Compile: formatting by type, not hierarchy?

I’m returning to Scrivener after a few years hiatus, and am trying to understanding how formatting works during a compile. I’ve read the full section in the manual on formatting, but frankly, the “levels” concept is not at all intuitive to me. I can’t figure out how to format my manuscript as I need it formatted. I’ll try to explain what I need, which seems like a straightforward request.

Basically, my project is a collection of poems, some are traditional lined poems in verse, and others are prose poems. The formatting requirements for each need to be different. For example, the prose poems need justification and wider margins than the lined poems do. My project currently has a simple layout as follows:

Manuscript: Verse: poem 1 poem 2 Prose: prose 1 prose 2
When I compile, how can I have certain settings applied to the poems under the “Prose” folder that are different from the settings applied to the poems under the “Verse” folder? With the levels concept (as I understand it), since both folders are on the same level, the same settings will be applied to both folders, which isn’t what I want. What I need is to somehow be able to define compile settings by type of poem, not by how it’s organized in the binder. In other words, no matter where the “Prose” folder is located in my binder, the compile settings will always be the same for those poems. But I don’t want that to change simply because I decide to move the folder into a different organizational structure.

Second question would be, is it possible to define per-document exceptions? In other words, what if I want “prose 2” to have different compile settings than “prose 1” even though both are beneath the same folder?

Very confused, and hoping I’m missing something obvious!

(This is for the Mac version, but I think the facility is in Windows – you’ll have to check.)

One solution could be for you to choose one or both of the types and then do all the necessary formatting in the Editor, not at compile time. Then, make sure each document has the ‘Compile As Is’ box ticked in the Inspector. The compiler will ignore (most of) the formatting settings and just print it as you’ve formatted the poem in the Editor. You could experiment to see if this works for you.

If it does, then you can create a template for each type of document (prose and verse), and you won’t have to repeat the setting up with each new poem.

Thanks, this works as a workaround, though not ideal, as if I do the formatting in the editor (with compile as is) then to make future formatting changes, I’d have to go back and manually re-format each of those poems. That’s sort of what the compile feature (as I understand it) is meant to address. I realize that formatting isn’t as important in prose as poetry (where it’s crucial), but additional flexibility for the compile feature in this area would be worthwhile I think. The ability to somehow mark a folder or file with a formatting ‘type’ that gets applied at compile time, and those types could then be updated in one place with changes applied to future compiles. Currently, Scrivener isn’t really optimal for managing a book of poems because of how precise formatting needs to be, which differs by type of poem and from poem to poem.

Per-document settings: I can’t think of any way to do that. Something to look forward to (but you’ll need to be patient) is that Scrivener 3 (they’re skipping version 2 for Windows to get the numbering in line with the Mac version) will feature “styles”. So you’ll be able to create a style that marks a given passage (or the whole document, mabye?) as either “Verse” or “Prose”, and re-define those styles as needed. Possibly even at compile time. You would then be able to mark some passages/documents as “verse style 2” or whatever for those exceptions to the standard verse style. We’ll have to wait and see on those points though, so don’t hold L&L accountable for my interpretation of hints as future features.

I do have a compile trick for distinguishing between prose and verse at compile time though…

Create a blank document and name it “ignoreme” or something like that. Un-check the “include in compile” checkbox in the inspector for that document. Drag it onto one of your “Verse” documents. Notice how the icon for the Verse doc changes from a single page to a “stack of pages”? This feature will let you then go to the Formatting section of compile, and set up your compile settings for verse “document stacks”, which will be different from the prose “single document” icon row or rows. Note that by un-checking the “include in compile” checkbox, you won’t be adding anything to your output.

Now create several duplicates of the “ignoreme” document, and drop each on onto a Verse-style document.