Different formatting for different documents

I am sure I just don’t know what the proper search terms are for this. I looked here and the manual and did not find what I’m looking for. The situation is this…

I created a document last week and changed all of the formatting for headers, body, lists etc styles for the book I’m writing. Today I created a new document using the blank template for a completely unrelated project. It “inherited” all of the format/style changes I made for my book. “Ok” I thought, “that sorta makes sense.” However, when I change these for this new document, it affects the other document’s format presets too. So the question is, how do I have different presets for common things like Header 1, Header 2, Body Text, List, etc for each of my documents?


Do you mean different documents within projects or different projects?

Ok, so here is where my newbiness shows. I don’t know what the difference is!

I consider each “thing” I work on as a document. Currently:

  1. a book titled 3D Printing Strategies
  2. an assembly guide for a 3D printer

I want each of these to have their own styles/formats

In Scrivener a document is one of the single items in the Binder, within a Project. So I guess you talk about two different projects, or not?

Yes, your comment indicates that I’m talking about separate projects. A project is a collection of documents and a document are the parts like text, folders, etc correct?

So provided your books are saved as different projects your presets can be different, but not if you keep them in the same project.

Ok, I am still confused then as changing presets in my book “project” are affecting my “assembly manual” project and vice versa.

Maybe this will help! Here are my two projects in separate windows side by side. Are these two separate “projects”? If not, what do I need to do to make them so? If they are, why does changing a preset in the Assembly Guide affect the presets in the book?

I hade to go back and check the Manual.

It seems I was wrong. The format presets seem to be saved as part of the overall Scrivener settings, not as part of each project, which means you will have to have two different kinds of Heading 1 preset if you want to different Heading 1 presets available for two different projects simultaneously.
Format presets are NOT styles of the kind you find in e.g. MS Word.

Ah, that sucks! I would think it common that for some types of projects you might want headers centered and for others, left justified. Surely there’s a way to do this, it’d be really surprising if not!

Absolutely, but that kind of formatting is done when you compile the project, not while writing.

Scrivener is not meant for wysiwyg formatting. While writing you format the text to make your writing environment as nice as possible, and then you compile for some output format, or many different formats for the same project.

While I understand the philosophy that Scrivener is for writing, a few creature comforts like heading position can set the tone for how I write.

I have not yet discovered how Compile can take formatting like header text style/alignment and create different outputs from the same Scrivener input. I’ve read the entire document file several times - mostly skimming the last few times. Perhaps I’m missing something.

I learned how to do it from Ed Ditto’s book “How to format your novel for Kindle, …” etc.

The usual way to do it is to use the document/folder titles as headings and not to write them in the text. This is not Word…

Understood but I’m moving my Scrivener text to page layout for my book. I can’t simply select the Scrivener text header unless it is in the text itself. I tried exporting Scrivener to various formats and importing that into page layout (I’m currently exploring the open source Scribus now) but that created way more work than simple copy and past in logical sections.

What formats can Scrivus import? Word docx?
If so it’s easy to format the text almost any way you want. Like the things you mentioned in another post, about footnotes and such. The only thing I don’t think is possible is wrapping text around pictures, but I’ve actually never tested that.

I think having semantically named formatting presets “Heading 1 Centered”, “Block Quote Italic” etc. is the closest you will get in Scrivener 2. There have been clear rumblings on the forums that proper Styles will come in Scrivener 3 and there will be improvements to Compile, and S3 is in closed-beta at the moment so this may all change fairly soon! I imagine Styles by their very definition would be project based…

I am thinking the OP may benefit from setting up some document templates, instead of relying solely on presets.

Hi, Michael,

Doc templates are project-specific and you could, for example, set one up to call upon each time you start a new section – having outfitted it with already styled out dummy header and body text starter-paragraph.

A small set of template docs could do a great deal for you, I think. Once you set them up, it is easy to call for a fresh instance of one of your template docs instead of a plain vanilla new doc. (You can even call for a fresh instance of a whole template folder of templated docs).

If this sounds like it might suit, you can read up on all the details in the manual, of course.


I am publishing eBooks and print books with Scrivener but it seems I have a total different workflow than it is mentioned in this discussion. I follow the philosophy to use Scrivener for planning, research and writing. I’m not using Scrivener as a WYSIWYG editor. My manuscript formats used are basic. Once I’m done with the manuscript and it goes to production, I am setting all document attributes with the compiler. There is a possibility to even save these settings and to call them up again, once needed. I’m compiling out of a collection, in which I organize the required documents from the binder. Following this process, I can generate / export any kind of format needed.

Yes, like Thomas, I use Scrivener for writing comfort (though I do have a basic instinct to have a title at the top in bold italic 18 point - but it’s not a Header as such, just part of the text).

I understand that the compile is where you do the hard work of formatting for publication, though even so the manual seems to indicate that you would export to something like Word for the final stage (I’m not sure if that’s actually necessary though?).