Archive FAQ > Tutorial: Importing Text-based Works

Introduction

This tutorial will guide you step-by-step through importing a text-based work into Archive of Our Own (AO3) and assumes you have no prior knowledge of posting a work on AO3. It also assumes you're accessing the site in the default skin; please make allowances if your site customization is different.

Note: You must be the owner of a work to import it into AO3. If you're not the owner, you can still include a record of the work on AO3 by creating an external bookmark (How do I bookmark a work not posted on the Archive?). If you're the owner of an archive with works by multiple owners, please refer to the Open Doors FAQ.

Importing Works on AO3: What can I import?

Unless otherwise specified, the AO3 importer will try its best to automatically detect your work's content and tags. However, the success of the import function largely depends on the originating site and its compatibility with AO3. Check out What websites can I import from? for more information on restrictions.

If your work is not compatible with the importer, consider posting your work using the Post New Work form instead. You can find instructions for posting a new work in How do I post a new work? or follow step-by-step through Tutorial: Posting a Work on AO3.

Navigating to the Import Work Page

To get started, go to the Import Work page:

  1. Log in and select "Post" at the top of the page, next to your username.
  2. Choose "Import Work" from the menu.

Screenshot of the Post menu. The Import Work option is highlighted. It is second in the list, after the New Work option.

This takes you to the Import Work page, where you can add links to your work's content and other information. If you get stuck, the blue question mark symbols help symbol next to the field names bring up help pop-ups with more information.

Setting Up Import Details

The Works URLs section allows you to input the URLs of the work(s) you are importing, as well as provide details about how to import your work(s). Here is where you'll indicate whether you're importing a single-chapter work, multiple single-chapter works, or a single work with multiple chapters.

URLs (required)
Enter your work URL(s) in this field:
  • If you are importing one or multiple single-chapter works, enter each work's URL on a new line. You can enter up to 25 work URLs.
  • If you are importing one or multiple multi-chapter work(s) from an e-fiction archive (i.e. if your work's URL contains the text: "viewstory.php"), enter the URL for each work's first chapter. The AO3 importer will automatically import the entire e-fiction work with up to 200 chapters preserved. You can enter up to 25 work URLs, one URL per line.
  • If you are importing one multi-chapter work that is not from an e-fiction archive, enter each chapter's URL on a new line. You can enter up to 200 chapter URLs.
You can import both single-chapter works and multi-chapter e-fiction works at the same time; however, you can only import one multi-chapter work not from an e-fiction archive at a time. Example screenshot of URLs field filled in with five URLs, one URL per line
Set custom encoding
By default, the AO3 importer will attempt to automatically detect your work's character encoding. If you'd prefer to specify your work's encoding manually, select an option from the list. For more information on what character encoding is and how it works, refer to the W3C Internationalization (i18n) Activity's "Character encodings for beginners", or refer to the help pop-up for tips on selecting an encoding.
Import as
If you entered multiple URLs in the URLs field, specify whether these are links to separate "Chapters in a single work (limit of 200)" or individual "Works (limit of 25)". If you only entered one URL in the URLs field, you can ignore this setting.
Preferences
Post without previewing.
By default, this box is unchecked, which allows you to preview and edit your imported work(s) before posting. Check this box to make your work(s) visible to users immediately after importing. We recommend only selecting this option if you are an experienced importer.
Lock all imports to registered users only.
By default, this box is unchecked, which means that any guest user or AO3 member will be able to access your imported work(s) after posting. Check this box if you'd like to restrict access to your work(s) to only logged in AO3 members.
Override tags and notes
By default, the AO3 importer will prioritize any tags or notes found on your works' originating site(s) over any tags or notes you enter into the Tags section below. For example, if you entered "Avatar: The Last Airbender" in the "Fandom" field below, but the importer determined that your work was in the "Avatar (2009)" fandom, the "Avatar (2009)" fandom tag would be applied. If you'd prefer the information you enter manually to replace the found tags and notes, check this setting to open two additional options: Example screenshot of 'Override tags and notes' checkbox checked with two additional options presented
Use values extracted from the content for blank fields if possible
Selecting this option will allow you to maintain the fields you manually set in the Tags section, but allow the importer's found tags to populate the rest. For example, you can enter Notes for your imported work(s), but leave the rest of the fields in the Tags section blank to allow the importer to automatically set the Fandoms, Characters, Warnings, etc.
Do not use values extracted from the content at all; use Archive defaults for blank fields
If you'd prefer not to use any of the automatically detected tags or notes, select this option. The importer will still attempt to set your work's title, summary, chapter titles (if applicable), and publication date.

