Export to pdf not recognising styles

I have set up styles in a document. Overrriden Scrivener formatting preferences with Project preferences. Tried a half dozen times to export styles, but pdf will only recognise one. Happy to send .scriv file if requested. Thanks.

I’m not quite following what the expectation is here. PDF does not have “styles”, in the word processing sense. We would expect to see the formatting result of those styles, as produced by compile or from the project styles themselves, but that is all it will be in PDF.

If I set styles in Scrivener - say one with indent, one without indent,same font, then when I export to pdf the font changes. Same if I export to Word. I’ve tried fiddling with project settings - to no avail.

Well that may be entirely “intentional”, in the sense that this is how you have things set up. For example, if you open Compile and use the dropdown at the very top of the preview column to override fonts globally, then the font will change. Another scenario is if your compile Format is set up to intercept styles by the names you are using, and change how these styles appear—a simple example here is taking the stock “Block Quote” and converting the font to Times New Roman, for the “Manuscript (Times)” compile Format. You wouldn’t want a TNR 12pt manuscript with sudden use of Helvetica in it, merely because that is your preferred writing font.

Have you done the tutorial? The part about Compile?

"Assign Section Layouts’ seems to solve the issue . . .

Where will I find this tutorial, please?



I was wrong that ‘Assign Section Layaouts’ cures the problem. However, having checked ath styles ‘First Line’ and ‘Body’ in the compile window, it seems that the line spacing lokks different, even though the vertical spacing setting is the same. Strangely, the spacing is different when exported to PDF (where it looks wrong) but not when exported to Eord (where it looks correct). Strange, indeed.

I was wondering about that… the condition of having not assigned any layouts would produce the most simple scenario, where what you type in the editor is what gets compiled.

I do see what you mean in the screenshots visually. But we cannot really see your line and paragraph spacing settings. Use Format ▸ Paragraph ▸ Line and Paragraph Spacing… for a more thorough examination. Also note that it is often easiest to use the commands in the Format menu to copy and paste formatting, when working on styles and section layouts. Typically you want just about everything the same except for a few key factors (like first-line indent). So you might as well start with identical formatting and diverge from there, rather than trying to harmonise dozens of settings in different palettes.

Lastly, you’re going about the first-line indent issue in a word-processor oriented way. Feel free to do so of course, and especially if your workflow requires having two different text styles—but do be aware Scrivener can automate first-line indent suppression—meaning you don’t have to manually assign a particular style to hundreds of paragraphs as you write. It’s a function of the Section Layout, in the “Options” tab.

Personally I’d scrap both the Body and the First-Line styles (from the editor as well, leaving 99% of the text unstyled) and just let the compiler handle all of that busywork. It’s worth testing (on a copy of the project)—you may be spending a bunch of time here that isn’t even necessary, and making the software more difficult to learn than it needs to be.

Thanks for this. Yes, I used the Para spacing dropdown for both First line and Body styles (see attached). They are the same. However, i will try your suggestion re indent. However, does it not seem strange that the .pdf spaces wrongly and the .docx correctly?

Also check these settings in the compiler. The Styles pane in the compiler can completely overwrite what you see in the editor (the idea being you can write however you want and still publish to spec). So if the settings are still different there, it won’t matter what you see in the editor.

It would be unusual, but not theoretically impossible. PDFs are generated using the macOS print engine, and do so from Scrivener’s native RTF format directly. DOCX on the other hand is not a native format, and thus requires conversion utilities to produce, and furthermore has the added variability of being viewed (potentially imperfectly, where again conversion may be a complication) by the software used to open it. For example if one opens the .docx in the simple TextEdit program, I believe line-spacing is one area where that program suffers in particular.

The best test, using the fewest layers of conversion, is to compile as RTF and view the result in a word processor that has good support of that format. Word (RTF is a native format for Word as well), Nisus Writer Pro and LibreOffice are all good, in descending order of quality.