Basic question: tab key

So I’ve been using Scrivener for years now (Mac version), but just doing basic stuff and working around the things I haven’t figured out yet. Starting to get more into customization, advanced features, and finding a good workflow, but one thing I CANNOT figure out is why my tab key acts as an enter key. I can’t get it to actually indent, it just jumps right down to the next line (with my text). I imagine there’s a setting or preference somewhere to change this behavior, but I’ve been through the menus to no avail.

Does anyone have any clues on how to fix this? Thanks in advance!

Are you in Scriptwriting mode? In that mode, the tab key switches between text elements (dialog, character, and so forth). The script formatting options are set in the Format -> Scriptwriting menu.


If you’re not in scriptwriting mode as Katherine suggested, it’s likely you just don’t have any tab stops set. Choose Format > Show Ruler in your editor and then double-click or right-click in it to add the tab stops you want for the paragraph. You can do this in the Formatting pane of Scrivener > Preferences to add them as part of the default formatting for new documents (and can also then convert existing documents to match by selecting them in the binder and choosing Documents > Convert > Formatting to Default Text Style).

If you’re just trying to set up an indent for the first lines or such, you can do that from the ruler by dragging the rectangular slider, for the given paragraph or as part of the default formatting.

Thanks, I wasn’t in Script Mode, so I guess I just didn’t have tab stops set! Strangely enough, it’s still not working the way you said to (I don’t see any dialogue to set tab stops; when I right/double-click the ruler, it just shows a popup with “left, center, right, decimal stops”).

I already have the first line indent set up, I just want to temporary add notations to each line while I’m working on the text, and would like to offset that by a tab indent. I set a decimal tab stop and that seems to work okay, but still not quite as elegantly as Word. Strange!

Left, right, centre and decimal are different types of tab stops. Left is what you’re looking for, presumably, aligning the left edge of the text. Right aligns the right edge, and so on.

I was incorrect about double-clicking the ruler; my apologies there. You only need a single click into the grey area of the ruler to get the left tab stop. Double-clicking on the left tab stop will change it to right, then to centre, then to decimal. To remove a tab stop, just drag it up or down off the ruler and release the mouse.