[B40] Problems with Scrivener for iOS

If I open my current project on my iPad and edit it there are two problems after Dropbox has synchronised it, and I then reopen it using the Windows beta: one really trivial, one rather annoying.

The trivial one is that that after Scrivener creates its initial backup, you get this wonderfully informative dialogue box:


– which I find mildly amusing but might alarm or confuse new users if it still happens in the final release.

Rather more annoying is that the iOS version changes my fonts. I use Sitka text on Windows, which I don’t have on the iPad. I have a “normal” style set up (i.e. it’s called “normal”; I don’t use the default “no style” option) for my project that includes this font. The text reverts to Arial on the iPad (I have tried changing it to various others, but I get the same problem whenever I switch back to Windows). When I open a file on Windows that I’ve edited on the iPad, the font has switched to Arial, even though Scrivener still shows it as formatted with the “normal” style (which is defined as Sitka). I have to reapply the “normal” style to get Sitka back. But sometimes reapplying the style leaves the font as Arial. I have to “redefine” the style as Sitka to fix it.

That last problem seems like a bug, but more broadly I would expect the styles defined in a project to be retained when opening it on different platforms; if a font is missing on platform A, a temporary substitution has to happen, but please could the style revert back to the original font when reopened on the original platform?


Can you not load your Sitka font into your iPad?

scrivener.tenderapp.com/help/kb … -platforms



Don’t think I haven’t tried :cry:

I followed the instructions in that page; tried both importing Sitka to Scrivener and creating a “fonts” directory, but all my documents are still in Helvetica when I open them on my iPad – the font settings are simply ignored, even though Sitka is now successfully installed. I would have to manually reformat my whole book (current draft, 140,000 words in hundreds of files…)

However, my larger complaint is that the “styles” in Scrivener are not really styles (at least, not as I understand them – after more than thirty years in desktop publishing, etc., etc.). In any markup language, the style should be a structural element, and so shouldn’t contain any information about appearance; the style sheet (aka template) should do that. So, “Heading 1” (for example) is a statement about how important that heading is (relatively to “Heading 2”, etc), not about whether it’s in 24pt Helvetica, or 96pt Comic Sans (god forbid!).

(Even Ms Word understand this; the “normal.dotm” template on my work PC uses Times New Roman while the one at home uses Bembo, the default body text font simply changes seamlessly when I open a file on each PC.)

However, Scrivener seems to mash-up these two elements and embed font information in the text. The symptom of that is that if I have a paragraph formatted with a style called “Normal” on the iPad and open it on my PC, Scrivener ought to check the style sheet on the PC and apply the correct fonts, etc., but instead it retains the default font from the iPad. What’s even worse, is that if I click anywhere in the offending paragraph and reapply the “Normal” style on my PC, Helvetica is retained – instead of reverting to the default font I specified for that style on the PC. I have to highlight the whole document and change the font manually. And (for me, at least) the whole point of named styles is that you should never have to do that.

Ok, I was curious here, as haven’t used the iPad Scrivener more than a little recently, just to see it was alive.

I found a number of problems around Styles. This has always been a fraught area, and it’s not an easy one, as early Microsoft Word Styles might remind. On the other hand, Scrivener iOS remains as useful and functional as it always was…

I suspect Tiho & crew are going to need mostly to box this off as a separate area to improve, after Scrivener Windows 3 can be released out of Beta.

Here are some things I ran into (or didn’t):

  1. I didn’t see the odd window you got – or maybe I did, much smaller, and only for a flash instant. There’s probably something in this, easily remedied, and yes, it should be fixed for cleanness and so as not to surprise.
  2. There’s a kind of glaring issue which is really with Scrivener iOS, that you don’t seem to be able to remove styles, once you’ve set any. In other words, you can’t make a paragraph to be Unstyled.
    I may be missing something surely, but the only thing I could find was to set to Default Style, which is hidden under the Formatting Options, below the obvious.
  3. Getting your Sitka font onto the iPad, I didn’t fool with. You might get some satisfaction here: https://www.howtogeek.com/350438/how-to-install-fonts-on-an-ipad-or-iphone/, if Scrivener iOS will use fonts downloaded this way. It looks though that you’ve tried something like that, the same?
  4. If you got it on, you still need to convince Scrivener iOS that it’s the no-style font. There’s some idea how to do this from Mac Scrivener here, and perhaps that’s also the missing link for Windows Scrivener 3?
  5. Then we get into the various issues with the ways Styles work…
  6. I quite agree that fonts should be only substituted when they are not available, and not changed in the actual document or style when returning to the original platform.
  7. I don’t know how you created a Normal style , unless you did this on a Mac, as I understand this feature is on a list-to-come for Scrivener 3 Windows??
  8. Given how Styles work at present, it would seem better to accept working almost always with the No Style style, unless you need a title or other local special. Which highlights the need to be able to return to No Style formatting in iOS, as this pattern is clearly the intention, as matters stand…?
  9. in iOS, you have to know that ‘No Style’ and ‘Default Formatting’ are the same. I think. When you set a new Default Format, it doesn’t take effect until you create a new Document. Thus in every other place you’ve used it or its namesake No Style which you can’t set, nothing changes unless you manually apply Default Format. This is, needless to say, a mess. But it is on the iOS side.
  10. So, several points I think fall out.
    1. For the present, try to keep everything you can No Style, on the iOS Scrivener side.
    1. As soon as Scrivner 3 Word can have the ability to create Styles, then doing something like creating a Normal style may work as a sensible person would intend. That’s if Scrivener iOS agrees to be well behaved.
  11. Decoupling actual font-in-use on iOS and Win/Mac really should be done. I think that can be accomplished from the Winjand Mac side, for example, by flagging who set the font and remembering the font choice per style per platform (even if iOS doesn’t set the flag). That degree of convolution ought to work… avoiding need to mess with the iOS app, which I keep fearing is going to be ditched inadvertently for iPad 2 etc. where it is a great use for older tech

This is enough to say, am sure. A quiet period where the designer/developers can really think about how clean styles should work would be very appropriate. Perhaps some of the suggestions would work at least in an intermediate period.

