Compiling Formatting (Edited after more fooling around...Please see second comment.)

I’m new to Scrivener, using the trial while deciding whether to purchase it, and I’m having a hard time figuring out how to format my compiles to look the way I need them to. I’m using the Novel Template, which automatically adds the title CHAPTER # to every chapter and separates scenes with a #. I’d like to change the chapters to just the chapter number, start the chapter at the top rather than in the middle of the page, and get rid of the # between sections. Is this possible? (Everything I’ve found while trying to search on this topic has been from previous versions of Scrivener, and fooling around in the Compile dialogue box has only left me frustrated.) Thanks so much!

Okay, I’ve calmed down and figured some of this out, lol. But I’m still having a hard time fixing two huge Compiling issues. First, an inordinate number of tab stops are placed on my compiled document, and the first tab stop is indented much too far to the right. How can I fix this? (The Word document I imported from has regular tabs following each paragraph, and it looks like Scrivener added its own.)

Second, do chapters have to start in the middle of the page? How can I change them to start at the top of the page, directly after the page break?

The page padding is set (for different levels) on the New Pages tab. See image below.

If you imported from Word, the tabs in the old file are likely to be the source of your woes, as compile is probably indenting those tabs and causing things to look very clunky.

Try removing a tab from one section of text and running the compile again. If that looks okay, you can remove all tabs from relevant files by choosing Edit > Text Tidying > Strip Leading Tabs.

Thanks so much…Removing the tabs did help a bit, but I still have a huge hanging indent for each paragraph that I want to minimize. I’d actually much rather have NO hanging indent so that I can continue to use tabs while typing, partly because pressing the tab is automatic for me, and partly because it’s much easier for me to read. Is there some way to get rid of those hanging indents altogether?

One of the really nice things about Scrivener is that it offers so much flexibility for each writer to work the way they want to work. So if you want to use tabs, you can.

However, tabs are really a hangover from the time of typewriters, and they can cause problems (1) when compiling work into different formats, and (2) if delivering work to a publisher or typesetter.

Indents are easier to use as that can be manipulated en masse by the compiler (or typesetter).

In Scrivener > Preferences > Editing > Formatting, users can set a default style for their paragraphs to include an automatic indent for text displayed in the Editor. This means that each time you enter a paragraph return, the first line of the next paragraph will be indented automatically, and you won’t be filling the file with extraneous characters. When it comes to compile, you can then choose how these indents are treated: removed from the first paragraph of a new section only (as is fairly typical for the first paragraphs of chapters in books); removed from all paragraphs; or set to a new indent position. With tabs, such refinements aren’t possible or can get very messy.

Once the user has set their preferences, the same design will be used in new documents.

If a user has old documents or imported documents that have different layouts, these can be converted individually, in selected groups, or for an entire draft by using Documents > Convert > Text to Default Formatting. When doing this for the first time, it can be useful to duplicate a file or use some form of test file so that you know that the changes made are suitable. Once you’re happy with the process and are sure it will do what you want it to do, changes made in critical files shouldn’t cause any unexpected upsets.

So, you can carry on using tabs as you want, but Scrivener does offer a simpler way of working that has the benefit of being more robust when it comes to compiling or sharing your work.

If you have need to adjust a file manually, you can use CMD R to show/hide the ruler, select the relevant paragraphs, and then drag any tabs that need to be repositioned. Again, might be worth trying a test file (or duplicating your main file) just so you can try things and/or have a safe copy of your original file to revert to.

This was so very helpful. Thank you so much, Bridey!