Find & Replace Style function?

Hi all,
for quick formatting of some slowly evolving character and location templates I’ve been working with, I’m wondering if there is a way to find & replace a style? I’d love to be able to select a specific font (Arial Bold 16) and replace with a heading style.

Also, when I use ‘Redefine Preset from selection’ to update a Style, it does not seem to update that entire style. (EG: all my headings). I’m just having trouble with my perfectionist tendencies today and not getting character writing done because I’m playing with the different headings.

There isn’t anything like format replace, but you can do some basic format searches with Edit/Find/Find by Formatting….

That is why we call them presets and not styles. :slight_smile:

The latter will be coming, in time. Stylesheets are challenging in a program like Scrivener, which can use thousands of files to express a single document (the vast majority of which will be closed on the disk).

Thanks. Better to know and just stop looking, and learn some patience, than to get frustrated trying to find something that isn’t there.

Is this true of scrivenings mode? if not would this be the logical place to do style updates or modifications?

Yes indeed, it remains true. Scrivenings mode is more like a cooperative stack of editors, each one open to a different file, so that as you make edits throughout the stack, the changes go into each respective file you work in. Normally you don’t have to worry about all of that, though—you can just think of it as sections of a book.

• Launch LibreOffice (free) and open a text file.
• Copy/paste your text from Scrivener.
• Go to Edit > Find & Replace. There you’ll have everything you want at your fingertips.
• Paste back in your Scrivener file.

Another approach that would be more efficient is to do that search and replace in LibreOffice after you’ve compiled. Just focus on keeping formatting consistent in Scrivener. Don’t worry if it is precisely the right point size or what have you, it just should be consistently used through the draft and unique from other types of styling. This will make it very easy to find by similarity and apply stylesheets to the text once the writing phase is complete. The more you can do to make things unique, the better. Since you’re not working WYSIWYG, you can use tools like text colour and other stuff you’d probably ordinarily never consider using.

I was giving a solution for a situation in which Scrivener falls short (to my knowledge).

Focusing on formatting consistently in Scrivener may work if you write all stuff yourself, over a shorter period of time. But as soon as you start importing from all kinds of sources (for a project for example) that seems to become impossible.

This morning I had an old text with a lot of headers in bold (big, multi-year project). I wanted to replace most of these headers in regular but underlined text. Could not find the solution within Scrivener, went to this forum and found no solution mentioned here either. Finally came up with the one I stated and thought it might be social to share it with eclipse.

If I could have replaced my bold headers in regular but underlined text by a find/replace within Scrivener, I’m all ear! :smiley:

Sure, for importing text that’s another thing. I do agree it makes sense to clean up text in whatever tool does so the best, prior to importing into Scrivener. And in some limited cases it may work to copy out of Scrivener, fix and then paste back in. I do similar myself, though with plain-text editors, to do some kind of macro operation on the text.

I thought you were suggesting that one go through each node of their outline and copy and paste into LibreOffice, change the formatting, and paste it back into Scrivener. For a widespread change among dozens or even hundreds of outline items, I feel it would be easier just to do it later after you compile (and that’s even only for documents that have a number of paragraph styles beyond headings, for documents with simpler formatting, consisting primarily of body text and headings, Scrivener can handle most if not all of the formatting at compile time, in the Formatting pane).

In short, it depends. :slight_smile: There are a lot of approaches one can take to combine tools together for the optimum result.

If you work on a Mac, can you recommend one? I have Bean, which is unable to do such a thing. Could only find LibreOffice. Or do you mean something like BBEdit or TextWrangler?

Can you help me out with this one? Is the Formatting pane a special feature that can be used after complation? Or is it Edit > Find > Find by Formatting? If the latter is the case, could that have solved my ‘challenge’?

Yeah, more in the vein of TextWrangler. :slight_smile: MacVim is my editor of choice, having come to the Mac from Linux, it’s just what I “grew up on”. My writings are all done in plain-text, so I don’t really need formatting power such as LibreOffice provides—but since I do write with markup, sometimes I do need text processing power. Different ways of working, similar needs. I will copy and paste out of Scrivener to edit if the situation demands it.

I’m not sure what to suggest if you’re looking for a scriptable word processor (with formatting). AppleScript is the obvious answer, but I’m not familiar enough with either word processing nor AppleScript to know if there is a good pair out there.

The Formatting pane is a feature of the compiler. If you haven’t gone through the interactive tutorial yet, you’ll find it briefly introduced in Step 17: Compiling the Draft. It demonstrates how you can use the compiler to generate the actual structure of your document (the chapter headings, their numbering) as well as its formatting. You can also reformat the body text as well. In essence, you can write in Scrivener using whatever font you want—whatever is comfortable or pleasing to you as a working environment—and then compile to TNR 12pt or whatever you need in the end. A simple demonstration of that capability could be tested by compiling a PDF using first “Paperback Novel” as the Format As preset, and then “Standard Manuscript”. You’ll see just about everything in regards to the formatting of the document will be altered during compilation.

All of that is happening with the Formatting compile option pane. It is fully documented in the user manual, uner 24.11 (pg. 371), and we have some video tutorials that go over the basics, as well.

So to summarise:

  • With simple formatting (chapter headings, maybe sub-headings and body text) one needn’t worry about formatting while they are writing in the least bit. Just type.
  • With slightly more complex formatting, one can mix that approach with the Format/Formatting/Preserve Formatting block. This protects text from the compiler’s format override mechanism. It’s good for non-fiction, which may have block quotes and other bits of text that need special handling.
  • Finally, for people that need stylesheets in their output, then the technique I was mentioned above would be the best approach: where a consistent look is achieved in Scrivener (as you write, or reformatted as you import, either way) and then the word processor’s capabilities for finding formatting and applying styles are made use of to fix up a document quickly.

Thanks AmberV, very thourough explanations!