Compile changes first word of a paragraph to a number

I’m back at work on an old project which has seen many versions of Scrivener. I am finding a strange bug when I compile. The first 4 chapters of the project are fine, but in chapter 5 onwards, random paragraphs which look no different in Scrivener compile with the following changes:

  • first word in paragraph replaced with a sequential number followed by “.”
  • whole paragraph indented like a numbered bullet.
    For example, if I see this in Scrivener:

The cat sat on the mat.
The dog growled at the cat.

Then I get this in the compile to epub:

  1. cat sat on the mat.
  2. dog growled at the cat.

Then after a few paragraphs it goes back to normal. There is nothing visibly different between the affected text and the unaffected text. There are no notes on the affected scenes. I tried making a character + paragraph style from the known good text and applying it to the affected text. This did not fix the issue.
My workaround is to copy the affected text plus following good paragraph into BBEdit (to strip formatting), then copy from BBEdit and paste it back after the known good paragraph and then delete the affected text.
I’m going to save a copy of the project in case anyone wants to examine it.

I think if you select the text that is compiling this way and use the Format ▸ Lists ▸ None menu command, it should clear up the problem without dropping the formatting entirely.

By the way you can get the same exact result as passing text through BBEdit, using the Edit ▸ Paste and Match Style shortcut instead. That strips all formatting out of the text and treats it as plain .txt, as anything copied out of BBEdit would be. So often a quick ⌘X + ⇧⌥⌘V will clear up rogue formatting—although sometimes you’ll need to move the cursor away and then back, to clear any of the original formatting that gets held on the cursor until you move it. I.e. same thing that makes it possible to select a bold word and type over it, without losing the bold formatting.

But like I say, in this case all I think you need to do is remove the hidden list environment from your text.

Thank you, AmberV; I had to use both methods!

Format -> List -> None with the cursor in the first paragraph made a change to all of the following affected paragraphs. However it also removed the first line indent on the paragraphs. I then used the cut and paste and match style to match the first line indent that I use. I had to paste between good paragraphs and then fix the paragraph order. Weird that this would happen but glad to have a solution all inside of Scrivener.

I have the same problem. The thing is that I have a section with bullet points and if I do Format -> List -> None then I will have to manually reformat paragraphs in Word. Is this a bug or is there a way around within Scrivener?

Yeah sometimes you’ll need to fix the formatting as well since applying list formatting completely overrides the original (or default) paragraph formatting. When you remove the list formatting, that tool isn’t specifically aware of what you consider to be default.

By the way the Documents ▸ Convert ▸ Text to Default Formatting… command is a kind of “soft override”. Good for applying default formatting like indents, without having to manually copy and paste formatting, or worry about blowing away italics, etc.

That tip may well be applicable to you as well Massimo. The only reason I can think of to use Word to fix formatting are cases where you need some kind of formatting Scrivener cannot itself do, like call-out boxes, drop-caps and so forth. The conversion tool above is but one automated way of fixing formatting. At a much more basic level you can open the Ruler and change how one paragraph looks all by itself. There are many methods in between, such as the aforementioned copy and paste formatting tools.

That worked, thanks AmberV

As I previously said the Documents ▸ Convert ▸ Text to Default Formatting soft override worked but there are a couple of issues I noticed. Is there a way to keep the bullet points I need? Or do I have to re number them manually in word once it’s been compiled?
And, Is there a way to apply the Documents ▸ Convert ▸ Text to Default Formatting to the whole manuscript or do I have to manually change it in every text document?

The conversion command will take bulk selections of documents, there is no need to go through one by one.

As for adding bullets back in where you want them, the same exact submenu you used earlier to remove them is where to go: Format ▸ Lists ▸ .