word and then import the .rtf using Papyrus and save it as .pap. RTF is much better documented than .doc or .docx, so programmers have an easier life writing good import/export functions. The .rtf import is much more reliable in Papyrus than .doc or .docx.

Well, current Word versions are drifting towards subscription only too, but I feel the uneasiness.

After importing the document I would check if the heading styles go transferred correctly and if all headings appear in the Navigator. If they don’t this needs correction. Once all headings are showing up in the Navigator, the creation of a table of contents (with links to the chapters or sections) is quite straightforward.

No doubt it can be an issue. If the document will have many pictures, there is an option to only store links to the picture in the document but the actual picture files remain on the hard disk. Papyrus will still display these pictures as usual, but they will be stored outside the document. This helps to keep the file size small. If you move such a document to a different location, just make sure to move the picture folder along with it.

What’s also helping to reduce file size: if a picture is used in several places in the document then there’s no need to import it multiple times. Once imported, a picture or a rectangular fraction of it, can be used multiple times in the document. So for example, if you use icons as a guide in the document, then each icon image file needs only be imported once and can then be used as often as needed without consuming more memory.

However, if the number and size of pictures is really large, then you might run into a limitation of Papyrus: the combined area of all imported pictures cannot exceed 9 x 9 m = 81 m².

I think the reason for this limitation is the Picture Catalog within Papyrus which shows all imported pictures. The catalog itself is a single page document and 9 x 9 m is the largest page size Papyrus can handle.


When you import a document into Papyrus, the information is extracted from the Word document and a new document created. This leaves the original document untouched.

Re a comment made by the original poster - I would also upgrade to Pro in a second if it was a one-off fee not a monthly subscription.

Subscription pricing is a deal breaker for me also. I want to own my software not rent it!