Footer placement in PDF compile

I’m having an issue with the position of the page numbers when I compile in PDF format. They seem to sit quite high on the page (within the footer) but when I adjust the lower page margin the text then just sits over the top of the page number. I’m wondering if there is a way to adjust the position of the footer text within the footer - i.e. I’d like to make it sit lower if possible so that I can reduce the lower page margin without the two clashing. I hope that makes sense…


Hello LibbyC

It is possible to enter carriage returns in footers (or headers). If you add a carriage return before the page number in the footer, it will nudge the number down.

ALT ENTER to enter a carriage return in a footer or header.

The position of headers and footers is calculated by placing them halfway between the start of the margin (that is, where the text ends) and the edge of the printable area of the page. The printable area of the page may not always be the same as the edge of the page, which means that headers and footers can sometimes be closer to the text than you might want. The printable area is determined by the printer (PDFs on the Mac are generated by using the print engine, which uses printer settings). So when you see this sort of thing, it’s because your printer is telling Scrivener that it cannot print on quite a large area around the edge of the page, so Scrivener moves the header and footer in.

You can override the printer settings as follows:

  1. Open up Page Setup. If you have “Use project page settings” ticked in the Page Settings of Compile, then you call up Page Setup by going to File > Page Setup; otherwise click on the button in the “Page Settings” pane of Compile.

  2. In the Page Setup pane, choose the size of paper you want to use, and make a note of its dimensions (when you select a paper size, its dimensions are shown beneath the paper size pop-up, e.g. “210mm x 297mm” for A4).

  3. Then, from the paper size chooser, select “Manage Custom Sizes…” from the bottom of the menu.

  4. Click the “+” button to add a new custom paper size and name it something easy to recognise (e.g. “A4 (No Margin Limits)”).

  5. In the box that appears, in the “Dimensions” text fields at the top, enter the dimensions you noted down in step (2).

  6. Then, for “Non-Printable Area”, select “User-Defined” (this is the part that your printer is causing problems with).

  7. Set each of the non-printable values for top, bottom, left and right to something sensible - a couple of millimetres, or even just set them all to 0.

  8. Click “OK” to save your custom paper size.

You can then choose this custom paper-size for generating your PDFs. You only need to do this once for each paper size you want to use - once you have set up a custom paper size, it will be available to all projects (and, in fact, across all applications, since this is just a feature of the way Mac apps generate print-outs and PDFs, and it is an OS X feature, not a Scrivener one).

Hope that helps.

All the best,

Hi Keith

That’s done the trick. Thanks so much for your help and clear instructions :smiley:


Thanks KB, that did the trick for me, too! Though I should note that it did not work with 0 as a value for the Non-Printable Areas, I had to move it to just slightly above that (0.1 in) for it to work properly.


Hi, Keith

I have been trying to use your instructions in S3 to move the footer in a PDF up by a couple of millimetres (so that the footer sits a little bit further away from the bottom of the page).

Irrespective of the values set in the non-printable area, the footer doesn’t appear to move.

Any tips?

I’m having the same issue. Adjusting the printable area has no effect on the placement of the header or footer. Upgraded to Scrivener 3 in hopes this issue would be resolved. Has anyone found a work-around?

If you want to change the position of the page number (or any kind of footer text), in a pdf compile :
you can do so in Compile/ Formatting / footer :

– Add a blank line on top of the page number, by typing ALT ENTER before <$p>.
This will shift the page number one line down.

– Add a blank line after the page number (by typing ALT ENTER after <$p>)
This will shift the page number one line up.

There’s no such thing as Compile/Formatting/Footer, so I’m confused. What do you really mean?

Sorry, this workaround is for Scrivener 2 - don’t know if there something similar is possible in S3.