Best way to add a separator between text within a document

Hi, I’m trying to find the best way to add separators between blocks of text that are within chapters (documents). I prefer to keep all these sections within a chapter document, and don’t want to go down the route of splitting them into sub-documents.

At first I was just using three asterisks together with some styling to increase the spacing around them, and made a formatting preset to apply this style to each separator. Sadly, I hadn’t realised that changing the properties of the preset wouldn’t globally effect the text with this formatting applied, so I am looking for a better way to have the ability to change styling on all separators globally if need be.

I was wondering about using the image placeholder tag: <$img:imgName> for adding separators, so that I could have a graphic on a transparent background, and then alter the spacing within that single image file to update all the separators.

Would using a graphic cause any problems when compiling out to ebook? I’m thinking mainly of scaling issues, as I don’t really want to add a width property to the image tag if it is going to be compiled to print books as well as ebook.

Also, is there a way perhaps to call up different separator graphics when it comes to compiling print books and ebooks?

It sounds as though you are using Scrivener 2, in which case there isn’t an easy solution for this, I’m afraid, as Scrivener was really built around the idea of breaking work into sections. (It was also built around the idea of allowing the user to work however he or she wanted, though, which is why more flexibility in this area has been added to Scrivener 3 - see below.)

If you have Scrivener 3, though, you can apply a style to the separators. Styles replace formatting presets and changes to them do globally affect other text with the style applied, so that would solve your first issue.

Also in Scrivener 3 there is a new option in the “Separators” pane of Compile which allows you not only to determine custom separators between documents, but also to set a custom separator that replaces any empty lines in the main text. So you could just create an empty line between sections in Scrivener and then replace those blank lines with a custom separator during Compile, meaning that you could have a different separator (or image tag) for different Compile formats. (Graphics can be used for separators in ebooks too, but you will probably want to use a dedicated graphic tweaked for the different formats.)

All the best,

Where is this magical Separators pane in compile. Can’t find it anywhere. Can you post a screen shot?

To see it you’ll need to either edit one of your own custom formats, or create a new custom format, or duplicate & edit one of the existing built in formats.

And then you’ll be able to see the Separators pane (and many more).

Screen Shot 2018-05-20 at 4.56.16 PM.png

I have read the above answers and tried every manner of separator settings, and I’m just not getting this.

I too write my chapters in single files. I want three asterisk (centered without indent) between the sections. Can’t seem to make that happen. If I type in *** they are left justified, indented. If I leave a blank line between the two sections I get a single centered #. I am missing something here. Any help?

Hi kej2u,

See section 24.4.1 Separator Types in the manual, specifically Blank line separator. Figure 24.8 has a useful picture.

I think what you need to do is type *** into the Blank line separator for whatever Section Layout you are using for your chapter files. Or, if your chapters are defaulting to Default Separators for Text files, type *** into the Blank line separator specified in Text files. (See upper left corner of Figure 24.8.)

Then, in your documents, leave a blank between sections, and the compiler should put in *** between the sections.

Let us know if that doesn’t work.


Hi,I think JimRac has missed the point the you want to put your separators within the text in the editor, not to have them created between separate document sections on Compile.

What I’d do is create a style for this.

  1. Start at a point where you want to put a separator.
  2. Create a blank line into which you type three asterisks.,
  3. With your cursor in that line drag the indent marker (looks like a T) in the ruler to the left margin—Cmd-R to display the ruler if it’s not already displayed.
  4. Using the icon on the Format Bar, make the paragraph centred,
  5. Also from the Format Bar Click on the up-down arrows on the paragraph spacing icon, choose “Other” and set any extra space before and after this paragraph.
    When you’ve got it looking how you want it:
  6. Go to Format > Style > New Style from Selection…
  7. In the pane that appears: give your style an appropriate name; Under formatting, click the up-down arrows and choose “Save Paragraph Style”; up to you if you want to save font and size information; and set the next style if and as appropriate by clicking on the up-down arrows.

Then you can go to all the other points in your chapters where you want the separator, create a blank line, type your three asterisks and assign it the style you have created.

Hope that helps,


Actually, “blank line separator” as JimRac describes WILL put a separator right into the middle of a document if you leave a blank line therein. I just tested it, and it works.

I meant to mention, I think # is the default for blank line separator, so you’re nearly there.

Thanks for checking! I stumbled upon that feature by accident when # started showing up in my compiled draft. :smiley:

Thanks JimRac. You helped me see what I was misinterpreting. Problem solved!

And you can tell this is something I’ve never had to use in my 12+ years of using Scrivener. :blush: All my projects are split into very much smaller chunks, so separators questions are a matter of compile for me.

On the other hand I’ve learn something new … even if I never come to use it!