Compiled format doesn't reflect source docs

I just started using Scrivener, but I think I have a pretty good idea of how the formatting controls work. Unfortunately they don’t seem to be working for me at the moment. I have dropped my novel into the app and am trying to compile to PDF, print, Kindle mobi. The PDF/print format was coming out with a huge font point size because the text pasted in was 16pt originally. I changed it in each of the documents to be a uniform 12pt, but when I compile it still comes out in exactly the same 16pt font. I have turned off the compile formatting override, and have tried as-is both on and off (and fiddled with everything I can find). Any other suggestions?

Also, as an aside, I’ve tried setting up paragraph styles… but these seem to only be shorthands for setting a style. The text doesn’t appear to remember what style it was set to, and if I redefine the style it doesn’t change all instances of it in all the documents (like one would expect in Word, Pages, iBooks Author, etc). Does Scrivener support this functionality and I’m just doing it wrong, or do the styles not work this way?

You mention turning override off, out of curiosity have you tried with it turned on, and setting the 12pt font settings in the Formatting pane itself? That might not be a feasible approach depending on how your work is formatted (it works better when most if not all of the text is one uniform format), but I’m just curious to see where the source of the problem is.

I’d also try compiling to RTF for testing purposes, instead of PDF, as it will be easier to verify that the formatting is accurate in a word processor (or even just dropping the RTF back into Scrivener and examining it there).

Yes, that is exactly all they are, and why we call them “presets” instead of “styles”. There isn’t anything like complex stylesheets in Scrivener at this time—the closest thing to it is how the Formatting pane works, where you can override the body text, specify heading formats, and input exclusions for various types of formatting (such as letting indents slide through the override—useful for works with a lot of quotation).

Good tip to use the RTF format in order to get a more detailed look at what the actual output is. Unsurprisingly, it was working properly I just didn’t realize it. :slight_smile: The paperback novel page settings don’t allow for much 12pt text on a page, which seems to leave me in a quandary between whether to go to 10pt for print vs 16pt that the eBook formats seem to like.

What is the usual recommendation for point size? Or should I override only the font sizes? I have enough formatting that I can’t override everything, but should be okay with just changing the size.

Addendum: it looks like overriding JUST the font size isn’t an option?! I pretty much have to have the as-is turned on as well as otherwise it doesn’t preserve the post-paragraph line spacing that I require.

Actually if that is your quandary, then you may not have one. :slight_smile: E-books don’t have any font size requirements or suggested values, and work entirely off of relative measurements from the default or body text size. There is no “24pt title” in an ePub or Mobi, but a setting of 200% over the body text (assuming it was originally 12pt, but in the e-book formatting itself, body text will simply be declared as “100%”). This way, when the individual reader adjusts the font size on their device, everything resizes together.

So for the PDF size and text density: the Paperback Novel setting is designed around a small page, roughly the size of a typical mass market paperback. Part of that is our generous use of margins with that preset, which you could trim back if you want. I wouldn’t go below 12pt if you can avoid it—assuming this is for other people to read. You really need to print it out with a physical printer, trying to judge this on screen is going to be difficult as 12pt on a typical monitor looks larger than it does in print.

I’m not seeing how that would be being broadly useful (I see what you’re going for here, but asking overall—is this worth adding more complexity to the compiler), considering that if one doesn’t want to fully override the text, chances are high that a big part of the reason would be the need for differing font sizes in the editor for headings and such. For those things that do not rely upon differing font sizes, we do have options, such as the aforementioned indent exclusion.

Something you may be interested in is in the Format/Formatting/Preserve Formatting feature. You may have already encountered it from poking around in the Formatting pane—but this is your tool for handling spot formatting that shouldn’t be overridden. It is designed for precisely these sorts of situations where you have a mix of needs from the compiler.

As far as point size, I have done some Create Space books using the trade paperback 6x9-inch paper size. I also used 12-point type and it looks big to me. Not quite as big as Large Type editions.

So my guess would be the ‘typical’ big publisher book would use 10pt type. The old style mass market paperbacks that sold for a dime or quarter tried to save every penny though, and used tiny margins and ‘eyestrain eight’ point type.

If we are talking CreateSpace, you can always compile to one point size and order a draft proof copy and see how it looks to you. Not very expensive, and still a physical copy of the book for your shelf.