Cheers, Tiho and Lee, as you know I appreciate…


I don’t know if this will help at all, but I recently wanted to install a font on my iPad, and I found this link:

igeeksblog.com/how-to-insta … hone-ipad/

This offers a different way of installation, which I had not come across before, but it worked for me. I now have Sans Code Pro as my Scrivener writing font on both my Windows laptop (using the v3 beta) and my iPad 2.

Thank you for the font suggestion Silverdragon :slight_smile:

Hmm. You mention iPad2, but that article seems to be about adding fonts with iOS 13, while an (original) iPad 2 or iPad Mini can’t go above iOS 9. As well, the app they mention, Fonteer, can only be used at iOS 11 or above.

There are a couple of apps that show up for this on my oriiginal iPad on iOS 9 latest/last. One of them has very bad reviews, but AnyFont (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/anyfont/id821560738) seems to have glowing ones.

Not quite convinced yet that I need to have a personal font on the iPad, but if so, that’s the one I’d try.

There are some caveats around any of this – apparently some font apps stop working with latest iOS, which has though I believe its own way to install fonts, finally.

And, it looks that not all apps are able to access extra fonts even if you add them, on earlier versions. So someone is going to have to try this as far as Scrivener and iOS - at a version you use - to be sure it works. Sorry to beg out of this one, too much else going on, but of course interested to hear.

Apologies. I was typing on the bus and made 2 mistakes. I have an iPad AIR 2.

Yes I am using iOS 13. The font I have installed, on Silverdragon’s recommendation is SOURCE CODE PRO. (Source Sans Pro is a related font I also use on my laptop. “Sans Code Pro” is a figment of my addled imagination.)

And I have tried this out and it is indeed working for me.

I had only intended this for the same reason as the OP: I wanted to have Scrivener show me my writing in the same font on both Windows and iOS. However, following on from narssd’s post I have also tested it on other iOS apps.

I can confirm that after installing Source Code Pro in the way suggested in the article I linked to, it is now also available in WPS Office and Notebooks, the other writing apps that I use.


Getting the fonts onto the iPad isn’t that hard, but Scrivener won’t use them automatically; even though the files were formatted on Windows as Sitka and I now have Sitka on my iPad (the exact same font), the documents all open in Helvetica on the iPad.

There’s only one other thought that I can add—I don’t have this problem, being of the Mac persuasion, I use Adobe Garamond Pro and Libertinus Serif on both—and that is that elsewhere in these fora there have been posts about some fonts used on Windows not working on iOS/Mac even though from the user’s point of view it seems inexplicable. Apparently it is something technical to do with the font, so I wonder if Sitka happens to be one of those?

Sorry, I don’t he time to trawl through the fora, but perhaps @JJE you could do some testing along those lines?



I have now tested again.

I wrote a piece on my laptop in Scrivener beta 41, using my new default of 12pt Source Code Pro. I left it to sync to Dropbox and then synced my iPad with Dropbox.

The new piece of writing opened in Scrivener iOS in 12pt Source Code Pro.

So, for me at least, using this font, Scrivener DOES recognise the font properly on both devices and does move writing back and forth between Windows and iOS as you would expect.

JJE: if you have the time or the inclination you might consider a test using Source Code Pro from FontSquirrel on both devices to see whether it is the specific font you are using that is causing the issue or something more general.


jje, could probably be helpful if you let know your iPad model, and iOS version…

I just want to say, unhelpfully, that while this thread seems slightly off-topic in a Windows-related forum, it is uplifting, as a Windows user, to see that even in the Apple-verse all is not constant unicorns and daisies, but one must occasionally don one’s gloves and reach into the machinery. :smiley:

I went through a phase experimenting with many different fonts (it’s Silverdragon’s fault!) and this happened to me multiple times, where certain Windows fonts would not work on my iPad Air 2. (Although most do work.)

Sometimes the cause seems to be a variation in the names on Windows & iOS, even though the same font file was used. If the name is different, from the OS perspective, it is treated as a different font. Latin Modern Mono and the NK57 Monospace font family are examples of this.

Other times, despite the name being the same, the font just wouldn’t work, and I had no idea why. So I moved on.

@jje, you might want to try a different font.


Thanks to everyone who responded and for all the helpful suggestions. I’m a little too busy to work through them all now, but I also think that what I’m really asking for a change to styles, so that they are more robust across platforms (which needs to be a suggestion, since it’s not a bug). When I get a bit more time, I will try and formulate this into a proper suggestion and post it in the appropriate forum.

However, once again, thanks for your input, everyone.