Is there a way to rename a character or paragraph Style?

I’ve been meaning to change the name of a character Style that I created. I’ve searched for, but haven’t found, a way to rename the character Style I created, either via the Format > Styles > Show Styles Panel, or via the Choose the style. > Show Styles Panel.

Is there another screen that I am not aware of where I can rename a character Style?

I can, of course, create a completely new character Style on the Show Styles Panel using the new spelling for the character Style I’d like to rename, then delete the old character Style with the old spelling.

By creating a new character Style with the new spelling, then deleting the old character Style with the old spelling, however, ALL the text in my project where I may have highlighted or otherwise applied the old character Style with the old spelling … is GONE, not the text itself, but ALL the highlighting of the text where I may have applied the old character Style is GONE.

Presumably, if there is a way to rename a character Style rather than the ‘create new/delete old’ method to rename a character Style, I would imagine the text in my project where I may have applied the particular character Style would remain highlighted. Renaming a character Style, therefore would be a much preferred method if it is available, somewhere, anywhere.

The same issue applies to paragraph Styles.

Thanks for reading,

If memory serves, you just do this with the Redfine Style menu item. Make a paragraph of the style in question, then, without changing anything stylistically, pick the Redefine menu item for that style. The resulting dialog has a field for the style name. [Am on the road with my ipad, so hope I am not just confusing this with how Scapple does it!]

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Yes, I can confirm this method works to rename the style.


Hi gr,

Thank you for your comment.

I’ve highlighted the text word ‘Financing’ in my project’s Editor (I’m not sure what the screen is called) that I had previously highlighted using a character Style as ‘Strong’ (the LaTeX command for BOLD).


I then opened the Styles Panel and I see that my character Style for ‘Strong’ is highlighted.

I then clicked on the ‘gear’ do-hicky on the bottom-left of the Styles Panel screen, and I’m looking at 6 available options for what I can do using my text word ‘Financing’, e.g.:

I see the option “Redefine Character Style from Selection…” which allows me to capture the current font/color combination that my text word ‘Financing’ currently has, and apply that font/color combination to the ‘Strong’ character Style, so that when I apply the ‘Strong’ character Style, the text will have that font/color combination. This is a powerful option to have to adjust the character Styles going forward, but does NOT include an option to rename the character Style (at least not that I am aware of).

What is NOT available, that I can see, with either the “Redefine Character Style from Selection…” option or any of the other 5 options is an option to RENAME the ‘Strong’ character Style to anything else.

If there is another screen somewhere that includes an option to RENAME a character Style, I’d love to know where it is. What I am missing here?

I’ve missed such options in Scrivener before, and this could be just another case where I’ve missed something that should be obvious to me. Right now I’m stumped …

Thanks again for your comment … hopefully I’ve missed something and there is a simple option already available.


P.S. If I double click DIRECTLY on the ‘Strong’ character Style in the Styles Panel, a separate screen pops-up, but there is still NO option available to RENAME a style:

What am I missing?

scrive, I’m on Windows, so menu options may vary.

Here are the steps I followed to rename character style Emphasis:

Select the text.

Format > Style > Redefine Style from Selection > Redefine ‘Emphasis’.

That launches the Redefine Style panel, which allows editing of the style name. There’s no RENAME button or anything like that, just retype the name directly. :nerd_face:

Make your changes and press OK.


Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, it works … the trick is you have to click on the “Redefine Character Style from Selection… ” option which then opens up the ‘Redefine Style’ screen:

where I can RENAME the character Style (and presumably will work for paragraph Styles) to whatever I want, thus preserving ALL of the text words in the Editor (I think that is what the screen is called) where I have applied the particular character Style that I have just renamed. Voilà !

My LAST and FINAL question is: WHERE IS THIS FEATURE DOCUMENTED ? When I search for “rename character style” in the Scrivener Manual, there are no ‘hits’. What search term should I use to find this feature documented in the manual?

Thank you for ALL your help!!!


On the Mac side, the key is you need to click DIRECTLY on the “Redefine Character Style from Selection…” item.

On my Mac, single clicking directly on the character Style itself does nothing.

(As I mentioned earlier, two-finger clicking directly on the character Style itself brings up the following screen:

where you still need to click on the “Redefine Character Style from Selection…” item to open the Redefine style screen to RENAME a character Style! Whew!)

I repeat my earlier question: WHERE IS THIS FEATURE DOCUMENTED ? When I search for “rename character style” in the Scrivener Manual, there are no ‘hits’. What search term should I use to find this feature documented in the manual?

Thank you!!!

And of course you do not need the styles panel or pop-up contextual menus to do any of this. The Redefine options are all in the menu system (sub-sub of the Format menu).


