formatting various paragraphs in output

My question might be stemming from a misunderstanding as to what scrivener does on my end.

In my understanding scrivener provides (besides all the other awesome things it does) a way of writing longer documents without caring about formatting since this is done in the end when the whole thing is compiled.

Now, If I have three different paragraphs (for example a quote in the beginning of the text which I want in Italics and possibly aligned to the right), my normal text, and block quotes (which should be indent, smaller line spacing, smaller font size), how can I formate those in three different ways upon compiling the whole document? I know about levels, preserve styling, and am in general pretty familiar with compiling (I think) — and to me it feels like the answer should be pretty easy (is it related to presets for example, i.e. can I define different styles for different presets upon compiling)? Any ideas/help? Thanks!

Someone else may post with a more detailed answer, but the simplest method that I have found is to compile to a Word document and then search for each kind of formatting and replace with an equivalent Word Style (which you can then tweak to heart’s content).

Hi nom,

thanks for your answer. I am aware of the possibility to reformat after the fact in word. However, this is what I was trying to avoid. I am looking for a way to do this in Scrivener itself…

Simple question, but I need to ask: why? Scrivener is designed for writing, not formatting, so once it gets to the stage where formatting is more important than writing isn’t it time to use a new tool? As you said in your original post

Since you went to talk about presets for compile, I naturally assumed this was the step you were asking about. Hence it seems I am missing something crucial in your question… :blush:

There are ways to use levels and the various “types” of document (folder, document, document stack) in combination to create alternate formatting based on level & type, but it requires that your structure is consistent. It also requires that you split your documents up to create those levels. For instance, if you put your quotes in the text of a folder (folders can have text just like other documents can), and then set the formatting for folder text to be right-aligned and what-have-you. The main text would be contained in the body of a document, which would be a child of the folder. Finally, you could put block quotes in their own documents, and stack them onto the main text documents; this means that your main text would be formatted by two compile settings: level 2"document stacks" and level 2 documents, where there are no block quotes to stack on them. The level 3+ documents would be your block quotes.

As you can see, it’s complicated, and you have to stick to a particular heirarchy, but it can be done if your organization is simple and can be manipulated to give you the output you want. Otherwise, you’ll want to do your formatting once you are done composing in Scrivener.

This raises quite an interesting point. I’d always seen Scrivener as a tool for (a) planning and (b) writing up to the point at which I would no longer need to flick back-and-forth between sections (nor, much more rarely for me, move them). Last time, once I was into the final 40k-ish of a 110k novel, I switched to Word.

However, I’m now thinking I will remain in Scrivener all the way through this one (especially if the iPad version is out within a few months). And I see there is talk in another thread of a way to allow edits to be imported back into Scrivener so that it, rather than Word, becomes the real home of the document and Word merely a temporary way to allow others to read it and the final output. With this thinking in mind, being able to do all the formatting within Scrivener makes much more sense to me.

I’m assuming the main problem is that you’re compiling a document to several different formats, and you want the particulars of the formatting for certain elements to differ slightly, to be more appropriate to that output? For example, maybe green text with a background colour for a block quote on a web page, but a more traditional block indent approach for PDF? If so, then there really isn’t much you can do along those lines right now.

Scrivener kind of assumes that special formatting features like block quotes are going to be fundamentally similar no matter what your compile target is (because fortunately, in most cases they are). You might explore the available overrides in the Formatting compile pane. Click on the “Options” button, and take a look at the bottom half. That lets you selectively choose just how much Preserve Formatting actually does. You might find a way to do fine-tune the results to your liking on a per format basis.

Robert’s idea to use the outliner to style special cases does work, though it can mean handling some separations by hand (like breaks between files) rather than automatically via the Separators pane. If you’re already used to using Scrivenings mode most of the time, it might not be too difficult to get used to. I do use this method myself for some things (slightly different problems, as I have a good solution for special paragraphs, but that’s using the MultiMarkdown engine), and I’ve never felt it to be awkward to work around.