As I mentioned in another post, I have to format different parts of my book in very specific ways. I thought that script mode would be useful here, because it lets me define and name styles, and also set up relationships between different sections. For example if I type a section header and hit enter, it would automatically switch to the prose style.
However I’ve found script mode to be very rigid. I can’t just dump the text in and push it around like I want to. For example, I’d like to arbitrarily insert tabs. I can’t seem to do that in script mode, even if I have “allow tabs” checked in an element’s settings.
I think perhaps I simply shouldn’t be using script mode. I’m not writing a script, after all One thing I love about script mode is that it places a popup menu in the lower-right corner with all the available styles. I’d like to have that, though without the rigidity of script mode. Automatically changing styles when I hit return is nice, but it’s also just sugar as far as I’m concerned. I’d be plenty happy if I could just define some font styles and easily choose among them. Is that possible?
Sure, just press Cmd-R to display the Ruler. On the left hand side is a drop-down for “styles” where you can save the current ruler and/or font settings to favourites. A few caveats: Because the Ruler is a Mac OS X thing, not specific to Scrivener, if you are working on more than one computer, you’ll find transferring these styles is more than a little cumbersome (instructions can be found in the FAQ, under the Advanced section). Secondly, these are not “styles” in the word processor sense of the word. They are simply visual short cuts. Changing a style will not impact previously written material, only usage of that style from that point on. Further, export from Scrivener will not tag these as styles in Word or other word processors. You’ll have to use that word processor’s ability to find character and paragraph attributes and convert them to real styles. This is also addressed in the FAQ.
The alternative to all of this is MultiMarkdown. MMD itself is pretty easy to learn (if you put asterisks around emphasised words in an email to a friend, you already have the basic idea). However, the primary export format is HTML, which isn’t universally semantically imported by word processors. It can also export to LaTeX, but that has a steep learning curve even if all you do is use the default book styles. Going beyond that and the curve rises exponentially. It is supremely powerful, but practically a typographic programming language.
If all you need is a visual document, then ruler styles and Doc or RTF export will work fine. As mentioned in another thread, you can export using one font and type in another, but this only supports global font re-definition for body text. If you need more than one font depending on content, you’ll be better of composing in the font you require, and disabling that option during Compile.
The fundamental problem you’ll find with strict export formats and Scrivener is that Scrivener was never designed to actually export a finished typeset book. It is a drafting tool for writers, not a word processor or typesetting engine. With its ability to export LaTeX, you actually can get a high quality book straight out of it, but like I said, that requires a level of geeky determination most writers are not willing to put up with!
Script mode is indeed designed for basic script writing. It doesn’t allow for the flexible use of tabs. I’ve answered one way of approaching your problem in your other thread.