Idiot's guide to using italics (markdown?) needed :(

I’m struggling with italics. My novel has several lines and several isolated words in each chapter in italics and so far, several months in, I’ve yet to understand how to handle this basic issue.

If I simply use italics as I type in the editor, they are unstable: they seem to disappear at random. I’ve been told on this forum to use instead of italics, but on compiling (no style in editor, to Word) the result is simply asterisks surrounding the words I wanted to be in italics.

Surely it can’t be this complicated? Not only do I not want a massive learning curve simply to be able to use italics, I really want to wysiwyg; as the author, I want to see italics in the editor.

This is becoming make-or-break for Scriv 3 for me. I love the plotting scope it offers but I can’t afford to fall over the italics and as yet, i really don’t know how to handle sending an MS to an editor and dealing with the return.

If your italics just vanish randomly as you describe, that’s a bug, not something you have to learn how to use. There is no learning curve on a bug, “massive” or otherwise.

It would be most helpful to explain exactly how to see that happen. I’ve been using Scrivener for many years and I’ve never once seen italic formatting vanish of its own accord, whether by “random” or systematic causes, unless I myself did something to damage the formatting, like switching to a font that doesn’t support italic, or using a command that deliberately wipes it out.

As for using Markdown, sure, but if you do that then you’ll be compiling using Markdown, not a DOCX converter, it does not know that asterisks mean anything other than punctuation. You’ll find the Markdown compile options toward the bottom of the Compile for dropdown. Just be aware they assume the entirety of the text is written in Markdown. By default most rich text will be ignored, and adjacent paragraphs will be assumed as one. There are options and methods for pushing that default assumption back though, allowing one to blend rich text habits with Markdown publishing.

If you’re trying to get things to Word, I would suspect the MMD ▸ ODT (LibreOffice) format will work best for you.

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Thank you for this. Looks like I was given a bum steer about using * for italics, markdown is completely inappropriate for my needs. Oh, well, 25k words to plough though to take them all out!!

I don’t know under what circumstances the italics were lost, it was in the early days when I was copying in from Word so it was around stripping style from the pasted-in content.

Yeah, keep an eye out, but it should be safe to use. If you have problems like that from text pasted in from other sources it may be a compatibility issue—or something similar to what I described, where a font just doesn’t have italics. Word will fake it if a font doesn’t, by slanting the letters crudely, so what looks italic may become regular text in a tool that doesn’t do that. So maybe that happened, but wasn’t noticed until later, making it seem as though it had been lost after the fact.

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Actually, there is a situation in which italics disappear magically. See: Comment removal affects formatting - very bad bug
I didn’t get around to sending this as a bug to support, but you may have a look and see what happens in this particular situation.
Not claiming it’s OP’s exact situation, just saying it does happen.