Help to set up compile formats and styles properly

I have recently been trying to compile to PDF in two formats:
A4 - 1.5 spaced font size 12 for submission to editors
A5 - 1.1 spaced font size 9 for printing/binding

I am finding this very difficult to achieve. I originally had my main text as ‘no style’, and then overrode all formatting at the compile stage for the A4 output, using the Section Layouts - Section Text settings to force font size 12 and 1.5 spacing.

However, having done this, I then found a page in the novel I had forgotten about, with a paragraph that should have been centred, and of course, this paragraph was now not centred, but left aligned.

Whilst trying to fix this, I switched off ‘override formatting’, changed the paragraph back to centred in the editor window, and compiled again. this worked… but then when I go to my A5 format, and output to that, of course on the smaller pages my size 12 font from the editor window and 1.5 spacing is ludicrously big and runs to 600 pages or something. Not what I want.

Can anyone walk me through how to clean up my styles, use the correct styles for my texts, and set my compile settings so that my A5 format uses an appropriate size/spacing, and my A4 format uses an appropriate size/spacing, so that I never have to mess with them again and just pull the trigger every time I want a new output.

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As I see it, you were right when you set compile to override all formatting.

What perhaps you didn’t realise is that “formatting” ≠ “styles”. So if you create a “centred” paragraph style, setting it to “Save Paragraph Style” and turning off “Include Font Family” and “Include Font Size” (unless you want your centred paragraphs to be in a different font or size, but as you say you need to compile to two different formats, I think you need only the ruler setting for the paragraphs in question), and give any such paragraphs that style, Compile will not override it.

HTH :slight_smile:

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I agree with the above entirely, that proper styles are the best way to handle unusual text formatting, and that trying to go to two very different outputs without tuning the formatting for each is going to be very difficult.

In fact there is even a stock default style that does exactly what you want (if very generically named), “Centered Text”. That’s probably all you need to use to go back to using your original override settings for each of the A4 and A5 compile Formats.

Styles are not only a way of giving your formatting useful meanings, but they are designed to work with the notion of overridden formatting when compiling. Not only will they carry over the settings you apply to them in the project, but for cases where you need different settings per Format, you can also add a style of the same name to the Styles pane in the compile Format Designer window, and change how it looks for A5 specifically, leaving A4 the way the project works—or add a rule there and change how they both look. For this that wouldn’t be necessary, but for things like block quotes that have an indent—it might look better a bit larger on A4 and a bit narrower on A5—it can be good to know that having a style on the text means you can optionally change how that text looks when it compiles.

Thankyou both. I didn’t understand all of what you both said but I’ve used the tried and tested ‘fiddle’ method and made some progress. I have separated out all my different Section Types and given them a discrete ‘Section Layout’ which I renamed accordingly. Before, I had some section types sharing a section layout and trying to make do but I’ve realised I wanted more control.

I have all my main text as a paragraph style ‘text’. I have any centred paragraphs (like the one mentioned earlier) and other sections like the epigraph, using ‘centred text’. I have now realised that the ‘Overwrite formatting’ doesn’t overwrite everything but allows you to make sweeping changes whilst keeping styles in place. I never found the settings on how to choose which parts of a style are retained, but I did manage to go into each compile format and edit the style ‘text’ to give me discrete line spacings and font sizings for each format, so whether A5 or A4 it now looks much better.

I don’t think I have done everything right or fully understand how I’ve got everything set up but for now… it’s working. Thanks.

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Ah yes, if you do apply a style to every body paragraph, then you often will need to do a little extra work in the compiler—for the very reasons I outlined above: by default Scrivener assumes that when you style something, you very much want it to look the way you set up the style. Maybe you allow the font family to change, but not the indents or the spacing.

The override function explicitly works on text that isn’t styled. It may make some changes to styled text (like the aforementioned font family), but overall you’ll have less control with that particular tool.

For your case, to truly change the whole look you would need to add a “Text” paragraph style entry to your Styles pane in the Format Designer, and implement the 9pt 1.1 line-height look with that, rather than the settings in Section Layout.

It’s worth knowing, that if you prefer how you work you can, but it is often easier to leave most text with “no style”, and let the Section Layout take over the whole presentation.

That might explain some of the resistance you’ve felt thus far.