How to Indent an Entire Paragraph in Scrivener

I searched this forum for this exact phrase, “How to Indent an Entire Paragraph in Scrivener” and… nothing. And I searched Google for it also. Nothing.

I searched the forum for “Indent paragraph.” Nothing. And I searched Scrivener help, and yes–nothing.

How can I Indent an entire paragraph in Scrivener?

I’m not looking for first line or hanging line indents.

I’m looking for the ability to indent a paragraph so that all of the lines in the paragraph will wrap and align at the first tab stop and not at the left margin.

And for clarity, I’m not looking to right align, center align or fully justify a paragraph.

Thank you,



Just show the ruler (Ctrl+Shift+R) and drag the left indent for that paragraph to the right.

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…and then save that as a formatting preset so you can reuse it as often as you want (select the paragraph, then choose Format → Formatting → New press from selection).

He’s on Windows, and there are no formatting presets (yet).

I’ve noticed that writing software tends to use the word “margin” when referring to the positioning of all the lines in a paragraph. The term “indent” often seems to be reserved for what happens to the first line of the paragraph. Not in every case, but it does seem to be a widely adopted convention. That might help explain the lack of search results. Computers do seem to demand that one uses language in a special way, at times. Memory that is nothing to do with remembering things is a good one. I’ve come across at least one person who used the word “memory” to refer to the hard drive, which is really more logical.


That said, I do try to keep a distinction between the word margin and indent to refer to Margins: the total page level text block area (outside of which you’d only print headers and footers) and Indents: the paragraph level tools used to offset the left leading edge and the right wrapping edge from the margin inward. Along with that, you’ve also got the first-line indent, which offsets the left leading edge from the left margin but does not alter the edge of any text that wraps (at the right margin in lack of a right indent). The full left indent is often referred to as the “block indent”, especially when the first-line indent matches the value of the rest of the paragraph’s indent.

So using the manual’s terminology (and the software for that matter, as it wouldn’t do to have the manual deviate from the software), the Ruler (Format/Show Ruler or Ctrl-Shift-R) has three indent controls on it. The downward pointing arrow and upward pointing arrow with a block under it, control the first-line indent and block indent respectively. The upward pointing arrow on the right controls the right wrapping indent. There are no margin controls on the ruler in Scrivener, since page layout is not handled in the editor, so this simplifies things a bit. That is also why there is no vertical ruler.

For Windows, since there isn’t a way to save formatting presets yet, you can easily copy several formatting tasks in one move with the Format/Text/Copy Ruler (Ctrl-Alt-7) menu command. This can be done from anywhere within the source paragraph; no selection required. Put the cursor anywhere in the target paragraph and use Format/Text/Paste Ruler (Ctrl-Alt-8) to apply settings. If you’re writing non-fiction and are using special formatting quite a lot, you might consider making a “format sheet”; basically just a text file with some common formatting you use that you can switch to copy formatting from, then use the History back button to return to where you were and paste. Also note there are complimentary copy and paste functions for character level formatting (bold, font face, etc.) in the Format/Font/ sub-menu.

In the user manual, look up Writing > Writing and Editing > Formatting Tools, for detailed information (section 15.4, pg. 113).

:blush: Sorry.

The Ctrl+T and Ctrl+Q shortcuts may help you with this, increasing the first-line indent and the left hanging indent respectively. Add Shift to the combo to decrease the indents.

Is that an “undocumented” feature that is not in any menu? I tried to find these yesterday when answering this question as I thought I remembered them being added to Format/Text/Indents/ but nada.

Yes; it should be added to the Format > Text menu but isn’t there yet. In the resources directory within the Scrivener installation folder there is a PDF that lists Scrivener’s default shortcuts, and these are included. I haven’t looked through this recently though, so I don’t know if all the shortcuts are up to date with the latest release.