Editing a compile format

I have created a compile format named Textbook. It shows up under My Formats in the pull-down list. When I make changes to it and save them (option-clicking the Compile button) all seems well (at least, the Compile window closes). But when I try to compile again, the format has been switched to Custom, and when I select Textbook again, none of the changes have stuck.

What am I doing wrong?

It seems I have to select Manage Compile Format Presets on the pull-down menu, select the format I am working on, click Update, then click Okay twice (one of them doesn’t respond to the Return key). Is that right? Seems a bit complex.

What, then, does the Save option do? It only saves a completely new format?

Thanks nitram for your notes – this same challenge has been troubling me for weeks but I hadn’t had a chance to come here to find an answer.

I too would appreciate an answer to your question: What does the Save button do in the Custom Format Presets dialog? It only seems to save to ‘Custom’.

The save button merely saves the changes into the project, the same thing that happens when you click the compile button—only it doesn’t compile. Basically it’s just a way to tweak something without having to go through the whole process of compiling. “Custom” really isn’t anything specific. It’s not a preset, unless you consider the project’s current settings to be a preset (I wouldn’t muddy the issue by calling it one). All “custom” means is that you have changed something, anything, about the current settings so that it can no longer be strictly “Textbook” or whatever your original preset selection was.

So in short: each project has its own settings. For most conditions this is all most people will need. Each project has its own peculiarities of structure and formatting and doesn’t need to share them. Presets are useful when that is not true, and updating them is a specific thing you have to do in the preset manager. You want this to be more than one simple save button step, because otherwise any project also using that preset might be unintentionally messed up by various changes made to some other project unawares. Projects thus become unhinged from their preset the moment you change anything, and take on that “Custom” signifier.


The problem is, the settings don’t seem to save to the Compile preset that I am trying to change.


Sorry, let me try that again. Once again I didn’t read your reply carefully enough!

I’ve just been viewing the video on how to create a Compile preset, and this led me to think that the Save button does indeed save the preset one is working on. Your message explains that this is not the case. I guess what is not clear to me is under what circumstances I would want to save compile option changes to the document, but not modify any of the presets. I can only imagine doing this if I wanted to make a one-time change before exporting the text in a peculiar format. But, if I understand correctly, I only use Save if I am not going to Compile.

So I’m still confused - but at least I now know how to get the effects I want.

I would imagine this is the sort of thing that some people do all of the time and others rarely if ever do. For myself, I use the save button quite a bit. I use Replacements to make things easier for myself, as little macros for things I would otherwise have to type in by hand every time. So sometimes I’ll be typing along and realise that I’ve been wasting a lot of time typing in this particular sequence over and over, so I’ll open up Compile, add a Replacement for it, and save the settings. Other times I will update the meta-data for a document (revision number, etc) without compiling.

The rate at which a preset needs to be updated slows down to near-zero over time—same as with project templates. You create a new one, and for a while you keep spotting problems with your implementation so you tweak them and update it. You have to go through a few dialogue boxes to update a project template, too. However over time you refine it to near perfection and the preset or project template sits there for years without being updated. This is why tools like these do not need super accessible save functions that are really easy to trigger. Over the full span of time in which you will be using this preset, you will not be typically updating it.

Or to put it another way, this is something that so few people do on a regular basis that the need to optimise the workflow for maximum efficiency is quite, quite low.

You could rephrase what it is you are trying to accomplish? I don’t see anything left unsolved in this thread. You were trying to update a preset is what I gathered, and in your second message you posted that you’ve solved the matter by clicking the Update button to update the preset using the current project settings. Was there something else you were looking to do? (Sorry for being dense. :slight_smile:)