Fonts and formatting lost on compile to EPub and Mobi

I’m a long time Scrivener 1 user and I just can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong in Scrivener 3 on compile. I have the first letter in each chapter in a different font and a bigger size. When I compile to epub and mobi, the formatting is removed and everything is the same size.

The same happens with my title page, which is a large font size. It’s reformatted to the regular font size.

If I compile to Word, the formatting is all correct (the sizes are how they’re meant to be). It’s only epub and mobi that don’t work.

The formatting for the section is set to “Text and notes use editor formatting”. Which I thought would make it compile the same as it appears in my editor, but it doesn’t.

Any help would be much appreciated. I’ve been trying for two hours with no success. It’s not fun when the compile itself takes over a minute to run, only to find it’s still not working.

Is the font you want available to the ePub reader?

Scrivener is not able to embed fonts for copyright reasons. If you attempt to specify a font that the ePub reader doesn’t have, it will default to whatever it thinks is the closest alternative.

Thanks for the reply!

I don’t understand why that would affect the font size. It also used to work fine on Scrivener 1.

Yes, by default, formatting will be cleaned up to avoid scenarios where half your book is slightly larger than the rest, because you changed your mind about writing fonts halfway through. It cannot and does not distinguish between that any intentional changes to font size you make. You can of course create section types for special sections (like the title page) and assign those to “as-is”, to avoid any adjustments made to it.

Disclaimer: the following doesn’t actually work yet. On the matter of the first letter though, there is a better and dedicated way of doing what you are describing, rather than simply boosting the font size of the first letter in the text editor, which is described in this post. There is an example project with some starter CSS to give you an idea of what can be done (much better than just making a huge letter that towers over the paragraph, you can make actual drop-caps).

Of particularly interest for the title page: that post also describes a style-based approach which I would recommend using over font size changes in the editor (particularly for the title page). While in theory that should work with the “Text and notes use editor formatting”, it doesn’t on account of bugs with that setting.

Hi Amber. Thanks for your reply, but I’m completely overwhelmed. I think I’m just going to downgrade back to Scrivener 1, because Scrivener 3 is way, way too complicated for me.

All I want to do is write my book and then compile it with the fonts left alone, which Scrivener 1 did perfectly. Since Scrivener 3 seems to require 100 steps to do the same thing, I think I’ll just have to go back to the way it was.

Just as some background, I’m a frontend developer, so CSS/using programs isn’t the problem. It’s just that version 3 is trying to use a piledriver to knock in a nail for me.

Thanks for trying to help!

Well, to be clear this isn’t really a matter of the software being more complicated, but fundamentally broken in the arena of passing through all relevant formatting as it should. You would have to go out of your way to get around the fact that the “basic approach” doesn’t work right, in other words. There are issues in the other direction as well—where the software is designed to produce super clean HTML so that your CSS can have full effect, it doesn’t (and of course that was something you could never do in v1 at all, you had to use quasi-WYSIWYG to get anything useful out of it).

In other words: maybe give it another shot in six months or so, once they’ve had a chance to clear some more bugs.

That said I’m unsure as to what takes 100 steps, when the work-around is:

  1. Select the text you want different.
  2. Use Format/Style/New Style from Selection.
  3. Call it “Dropcap Letter”, optionally making it a font size saving character style.

Result (with some basic CSS to demonstrate added, as opposed to just boosting the font size):

Do likewise for anything else odd, like the title page elements.

Thanks, Amber, but the three steps you showed didn’t work when I tried. As you say, I’ll try again in six months and see if it’s better.

As a developer, it has a strong smell of feature-creep to me. The new Scrivener is much more complicated than the old one and less intuitive (to me, at least). The old Scrivener was, as you say, WYSISWG, which was perfect for me at least :slight_smile:

Thanks again for your help!

Different strokes for different folks, I’d say. I find WYSIWYG to be utterly an maddening and over-complicated way of working that lacks any underlying fundamental logic (just making fonts bigger, why? What does that mean?). Give me Markdown with a fully semantic text output, Ruby and a bunch of tools to build a workflow that I can set up to punch a single button on, any day of the week over all those fiddly sliders and having to format everything by hand. :wink:


As you say, different strokes for different folks. Just to end on a positive note, I’ve been a very happy user of Scrivener 1 for a decade now. Thanks for a great product and thanks again for your help!

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