BUG (or oversight): No default “body” style as in iOS/mac/any other word processor, instead, the default is “No Style”

For some reason there is no default “body” style in windows scrivener. Instead of making everything a default “body” style so you can change things on the fly for your whole text, the default text is “No Style” which you cannot manipulate on a grand scale. This is probably an oversight as the ipadOS/iOS has a default body style and I’m pretty sure the mac version does and I know that virtually every other word processor has the body text as the starting style when you open a new document. But in windows scrivener, when you start a new file from scratch or the tutorials, the default text is in “No Style.” You can create a body style easily enough, but the default should be body style not “no style.”

Forgive me, but you’re misunderstanding how styles in Scrivener work on both the Mac and Windows. (iOS uses a different, older, system of pre-formatted text, not true styles, I think).

Of course you can set default formatting for the ‘body’ paragraph — in fact every single document you write starts off with that default ‘body style’. The difference is simply that Word and other word processors explicitly name it as such, while in Scrivener, it’s just the default paragraph formatting. There’s no need for a special style on top of it, because it’s the default. Whether you call it Body or not, it has the same function.

The basic principle is this:

Every document you create in Scrivener starts out with a particular set of formatting characteristics — font, colour, paragraph spacing, indents etc. This is the ‘Default’ paragraph formatting, and you set it in one of two ways:

a) for all new projects in Preferences > Editor > Formatting

b) for this project only in Projects > Project Settings > Formatting

Once you’ve set those, every new document will abide by those new settings — in your terms, the paragraphs already have the ‘body’ style, but Scrivener just considers them the default, rather than naming them specifically as a style.

NB: If you want to change the default formatting for something you’ve already written, then make the change in Preferences/Project Settings, select the documents in the binder and Documents > Convert > Text to Default Formatting.

It’s only when you want to format sections of the text in a different way that you apply a specific style to change the default paragraph formatting — for example, to a heading, or a block quote, or a caption.

The basic idea is: if it’s just your standard paragraph, it uses the ‘Default’ formatting you set up in either of the two steps above — it has ‘No Added Style’. Anything else has a specific style on top of it.

If you want to format a line as a heading, use the short cut (alt-shift-2 on Windows, from memory, but I could be wrong…): to return it to the default ‘no style’ (your ‘body’) paragraph it’s alt-shift-0.

When you come to compile your project, the compilation formats ‘know’ how to translate the ‘No Style’ default into the correct basic paragraph formatting for that type (e.g. Courier for manuscripts, Palatino for paperbacks etc), though of course you can change it. There’s no need for an explicit body style, because the default paragraph formatting does exactly the same thing, but more simply.

So, set your basic ‘body’ style in preferences, override that for specific paragraphs with a named style when you want different formatting. The end result is exactly the same as in Word.


Thank you that did help. That was exactly what I was looking for–I will say, however, that the way it is in word and other word processors (where the default is not “No Style” but an actual style that you can then modify and format just as any other style is a much more straight forward way than how scrivener has it set up. But that’s not a bug I guess just a feature request.

I beg to differ. You’re correct if you never go to Preferences and change the default format for new documents, but if you DO, some documents will have different paragraph formats than other documents. That’s because “no style” doesn’t act like a style. ("Body text "in Word is a style, but “no style” is not.)

You’ll seem to be correct if you always override formatting in Compile, too, but not everyone does. Perhaps you’ve only used built-in formats that do.

You’d seem to be correct if you apply a style to every paragraph, too, but I’ve seen word from Literature & Latte advising us to minimize use of styles (only for headings, etc.) and to Compile as-is if we can besides. Both make a faster Compile, I suspect.

Also simpler. The Compile command is inherently complicated. Some projects need all of its capabilities. But time spent tweaking Compile settings is time not spent writing.

To the original question, not requiring a default “body” style was not a bug or an oversight, it was a deliberate design decision.



You’re correct to repeat my main point: you don’t need a body style for standard paragraphs because that’s what the default formatting does. Thank you.

Your point that a user can if they want create a compilation format which doesn’t override the default formatting for every single document (assuming they have ignored my advice to reset the ‘old’ document paragraph with Convert > Text To Default formatting) is rather niche for a post explaining the basics of how the defaults interact with named styles.

The essentials remain as I wrote. Of course there are edge cases, but discussing the ins and outs of particular compilation formats risks confusing the basic issues, when for most of the time, for most new users, if they think of the default formatting as being the equivalent of ‘Body Style’, they won’t go far wrong.


It’s only more straightforward if the software is wysiwyg. Scrivener is not. The beauty of Scriveners approach is that you can basically format the text any way you want while writing, even having completely different fonts for different documents, or parts of documents, and not having this affect the output.

The other benefit – and the underlying motivation for this feature – is that you can reformat your output for a potential publisher’s idiosyncratic requirements without having to touch your actual text.


No. That’s not what default formatting does.

“no style” is not a style for default formatting. It’s not a style at all. When you create a new document, the first paragraph takes on the default format as it stands at that point in time. Changing the default format doesn’t change “no style” paragraphs; it only affects new documents from that moment forward.

Thanks for the responses—it all makes sense. Just takes a minute for this brain to learn something new.

Funnily enough, I aware of both those points.

You can tell that because I made both of them in my original post:

The points you seem to want to insist upon were made in the original post, but have also been repeated four times now. I see no point in continuing this exchange.

The points you seem to want to insist upon were made in the original post, but have also been repeated four times now. I see no point in continuing this exchange.
Sorry! I somehow missed that.

No harm done!