  • asotir

I guess I’m confused as to why Amber says overriding point size isn’t useful… the only text in my, errr, text is all the same size (now set to 10pt as this seems to be roughly what most of my paperback novels use). The titles and headers are auto generated by Scrivener from the manuscript ‘folders’ and their settings are controlled elsewhere. What I’d really like to do is be able to apply a scale factor in the compiler formatting pane that only overrides the font size, and leaves all my other formatting intact. That way I could use, for example, 9pt and 10pt in my text but when I compile for an eBook format set a scale factor to 1.6 and end up with 14pt and 16pt.

For now I’m just manually setting all my chapters to 10pt and leaving it at that. Its a bit of a pain since I have 36 chapters, 4 of which have 2 sections. So “importing” my text from the editor where I’m currently doing most of my work is a fairly painful process of each chapter choose chapter, select-all, copy, alt-tab, choose chapter, click on text pane, select-all, paste, select-all, change to 10pt, alt-tab. That’s a lot of keystrokes and clicks!! Next time around I’ll probably start my work in Scrivener and have to export to iBooks Author (i.e. the reverse)… although the lack of paragraph styles is a serious impediment to doing that.

Current problem is getting 2 fonts in a Kindle book. I have most sections in Georgia, and 4 in Arial… but they all come out the same in Kindle. Any suggestions? (addendum: my goal is to have 2 different fonts in order to distinguish two kinds of text in the novel… I don’t really care which two fonts they are, they just need to be differentiated)

AmberV was writing about ebooks – CreateSpace print books are of course another matter.

When you compile, the Formatting pane lets you select the font as well as point size.

As for having fonts embedded inside a Kindle ebook, you will find more help over at amazon and the kindle forums. But Calibre has an option that lets you embed fonts. So you can compile to kindle with Scrivener, then open the .mobi file in Calibre, choose Edit, and embed your files. I think Calibre also lets you embed only the letters and glyphs that appear in the book, which helps to save on file size.

  • asotir

Thanks asotir… although I think that would be a last resort option. Does Kindle really not provide more than one built-in font? Seems astonishing…!

I only have an eink Kindle, a couple of generations old. It has 3 fonts: 1 serif, 1 san serif, 1 monospace. Remember that a font will take up something like 500KB and the Kindles have limited space.

The Kindles with front lights, and the Fire tablets, have more space, and run the K8 format rather than the older K7 format, so they might include more fonts. I don’t know.

Since you use Georgia and Arial, the simplest way to go would be to specify a san serif font for the Arial and leave the rest serif (depending on which you use more often in the text). That can be done with a span element surrounding the san serif text. It will look different from the main but not exactly Georgia and Arial.

But that span element might also be trouble for you: you would I think need to compile to epub and edit the book in Sigil or Calibre, or you might be able to compile to mobi and then edit in Calibre.

Also if what you want is to have different ‘voices’ for different passages, or titles, you might consider monospace, which you MIGHT be able to do right in Scrivener and get it to translate to the mobi compiled output; I am not sure about that.

Kindle, the new ones, also have a semi-pdf style format, but I don’t think that Scrivener has the capability of outputting that; it might be some special sauce that you must deal with Amazon directly to get.

Remember also that with ereaders and ebooks in general, the philosophy is that the publisher supplies content, the maker governs the overall look, and the reader chooses specific looks. The reader gets to choose san serif or serif, as well as font sizes, kerning, leading, on my Kindle device - no matter what the publisher or author wanted. Ebooks are not, generally, for those publishers who want to control the reading experience.

The only Kindle book I ever got that had an embedded font had a page after the title page saying something like, “This book has embedded fonts and will look better if you use those fonts. Do you want to use those fonts?” The default, do-nothing-on-my-part as reader, showed the book with the default font. I had to enable the book to display the embedded fonts. If you got the Georgia and Arial embedded, and I bought your book, I could still ignore the look you want.

  • asotir

The only font that Scrivener will specify during compile is monospace, as a general category, not a specific font, and then only when using certain monospace fonts (that the system recognises as being such). All other font declarations will be stripped.

The newer Kindles do indeed have about a half-dozen fonts at their disposal, but I’m not sure if the book itself can actually declare the use of these fonts, as they are really just there for the reader themselves to choose a favourite reading face.

