[How to assign Section Layouts] Compile Woes (was, "Oh, if only there was a checklist")

I’m trying to compile. Different chapters have different fonts, the project default was Courier New 12 point. Thought I could fix this in Compile, but here’s the compile screen:

The middle column (titled “Section Layouts”) has options for Chapter and Section headings. How do you choose a particular option? If you edit the option, does this select it?

Every time I turn to Compile in v.3.0 I’m lost. I really wish there was a checklist. A recipe. A step by step guide.

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Another question: this graphic-light, text-heavy book gets on the post-compile epub scale at more than 19 MB. The Word version is only 8 mb. How can I find what is causing the bloat?

Yet another: fixing fonts for, say an epub, doesn’t carry over to a pdf. Is there a way to present having to start from scratch for each format?

I give up. There has to be a way to accomplish these mundane tasks in Scrivener. I’m a longtime user and can’t figure compile out. My solution is: compile to Word, drag the file into Mellel, apply the fixes and export to epub/pdf. The problem is that I have to manually set up the titles/sections for an 800 page document.

  1. The button at the bottom of the middle column (not pictured in your snap) opens a dialogue for assigning your documents’ Section Types to your desired Section Layouts (pictured there).

  2. The Compile dialogue itself has (at the top of the column) a handy font override pop-up menu to impose a font overall (as opposed to specifying this in more granular fashion by editing your chosen compile).

The problem is that in Scrivener-speak, these are not “Sections.” I’m trying to figure out what they are.
Sections are elements of a document, correct? So in LaTeX you have:

and even
\paragraph? (sometimes you need it)

In Markdown, this would be:

# Title
## Part
### Chapter
#### Section
##### Subsection
###### Subsubsection

It seems a waste to use the # command just once
in a project, since it will only have one title.

What is the Scrivener equivalent, and
how do I identify these (assign “Section” layouts).

A “section” in Scrivener speak is just a Binder item. It is a little like saying “chunk”. Your manuscript is broken into chunks – your docs are broken out chunks of text. Think of each doc in the Binder as a “text section” of your whole manuscript. (Technically, though you probably use folder just for organization, these are themselves “sections”, too.)

As for your LaTeX items, if you are looking for a special Scrivener markup language that precisely and directly parallels LaTeX or Markdown, there isn’t one. BUT if you want that kind of thing, you can work in Markdown directly in Scrivener. You can work in LaTeX in Scrivener, too.


You could easily create Section Types with names like ‘part’, ‘chapter’ and let the relevant containing folders in your manuscript have these types. You can then set your chosen Compile Format to assign such types to relevant Section Layouts – which specify a “look” for docs of that type. For example, you can make make sure the layout starts with a pagebreak, picks up whatever is the title of the folder and lays it out on the page as a chapter title.


These really only introduce numbering and titling within a document. This is a sort of thing you might just want to make a defined paragraph style for, not a section type & layout. (Though you could make a section-type/section-layout do the work.) For automated numbering, Scrivener has a placeholder-text system.

\title -

This just marks data (a title) for the \maketitle function. There is more than one way to do the equiv of this pair of functions in Scriv. One way is roughly equivalent of what I just said above about part and chapter.


You would have to say more about what you are thinking here. If you mean “sometimes you want to have a document that just contains one paragraph that is somehow to be treated specially”, then okay. You can use defined paragraph styles for this, of course, but you could, if you wanted, also do similarly by declaring such documents to be of a custom Section Type, and customizing your chosen Compile format to have a Section Layout that makes such docs have a special paragraph look that you want.

The thing to note is that all of the above answers are the same answer. What you would do (Section Type/Layout-wise) is the basically same.

Finally, it is worth noting that Scrivener can distinguish folders and documents at different levels of hierarchy in the Binder as of different Type automatically, if you wish. So, if your work is well-structured in the Binder in a way that reflects part/chapter/section/subsection etc, then all you need to do is tell your compile format what each level of the heirarchy should look like – that is assign each level to a Section Layout that gives it its look (including possibly titling etc).

Already answered. Item (1) of first reply.

(As much as you will hate to hear this), some of these things you are wondering about suggest you maybe ought to review L&L’s videos on “Getting Your Work Out”.

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There are several. There’s the introduction in the Interactive Tutorial. The Upgrade guide for Scrivener 2 users spends quite a bit of space on converting Compile settings. There are also several video tutorials, here:

A Section in Scrivener is a Binder item.

You can assign Section Types to tell the Compile command that some Sections should be treated differently from others.

Ultimately the problem is grounded in the procedural rather than structural model of markup used in Scrivener. For those of us who have worked with SGML, LaTeX, and other structured markup schemes and their ancillaries (like XSLT and DSSSL) having to focus on procedural does our indivisual and group heads in.

As other have suggest watching the (Compile) video tutorials on the L&L web site helps but only by suppressing established structured views and habits.

That’s exactly what I do for each output file type in the chapter on Compiling in my book.


Amazon won’t tell you, but you made a sale at 11:29 am on July 30.

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Exactly! How would I “assign section layouts” to achieve the following?

Not assign any layout, to preserve the \section* subheadings? If I don’t select a layout, the fonts remain as in the Editor, 12 pt Courier, which is not the desired result. The subsections (shown in the example in bold) have semantic meaning.

How should we know? Is this a single item in the Binder, or several? What markup or Styles have you already used? What format are you Compiling to? What Section Layouts exist in the Compile Format that you’re using?

It’s been noted. Thank you!

Still can’t figure these out:


On Compile:

The bold text has semantic meaning (\subsubsection) which is lost on Compile.

You need to use styles for those.
Section types / Section layouts addresses whole documents (binder files or folders) at once.

Anything that you want not to be default formatting (body formatting) needs to be applied a style.
Or compile as-is.

Also: if your bottom screenshot is an epub : Epubs can’t have empty lines.
Either use proper space before/after for your paragraphs, or have a non-break space on these empty lines.
TABS are not recognized either. Use proper first line indents.

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I thought this was the path, but I can’t create this hierarchy in
“Assign Section Headings.”

What do you mean by “a proper space”? Carriage Return? Line Feed?

V.V. is referring to the space-before and space-after settings for paragraphs. Tabs and double carriage returns are, so to speak, typewriter solutions to layout that we all learned. But the typesetting solution to these layout needs is to use paragraph settings. This is a more flexible solution (esp. good if you are compiling to multiple formats) and every for-real typeset book you see is done that way.

Among the available settings for a paragraph are value settings for First-Line Indent, and for Space-After.

It looks like you should set your default paragraph in this project to have some first-line indent, and to have 12pt of space-after (assuming you are using 12pt font). That will take care of your body text.

The bold+italic headings you are showing should be a defined style and should also be set to have 12pt of Space-After.