Changing manuscript settings in compile

I need to change the settings when I compile my manuscript, including margins and line space. Have looked in all the obvious places but can’t figure it out.

This is fairly easy to do once you know where to look. There are a couple of ways you can go about it, depending on what you feel will work best for you now, or down the road.

Basic Spot Adjustments

This approach is going to work best if you have a relatively simple outline structure, with maybe only one or two Section Layouts (in the middle preview column when you compile) responsible for handling the appearance of body text, and you have no need for styles as you bring your work beyond Scrivener, into other working environments.

  1. Open File/Compile..., and locate the Layout that prints your text. I have no idea what your current setup is like, so this is just one of many examples of how that might look:


    Click on the edit icon in the top right corner, or just double-click anywhere to edit this layout. You may be asked to duplicate the compile format if it is built-in.

  2. At this point you may want to give the Format itself a better name, like “Manuscript (Leaf Publishing)”, and then switch the Save to location to “My Formats”. What that’ll do is make it available to all of your projects, including any you create in the future. But, if this is just a one-off, you leave it stored in the project too.

  3. All right, as to adjusting the formatting to your requirements, most formatting (Styles aside) is handled in the Section Layouts pane, which should already be open with the correct Layout selected for you.

  4. In the lower half of this pane you can click into the text area and use the standard controls to adjust settings to your requirements. If necessary, enable the Override text and notes formatting checkbox down below, first.

  5. At this point you could go through any other Layouts and fix them up as well (a nice trick to be aware of is that you can use the Format/Copy Formatting menu command and then paste the formatting into the other layous). You could change all of the layouts that format text, but I’d only do so if you anticipate needing them in the future. It’s the kind of thing you can gradually fix as you need to, as well.

  6. At this point you could click the Test... button in the lower left corner and see how that works.

Central Adjustments

The alternative way of doing this is one that I personally prefer myself, and that is mainly because I like to think in styles, and having a central definition of formatting, rather than bunches of different things to fix every time I change my mind about something. This will also be a better approach if you anticipate wanting all or most of the Layouts to be using the same paragraph formatting.

  1. Instead of editing Layouts, go into the Styles pane and select the “Body” style, or create one if necessary.
  2. Adjust the formatting in the preview area just as you did before, and tick the font checkboxes if that makes sense for you.
  3. Now go back to Section Layouts, and instead of manually formatting each text block, use the Format Bar to change its style assignment to “Body”.

Now, not only will your document be styled better for word processing, but if you need to make any adjustments to the overall text formatting in the future, you can do so in one single place: the original style.

The rest of the settings in here are worth exploring as you have time. There are some neat things you can do, like having indents automatically suppressed on the very first paragraph in a section, etc.

Very helpful! Thanks.