Convert Formatting to Default Text Style made a mess!

In a no-doubt misguided attempt to rid a chapter of my project of strange tabs (six of them ranged across the ruler—I have no idea how they got there and they exist in a number of chapters) I did Documents > Convert > Formatting to Default Text Style and ended up with 1) bright-yellow highlighted text and 2) formatting that’s totally foreign to me. Different font, font size, spacing…none of which are in my preferences (the font it converted to I’ve never used. I only ever use Times New Roman).

What to do? Thanks so much in advance.

I should add that the normal paragraph indents are no longer working in this chapter. So…what I’m looking for help on is erasing the existing tabs, applying my normal .5 inch automatic indents (I’m writing a novel, so the dialogue needs to automatically indent when I hit return) and possibly (if necessary) changing whatever necessary so that when/if I go to Default Text Style it reflects my preferred styles.

Thanks again in advance.

Can you restore a back-up from Time Machine or elsewhere?

First of all, a suggestion as to how this might have happened. Forgive me if you know this, but there are two places where you can set the defaults:

a) In Preferences > Formatting. This becomes the default for any new document in this project, and for any new project (unless b) is in operation…)

b) In Project > Text Preferences…, where there’s a setting ‘Override text formatting for this project’.

The command you used (Documents > Convert > Formatting to default text formatting takes the setting from a), unless the override is set in b). So it’s possible that for some reason the background colour has been set to yellow and the font to Bizzare if one or other of these two places.

If you don’t have a backup, the easiest way to proceed is to choose one of your existing documents then format it the way you want. Highlight the whole of the text to makes sure the ruler applies to the whole document.

Use the Ruler (Format > Show Ruler) to set the tabs. Either drag existing tabs to the right place or click in the ruler to add a standard left tab, right click on it to change it to another sort. Get rid of any you don’t need by dragging them off the ruler. Don’t try to set first line indents at this stage until you’ve got the basic left tabs in place.

Once you’ve got the basic tabs you want, the Format > Text > Indents menu will allow you to set the first line indent, amongst other sorts.

When the tabs and indents are done, set the font and size you want, as well as the line spacing.

Once the text is looking the way you want it, then in either Preferences > Formatting, or in Project > Text Preferences (if the override box is ticked), click the button ‘Use formatting in current editor’ or ‘Use Current’ respectively. The dummy text will change to reflect your settings. Make any final changes using the dummy text formatting settings.

Once you’re happy, select all documents and Documents > Convert > Formatting to Default Text Style… in the normal way.

[NB This process will reset every paragraph, including those you may have using a formatting preset on in the past. In your case, this has already happened, unfortunately… In future, if you want to preserve the specific formatting of any particular paragraph, highlight it and select Format > Formatting > Preserve Formatting.]

Forgive me if I’ve misunderstood what’s happened, but I hope this helps a bit.

David

Dear David:

Belated thanks for your thorough reply.

I don’t know that a backup would help as this problem has been there (in multiple chapters) for some time…I’ve just been ignoring it.

So!

You write:

"Highlight the whole of the text to makes sure the ruler applies to the whole document.

Use the Ruler (Format > Show Ruler) to set the tabs. Either drag existing tabs to the right place or click in the ruler to add a standard left tab, right click on it to change it to another sort. Get rid of any you don’t need by dragging them off the ruler. Don’t try to set first line indents at this stage until you’ve got the basic left tabs in place."

But I cannot highlight the text and click on the ruler to remove the tabs at the same time. This means I need to go through and remove the tabs line by line (by line, by line) in multiple chapters, which is a huge pain. Is there no way to do this in one fell swoop? No “clear tabs” command?

Thanks again.

David:

Another question. You write:

“If you don’t have a backup, the easiest way to proceed is to choose one of your existing documents then format it the way you want.”

95% of my project is formatted the way I want…it’s just the remaining 5% that’s bothering me. Is there a way to simply apply the correct (95%) formatting to the rotten 5% without going into those individual 5% chapters and messing with the tabs, etc.? My question is, I guess, is there a way to simply apply certain formatting rules already present in the majority of the project to the entirety of it?

Thanks.

How about Format > Formatting > New Preset From Selection (which will copy the formatting of whatever text happens to be selected in the Editor at that moment). You could then select the text that you need to change, and apply that formatting preset to it.

I don’t understand why you say that you can’t select text and click on the ruler to remove the tabs – that is the normal way to remove (or apply) tabs. You have to select some text, otherwise the program won’t know which paragraph to operate in, and then you just click on the tab marker in the ruler and drag the tab marker upwards, whereupon it disappears. But perhaps I have misunderstood. However, perhaps it is worth emphasising that there are no styles in Scrivener of the kind that MS Word has. Formatting presets don’t work in the same way.

Martin.

Dear David and Martin:

Aha! I found a “remove all tabs” command under format > text so that is AWESOME and the pesky multiple tab stops are removed (always so puzzling to me that such things don’t show up when you search for them in the help search bar; same deal on a Mac as well). Somehow (now I can’t recall how, of course, I managed to eliminate the yellow background and the rest was taken care of in preferences.

With those tabs eliminated, I was able to follow David’s suggestions and everything looks gorgeous and fingers crossed it will all stay that way. Thanks so very much!

Best,
Deb

Deb

Sorry I didn’t reply to your questions – I was away on holiday… Glad it worked out OK in the end.

David