Default formatting not kept - Specifically settings for Body text

I didn’t see this bought anywhere and I may have missed it.

Some time ago, before this last release and MAYBE before the last, I created some custom styles. One was the formatting for Body Text. I like to write with an indent on the first line and double-line spacing.

i notice that this has stopped working. To resolve this, I control-A to select the entire page and apply the Body Text format. that works BUT at some point, suddenly a new line loses the custom format. I select that line and any and all errant linefeeds below it and re-apply the Body Text custom format. It works… until some other point when suddenly a new line no longer has that format.

is this a bug? it this me being stupid? It i something else?


No, it’s not a bug. Scrivener is not WYSIWYG, so styles are there for paragraphs like block quotes, headings, captions, etc. that differ from the default text format. Scrivener is designed so that the default text format is set in Options or in Project → Settings. There you can set the first line indent and the spacing. When you compile, that default text is given the style “Normal” or “Body” depending on the format you’re compiling to.

Now, you can sort out your current problem by putting your cursor in one of your “Body” paragraphs, then clicking Format → Styles → Redefine Style from Selection → Redefine Body and at the bottom of the dialog against Next Style choose “Body”.

However, by creating a custom “Body” style, you are actually probably creating problems for yourself further down the line. For instance if, in any of your paragraphs you have words in italics, typically used for words from a foreign language for instance, then when you compile they will lose their italics, because the compiler will respect your “Body” style, which sets Regular.

Hope that helps.


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Thanks. I haven’t had a problem with compile but I will further look into this and the options

xiamenese is correct iff the style you have defined is both paragraph and character attributes; however, if it is only paragraph a paragraph style (and you can change it when you redefine), applied character attributes will work fine through the Compile process.

My last contribution to this. If you are only ever going to compile to a format that uses “Normal”, @Julian_M1 is right, but you might have work to do if you also compile to a format that uses “Body” (or vice versa depending on which you create) but, more importantly, if you also want to compile your opus to ePub it might create difficulties. I don’t know, as I just go with “No Style”.


Are there specific issues you have in mind there? I know I have had style & ePub issues (indent and tab stop issues), but haven’t got around to writing them up for help yet.

Having said I wouldn’t contribute more, I’ll just say this. ePub files are basically a dialect of HTML, which formats using CSL. So paragraphs in epub are basically <p> …… </p>. Scrivener’s ePub output goes through MultiMarkDown with the compiler being able to take basic RTF markings and convert them into the appropriate syntax, like italic and bold using asterisks, converting headings with the appropriate number of #s for each level, handling Block Quotes and so on. But it’s geared to ordinary paragraphs being in “No Style”.

I don’t know what would happen if all your text has a style “Normal” or “Body”. If it created them as <p style="Normal"> …… </p>, for instance, that might not pass through the ePub checks required for the various readers.



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all I want to do is have each new paragraph have first line intended and be double spaced and have it be consistent in the document and when I create a new document.

I am not worried about compile. I compile to .RTF … I am to at the point that I am anywhere read for compile to epub or any other publishing format.

Thank you all for the response

Set up a paragraph in the editor the way you want it, with indent and space after (Mac screenshots, but Windows should be similar):

For the paragraph spacing, click on the arrows and in the dropdown choose “Other” at the bottom:

In the dialog that comes up set “Paragraph spacing after” to the same as your Font size (mine is 13pt, so I’ve set that):

Set fully justified or ragged right as you wish (I always use ragged right in the editor as I don’t want to concern myself with hyphenation or extra space between words while writing).

When you’ve got that paragraph as you want, go to File → Options, select Editing and the formatting pane and select “Use Formatting in Current Editor”.

The sample paragraphs below will reflect those settings. They have become your default “No Style”. So you will need to go through all your paragraphs that you styled “Body” and from the Format Bar unclick Body so that they become “No Style”.

The most onerous part of this will be removing the “Body” style from all the paragraphs you have assigned it to.

All text you write from now on will consistently follow what you have set in Options, and when eventually you come to compile, they will be given “Normal” style in RTF. My word processor uses RTF as its native format, so I always compile to RTF and can assure you that that is the case.

Hope that helps.



thank you. I will give it a go!

I would advise not worrying about first line indents at this stage. Set the default formatting to either indented or not, whichever you prefer.

There are two reasons. The first is that the Compile command is easily configured to indent (or not) the first paragraph of a given section. The second is that the ability to split/merge documents freely is IMO one of Scrivener’s most powerful features, but that means that the “first line” of a section can change. You don’t need to worry about it until you’re assembling the output file, so don’t.