Does Scrivener convert italics & other special fonts?


Forgive me. I bet this question has been answered, but the answers I can find relate to old versions of Scrivener, old versions of MMD, or workflows that first create rtf or odt files. So I’m never sure if they apply to my application, which involves the latest versions of Scrivener (2.2) & MMD (MMD3) and straight conversion to LaTeX using MacTeX-2011.

In Scrivener I used italic font in a footnote and compiled the document. But when I viewed the pdf file created by pdfLaTeX, the italics were gone. Do I have to use markdown (_) explicitly to italicize, or is there a way to make Scrivener insert the markdown automatically wherever it finds italics.

(I assume a similar answer will apply to bold type.)

You will need to mark up italics and bold using the standard MMD syntax:

italics ––> italics

bold ––> bold

If you’ve already got italics/bold in the document you can convert them to MMD from the menu:

Format > Convert > Bold and Italic to MultiMarkdown syntax

But you will still need to check through visually, as the conversion may give ** Bold** – which won’t work properly – if the formatting being converted extended to the space before or after a word.

If you are looking for information on the Scrivener - MMD - Latex workflow I’d recommend the beginner’s guide which is stickied at the top of this forum: viewtopic.php?f=21&t=17239.

(I know I’m recommending my own guide, but it’s designed to answer exactly this sort of question.)

We might some day support a checkbox that does this automatically, but as MrGruff points out, we’ve avoided doing this for precisely the reason of its fragility. It’s all too easy to apply sloppy formatting in rich text, since formatting applied to spaces is invisible in all ways to the author. A single-run command is the best mechanism for this, as this type of conversion requires a human to audit the result.

In 2012 McGruff noted an option called “Convert > Bold and Italic to MultiMarkdown syntax”. Is that still something Scrivener can do? I have Scrivener files I used italics in, but now I need italicized text to be set to the Emphasis style for Markdown. Is there an easy way to do that globally in a document?


Update: Found it!: tick the Convert RTF to MultiMarkdown checkbox in the general options tab of the compile overview screen

That setting may do more than you want, if you’re composing with any Markdown at all in your source material, but yes that’s an “automatic” approach. Notably however it works in the opposite direction of what this referred to menu command did. That took word processor source and converted raw formatted italic/bold font settings to asterisks in the editor, as a workflow tool.

For compiling, and thus as a production tool: personally I would go with styles for this, as styles will leave your options open, and are more semantically useful (I’m of the sort that cannot understand ever using direct formatting without some kind of declaration of intent, like styles give you, though).

As for what styles can do for Markdown, you can see a few examples in the “Basic MultiMarkdown” compile format. If you ever messed with styles in the LaTeX project template then you’ll know what I’m talking about, but if not, click on something like “Deletion” in the Styles compile format pane, and see how the prefix and suffix fields to the right are inserting syntax (the CriticMarkup syntax for indicating removed text, in this case). Create an “Emphasis” style for yourself, drop some asterisks into the prefix and suffix fields, and you’re good to go.

When you boil it down to the basics, an “Emphasis” style gives you everything a casual font setting does—even including the shortcut, if you really have a reflex/preference for ⌘I, you can use System Preferences to move it over to a style command—but provides so much more utility and portability.

P.S. There is still a manual conversion command by the way: check out Edit ▸ Copy Special ▸ Copy as Markdown. It’s suitable for basic conversion of a number of different types of formatting, and replaces the menu command referred to. Again though, it is for rescuing data from rich text formatting. :wink:

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Thanks for this advice! My use case is this: I’ve written a fair amount of draft copy in your LaTeX template, but now I wish to insert what I’ve written into my new markdown template. Italicized words in the LaTeX projects are officially in italics, but what I think you’re saying is that in my markdown template, I should prefer to achieve italics with styles, not font attributes.

If I accept your advice and use styles to create italics in my markdown template, what workflow do you think I should use when I want to use text I’ve written in other projects where I italicized words in the old-fashioned way?

Ah yeah, that’s true, there is that one conversion supported by the plain-text Markup compile pane. I’ve never quite understood why there is that one single transformation supported there, but nowhere else and for no other kind of formatting.

…what workflow do you think I should use when I want to use text I’ve written in other projects where I italicized words in the old-fashioned way?

The Edit ▸ Select ▸ Select Similar Formatting command should make very quick work of that (use Scrivenings mode to make it even quicker). As with similar commands in word processors, it is designed to make conversion to stylesheets as easy as possible.

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Well now you Scrivener folks have thought of everything, haven’t you? :slight_smile:

Hello, I’m encountering an issue while trying to compile a manuscript to Multimarkdown: it seems that the formatting for italics is not being correctly translated in the output.
Is it me or is it Scrivener?

Refer to this post above for one solution, and my response below for addition, at times much more flexible approaches.

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