I don't understand how to do QUOTES, or "Block Quotes"

Could somebody please help me?

I’m writing a piece that makes constant use of quotes. I’m new to writing - - perhaps it’s “block quotes” that I need.

I can’t for the life of me figure out how to highlight a quote (or paragraph, or whatever) like I just did for the above segment, and then select some (ANY!) alternate formatting that sets the selected text to a different appearance so that it is clear to the reader that it is a QUOTE.

I don’t want to use bullets, or Italics or Bold. I just want the selected text or paragraph to be indented differently, or boxed in like a block quote, or whatever might be appropriate to set the text apart to clearly indicate to the reader that it is a QUOTE.

I’m assuming that Scrivener writers must use quotes, on occasion. How is the formatting done?

    • Rob (“rpmcint” on the Scrivener Forums)

hi, rpmcint,

I can only personally attest to how this is done on the Mac version of Scrivener – the two versions are not yet one-for-one on features – but perhaps this will help:

  1. On the Ruler Bar, you can drag the little widgets on the ruler to effect the block indentation or first line indent of the selected paragraph(s). (Pretty standard control interface. This is the same way Word does it, for example.)

  2. On the Format Bar, there is a pop-up menu of format presets. ‘Block quote’ is one of them. (May or may not give you the block quote formatting you prefer.)


GR, doesn’t compilation strip out the separate indentations from the editor and leave everything in the single level of documents with the same indentation? I think that’s how the windows version works. I suppose tab stops could be a workaround for that, but I hate tabs in formatting (coming from copyediting at a university press), so I have my own workaround.

When I do block quotes in academic papers, I actually make the block quote a new document one level down from the rest of the text. Then my compile settings give that level a different indent, and I don’t have separators between text/text. After compilation, the two sections end up together, perfectly formatted (A side benefit of this method is that it is very easy to find any of my block quotes, as they’re clearly delineated in the binder).

I don’t know if it’s arrived in Windows yet, but on the Mac menu you have Format > Formatting > Preserve Formatting, which you can apply to any paragraph, including presumably a block quote paragraph that you add to the button or redefine.

Xiam, I don’t see anything like that in the Windows version, though the manual makes mention of preserving tabs and indents to protect block quotes. Though, I can’t seem to figure out how to make it work in my projects. Maybe the manual is closer to Mac/PC parity than the program itself?

There is only one manual project, so yes sometimes things do creep in where they shouldn’t. It’s a method prone to fault, but since 95% of the user manual is identical between versions it is overall more efficient than having two separate projects. To accomplish it, I have to basically exclude text either bulk or by line to create the Windows version of the manual (and there are some inverse cases as well—Mac doesn’t have a print preview feature for instance as this is built into the operating system).

Back to the core issue: Scrivener for Windows has essentially two basic options:

  • Either you treat the editor like you would a word processor. Format everything the way it should look and leave the compiler options for this off.
  • Let the compiler clean up all of your formatting in the end.

Since there is no middle ground, if your document needs any form of small local formatting, you have to treat it more like a normal word processor. There is one slight exemption from this, wherein you can use the “Compile As-Is” checkbox in the Inspector to make a section always print things how it looks (font and everything). However for small local formatting (like a paragraph in block quote format surrounded by paragraphs that are not), cutting each specially formatted section into its own binder document isn’t an acceptable compromise. If you have a whole chunk of text, like say maybe a dream sequence that uses different formatting for a chapter, then As-Is works fine.

The Mac has a degree of control for forming a hybrid third option here. It’s still not the best solution though. In fact we’re going to be taking things in a different direction for both the Mac and Windows version in the future. The system of complicated checkboxes and exclusions and preservations and so on is a decent approach for a basic implementation, but now that we’ve had time to think about it a bit more, a more straightforward solution—much like you describe where you can just hit a “Block Quote” button and forget about it, will be the future.

There is a another option, using MultiMarkdown, which since it is plain-text and defines a block quote more like BBCode does here, with syntax—then it doesn’t matter what ruler settings you have. If you don’t mind writing with light markings (it’s far less intrusive than BBCode even), that may be an option.

Coming back to the manual, I couldn’t find any reference in the Windows PDF to protecting formatting for block quotes. The only mention I could find was on how to protect pasted formatting, say if you’re using [b]Documents/Convert/Formatting to Default Text Style[/b].

Amber, the part about protecting block quotes is on page 126:

Since it doesn’t actually say how to do this, but just that it can be done, it is a little confusing.

I’m not sure if I follow. That falls within the section referring to how one can clean up the formatting of text they have pasted or imported into Scrivener. It is providing tips on how to avoid damaging block quote formatting when using the bulk formatting reset tools, and specifically says that you can do so by enabling the tabs and indent protection. This section has nothing to do about compiling.

Sorry, I was confused about what it was talking about, I guess. Pay no attention to the man in the corner, twiddling his thumbs and humming to the ficus.

Greetings rpmcint

I think the easiest approach to block-quotes for now is to use ruler settings, and a workaround that reproduces them easily. So I’d recommend you try the following:

  1. Show the ruler (Format > Show Ruler).
  2. Select the paragraphs you’d like to display as a block-quote.
  3. Drag the ruler’s indent controls to a width that achieves the effect.
  4. Somewhere in the indented paragraphs, type the words “Block-quote ruler” or similar.
  5. Cut those words, and paste them into Project Notes.

Then, to apply that same ruler elsewhere in your project, you’d:

  1. Select those words in Project Notes
  2. Run “Format > Text > Copy Ruler” or its keyboard equivalent.
  3. Select the paragraphs to display as a block-quote.
  4. Run “Format > Text > Paste Ruler” or its keyboard equivalent.

Scrivener/W hasn’t yet implemented format presets that can be accessed by name. It has a line spacing dropdown, which appears on the format bar with “1.0x” as the default value. This was actually intended to capture ruler presets as well, as you’ll see if you try to add new settings. But those indents don’t seem to carry over at present. And some sort of naming mechanism is needed for usability in any case. Hence the workaround.

Good Luck