Does ANYONE understand how to commandeer Mac OSX Styles?

It’s too hot here, and aircon is broken, to spend seven hours going through Discussion forums’ bloated and lousy search function to get the answer, :smiling_imp: and since I must use the horridly inept Mac OSX Styles feature relied upon within Scrivener, maybe one of you can help me.

I imported a Word outline doc into Scrivener. The fonts only marginally copied over.

Since Scrivener uses Mac OSX’s useless style panel – think I’m cranky today? – I must too in order to finish this 400-page book.

Let me start with two basic questions, and I am NOT a Mac newbie:

(1) How do you edit a style? Or do you have to do the simpleton thing and recreate what you want, and save that?

(2) How do you delete a style from that horrid little panel. Or do you just live with a useless pile-up of defunct styles that you have to scroll through? [Why doesn’t Apple really user-test their stuff?]

Where in the system are these pieces of dreck kept? Can I eliminate via terminal or some other program?

Thank you to anyone — anyone — who relieves my mounting frustration, and I mean that sincerely. I have 400 pages to crank out and I can’t stand this inefficiency. It was my frustration with Word hanging and doing whatever that caused me to move this monster project into Scrivener. I was all ready to kill the MS Word dogs today when I encountered this problem. I’ve used Macs for 23 years. Thank God whoever wrote the Scrivener code has his head screwed on right . . . except for using Mac OSX Styles, but I do understand going with the modular code.

Maybe I need a drinkey-poo.

Okaaay . . .

Had your drink yet?

So far as I can tell there is no way to edit or delete a style. Further, even if one could find a hidden style pref (I looked) I wouldn’t try to edit it because it may disrupt whatever pointer system they use to determine which text is which style.

What I would suggest is that if you’re in the final stages of completing a 400-page book and you have a lot of styles and formatting don’t import it into Scrivener. You’ll just keep banging into the simple Apple style system & table or list funkiness. I really don’t think they designed this for anything more than the occasional user (or the determinedly simple).

If you are, indeed, in Word Hell, you might consider breaking the book up into much smaller files–that seems to resolve a lot of the problems my users have with it.

Best of luck and sorry I can’t help further.


Yeah, Dave, I’m in drink heaven now: mellow, reasonable, willing to see the light, and understand exactly what you say. But still hot. At least I’ve past the sweat stage. For some reason, Word is beach-balling my every effort there.

There’s gotta be a place where I can alter the plists or root code for styles. I can’t take Word anymore. I’ve had it as a program with any other OS than Windows. [I use Framemaker] And even then it’s Word 2003 that I stick to. Vista was a great disaster upgrade for me.


Wow, this is like directly read from my heart!

Better no layout with the Mac OS text engine, I would say. Leave design for the last stage.

Choose Ruler – styles – Other… – Add to favorites. There are option whether to include font or ruler or both.

(a) Choose Ruler – styles – Other… Click on the right radio button “Favorite styles” and then click on the button down on the left “Remove from Favorites”.

(b) Yes, why???

I found them somewhere in a plist some time ago, but I had to accept that working in that plist or copying to other computers did not really work. The only way to keep a set of favorite styles is to set up a document with all the styles you need and then work through the styles style by style – if necessary.

You have my sympathy. I am waiting for Leopard and OpenDocument format, maybe that will change a lot…

Hope this helps,

  1. Microsoft Office Help is actually quite helpful. Turn it on via Word’s Help: Word Help command or just touch the “help” key, if you have an extended keyboard. Then enter “styles” in the Help Seach window. The top item, “Troubleshoot Styles,” is a good place to start.

  2. If “horrid little panel” means the Formatting Palette, turn it on and select an element of text that you want to style. Put the cursor on the ¶ mark and click on the downward triangle. In the pop-up menu, select Modify Style…which lets you modify every aspect of the style in question. You may also do this by listing All Styles. To delete a style, see the Word Help menu. Then Save the modified style. With luck, you will have changed every line that needed changing. If that doesn’t happen, just scroll to the lines and use the list of styles to apply the proper styling. Example: you need to turn a quotation into a block style, with left and right indentation. Select the lines, and in the list of All Styles, click on Block Quotation.

  3. Word saves all of its Style formats in the Format: Style menu. That brings up a panel that shows you all the styles, and you may modify, delete, or create new styles there.

Much of the reason this all seems alien is that MSoft builds Word for Windows first and later kludges it into a Mac program. I live for the day when I can forget most of this stuff! (Enjoy your drink.)


The questions were about the TextEdit style system that Scrivener uses.



Well I’ll be durned!


I still think you should finish the beast in Word. Just slice it up.

And now I go to my drinky-poo, too. This working all day Saturday and Sunday stuff is not relaxing.


Maria, do I dare hope? What is “OpenDocument format,” what will it offer in terms of Apple’s text engine?


Oh. Doh. Beg pardon. Most of the users here agree that formatting shouldn’t occur in Scrivener; it’s a drafting tool. You’re right; at this stage, keep that MS in Word. If its Styles need repairing, then my advice could be helpful. And now I shall go have a drink.


this is the XML based document format used by the Open Office Group, and rumours are that TextEdit will be able to use this format in Leopard as well. I hope, it will become the native format instead of this ambiguous RTF. I am so fond of XML that I observe myself ending up organising almost anything in XML. My hope for the text engine is that Apple puts more effort into that clear format and will offer better tables, lists, styles, notes etc. and private extensions. And better font support in different languages. All guessing though… :question:


O yes!!! I did not think of this easy, self evident solution (but I never used Word…)


Thanks for everyone’s replies. Yeah, finishing the beast in Word is, of course, the answer but its engine interferes with every other program I have open, and it beachballs constantly. For instance, Word and DevonThink Pro open together are problematic, etc. etc. and that’s where I keep my research if I dont use Scrivener.

Did you try Nisus Express or the Pro version? Opens wordfiles I get from others nicely and does not interfere…


Fullack! This would be great!

Maybe this is why they procrastinate Leopard?


Dear Maria,

I always believe everything you say :astonished: so I’ve just downloaded the trial version of Nisus Express.
I migrated to Mac because I believed there must be an alternative to Word Hell, and I’m finding – mostly thanks to the Scrivener forums – that I was right.

Back to work.

Dear believer, now you see, you can even believe yourself! :smiley:

Greetings from someone whom you better not trust…—>

Hmm. How much RAM do you have installed?


1GB on this laptop; 2GB on another.

Some support for ODF is rumoured for Leopard. However, Apple has materially supported the standardization of Office documents via ECMA, and those are also rumoured to be supported in Leopard.

I too had hopes that Apple might make XML the native format, but I’m not quite sure which one they would choose…


That seems sufficient, but it might be worth your while to check how much RAM Word & Devon are using in Activity monitor.



Another user - hell, I’ll name-drop, it was Michael Marshall Smith :slight_smile: - had a hellish time with styles some time ago and e-mailed me some information about them that I meant to get around to putting in the FAQ (read: giving to AmberV to put in the FAQ :slight_smile: ) but never did. I don’t think he will mind me quoting his discoveries here (basically I think he was trying to move styles between machines):

Q: Where does Mac OS X store text styles?

More info:

Hope that’s useful to others.

All the best,