A question regarding the formatting of the 'Split at Selection' function

Hello people!

I wonder if someone might advise me. To help with reading through my manuscript it would be nice to be able to change the properties/format of the ‘Split at Selection’ function. I simply want to add a ‘return’ or ‘blank line’ above and below it automatically whenever I use the ‘split at selection’ function. At the moment I am manually adding them in for readability, but realise that I will have to strip them all out again sometime in the future during the final edit. Is this possible?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

Whitespace is cleaned up around the split point, as in the large majority of cases it would cause issues to have extra lines at the top or bottom of any chunk of text.

It is problematic in most word processing style contexts, where paragraphs are separated with a single newline, but specific to Scrivener, one could inadvertently create visible section breaks with some compile formats. If you poke around through the back-links in that thread, you may find a sprawling network of confusion stemming from people treating whitespace as casual aesthetic padding and ending up with it being treated semantically—as a break between minor sections.

So overall we do our best to keep whitespace from accidentally ending up around document edges, and anything deliberately doing so would be conceptually very messy.

@Fanflame So, you want there to appear at the split point “a ‘return’ or ‘blank line’ above and below it automatically”, but you don’t want to add returns manually to get the effect, because you “will have to strip them all out again sometime in the future during the final edit.” So, if I am understanding correctly, you want to see a break there for readability, but don’t want your manuscript to literally have the extra padding added to it.

Getting what you want depends on where you are doing your read-through during editing. You do not tell us.

For example, Scrivener does exactly what you’re asking for if you are doing your read-through in Scrivener with Scrivening’s Mode. When you view your manuscript (or any parts thereof) in Scrivenings Mode, the breaks between documents is represented (by default) by the visual equivalent of two line breaks with a dashed line between. And it does this without actually adding any padding to your documents. If I have understood your desire correctly, this is exactly what you are looking for. So, one answer is to do your read-through using Scrivenings Mode; highly recommended! (You can tweak the appearance of Scrivenings Mode in Scrivener > Preferences > Appearance > Scrivenings.)

If you are doing your read-through on paper and wanting the effect there, that is a different matter. Now there is the question of how you are generating the hardcopy: by simple print or by compiling. Getting the effect you want in hardcopy is certainly possible in this sort of case too. Tweaking Separator settings in a Compile format for the compile case. In the case of straight to Print, maybe all you can do is enable the printing of doc titles as a kind of break space maker (Scrivener > Page Setup > Scrivener > Text). I don’t think you can just get the dashed line with padding with straight-to-Print, which is kind of a shame.


Could make a line the visible divider in the scrivenings view which make the document separation . The setting is in options under scrivenings. Exact path not sure as not at computer.

Hi AmberV,

Thanks for reading my question and for your explanation which I now understand in a clearer was. I am a relative newby to Scrivener and don’t want to cause myself any messy issues in the future when I come to learn the art of Compiling; but I am a long way from that point at the moment.

I have read all the 3 inputs so far and GR has suggested using Scrivenings which I had read about but have never used so far. I am going to give it a try tomorrow.

Thanks again.


Oh I would not go so far as to say it would create a mess. The option to replace an empty line with a break character (‘#’) is something only some compile settings do, and by that token, something anyone can change, should it work against how they prefer to write.

My comment was more strategic, in that we must strive to design in such a way that the outcome of events does not create conditions that can cause confusion for those that don’t know how to change compile settings, or that they exist at all in the first place. Most people are not very experimental, and exhibit undue caution toward figuring things out. So we’d rather aim for keeping surprising stuff low impact.

Oh, one other thing I thought of after posting—if the purpose for introducing blank lines is purely cosmetic—because you don’t like how close to the top of the editor the text gets, then check out the Appearance: Main Editor: Options tab, in settings. You can adjust the amount of top/bottom and left/right margins (it’s not a print setting, purely visual).

Hello GR,

Thanks for your input. You have nailed it on the head and I am simply re-reading through what I have previously written in the editor window to check spelling, readability of the storyline etc. I found that when I added the ‘split’ function, I needed to have the extra space or padding above and below as a way of making it easier for me to read and assimilate. But as AmberV above reminder me/teaches me, I am probably making a rod for my own back! Which is what I was thinking when I decided to write on the forum to question what I was doing.

You have given me a much better way of doing/viewing it in the Scrivenings window - so I am going to do that in a moment and then tomorrow morning when I’m up and starting to write I will spend some time in Scrivenings to get to know it.

Thank you for your advice.

I appreciate it.


Thanks GoalieDad,

I appreciate your input and am going to give the Scrivener a try tomorrow as both you and GR suggest.

Bless you.


Hello again AmberV,

Yes I realise that your comments and suggestions were strategic in nature and that is exactly where I want to be. I spent the first 4 months of last year simply writing and got lots down within Scrivener but unfortunately because of the pandemic and some family health issues up country from me which needed a lot of attention and input from me I had to put my writing on hold. I started again in January when the schools returned here in the UK and have spent hours simply re-reading what I had written and adding in the breaks so I could assimilate it and digest it. All this to be able to move sections around later in the writing process to make the final book flow better.

So yes the insertions/splits at the moment are simply cosmetic and will not appear in the final compile.

I have already set out the appearance of the main editor window in the options/setting but thank you for reminding me.

Bless you for your input and for ‘chatting with me’ on this forum.