Indents help

Hi, I’m pretty anal about the first line of a new chapter not having an indent, but I can’t figure out how to make that happen by default. I know it must be possible, but I’m stuffed if I can figure it out. By the way, I’m on version 3 of Scrivener.

This is something you would normally do when you compile the document, not when you’re editing it. In fact, it will normally be done automatically for compilation outputs where first-para indenting is the standard – all you have to do is make sure that you choose the appropriate compilation format, and make sure that your choose the right dummy layout when you assign Section Layouts.

This is part of the standard Scrivener workflow: it doesn’t matter at all what the text looks like in your Editor – you only need to worry about that when you compile the document. This means that you only need one version of your text to produce multiple versions in different formats: e.g. for a novel, the same version will produce a submission manuscript, a paperback, a Kindle ebook, an Epub ebook and so on, and all you have to do is choose the correct output format. If you’re not familiar with this process, then can I suggest you put aside an hour or two asap to do the Interactive Tutorial – it really will make a lot of things clear which will be invaluable in saving your time later on.

In this case, you normally don’t bother with having non-indented first paragraphs in the Editor, you simply use the default paragraph: they will be turned into non-indented paragraphs when you compile the document to appropriate compilation formats.

Having said that, there are ways to insist that the first paragraph in the editor is different, but this just adds extra steps and possible complications. It’s really not worth it.



Thanks, that all makes sense. :smiley:

1 Like

Glad it helped!

Just to round things off, if you find that the compilation method you choose doesn’t cater for first paragraph indents, then you can amend it, which you do by duplicating and editing that format. You’ll find that there is specific tab which gives some control on how and when the first para indent is applied for each Section Layout, as can be seen from this screenshot of the appropriate settings section.

This is a slightly more advanced topic, though, and if you’re writing a novel for standard purposes (e.g. as an Ebook or for submission to an agent), there’s a good chance you’ll never have to use it, as the defaults are already set up for you.



Great answers, @brookter :+1:


Hi, I tried this and it didn’t seem to work. I will keep playing with the settings, though.

I need to amend this comment. It did work, but only in places. I have had to set all my text to ‘no style’ in Scrivener, then it worked. Where some of my imported text still contained formatting from my previous software, it didn’t work. All good now, though. :smiley:

Yes, in general, you are much better off having everything in No Style (apart from for specific purposes such as Headings, Block Quotes etc): that way the automatic formatting can work consistently. And ‘manual’ tabs which have been pulled over from elsewhere can get in the way as well.

Anyway, I’m glad it’s sorted now!