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Tech Tuesday: Formatting tips for Scrivener

Scrivener is meant for drafting manuscripts, and isn’t focused much on formatting them. But it’s understandable that you might have preferences for how the text in your editing window appears. Here are a few quick tips for setting it up.

Setting the Standard Format for New Documents (Mac)

The following steps will let you set the standard for all new documents in all projects within Scrivener, but will not change existing documents.

1. Go to Scrivener—>Preferences. (Mac v3: Go to Scrivener>Preferences>Editing>Formatting and skip to step 3.)

2. Click the Formatting button at the top.

3. Click in the small text editor at the top and use the formatting buttons to set up the way you want your documents to look.

4. All new documents in all projects will use this format (unless you set a project-specific format , which I'll get to in a minute).

5. Close the Preferences window.
FormatPrefs

Setting the Standard Format for New Documents (Windows)

The following steps will let you set the standard for all new documents in all projects within Scrivener, but will not change existing documents.

1. Go to Tools—>Options.

2. From the row of buttons along the left side, select Editor.

3. Click in the Default Main Text Attributes editor at the top of the window and use the formatting buttons to set up the way you want your documents to look.

4. Click OK.

Applying Default Formatting to Existing Documents (Mac and Windows)

If you have existing documents that don't match the default formatting (either the out-of-the-box settings or the changes you just made in the previous section), you can convert them with the following steps.

1. Select the desired file or files in the Binder. Mac users can choose a folder or multiple files, Windows users must select the files separately from the folder. If not in Scrivenings mode (multiple document view), go to View—>Scrivenings.

2. Mac users only: Click in the text in the Editor pane. If your cursor is not in the Editor, the formatting options are not available.

3. Go to Documents—>Convert—>Formatting To Default Text Style. A small window appears.

4. Leave all boxes unchecked in order to convert all aspects of the style, and click OK.

The selected document is converted to the standard format you set in the previous section.

NOTE to Mac users: If you have already set a project style as below, converting a file with these steps will convert it to the project text style instead.

Setting the Default Text Style for a Single Project (Mac only as of 3/14/13)

You can set up a default text style for each individual project that overrides the global format you set in Preferences. Here's how:

1. Choose Project—>Text Preferences. (Mac v3: Go to Project>Project Settings>Formatting.)

2. Select the checkbox to Override Text Formatting For This Project. (Mac v3: Select the checkbox for “Use different default formatting for new documents in this project.”)

3. To use the settings in the current document, click Use Current. Otherwise, make changes in the Editor pane using the format bar that's provided.

4. Click OK.

All new documents created within that project will use the default text style you just created. To change an existing document to the default (whether set here or in Preferences), go to Documents—>Convert—>Formatting To Default Text Style.

Creating a Preset (NOTE: Scrivener 3 has Styles.)

Presets allow you to apply a previously defined set of formatting rules to existing text.

1. Format a section of text to match the settings you want for your preset. Or, find a section of text that is already set up the way you want it.

2. Click within the properly formatted text.

3. Go to Format—>Formatting—>New Preset From Selection.

4. Give your preset a name that specifies what it is. For example, I used TNRwIndent to represent my double-spaced, Times New Roman 14 pt with first-line indent.

5. Click OK.

Applying a Preset

Once you have created a preset, you can apply it to a paragraph or a selection within your document.

1. Click within the paragraph, or select all of the text, to which you want to apply your preset.

2. Go to Format—>Formatting—>Apply Preset.

3. Select the desired preset to apply.

Deleting a Preset

You can easily delete a preset that you no longer want.

1. Go to Format—>Formatting—>Delete Preset.

2. Select the preset you wish to remove.

Preserving Formatting

If you have text with a special format—maybe to represent letters, text messages, emails, or quotes—that you don't want to be overridden when you compile the project, you can preserve the font, spacing, size, indents, and alignment of it.

1. Select the text to preserve.

2. Go to Format—>Formatting—>Preserve Formatting.

The selected text is surrounded by a dashed line and highlighted in pale blue to show that it is preserved. Remove preserved formatting with the same procedure.

Want to know more? Sign up for an online class, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session.

 Write on!