How to adjust text formats within the Project Format > Styles pane

As I review my not-quite-first-draft for inconsistencies, I’ve noticed a distinction between 2 entries in my Project Format > Styles pane. It may amount to a distinction without a difference, but I’d like to eliminate the distinction if possible, while I learn a bit more about Scrivener.

The following image is a screen shot of how the text in the Project Format > Styles pane for the ‘Enumerated List [ 􏱕􏱕􏱕⓵, ⓶ … ]Style appears:

The next screen image shows how the text in the Project Format > Styles pane for the ‘Enumerated List [ 􏱕􏱕􏱕⓵, ⓶ … WBR]Style appears … which differs from the Project Format > Styles pane text for the ‘Enumerated List [ 􏱕􏱕􏱕⓵, ⓶ … ]Style shown above:

Clicking directly on the text in the Styles pane appears to do nothing!

Any and all thoughts on how to make the Project Format > Styles text the same for both Styles would be appreciated.


P.S. I’ve forgotten how to underline text in these postings … something like [u] and [\u] before and after the appropriate text to be underlined. Help!

The sample text is not directly manipulable. To adjust its look you use the controls above the sample text. Does that help?

Don’t know about the substantive part of your post, but you were nearly there with the underline code :grinning:

It’s [u]underline[/u] for underline— it’s a front slash, not a backslash in the final tag.



Don’t know about the substantive part of your post, but you were nearly there with the underline code :grinning:

It’s [u]underline[/u] for underline— it’s a front slash, not a backslash in the final tag.


Hi brookter,


Early Alzheimer’s seems to be taking it’s toll … Thank you!


1 Like

Hi gr,

Thank you for responding …

For some reason, the controls above the Project Format > Styles text don’t seem to have an effect on the text.

What I am actually looking for is to control how the text appears after compiling to a PDF. I can accept how the Project Format > Styles text appears, but would like to adjust how the ‘sample text’ appears in an attempt to control the text as it appears in the compiled PDF.

I’d like to detail further what is happening, but I’ll need more time to describe what I am seeing.

More to follow …

Thanks again for your response,

Seems to me your screenshots are clear enough. It’s a matter of the ruler. Look at the relative positions of the “T-bar” (first line indent/outdent) and “Downward-facing-triangle” (paragraph margin). Can you not simply drag them in the second style to replicate their positions in the first?


Okay, maybe I am missing something here, but in your screenshots you are not editing your compile format for PDF output. You are editing compile settings for LaTeX (.tex).

Hi gr and xiamenese,

Thank you for your responses. Apologies for not getting back sooner as I tried to think through how to reframe my question.

I realize now after almost 2 years of very profitable writing using Scrivener, I’ve come to realize how much I still need to learn. My project is based on the ‘General Non-Fiction (LaTeX)’ template.

At the moment, the area that I am having trouble with is Styles on the Project Format > Styles pane that I detailed in my prior postings. I have created several dozen Paragraph and Character Styles that are enormously useful (See screen shots below), but I find that adjusting the color and format of the Styles is a bit tricky.

Specifically I am having difficulty controlling the appearance of a given Style when that Style is applied to text in the Scrivener document. So far that control, particularly with colors and Styles formatting, is eluding me.

Perhaps what I need to do is start by reviewing the Scrivener manual, something I have may not have done in sufficient detail so far. I’ve already skimmed sections ‘15.6 Styles and Stylesheets’ - ‘15.6.4 Working with Styled Text’. I did not see where in those sections the manual addresses how to control the colors and format of the Styled text when applied to the Scrivener document, but I could have missed the relevant section(s).

Any suggestions to point me to the appropriate section of the manual to review on how to control color and Styles formatting would be appreciated. Links to a Scrivener tutorial or to external sites that may address the issue would also be most welcome.


Okay, so you are indeed meaning to compile for LaTeX. But then the “look” of the sample paragraphs in those previews is just irrelevant, isn’t it? The look your styled paragraphs will have is going to be controlled by the LaTeX code as specified by the prefix/suffix fields (as shown in your original post).

Am I still missing the point?

Hi gr,

I’m beginning to realize just how narrow the scope of my Scrivener/Latex project may be, and just how far afield my project has taken me. Allow me a few more screen shots to explain.

As shown in the screen shots of my Paragraph and Character Styles in my last posting (above), I have created a few dozen Styles of my own, following the few samples provided in the General Non-Fiction (LaTeX) starter template (which I could not have created on my own).

