Hyphens appearing in weird places

Something really weird is happening today, just with one section.

I compile to RTF, and then convert it to .docx.
There are problems in both cases.

When I compile it, either on its own or along with other, a few words are hyphenated, sometimes in the weirdest places:

If I run a search with “-“, I cannot find them.
If I run a search with the words themselves, either spelt normally (“follows”) or hyphenated (“follo-ws”), I cannot find them either.

I have tried checking the style: I am using “no style”, so the default is Times New roman 12 in the editor, and the same in the RTF/DOCX, actually.

I have restarted Scrivener: No luck.

How can this happen?
… and, just as importantly, how can I fix it?

I assume that when you look at the words in the editor they look normal. In all probability there are invisible characters embedded at those points. Delete one of those trouble words and retypre it. Compile again and see that that instance is fixed.

If that is right, the most likely cause of your problem is that the text in question is something you copied and pasted from a web page or other encoded source.

Scrivener’s Zap Gremlins command is useful for removing such invisible characters. (This command might only be on Mac Scriv.)

If the above diagnosis of your woes is correct, then in future you should consider using Paste and Match Style when pasting from alien sources, instead of using simple Paste. This will save you a lot of headache.

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Thank you very much for the solution. This worked perfectly.

As for the cause, inexplicable. These are words I wrote myself.

When I copy/paste from the Zotero pdf reader, I do use simple copy/paste because, with “Paste and Match Style,” it messes up the source/page reference… but then, I leave it aside, and if I do integrate it in my text, I do it with “Paste and Match Style.” I agree with you that this is much better!

Someone has mentioned “Zap Gremlins” before, but I had forgotten about it… and maybe I am bit scared to us it, I admit, as I have no idea what it really does (that was a scary movie, wasn’t it? xD).

From the manual:

Zap Gremlins Strips Unicode and ASCII control characters from the selection. If you are having difficulties compiling, or have found areas in your text where the cursor seems to get “stuck” when moving through ranges of text, your document may have acquired these invisible control characters from somewhere. This command will strip out all of the Unicode characters falling within the range of #x00 to #x1F, save for the necessary #x09, #x0A, #x0C and #X0D characters, which are used to print spaces, line returns, page breaks and tabs in your text.

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Just don’t zap those gremlins after midnight and you’ll be fine. :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:


Thank you very much. I don’t really know what this is all about, but I am sure I can trust Scrivener not to delete important things from my work… especially before midnight :wink:

Did you write them in Scrivener, though?


Thanks! That was a very useful question!

Now that you mention it, parts of this section had been written in OpenOffice, then pasted normally so as to avoid losing my italics, bold…, then I select all and clicked on “No Style.”

This usually works really well, but maybe not so well, after all.
At least, now, I have an explanation :wink:

Depending on the circumstances, the Mac text engine can definitely insert junk characters through some bug I have never pinned down the source of. It’s difficult because the symptoms don’t always show up at all, and when they do it is typically far after the point where it would have happened. But I would routinely have to clean out junk characters in some projects, where the text definitely was not ever edited or written in any other tool.

Thank you very much. I don’t really know what this is all about, but I am sure I can trust Scrivener not to delete important things from my work… especially before midnight

All that command does is delete a range of invisible characters you never need in any modern text editor. So it is very safe to use it whenever.

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