Formatting Troubles

Hello, I’m super new to using Scrivener and I’m a complete failure at all things technical. Even with the helpful intro that the program has my brain is completely and overwhelmingly overloaded by this program. I have the folders on the side figure out (sort of) but the actual formatting of the screen is driving me insane.
I’ve been writing in word for years, so the screen of this seems SUPER wide - is that normal or do I (can I?) set margins or something like that?
I also can’t figure out how to sent the indent. I’m using the tab key but that seems like a double indent.
And then every time I try to compile it changes the text from Times to something else, even though I thought I had changed the directions in the compile settings.

I’m very lost. I’m sure these are really silly problems to be having but I’d really appreciate any help!!
Thanks so much!!!

Hi, Lily,

I’m surprised you haven’t gotten any replies.

The key to understanding your problems is to realize that Scrivener has one way of displaying your text while you are editing, and another, based on formatting rules you set, for creating your final result.

To make your editing window narrower, make the binder and inspector panes wider. You can also have your window not maximized, and set the width of the window. Finally, if you choose View/Enter Full Screen, there is a control for the width of the window.

As for the indents, you don’t want/need to use the tab key. You can select all the text and choose Format/Text/Spacing to set the indents. The dialog that appears will be labelled “Line Spacing” but that’s not correct. It really is paragraph formatting. If you set the first-line indent, it will affect the indentation of the first line.

The compile settings take some getting used to. I still feel uncomfortable working with them.

I recommend finding a third-party book about learning Scrivener. I wish I’d done that. Perhaps someone will have a suggestion. I hope you haven’t given up, because once you get over the initial hurdle, you’ll love it.

Good luck.

To add to Al’s good advice, you can set defaults for newly-created files that will give you the left indentation, line-spacing, fonts, tab settings, etc., that you desire to have in every document. Go to the Tools menu, then Options. Then select Editor. You’ll see a kind of small sample “page” with some text (a quote from Nietzsche) highlighted. The controls above that area for font, line spacing, etc. (including the ruler for left indentation) are pretty easy to use, as are the other options in this dialog. Click OK when you’re done.

Again, those settings apply only to new files. To apply them to existing text (this is also handy when pasting in text from elsewhere), go to the Documents menu, then select Convert, then Formatting to Default Text Style.

The reason there is no right indent (so that the page seems extra wide) is that in Scrivener you’re really nor formatting much, just writing, letting the words pour forth (or be extracted like teeth, depending on how it’s going that day :confused: ). You create paragraphs, and they have enough formatting (left indent for first and subsequent lines, bullets, etc.) to keep them organized, but you’re not really doing page layout.

I hope that’s some help. Welcome to Scrivener! These are the kinds of questions that lots of new users have, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Thanks so much for the help!! I think I have things figured out now. (Or at least well enough to use it without driving myself nuts.)