Compiling ebooks background / text

Hi all,

I am just finishing a manuscript for a non-fiction book that will shortly be converted for Kindle, Ibooks etc.

Being a non-fiction ‘educational’ type book, I have several focus sections dotted throughout the manuscript (I think these are more commonly referred to as ‘call out boxes’ in paper publishing). I recently I read another non-fiction book that had dealt with this by alternating the background/text colour.

To explain, I normally read white text on a black background (less glare so it doesn’t keep the wife awake!). Anyway the call out boxes, at the end of chapters in this case, would automatically display with black text on white background (and highlighted the fact that it was a mini piece within the manuscript).

So, i’ve been getting to grips with Scriveners compile settings, but can’t see a way to indicate that a particular text or even folder should be formatted with differing background /text colour.

Hopefully this makes sense, and thanks for taking the time to read this. Any help welcome even if its only to point out it can’t be done!


There isn’t a really good way of doing this in Scrivener. For e-books, some kind of special CSS treatment would probably be best, but there are only very minimal tools available for this kind of hand-tweaking of the output. You can of course do quite a lot with an e-book editor after compiling the .epub file. A system of marking these boxes and then searching for them and adding a div container or something around the text block would produce the best result.

A purely Scrivener approach would probably be best done with a single-cell table. We use this method in the Interactive Tutorial—there are a few yellow boxes here and there that use the technique. You’d definitely want to test the result as much as possible using device simulators, or devices themselves, to make sure the end result looks good. One thing to be careful of is choosing a background colour that makes the text very difficult to read on black and white e-ink devices.

Awesome, thanks for the pointers. At this point, my CSS knowledge barely extends as far as spelling it…(not good for a writer…) but I’ll definitely have a try at the single cell table,I think that could work quite well. The sections are not too long and there might even be a way of putting a page separator before and after them. Failing that it’ll be a teach yourself CSS book for me!

Thanks again