Entering Tag Information

The Tags section is where you'll be able to set your work tags, including Rating, Archive Warnings, Fandoms, Category, Relationships, Characters, and Additional Tags. If you've previously created a work on AO3, this section should be familiar to you. If not, you can find a detailed description in Tutorial: Posting a Work on AO3 - Entering Tag Information.

Please note that any tags you enter here will be applied to all imported works. If you choose to leave any field blank and the importer is unable to find the relevant tags on your work's originating site, we will apply default values (e.g. "Not Rated" or "Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings").

Reminder: if you did not select the "Override Tags and Notes" option in the prior section, anything you enter here may be overridden during the import.

Entering Notes

You can include any information you'd like in the Notes section. The Notes you enter here will be added to the beginning of your work(s).

Refer to Tutorial: Posting a Work on AO3 - Notes for examples.

Importing Your Work

Let's talk about what will happen once you select the "Import" button.

If you did not select the "Post without Previewing" option, your work(s) will be imported as drafts on AO3. You will still need to post your work(s) to allow others to access them. If you only imported one work, selecting the "Import" button will take you to the Preview page for that draft. If you imported multiple works, selecting the "Import" button will present you with a list of links to all your newly imported drafts.

If you did select the "Post without Previewing" option, your work(s) will be posted immediately. If you only imported one work, selecting the "Import" button will take you to the work page. If you imported multiple works, selecting the "Import" button will present you with a list of links to all your newly imported works.

Once you're happy with the options and tags you've entered, go ahead and select the "Import" button.

Reviewing and Editing Your Work

At this point, your work(s) should have been successfully imported. If you're having trouble, please refer to any error messages or check the Importing Works section of the Known Issues page. As always, you can also contact Support for help.

Otherwise, congratulations! Your imported works are now like any other work or draft on AO3. Any posted works you imported will be added to your list of works on your Dashboard. Any unposted drafts you imported will be added to your list of drafts, also on your Dashboard. Please note that draft works are automatically deleted a month after creation. If you choose not to post your drafts within the month, you can re-import them at a later date.

Now is a great time to review and edit your work(s):

  1. Select the work you'd like to edit. If you only imported one work, you should already be on its page. If you imported multiple works, select one from the list.
  2. Select the "Edit" button to go to your work's Edit Work page.

You may want to first review that any automatically detected fields match what you expect: Work Title, Summary, Chapter Titles, Tags, and Notes. Below are a couple more settings that may be relevant to your imported work(s):

Post to Collections / Challenges (Associations section)
If you imported the work as part of a collection or challenge, here is where you specify that. Refer to Tutorial: Posting a Work on AO3 - Post to Collections / Challenges for more details.
Set a different publication date (Associations section)
The AO3 importer will have attempted to match your work's publication date to the date on the originating site. However, if the automatic detection failed, you can check this box to backdate your work manually. Refer to Tutorial: Posting a Work on AO3 - Set a different publication date for more details.
Choose a language (Associations section)
Select the language of your work via the list. English is selected by default.

For more information about the Edit Work page, including how to fill in the remaining optional fields, how to save and preview your changes, and how to post any saved drafts, refer to Tutorial: Posting a Work on AO3 or the Posting and Editing FAQ.

Where can I get more information if my question isn't answered here?

For more information on Posting and Editing Works, refer to the Posting and Editing FAQ or follow step-by-step through Tutorial: Posting a Work on AO3.

Some frequently asked questions about the Archive are answered in other sections of the Archive FAQ, and some common terminology is defined in our Glossary. Questions and answers about our Terms of Service can be found in the Terms of Service - FAQ. You may also like to check out our Known Issues. If you need more help, please submit a support request.