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Tech Tuesday: Scrivener Format Menu Tidbits

[Aug 10, 2012 UPDATE: A reader pointed out that this entire post was out of date because the Text menu made like the dinosaurs sometime in the two years since I wrote this. Most Text menu features are now available under the Format menu on both Mac and PC. I've changed the instructions below accordingly.]

Scrivener is full of many small but very useful features. I have stumbled across most of them by accident, and I thought I'd share them over the next couple of Tuesdays.

Converting Multiple Spaces to Single Space

In many parts of the publishing world, the new standard for spacing is a single-space between sentences. Until I got used to typing that way though, I had a complete MS that was double-spaced. You could use Project Replace to fix it, but there's an even easier way. Of course.

1. View the affected text in the Editor (view your Manuscript folder in Scrivenings view to affect the entire MS), and click inside the Editor pane to activate it.

2. From the Format menu, choose Convert.

Note that the Convert submenu also offers easy text conversions for UPPERCASE, lowercase, and Title Case.

3. Click Multiple Spaces to Space.

If you just can't get over typing two spaces between words, another option is to convert from multiple to single spaces during the compile process. You'll find the option under the Transformations tab.

Show Invisible (non-printing) Characters

Have you ever wanted to view the non-printing characters in your MS? You know, like paragraph marks and spaces? Scrivener has a function called Show Invisibles that does just that.

1. From the Format menu, choose Options, then Show Invisibles (affects all documents).

2. To remove, repeat Step 1.

Use Typewriter Scrolling in the Editor Window

In Full Screen mode, the line you're typing is always at the center of the page by default. Unless I'm editing, I love it because I'm not always looking at the bottom of the window while typing, but I don't always write in Full Screen. This feature–called Typewriter Scrolling–is also available in the Editor window.

1. Click within a text document.

2. From the Format menu, choose Options, then Typewriter Scrolling.

3. Will affect all documents until you turn it off by repeating Step 2.

Need more help? Sign up for an online class, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session. If you don't already have it, you can download Scrivener here.

 If you have any ideas for future Tech Tuesday columns, please let me know. Happy writing!

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  1. Reply

    Thanks Gwen for asking about me on Twitter, I feel better. My vision is not completely restored but enough to read your post today.
    You gave us so much valuable information that it makes me want to start writing a book:)
    Have a great day Gwen!

    • Reply

      Mirella: I’m glad you’re mostly feeling better. Thanks for even reading this since I know you don’t use Scrivener. What a true friend! 😉 Have a great day too!

  2. sarah


    Fantastic. This is such a habit of mine. I was having such difficulty changing to one space and now I don’t have to. Thank you 🙂

  3. Reply

    Re: Multiple Spaces to Space. I must be doing something wrong. Some of my double spaces shift to single, but some stay double. It seems random.

    • Reply

      Denise: Hmm. Mac or Windows? Do you know if you have any non-breaking spaces in your text? Those would not be viewed as regular spaces and so the convert option wouldn’t work.

      • Reply

        Mac. I’m simply referring to spacing between sentences. I’ve typed 2 spaces for so long it has become instinct. I love the idea of a function that could take them all back to 1 space.

        • Reply

          Denise: Right, I understand. I didn’t know if maybe you had imported a file that had been formatted in another program. Sometimes people add a nonbreaking space so the word wrap won’t break on that space.

          For those double spaces between sentences where it didn’t work, are those in the same documents where it did work? Meaning it wasn’t that you didn’t include a document when you ran the conversion, but that some two-space combos must be different. I might have to refer you to tech support because without looking at your project I can’t troubleshoot much further.

          • Reply

            Yes, some files were imported. I never purposely added nonbreaking space. The double spaces do seem to be in the imported docs. Now I’m not sure if I’ve double and single spaced between sentences within the same doc or if the software fixed some spaces and not others. Ugh. I’ll see what I can figure out and contact tech support if need be. Thanks for your help. One last question. I’m attempting to single space the entire manuscript in Scrivenings view. You say to click in the Editor pane to activate. What exactly is the Editor pane? I’m clicking at the top of the first page of the manuscript.

  4. paul ray russell


    Well done. Couldn’t find the “show invisible” chars option!

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