Default Main Text Attributes affecting existing blank docs

My understanding of the Options->Editor->Default Main Text Attribute settings is that they “only apply to new documents.” They determine the editor settings for any documents you create, right? But they shouldn’t affect documents that have already been created, right?

I find that they affect existing documents, so long as those documents are blank.

Which is to say: When moving the editor’s focus to a blank document, the editor settings in that blank document (font, line spacing, etc.) will turn out to match the current Editor -> Default Main Text Attribute settings, rather than the Default Main Text Attribute settings that were in place when the blank document had been created.

A blank document, for this purpose, is one with no text entered into its editor. It can have a name, a synopsis, meta data, document notes, keywords, whatever. But as long as it’s got no text content in the main editor, changing Default Main Text Attributes will affect its editor settings.


Don’t just name, but also put temporary text, in newly created documents, so as to preserve the editor settings they were created with.

Make sure when I close the project, the editor isn’t focused on a blank document; when returning to that project, make sure to load up the .prefs file with the desired Default Main Text Attributes before I focus the editor on a blank document.

Don’t create blank documents until ready to type in them (thus abstaining from some of the useful functionality of Scrivener, the ability to “outline” by creating all my stories scenes as blank documents ready to be typed in).

Yeah, see the thing is, if you have entries in the binder that are empty of text, Scrivener doesn’t actually even create a text file for it (each single item in the Binder can actually represent up to four separate literal files on your computer, depending on how many features you use). This makes the program very efficient as you can use it to create complex and large outlines without a lot of disk usage and clutter with empty files everywhere. They only get created as needed, once you start typing, and that is when default settings are applied. That is when the document is technically created. I do realise that isn’t entirely intuitive without know that though. :slight_smile:

As you note, the work-around is to put some boilerplate text in to hold whatever formatting you have in place. However…

One thing that isn’t clear to me is what you are switching default fonts around for, so often. It sounds like you’re frequently switching settings around for some purpose, but to me this seems like it would be a lot of bother. There may be an easier way to accomplish what you are trying to do. For example, what you say about not wanting to outline because the font will use the current default instead of the old one—I don’t follow why that would be a problem at all. Most people are quite happy that their current settings are used whenever they start typing in a blank area. This is, in part, why it acts the way it does. So I’m wondering what the net effect is that you are driving toward by using the feature this way.

Oh, this explanation makes a lot of sense. And you’re right, it isn’t obvious. If, then, this behavior isn’t considered a bug, I can learn to live with it. The boilerplate text strategy isn’t a pain in the butt and can actually be useful in helping me flesh out my ideas. While I do like to outline by having blank documents with titles that say what happens in each scene, there’s no reason I can’t “outline” a little deeper by typing in some ideas towards the elements that the scene requires.

As to why I change my editor settings all time time - maybe I’m a weird bird, but I have particular editing environments in which I work best/most comfortably, depending on what kind of writing I’m doing. It’s down to how I keep the tools I’m using from distracting me from the work I’m doing - the more invisible the editing environment, the easier it is to focus on the writing. Courier New double spaced for fiction, Arial single spaced for blogging/MMD, etc.

(It may be worth mentioning that for more than a decade I composed all my fiction in Word Perfect 5.1 for DOS, and I still make sure I have it installed and useable even though I’m using Windows 7 now.)

I’m aware the way I use it is contrary to the idea that Scrivener as an editing and organizational environment is all about creating, not the final document, but instructions for the compilation of the final document. So the things that strike me as problems may very well be features for other people. I absolutely understand this, so if the ultimate answer to my wish list or bug report is “But that’s not what Scrivener’s for!” then that’s cool.

In any case, this is precisely why I’m looking forward to the eventual roll-out of being able to set Editor preferences and other options individually for each project. (I posted this in the wish list forum some time ago, and the response was “We’re actually working on that already.” That made me happy.)

Yeah, okay I see what you’re driving toward, and yes the ability to set a project-specific default format will likely be your ticket. I wouldn’t say that what you are doing is antithetical to Scrivener—in fact if anything choosing a font that helps you focus on the material at hand is what Scrivener is all about.

As for the output, well the compiler can reset the font during compile anyway, which is why all of this should be more about comfort and efficiency, than working toward some eventual output requirement.