How to remove and change indents from a whole Scrivener manuscript

Hi everyone, I imported a manuscript to Scrivener (which I originally created in Papyrus Author and turned into an OpenOffice document).

The indents are a mess!

How do I remove the indents on the entire document and change them to be consistent?

Thank you!

Hello etanusa. Without knowing more details of the situation, including the particular import method you used, it is difficult to know how you might best proceed.

But, if you have only just brought the manuscript into Scrivener and discovered the problem; and if the problem now exists across many individual Scrivener documents; and if the only work you have done in Scrivener is to assess the problem: then I would suggest trying another import method and seeing if the problem persists, rather than trying to fix the problem in Scrivener.

I don’t know anything about Papyrus Author, and very little about Open Office, but if you were able to get your work from PA into OO, and the indents are correct in OO, then it should be possible for you to export from OO into an rtf or even docx format. If the indents look correct when you reopen those exports in OO (or if you can check in Word or Google Docs, which can export both rtf and docx) then it should be possible to get them into Scrivener with the proper indents.

Hope this helps! Welcome to Scrivener.

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If you end up wishing to fix it in Scrivener :

Select all text from a document (click in the editor, Ctrl+A), then :


You’ll have to repeat the operation for each separate document.

The other method would be to use default formatting and revert your documents to it.
But (unless that ain’t your only formatting issue) I don’t think that’d be much of a time saver in this case.

Hi Mad_Girl_Disease

I exported the Papyrus Author file into OpenOffice, and just copied it chapter by chapter to the Scrivener project.

The indents are also messed up in OO. Maybe I should consult the OO forum on how to fix the indents there.


If they are messed up in OO, the best you can hope for from copying to Scrivener is their faithful conversion. Sounds like that’s what you got.

You are simply copying and pasting from OO into Scrivener? What happens if you copy directly from PA to S? If you’re just copying and pasting, into Scrivener, why bother with OO? I must be missing something.

Because the indents were also messed up on PA. I’m old and not tech savvy.

I’m going to start all over again. Fix them in OO, and try to import the enter OO document into Scrivener.

I’d go with my method then instead.
No need to go back if it is only to go forward again after.
Might as well take things from where they are now. In Scrivener, that is.

Apparently, the indents are so messed up even in Scrivener that the “format” solution doesn’t work. My bad.

Then it is something else. An error in the code or whatnot.

Try this :
Copy the whole of a document in wordpad.

Then select all in wordpad, and CTRL+C CTRL+V it back in a new scrivener document.

You should have lost the indent.

Otherwise, make sure it ain’t TABs instead of indents.

The error is way over my head. So I’m just going to have to start over.

Just because I suggest it might be a code error doesn’t mean it is…

Anyways, see my updated above post.

Thanks. I’ll try it.

Incidentally, I would say the easiest way to make your formatting consistent after importing, is to use the dedicated tool for doing so, rather than going through item by item and changing paragraph settings by hand!

  1. Pick a paragraph that looks right and put your cursor in it.
  2. Use Format/Make Formatting Default, clicking the “All Projects” button when asked.
  3. In the Binder, select all of the items you’ve imported that you want to clean up, and leaving the focus in the binder (don’t click in the editor), use the Documents ▸ Convert ▸ Text to Default Formatting... menu command.

In my experience, that’s easier than trying to “clean things first”, because there really is little point in doing so. That will fully convert the formatting to your defaults as you prefer them, regardless of how they started out.

One last thing to be aware of is that some people have a habit of pressing Tab to indent each paragraph manually, instead of using indent formatting. No amount formatting adjustment is going to delete the tab, since that’s a “character” just like the visible letters (technically speaking). The Edit ▸ Text Tidying ▸ Strip Leading Tabs command will help there, and is highly encouraged as tab-based indenting is something that should be left to typewriters.

Thank you! I’ll try it.