Default Style and Other Newbie Questions

I am coming back to a project after a long delay - had been in a trial and purchased this morning.

I have a question so basic I can’t believe how hard it is… I had imported a work in progress into S, and the formatting is all wrong. I cannot find how to set the basic font, paragraph, and formatting view options for this project. They are not what I want. I try to skim the 900+ page manual (sheesh) and the videos and the tutorial. I’ve looked in Preferences and Project Settings. And I am missing something completely, somehow. I got to the manual talking about how S uses a default style, and okay fine, but where do I change that? Also, my pages all show all formatting marks, which I prefer to keep hidden until I need them, but again, missing something and don’t have time to read 900 pages first, doesn’t seem to be covered in tutorial.

The default formatting is set in the options :


You can either adjust it there, or format a chunk of text in the editor to look the way you want it to, then, having it selected, click Use formatting in current editor.
Once this is done → click in the editor, and :

New documents, on the other hand, will automatically be formatted as set in the options. (You only need to do that last operation for pre-existing documents.)

Thank you. Where is options?

File / options
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This is toggled here :

or :


1 Like

There is no options under File. Mac version 3.2.3

By the way, the easiest way to set defaults, without knowing where anything is yet, is to use the Format ▸ Make Formatting Default menu command, with a paragraph selected that looks the way you want. It will ask whether this should be a global default or just for the project. In most cases you will want the former.

Here is the knowledge base article on default formatting.

Preferences in Mac software are almost always found in the main application menu, the one right next to the Apple logo.

Thank you and also to @Vincent_Vincent for showing me how to hide invisibles. I have now set the default.

There is no link to your Knowledgebase on your support pages… That seems like what I most need - good context-based search.

Thank you.

The link is about halfway down the main support page, just below some of the more commonly asked questions. Also note at the top of that page is a link to video tutorials, which you might find useful. Here is one for working with default formatting.

1 Like

Just to be clear, No Style is not a style and doesn’t represent the default format in any consistent way.

Set the default at Scrivener/Preferences, then select one or more documents in the Binder and use Documents/Convert/Convert to Default Formatting.... This dialog comes up:

Clicking OK reformats No Style text but doesn’t affect styled text (unless you click the Remove all styles box).

1 Like

i have done the interactive tutorial. I have searched and read and read and searched through the User Manual and i have tried every option i can find but cannot get rid of indent when i’m typing.
I think i have got rid of it but when i click return the text starts slightly indented. I have adjusted on the Ruler. I have altered format paragraph indents. I have altered the style over and over both for the project and for all coming projects. So what i want when typing is NO indent at all. I have made a style which has the symbol indicating it is paragraph style and text style
so i’m typing like this within my set up style

that is all good but but but say i move the cursor up to the end of the Efg line and press enter
then the next line i type is indented

so what is happening is that when i click enter even after i have selected style
the style reverts to no style

any help greatly greatly appreciated
before i abandon ship and go back to Word. I am hoping time spent will be worthwhile in the long run - my daughter finds Scrivner v useful.

Paragraph indenting in the Editor works pretty much like Word (and most all word processor software nowadays and for a long time), so if you go back, you’ll be doing it the same way.

You don’t give any details on your setup. But …

  • turn on the invisibles so you can see what’s a paragraph, where the tab characters are, etc.
  • also turn on Ruler which (you have done, you say)
  • put cursor in the paragraph that troubles you
  • Menu → Format → Paragraph → Tabs and Indents … → See the settings there for your paragraph indent, tabs, etc. Change to what you want.
  • if you want that default Menu Scrivener → Preferences → Tab Editing → click on “Use formatting in current editor”

Without looking for specific references, I’m quite sure all this discussed in the Scrivener Manual. Probably section 15.7

You mentioned Styles … if you are planning to use them, use only by exception–otherwise use “No Style” most everywhere. Styles also explained in the Scrivener Manual (and much past discussion here).

1 Like

thank you rms for your ever so prompt answer. I had done everything you suggested except the last bit - i could not find Menu Scrivener → Preferences but in looking for this i tried File → options → editing → formatting somehow in my travels i had seen something like this screen before but it was not editable (if that is a word) I have altered things here and will try to set this as an overall default.
Anyway i THINK i have finally altered that pesky indent. Thank you again.

Probably worth your time to go through the Scrivener Tutorial again.

1 Like

other item i did was the Style “no style” kept appearing. i had changed to my style and then selected Format → make formatting default but “no style” kept appearing. so i typed away in “no style” got the text and indents how i wanted them then selected Format → make formatting default somehow that has helped too probably not the best way to do it but its working at the moment.

just saw your pic i dont seem to have that scrivner option
think you are right back to the tutorial :slight_smile:

Well, why the Scrivener Menu is not there is a big mystery. I’ll let you work on that as I have no idea why not.

Just remember that Scrivener is NOT really the WYSIWYG Microsoft Word default concept. The editor is not intended to be a formatting tool. All that gets done by the Compiler.

Scrivener is a writer’s tool, not a “word processor”.

1 Like

As you have the Windows version, it is File - Options - editing and then the format tab.


I’ve merged this with a very similar thread, which already goes over all of this.

As for setting default formatting, as noted above, it is most often a lot easier to use the one single menu command necessary to set defaults, than to drill down into options.

I am trying to achiever something very, very simple, but failing. Whenever I add a new file to a folder, I want the formatting of the text to be a particular font, a particular size, spacing to be zero before and after paragraph, and line spacing to be single. Initially, I created a block of text, applied this formatting to it, and then saved it as a template. I then opened a new project based on that template, but, whenever I add text to a new file, different formatting (particularly “Before paragraph: 0”, “After paragraph: 8”, and “Line Spacing: Multiple”.) is applied. What do I need to do to achieve this very simple requirement, please?