Font beer-goggles

This is not neither in jest nor as humorous as the title suggests, please hear me out.

I frequently bounce between MacOS, Windows, and iPadOS in my writing, I spend the bulk of my time actually writing on iPadOS though. I have noticed something that triggers my OCD (and it has been discussed at length elsewhere) and wish there was a simpler way to address the issue in local fashion with a master visual override.

Specifically, would it be possible to enable a LOCAL and VISUAL ONLY override on project font settings? That way I can use a consistent default font on all three operating systems based on which font is available to the OS in question, irrespective of what font is stored in the project.

I started with computers in the 8bit era, and some of my long standing biases are from learning in that era. What does this have to do with the price of NAND chips in Taiwan? The default fonts were different between platforms. Ti99-4a vs Apple II vs Commodore 64 vs MS-DOS were all different, but even so text written on one platform and transferred to the next was consistent with the text on that platform. If it helps here, I’m not wanting to go back to an 8bit monospace font, but I am wanting a clean look based on the machine I am working on.

I don’t really care if the default in MacOS is Halvectica, Windows is Courier New, and iPadOS is Palitino… What grinds my gears is having all three fonts (or more if the project predates the major revisions of Scrivener as I have some early stuff that got started on v1.x under OSX and have been using iOS versions since they were released) present in the same project, and it throws me off to be looking and working at a scene in Palitino and then moving to one in Courier New, or worse lifting a paragraph from one scene to another and injecting a font change again. Yes, I know that I can do this at compile time, and that is a Godsend, but what I’m looking for is being able to do this at edit time and non-destructively. To put it crassly, beer-goggles but for font.

I understand the why it happens, and I understand the why it can’t really be fixed too. What I’m wishing for is a mode or setting that splits the difference between ‘Composition Mode’ and the normal mode. Its the binder/tree display as per normal, but all of the scene pane(s) have their font non-destructively overriden to font choices made ON THAT LOCAL MACHINE not based on the font settings in the project.

Mind you, I want full font control when I’m working at the final edit and typesetting stage, but when I’m just banging away at a boney first draft it can be a distraction. And sadly my creative process is vunerabl… OOOO SQUIRREL!!!

If you have made it this far down, thank you.

Perhaps an example would be of value:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Imagine if the three example text pharagraphs above were separate scenes created and written on different computers and you go to start a fourth scene. See how it could be be distracting when you go back to review where you were?

Actually it can be fixed. Set the same default font on all three platforms. Then normalize existing text to that font.

True, that approach is “destructive” in that it changes the underlying text, but it’s an approach that’s already possible.

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Georgia is a nice looking font (one of my faves, actually) that is available as standard on Windows, MacOS and iOS. Make Georgia your default font as per Kewms’ suggestion and you’ll have no issues.

Then use the normal Scrivener compile process to change fonts to whatever you need them to be when you’re at that stage.

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Thank you for that tip. I haven’t see how to do that on iPadOS, then again, there are settings and commands on the iPad version that hide really well. Now that I go looking, I’m not finding a “normalize” anything when searching on the Windows version, could this command be called something else?

It also doesn’t really help my specific situation because in several of my ongoing projects I intentionally use monospaced fonts for code blocks or emails. This is part of why I was hoping for a non-destructive solution. In this case the cure is more destructive than doing nothing.

It doesn’t help that I know that I could make better use of the formating presets, but I don’t fully understand them, and would rather use my few spoons to actually get some writing done and spend all day tweaking settings.

Okay, after looking I think I finally found the tool @kewms referenced, but it is not working as I might expect and it is generating a lot of needless work. I must run the tool on every scene, and it does not work recursively down the tree.

Documents → Convert → Text to Default Formatting

Going through EVERY SCENE that has text to run this tool is not any different than going to every scene Ctrl-A then using the drop down to select a font and size.

Are we sure there isn’t an easier way to make this work?

On the Mac, load all the scenes you want to change into a single Scrivenings session, then convert. (Note that the command will have no affect on scenes that are already using the default formatting, so you don’t need to exclude them from the selection.)

If you are unsure of how to use the tool for resetting formatting, please refer to this thread, which already goes over this, and has a link to the FAQ page on how to do it.

On neither the Mac nor PC is there a need to plod through one by one to change your font settings. Most of the commands in the Documents menu are bulk commands. If you have any further questions on this, it’s best to post them there. No sense in having two different conversations about the exact same thing.


These are styled though, right? That’s no problem if so, this command is smart enough to not only only reformat text with no style, but it will also update any out of date styled text to match the central designed look.

If it isn’t styled, then it really should be. Raw formatting like that is, in my opinion, of no use save for setting up styles. I recently wrote a how-to on getting your text marked correctly for its purpose. Note these instructions are for Windows, which has weaknesses where it comes to editing Scrivenings text. If you’re using a Mac you could probably convert all of your email formatted text to a style in one single move, provided they are all formatted the same.


Finally, as to the feature request: it is unlikely that something like that will be provided in Scrivener, given that it works somewhat at odds with its primary mode of usage, and what people expect of it. There isn’t a way to dynamically display the text using formatting it doesn’t have, in other words, meaning it would have to be physically changed—using processes similar to the above. It’s one thing to tell someone how to use the tools we provide, as a deliberate decision they make and oversee, and it’s quite another to just do that without any request to do it, merely because you used a PC that day. As you said yourself, that would be destructive in cases where one doesn’t have a properly styled document.

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