As a result of having so many of my own Styles that I use incessantly, my pre-compiled Scrivener document can get a bit crowded and chaotic, as shown in the screen shot below:

For reference, the approximate corresponding compiled Scrivener text is included below:

Each of the many highlighted texts in the pre-compiled text above represents a number of different Paragraph and Character Styles that I have used to control what my compiled Scrivener text will say and look like. As you can see above, the highlighted pre-compiled text can get a bit confusing when I use so many Styles. A bit of a mess!

Add to this confusion is my intention to create additional new Paragraph and Character Styles (with the appropriate LaTeX code), particularly when I need to use multiple Paragraph and Character Styles simultaneously, making my pre-compiled Scrivener document ever more confusing.

In an attempt to somehow standardize the highlighting that is used for the Paragraph and Character Styles that I created, I was intending to try and update what text and highlighting colors are used for each Style.

When I started creating my own Styles, the checkbox “Draw highlight box around text” and color wheel was sufficient to create enough unique highlight colors to alert me to what Style I had applied to each piece of text. Not any more.


So I started on this quest to determine how to refine my selection of text and highlighting colors, but I’m having a bit of trouble. The toggle buttons for text color and highlighting on the Project Format > Styles pane

are both greyed out and therefore not available, and the color wheel for the checkbox “Draw highlight box around text” (shown above) does not seem to be working as I might expect.

I seem to be stuck with whatever haphazard text and highlighting colors I can somehow succeed in creating without any real control of how my pre-compiled text will appear in my Scrivener document.

Please note that there is a good chance I am missing something that is staring straight at me.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again for your comments,

Okay, I think I am understanding better what you are up to.

So, it seems to me you are looking in the wrong place to try to gain the control you want. You are just trying to set/change the look your styles have in the Editor pane in Scrivener. Your Compile Format does not control that, so editing your Compile Format settings is the wrong thing.

You change the in-Scrivener look of a paragraph style by just altering any paragraph with the style right in the Editor pane and then using Format > Style > Redefine Style From Selection. Ditto for character styles. And similar for creating brand new styles.

Do I understand enough now about what you are doing to express an opinion about your overall strategy? Maybe not, but when did that ever stop me before??!

It does seems to me that you may be creating unnecessary headaches for yourself by relying so heavily on styles. You are using styles to shorthand LaTeX code, but LaTeX itself is a genius at giving you ways to shorthand code, and I think you should be leveraging that in some instances where you are relying on styles. I can see how using a Scriv style to shorthand code might be nice if the style in Scriv showed you an approx of the look of the final output (inset text for example), but beyond that, LaTeX’s built-in shorthanding facility is generally going to be a superior shorthander – and will keep your typescript text cleaner and more legible. With suitable \newcommand{_}'s in your LaTeX preamble, you could avoid the increasingly busy use of visual-style encoding that your are currently pursuing.

Hi gr,

Thank you for your thoughts and suggestions.

Your points are well made and I appreciate the feedback. I am far from being an experienced Scrivener and LaTeX coder, and I can use ALL the suggestions anyone has of my writing and coding style.

I don’t have anywhere near a count, (and could be far off base on this) but I get the feeling that there are fewer Scrivener writers that code with LaTeX than I would have thought.

When I code with LaTeX, there is a constant tension at the Scrivener / LaTeX code boundary as to how much to code in Scrivener versus LaTeX.

As an example of how often my coding is on the LaTeX side of that boundary, I’ve run a count in my LaTeX code of the number of times I have used \newcommand and \renewcommand, as well as the related \newrobustcmd and \renewrobustcmd LaTeX commands. The following is an approximate count of the instances of all four commands in my compiled code that have not been commented out:

Instance Count
\newcommand = 54
\renewcommand = 60
\newrobustcmd = 100
\renewrobustcmd = 0

So there are a bit more than 200 instances where I’ve used \newcommand and it’s ilk in my code, with each LaTeX command likely used hundreds (and a few possibly thousands) of times through my 11,000+ lines of Scrivener code when compiled.

Looking back at how and when I have employed Scrivener Styles to augment my LaTeX coding, I’ve generally created a Scrivener Style whenever:

1) the particular function is not available in Scrivener and I use the function often enough that a Style pull-down selection can greatly de-clutter and speed my review and re-writing within Scrivener. Complex LaTeX code can sometimes overwhelm a clear reading of my pre-compiled writing in the Scrivener document.

An example is with my \myuline{} LaTeX code which is a special underline function that avoids underlining letters that dip below where the underline would normally appear:

Notice the extra underline spacing beneath the letters ‘g’, and ‘p’.

(Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe the native Scrivener underline function has this feature. I’ve used the \myuline{} Styles feature over 400 times throughout my code.)

I’ve also created a Scrivener Styles whenever:

2) I need to apply multiple Character Styles on a section of text such as when I need to have text linked to a Glossary item and Indexed. This of course can also be accomplished using LaTeX coding, but also has the tendency to overwhelm a clear reading of my pre-compiled writing in the Scrivener document, in addition to requiring that I remember the exact LaTeX command code.

But all this is relatively minor to the outstanding features that are available in Paragraph and Character Styles. Scrivener is in effect a pre-compiler application that brings the clarity of post-compiled text to the pre-compiled Scrivener documents.

The question is whether I should abandon these Style features due to my difficulty with colors and highlighting of text.

Realizing that I may have misunderstood the color tools that are available, I again looked at the color and highlighting text tools using the Format▸Style▸RedefineStyleFromSelection▸ option. What I found is what appears to be, at first blush, an inconsistency in how the color wheel functions as it applies to the ‘Toggle highlighting’ function. Hovering over the ‘Toggle highlighting’ button states:

‘Toggle highlighting. (Click and hold or ctrl-click to change the highlighted color.)’

Control-clicking on the ‘Toggle highlighting’ button then brings up the color pallet with access to the color wheel via ‘Show Colors…’:


Clicking on ‘Show Colors…’ button then brings up the color wheel:

Here is where things get confusing.

Prior to opening up the color wheel, I highlighted the text “fourth factor” on the left that was highlighted YELLOW, as can be seen by the highlighted text “third factor” directly above. In the above color wheel, however, the color that appears highlighted is BLUE, not the highlighting color YELLOW.

Although I carefully selected the ‘Toggle highlighting’ button above, the color indicated in the color wheel immediately following my clicking on the ‘Toggle highlighting’ button is BLUE, not the true highlighting color YELLOW.

So despite my Control-clicking on the ‘Toggle highlighting’ button, then clicking on the ‘Show Colors…’ button, the color wheel shows the BLUE text color instead of the YELLOW highlight color.

The ‘Toggle highlighting’ button appears to behave no different than the ‘Toggle the text color’ button shown below:

This is the confusing behavior I have mentioned earlier that I experienced when I attempted to change the highlighting color for the Styles I created.

Please note that this behavior appears not to be limited to when attempting to reformat a Styles object. The behavior appears whenever I attempted to adjust the shading for ANY text, not just a Styles text.

I don’t see this specific issue addressed anywhere in the Scrivener manual.

What am I missing? What am I doing wrong?


Not at my machine, but as it seems to me, neither the highlight palette nor the color wheel report the currently selected color. They are no more that tools to assign colors.

For this reason I have defined a custom set of Scrivener-specific colors in the color Swatch area, so I can easily retrieve those choices.

FWIW, you can retrieve highlight colors from existing highlights using the eyedropper tool of the palette.

Hi gr,

Thank you for your response.

If I understand what you are saying, I can understand that the highlight palette does not report the currently selected highlighting color (it never did for me and I’m not sure exactly how it would), but I’d expect the color wheel would report the currently selected highlighting color via the position of the crosshairs. It does not.

Oddly enough, when the color wheel is open, if I click on the ‘Image Palettes’, things get even stranger:

On the ABOVE image of the color wheel, the crosshairs are clearly on the BLUE color.

However, if I click on the ‘Image Palettes’ (forth button from the left of the color wheel button) as shown in the image BELOW without touching or changing anything else, the ‘Image Palettes’ crosshairs are clearly on the YELLOW color, while the color box in the lower-left corner of the color wheel panel still appears BLUE. Strange!

If I move the crosshairs on the YELLOW color in the above image ever so slightly, the color box in the lower-left corner of the color wheel panel changes from BLUE to YELLOW!

All is not lost!

Now, if I click on the ‘Color Sliders’ (second button from the left of the color wheel button) as shown above:

Then select ‘CMYK Sliders’, I can adjust the sliders to get pure YELLOW at 21%:

If I then click away from the text fourth factor that I had selected earlier, I can see that I have successfully highlighted the text fourth factor in perfect YELLOW.

If I then re-highlight the text fourth factor, I can use the Format▸Style▸RedefineStyleFromSelection▸ option to reset the format for that Style to BLUE text with YELLOW highlighting!


The question is: Is this behavior a bug or a feature?
If it is a bug, has this been reported?
If it’s a feature, is this behavior explained in the Scrivener manual?


Thanks for reading! (Apologies that this has all been so long-winded.)