Fixing paragraph indents for e-book publication

Hello all,

I’m a new Scrivener user and this is my first post. Forgive me if this question has been covered before - I have run a few searches with no success.

Here is my problem:

I have imported an 80,000 word novel from MS Word, broken it up into chapters and done some editing. My para indents look far too big and I’d like to change them before publishing to e-book.

Is there an easy catch-all way to do this or will I need to change each one individually?

Many thanks in anticipation.

I’m actually looking for the same thing.
Trying to set up a template for how I want to use it, formats etc, and am finding it pretty tricky to find where to change things.
My publisher doesn’t want Courier, for instance, but insists on Times New Roman.
They also insist on specific indents, so I’m setting up the templates accordingly – but I can’t find where to set them by typing, or as a one shot deal.
Luckily I’m doing this before importing, because if I have to change every single one in an 80k WIP… :open_mouth:

I’ve edited the “Editor” preferences to set an approximate (It is impossible to drag the slider to the correct position) indent, but I don’t know if it’ll translate.

TBH the Page Setup options and how to do them leave a lot to be desired. It could benefit from an overhaul with a page dedicated to Chapter / Scene paragraph setup. :slight_smile:

Playlord, I don’t know if this will work, but have to tried highlighting all of it, and dragging the slider on the ruler?

In Scrivener you can do these types of settings in the “Compile” dialog box.

If you enlarge it and click on “formatting” in the list, you see several Types of text.

You can change how each is compiled selecting it and clicking on “Modify”.

When you’re done, dont forget to activate the “Override” option that “allows” Scrivener to change the formatting while producing output (Scrivener will warn you if you forget).

I think that’s one of the strengths of Scrivener - in your “Writer’s Studio” everything can look and feel as you like it, and at the end of the day you compile it in a manner that pleases your publisher, or Amazon :slight_smile:.

AND! If you are self-publishing, then you don’t have to change all of your fonts in your main text to work for Createspace, and then go and change everything again in preparation for creating e-books. The Compile settings are definitely the way to go to get all of your indents and font settings the way they need to be when you hand them over (to a person or another program). You can even save your customized compile settings if you deal with that person/program regularly.

One warning: if you use the Tab key to do your paragraph indents, then you’ll have to do a global search and replace to remove all of the Tab characters.

If you want to change what you see in Scrivener to something more pleasant, then go to Tools-> Options and then the “Editor” tab. Set up everything there the way you want new texts in your project to look. Then, select all of your texts in the binder and select Documents->Convert->Formatting to Default Text Style; that’ll convert all of those documents to use the font settings and indents, tab stops, etc… Imported documents will NOT use these settings, but you can convert the formatting after the import.

Serenus and Robert, thank you very much for taking the time to reply in such detail. i will now set about the script again, in Scrivener, using your advice.

Best wishes


Can this be done in Scrivener? If so, I’d be grateful if you would outline how to do it.



Open Notepad and enter a Tab character, then highlight it and copy it.

Back in Scrivener, go to File->Backup->Back up now (or Back up to… if you prefer).
Then go to Edit->Find->Project Replace
Paste in the tab character, and don’t enter anything for the replacement text.

Keep in mind that ALL tab characters in your entire project will be eliminated. If that’s a problem, then you may want to use Edit->Find->Find… on select documents that don’t have tab-delimited information.

I’m brand new with Scrivener, so perhaps s.o. more experienced can chime in here, but you can:

  1. Open a document and select the TAB character (you may want to show them with Format > Options > Show invisibles).

  2. Copy the TAB character (Ctrl+C).

  3. Open Find (Ctrl+F). - Do not type or paste anything - the TAB is already selected!

  4. Click Replace All and you’re done with your document.

EDIT: That works for a whole project - see Robert’s post above – guess I have to learn more and post less :slight_smile:.


I’m all find <srivDir> -name "*.rft" -exec perl -pi.bak -e 's/^\t//' {} \;
and you come up with that simple solution.

Darn you!

I’m sure there are many ways to do things and I’ve just not discovered them yet.
Working on getting my WIP into Scrivener atm.
I think I’ve set up my template how I want it, but only time will tell.
That indents thing bugs me though. I think I found where to set it so it’ll stick (Options / Editor) but dragging the indent tab is very frustrating and imprecise. I’d prefer typing in exactly what I need. (ie. 0.76cm)
Is there a way to do that anywhere?

I"m afraid not. Neither in the Options->Editor, nor in the compile settings for your final output. The nice thing is that once you’ve done it, you don’t have to do it again. (Options-> Manage preferences button in the lower left hand corner), so you can load all your settings into other projects).

If you like your indent to be at .76:

  1. Go to Options > Editor.

  2. Set the the “Ruler snap every” option to 0.760.

  3. Click “Apply”.

Now, if you drag the ruler, it snaps every .76.

My thanks again to all contributors - some very creative solutions!

Much obliged


Thank you Franz Josef! :slight_smile: