Changing default Asian character font (Japanese)

Hello there,

Is there a way to change the default font of asian characters in the editor (namely Japanese, but I expect similar for Chinese or Korean)? I am thinking of a comparable feature Word where you can set default Latin and Asian fonts/formatting. If this is not possible, has it been considered for future updates?

Forgive me if I’m asking a question that has already been discussed extensively before—I have done due dilligence googling, and had no success, so hopefully am not wasting anybody’s time. If it has been, I’d be grateful to be pointed to a relevant manual or forum post.

Thanks very much in advance!

  1. What language is your interface set to (Preferences > General > Language)? If it’s the system language, what language is that?
  2. Is all your text to be in Japanese, or will it be a mixture of Japanese and another language like English?
  3. If it’s primarily Japanese, go to Preferences > Editing > Formatting, click in the sample panel text then on the “Aa” button above and choose the font you wish to use from the standard dialog; if you then need to insert something in Roman letters, it will switch to the default Roman character font.
  4. I use English mostly but I often have bits I type in Chinese. Rather than using the default PingFang SC for the Chinese, I have created a Chinese character style matching my editing font, to which I’ve added a keyboard shoirtcut. You might think of doing the same for your secondary language.

When you have set it up the way you want, Documents > Convert > Text to Default Formatting… is your friend for all your existing text.

Hope that helps.



Hi Mark,

Thanks for your speedy and helpful reply

In answer to your questions:

  1. My interface is set to system language, which is English.
  2. My text is primarily in English, with a mixture of Japanese in too (probably ~90% English)
  3. As it’s primarily English, is there a way to reverse the instruction you gave for this step?
  4. Would you be able to link me to some instructions on how to copy what you do with Chinese and the character style to match your editing font/for keyboard shortcut? I switch comfortably and frequently between English and Japanese using a keyboard font in general system use (e.g. in word, web browsers etc.)—is that what you are referring to? Apologies if I’m being a bit dense!

To give a concrete example, I might type the following sentence:

“The title of this work is Genji monogatari 源氏物語 (The Tale of Genji) by Murasaki Shikibu 紫式部.”

As I type, the English text defaults to my preferred font, and when I switch to Japanese input, I would like the editor font to default to my preferred font, which is not Hiragino Mincho ProN (the Scrivener default), but Epson Kyōkasho (which I have installed as a system font on OS X, and which I can select manually in Scrivener, but not by default).

Thanks again for your help so far! :slight_smile:


I’ve been doing experimenting in order to set up a character style, only to find that even in a completely new project with the default project font set to Palatino—my own projects use Times New Roman for the ones I share with Windows-using collaborators in China, and Adobe Garamond Pro for my personal projects—when I switch to Chinese input, it is always in Songti SC, a serif font of a similar weight.

On the other hand, projects set up by my Chinese collaborators with an un-hinted, mono-spaced font as a default Roman font, the Chinese is in PingFang SC (sans-serif font).

So my guess is that Hiragino Mincho ProN is the font nearest in style to your default Roman font … you didn’t say what that is. But here is what you need to do:

  • Select a stretch of Japanese text;
  • set the font to Epson Kyōkasho (and size etc. as necessary), leaving it selected;
  • Go to Format > Style > New Style from Selection;
  • In the dialog that comes up:
    [list][*]give it a name, e.g. “Japanese”, or in Japanese if you wish;
  • give it a shortcut if you wish … I personally prefer to set up shortcuts through System Preferences > Keyboard > shortcuts > App Shortcuts rather than using the ones available in the dialog, so mine is actually Ctrl-h for Chinese;
  • click the blue ^v arrows next to “Formatting” and choose “Save Character Attributes”, leaving “Include Font Family” ticked for the moment, but it might be worth unticking “Include Font Size” in case you want to use Japanese in a heading at any time;
  • click “OK”
    Screenshot 2020-04-21 13.14.43.png

And there you are, Japanese style set. It will appear at the bottom of the style list, or the styles palette if you have that showing.




Hi Mark,

Thank you so much for taking the time to make a step-by-step like that for me, I really appreciate it. That seems to work quite well!

p.s. my preferred roman font is Minion Pro. I think it’s gorgeous! Like a slightly more delicate Times.

Edit: had asked how to toggle back to default formatting for latin text, found out it was just to use the same keyboard shortcut that toggles the special character formatting. :mrgreen:

Really happy you’re sorted. Yes, Minion Pro is nice, but I have had Adobe Garamond for over 15 years from when I first bought PageMaker, which was updated to Adobe Garamond Pro when InDesign replaced PageMaker. Sadly, I can no longer afford InDesign but I still have the licensed font.

I only use TNR for exchanges with my collaborators as it’s the only such standard serif font I know that will survive the back-and-forth with Windows without any issues…

On this iMac running Catalina, if I type some English in Minion Pro then switch keyboard to Simplified Chinese, it subtitutes Songti SC, which is fine. On the other hand, if I change font to Hiragino Mincho ProN, the baselines of the characters are totally screwed up, so I’m not surprised you want to get away from it! (That’s using Nisus Writer Pro, not Scrivener, by the way.)