Given all of the challenges involved, I would consider something other than font family to distinguish between narrative sections. Something with indents or font sizes could work.

Yes, I’ve used alternatives for a few of my cases, but I really just need one different font to be effective. Have tried many other possibilities (thank goodness for paragraph styles), but in this one key place it really does need to be a different typeface. Mono spaced could work, but I’ve not managed to get Scrivener to output that yet to mobi, and its lack of real paragraph styles is problematic for this experimentation.

Make sure that your monospace sections are wrapped in Format/Formatting/Preserve Formatting boxes, if you are using override formatting—otherwise it will all just be normalised to one font on output. Also try with bog standard Courier, I just ran a quick test with Courier in a Preserve Formatting box and the output looks good at the e-book source code level (Menlo, the new system monospace font, doesn’t work, in my testing). The alternate text is in monospace as requested.

I’m not using the compile-time override, have set to courier (italic but also tried normal)… and it does not result in the monospaced font in the output file. Have looked at the HTML and see no sign of font directives.

Have I mentioned that I would love to have real paragraph styles in Scrivener? And then be able to specify style -> formatting mappings at the compile stage. That would be awesome. As it is, I’m dubious about whether I can actually do my original work in Scrivener. Styles (including paragraph parameters) are crucial, and being able to edit them centrally and per-compiler-target would be a natural extension to this. I only have about 5 styles in the body of the text, but there are hundreds of instances of each, it is completely unreasonable to have to go through one-by-one to change them.

Could you try with the attached demo? It’s all set up to go, just hit the compile button and then check the source file output folder’s CSS files as well as previewing the HTML files. With my test output, I get the following CSS directive in the “stylesheet.css” file:

p.p3 {margin: 0.0em 0.0em 0.0em 0.0em; text-indent: 0.0em; font-family: monospace}

The compile settings are simple, I just selected the built-in “E-book” preset and then disabled format override. (46.7 KB)

Okay… I just hit compile and the resulting output nowhere specifies “font-family” (neither xhtml nor css files), and the mobi file is just in the regular font.

Strange, I switched to a different computer, the one still running 10.9, and now the test project doesn’t compile correctly. I’ve noted in the past that it doesn’t seem terribly reliable. That is why suggested playing with several different fixed-width fonts. You may find one that works on your system.

On this computer, Monaco works. :slight_smile:

I just followed Ioa’s advice and it worked fine for me. Here is what I did:

  1. selected a paragraph
  2. changed to font to Courier
  3. Format - Formatting - Preserve Format
  4. Compile as ebook to kindle (mobi)

The resulting mobi file shows monospace in that paragraph and that paragraph only, when I open it in Kindle for Mac. (I haven’t tried it on my Kindle eink ereader.)

You can Preserve Formatting on more than one paragraph at a time or even an entire document - whatever is selected will take the box indicating the formatting is preserved. This is a binary toggle; repeat the process to uncheck Preserve Formatting and undo it.

  • asotir

As for true word-processor-style paragraph styles, I understand Keith and company are working on it for a future version of Scrivener. In the meantime, it is possible to jerry rig an ersatz version using custom Script styles in script mode, saving as html, and then reformatting these styles in LibreOffice (and I imagine OpenOffice and MS Word etc).

Reformatting any script style will change all those paragraph styles so marked in your Scrivener texts. So if you change your mind about how a style should look, you do not need to manually alter every occurrence. Though the setting to customize Script formatting paragraphs are limited, when you intend to go on to reformat in a word processor, it doesn’t matter how the styles look. All that matters is that all “.p1” paragraphs are the kind of paragraph (say the unindented first paragraph of a section or chapter) and that all “.p2” paragraphs are the other kind of paragraph you want (say the indented main body text) and that all “.p3” paragraphs are another kind of paragraph you want (say a centered line with space above it). You are going to change the formatting anyway by searching for paragraph styles and changing all “p1” styles to “First Paragraph” and all “p2” styles to “Body Text” and all “p3” styles to “Centered Line” as you wish.

Anyway it works for me.

  • asotir

Bear with me here if this has been asked … I’m not sure what terms to use to search. I’ve imported a document from Word. Need to apply ‘title’ ‘heading’ sub-heading’ etc styles in one place for consistent application throughout the binder. Don’t want to wait until I print to format. How can I change the default format for ‘title’ etc. styles?