It may be documented somewhere in the 900+ page manual, but I don’t recommend looking for it. For my money, a manual that long isn’t documentation. It’s an encyclopedia.

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Hi gr,

Thanks for the elucidation.

On a Mac, the options located in the Format > Style > menu:

provide a helpful selection of Style options. To RENAME an existing character or paragraph Style from here, the user can select either:

  • Redefine Style from Selection which brings up the full list of Styles, then followed by the Redefine style: screen where the user can Redefine AND RENAME a Style,
    – or the –
  • Show Styles Panel, where on the bottom-left of the Styles Panel, clicking on the gear icon image
    opens the following pop-up list where the user can then select Redefine Character Style from Selection:

Selecting the Redefine Character Style from Selection… option opens the Redefine style: screen where the Style can be redefined AND RENAMED.

From the Styles Panel, (on the Mac) the user can also two-finder click on a character Style that is highlighted to bring up the following pop-up selection where the user can choose the Redefine Character Style from Selection… option which then opens the Redefine style: screen (shown above) where the Style can be redefined AND RENAMED.

Whew … what a mouthful … Did I miss anything?

For my part, I had confused what Scrivener refers to as Redefining Character Style with renaming a character Style. I viewed the two differently and was not aware that redefining included renaming. My bad.

Thanks for reading,

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Hi drmajorbob,

Thank you for your comment.

I would LOVE to be able to use Scrivener’s ‘900+ page manual’ as a reference. The sense I get is that there was an assumption in the design of the manual that users would actually read the entire manual, rather than simply using the manual as a reference.

People learn in a myriad of ways, bringing their own skill sets to the party. I myself am a kinesthetic learner (learn by doing), definitely NOT a read-first-then-do user. I tend to jump feet first into an issue and learn by doing, then read what I need to fill in the details of how to do something.

As such, Scrivener’s manual is an amazing body of work that details the what and how the Scrivener application works. When I searched for the term “rename Styles” however, the result was “No Results Found”. Not good for someone looking to rename a Style.

In the legal field, where the outcome of large, entire legal cases can turn on a collection of words, the ability to conduct word searches are critical. In the legal search engine, Lexis/Nexis, they offer Proximity connectors (a.k.a. operators) that allow, for example, users to search for two disparate words within-X-number-of-words-of-each-other within a document. So if I wanted to search for “rename” and “Styles” I could search for “rename” and “Styles” within say 5 or 10 words of each other, hopefully improving the odds that I might find the appropriate Scrivener instructions on how to rename a Style.

HeinOnline provides similar Proximity Searching to find a Phrase Within 10 words of Another Phrase or Word.

Wikipedia has an excellent treatise on proximity searches.

I imagine there are a myriad of linguistic search tools that are available to locate a particular text description within a sizeable document such as the Scrivener’s manual. I’d love to be able to have reliable access to find terms to learn more about how Scrivener works without having to resort to posting a question every time I cannot find what I am looking for.

Thanks for reading,

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You may have better luck searching the Scrivener project version of the manual, but in general it still requires knowing what a thing is called, when that may be precisely the fact you don’t know.

Hi drmajorbob

Are you referring to the Scrivener Manual that is available from the Help > drop-down menu, or is there yet another ‘Scrivener project version of the manual’ ?

Re your: “but in general it still requires knowing what a thing is called, when that may be precisely the fact you don’t know.”

I cannot agree with you more … it is difficult to search for something in the Scrivener manual when you don’t know what ‘it’ is called.

In fact, I have an ongoing discussion in another posting (Number of unique screens in Scrivener for Mac? - #2 by scrive) in an attempt to find out what options could be available to name each Scrivener object.

Unfortunately, after some research and reflection, I’ve come to understand that the underlying structure of Object-Oriented-Programming (OOP) and the enormous coding benefits available from OOP may run counter to creating and maintaining a linguistic name for each and every screen object that is rendered and displayed to the user.

If this is in fact the case, it shifts the burden for effective user documentation toward improved search and indexing capabilities such as proximity word search, but also so much more, so that if I search for ‘rename Styles’, I’ll instead be referred to ‘redefine Styles’ to learn how to rename my Styles.

I have no idea what tools are available to create that type of search engine, except perhaps some sort of hybrid, dynamic thesaurus or synonym-index search that we all are familiar with, e.g. Google?

That raises the question: Is there a copy of the Scrivener manual available online that can be searched using Google? If so, I’d love to see how it would handle a search for ‘rename Style’ in the Scrivener manual. Would such a Google search return ‘redefine Styles’ as a suggestion for ‘renaming Styles’?

