hierarchical section labels with letters, Roman, etc.

Hi. I use Scrivener to write scientific journal articles, and my articles have to follow the publisher’s system for numbering sections, sub-sections, etc. Scrivener’s compile-time options for formatting a folder’s title, including a suffix with an auto-numbering tag, etc. are absolutely brilliant and perfect… with one small but killer problem. For basically every journal, subsection numbering needs to restart within each section. Scrivener’s <$hn> tag does this absolutely right. However, the publisher’s don’t want decimal numbers like “1” and “1.1”; they typically want Roman numerals for the sections (I, II, IX), capital letters for the subsections (starting at A within each section), and so on. Or that kind of thing. As far as I can tell, Scrivener provides no way for me to automatically restart the numbering of sub-sections within an enclosing section unless I use dotted-decimal “1.3.2” style numbering with the <$hn> tag. (I can’t use the <$rst> tag with automatic section titles and their prefixes.)

Unless I’m missing something, I hereby formally request a way to automatically restart any kind of section numbering counter within enclosing containers, and/or a way to specify whether <$hn> labels will be rendered as numbers, letters, Roman or etc.



Have you looked at the Placeholder Tags List? It’s under the Help menu on a Mac.


Yes, I’ve looked like the placeholder tags list, though it’s entirely possible I’m overlooking a solution. (It wouldn’t be the first time…) I see ways to get auto-incrementing Roman numerals or letters; a way to manually reset any particular auto-incrementing series; and a way to get hierarchical numbers in the “2.1.3” format; but no way to get any other format of number that automatically resets itself in relation to its place in the hierarchy. So close, but not quite!

This is something that I’d deal with in a word-processor after compiling. I’d open the compiled text in a word-processor (in my case, as a Mac user, that’s Nisus Writer Pro, but Word would do it) and then use style sheets and search and replace to set the various section/sub-section/sub-sub-section/etc. headings as I wanted them, or as required by the publisher.

I always open my compiled texts in NWP anyway, to check them before I send them out or print them, so doing that … particularly as in NWP it would be possible to Macroise the process … would be a simple matter.


For the final submitted manuscript, that’s fine. But I often shop drafts around to various people for feedback, and having to re-do the format-in-an-external-word-processor bit every time is a real pain.

Besides, I’ve found that I generally have to go through and individually apply a heading style to each heading in my word processor. If there’s an easy way to automate that, I haven’t discovered it.

It’s some time since I did it, but if your Scrivener heading levels are all distinct (i.e. have unique combinations of formats), then you can use Word’s Find facility to search for each distinct format and replace it with a specific style. If you don’t have distinct formats, then you can add a code at the beginning of each heading level (in Scrivener Compile) and search for that instead, then removing the codes automatically as well, of course.

This works well enough and takes out most of the donkey work.