Thanks for reading,

If you go to the L&L User Manual download page and select Mac / Scriv Project / Zip from the Scrivener Manual pulldown, you can download a version of the project that Ioa uses to generate the Scrivener manual.

But, as mentioned by @drmajorbob, I’m not so sure that will help with the challenge posed in this thread, which is how to find something when you don’t know what it’s called.


This is a limitation of PDF’s search function

No. What @JimRac said!

On the other hand, the project format does enable RegEx searches, search for any words, all words, etc. It’s a much more flexible search than the PDF allows.

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\bword\W+(?:\w+\W+){1,n}?word\b find two given words near each other within n characters
(\b\w{n,}\b)\W+(?:\w+\W+){1,m}?\1 find the same words of n characters or more within m characters

@Orpheus: This is a limitation of PDF’s search function

I suppose that is true, to a degree, though depending on the reader software it may work better to search for a more vague concept and then drill down from there using other mechanisms, since I cannot anticipate all of the dozens of different ways in which one might think to phrase this or that. I would say in general books are not designed with the thought of searching being the only singular way in which one attempts to ever find anything. After all, what book has a search engine in it? Putting a book into a digital context lets us search, but to have that then become the only way one ever attempts to find anything is puzzling to me.

In this case, I never anticipated one would need to have renaming something so specifically referred to, just as I don’t specifically call out that you can change the visual highlight colour doing X, Y and Z. Instead, all of the editable parameters of a style are discussed collectively in §17.3.3. Why not? Because in most word processors there is no way to rename a style specifically. That, like all other attributes of a style, is done by modifying it, typically through some dialogue box. So for one lacking that baseline familiarity with how software of this nature tends to work, it may require more exploration to figure out. Such is always the case, and that is where other techniques of exploration come in.

As for how one might get there without knowing how to talk about it yet: as is common for this kind of reference: it is meant to be navigated topically in a descending fashion—and the best way to do that is with the PDF reader’s ToC sidebar. In that fashion we would find a chapter on styles, and within that chapter, through the process of elimination, there is really only one subsection that could pertain to renaming—but even if you don’t think of that one without prompting, at least narrowing one’s browsing down to §17.3 seems to make the most sense.

Topical deduction isn’t the only mechanism supplied in the manual, because not everyone is going to know how I might organise topics. Styles are pretty easy to find help on as they have their own chapter—but what if you want help on Snapshots? You might not agree with me that this is a function of Writing and Editing, and never think to look there. §2.2, Finding Things in this Manual, offers a summary of mechanisms I’ve put deliberate effort into making useful as indices offering various entrances into the topic of the software.

(I note one thing I neglected to mention in that section is that Introduction: Interface in Overview: The Project Window is also meant to be a springboard for getting to places about things you might not know the name of yet, or to at least know what they are called, so you can search better.)

Does any of this help in finding something Scrivener doesn’t actually have a real function for? I don’t know—it might help me see through deduction that if there is not a section about renaming styles in the section on Using and Managing Styles, then maybe how that is done is orthogonal to what I’m thinking of, and I might step back and think more broadly on the matter.

That’s how I’ve always navigated books like this, anyway. I use search of course, a lot, but it’s often the first, and first to be discarded, method. Sometimes it works well, but not always. While topical navigation can be slower, it rarely fails me.

@Scrive: The sense I get is that there was an assumption in the design of the manual that users would actually read the entire manual, rather than simply using the manual as a reference.

Also in the introduction, which explains the motivations for the manual’s design, it states: “Although it will endeavour to explain features in depth, the Scrivener User Manual is intended as an exhaustive reference, rather than a training tool. The best way to kickstart your use of the software is to take the Interactive Tutorial, located in the Help menu.”

The way I would put it is that it is definitely designed to be a reference, but one that you could read without boring yourself into a Leviticus level stupor in doing so.


I suspect that many people, while in the middle of writing, do not want to wade through a long manual to find what they want. Instead they want instant answers so that they can get back to what they are doing. (Unless they take it is an opportunity to procrastinate and will then spend a long time in a new diversion which they can legitimately rationalize as “learning how to use the tool” :wink: )

Knowing the limitations of PDF search you would have to look for all instances of “style” and “rename” and then conclude that you can not rename a style. You could of course get around this quickly by creating a style with all the features you want and then give it the name you want.

I think it would be impossible to anticipate every possible scenario that a user would search for. They eventually at some point have to learn more about the tool that they are using.

I have been using Scrivener for almost 5 years now and am still learning and finding uses for features that I didn’t have a use for before. My only regret is that I didn’t come across Scrivener sooner.