It shouldn't be this hard to control how things look.

This is feedback. Delivered with considerable trepidation since this is a forum of true believers and it’s negative, but if taken in a positive spirit, it might be a good thing.

I’m getting really frustrated.

I’ve tried about everything I can think of, but no matter what I do, I can’t seem to do the one simple task of having the font in the editor of a new document be Times New Roman 12 point regular as a default. For a while I thought I had it licked but again, I added a new document in an existing chapter folder, and I got Courier New as the font. I’m beginning to have serious negative emotions about that font. I can’t see why people like it enough to make it a default, ever, but they do. Oh well.

I’ve changed it in tools | options, the format menu, created templates, nothing seems to stick. I’ve tried it with fresh coffee, cold coffee, even tea. Assam long cut tea brewed strong - I love that tea. I’m told it’s the tea British Sailors were served on ships of the line. Don’t spill it in a graveyard, they’ll get up. But it doesn’t help either. Worth a try though. I’ll probably try it again, but I digress.

I’m tired of the Scrivener secret society handshakes and code words. I just want to write my novel. This software is supposed to be my friend. And it does have some very good features. That’s why I keep struggling with it.

But why isn’t there one simple, friendly, intuitively obvious place I can easily set the appearance in the editor and have it stay that way from now till the sun novas in ~Y5B? (Y2K wasn’t a problem, Y5B is.) I see no benefit at all in the abstruse multi menu hidden compartment secret handshake way appearance is alleged to be controlled. It’s actually easier to set up how a document is printed than how it looks on screen. I’d like to set it once and have it always be the same. This document, the next document, and the document after that, forever? Unless of course I change my mind and want to set it to a new unchanging appearance. But I want it to be the appearance I choose. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation in this day and age of interface optimization.

I realize I’m doing something wrong. The people with the ‘right stuff’ are doubtless just shaking their heads, knowingly, but I see this as a real design issue. It shouldn’t be this hard for someone who has been using editors since the advent of WordStar on CPM machines, and even edlin to write autoexec.bat files on green screen dual floppy PC’s, to set up how the program appears on screen and have it stay that way. But so far it eludes me.

Is there, someplace, a readily accessible, step by step procedure written in simple declarative sentences, obviously true once read, using the exact same words as appear in the menu system, that tells me how to do that? How to set the editor’s on screen appearance and have it stay that way with no surprises.

Did I mention, the loss of transparency, being dragged out of the zone to fix the bloody font, is not a feature?

Okay, back to getting my antagonist ambushed.


When you say you tried to do it using Tools>Options, what do you mean? Did you then click the Editor button on the left of the Options window? After that, did you click the italic blue “A” just above the displayed ruler? This takes you to the font selection screen, which should stick for future new documents. If it doesn’t, then I’m guessing you’ve got other problems in your system or installation, and you might have to try uninstalling and reinstalling.

Hopefully that helps.

One question: when you make a new document and your settings suddenly seem to revert to Courier 12pt, does the file icon in the Binder have a kind of yellowish tint to it, and is there a 3-hole punch down the left, instead of just being a blank white sheet until you type? If so, you’re in scriptwriting mode. You might have accidentally hit Ctrl–4 at some point, and once you’ve done that, it might be easy to end up with new documents in the same mode since Scrivener prefers the last mode you used for making new files. Scriptwriters, as you probably know, use Courier 12pt as it provides for a predictable content size when printed, so switching to that mode will always override the default new text document defaults.

The solution, by the way, is to hit Ctrl–4 again to toggle back to standard writing mode on any of those documents with yellowish icons. Once they are all gone, you shouldn’t see that happen again. Meanwhile you can clean up these messy Courier files with the Documents/Convert/Formatting to Default Text Style menu command.

And yes, we do plan on making this a bit less easy to accidentally do. We need to develop a simple messaging system that alerts you when modes are toggled. It’s a known usability issue. We added that message to the Mac version a while back, and incidents of Mystical Courier have nearly vanished on that side. So it’s something we definitely want to do for Windows as well.

If that’s not the problem, do you think you could narrow down what it takes to get Courier to appear, with everything set up right in Options, from a blank project? We could have a bug to find.

Thanks to both of you for listening.

I went to the blue button on the editor line in Tools | Options, found it was set to Courier New for some unknown reason, reset it to TNR-12 when the problem first occurred, but it didn’t ‘take’. Next document had Courier and the editor bar had reverted to Courier. In fact I wrote the post after the third time I tried that fix.

I thought I might be in script mode as well in which case Courier would be expected. Scrivener wasn’t in script mode (nor was I). The mode change message is a very good idea. In the heat of the moment it’s easy to hit a wrong key.

What was I doing … Scrivener prefers last mode (it should prefer the preset mode for the particular part of the binder the writer is working in) … but, okay, if that’s the case you might be onto something. I had created a document under a folder in Research, then gone to a split screen so I could see it while I was writing. The document in the research folder started as Courier, which surprised me. I reset it’s font to TNR-12 and created it through a combination of writing and pasting in text from other sources (bits and pieces of historical articles).

When I went back to the upper window of the split screen, which was on a chapter in the manuscript, and created a new document under the chapter folder, that new document showed up as Courier. When I went to Tools | Options the font in the editor line was Courier in the new manuscript document. It shouldn’t have been. At least it hadn’t been up until then.

I don’t know if the Courier from the research folder metastasized (seems a better word than migrated) to the new editor window in the manuscript or not. I tried to test my hypothesis but I can’t seem to duplicate it this morning. (Sometimes the car won’t malfunction when the mechanic is looking at it?) I was done needing the research document so I’d closed the split. When I recreated it, the Courier problem did not re-occur.

Going down the list of places one can choose fonts under “Appearance”, The only place I had Courier New as the font is in Corkboard Index Text. I had Courier Final Draft under Corkboard Index Title. Both are now set to TNR-12. That said, I haven’t used the corkboard feature at all since the tutorial (I prefer to use the binder outline because I tend to think in lists, outlines and flow charts - I have great flowcharting software, EDraw MAX if it matters, the text from which pastes directly into the notes section of the inspector, ready for use when writing, which is seriously cool). While I’m on cool, I love being able to paste an article from the WEB into the research folder, highlight text of interest, and then copy it to the notes about that document to have as a quick reference with out having to go back to the article.

Back to the subject at hand.

At the moment it’s not happening. I say ‘not happening’ rather than ‘fixed’ because I don’t understand either the cause or the reason it’s not happening. Never the less, this is a good thing because the muse is pounding on the front of my brain demanding attention.

Next time it happens, if it happens again, I’ll recognize the problem, stop and make notes about what I did immediately prior to the occurrence. Hopefully that will lead to a cause from which one could postulate a fix.

The world is a better place this morning. Good nights sleep, mug of fresh brewed Kona and Times New Roman in every new document. (Tea is for afternoons.)

Thanks Again Folks and have a great day.


Are you noticing any other issues with your settings? I can’t think of a reason why the default formatting settings would periodically revert to the factory settings without anything else also reverting, as all of this is stored in the same .ini. Maybe change something in tandem to the formatting settings—something obvious that you do not use frequently—an example could be the background colour for project notes in the Inspector. Set that to red or something, and when you note the formatting suddenly using Courier again, check to see if the red background has gone away as well. If so, there could be a problem with file and folder permissions, or maybe a file backup system that is reverting the .ini. We don’t otherwise have any reports of Scrivener spontaneously resetting itself to factory defaults, so I’d eliminate those factors first.

I mustn’t have explained that properly, I was referring purely to whether or not script mode is toggled on when creating a new file. If you select a script document and hit Ctrl-N, you’ll get a script document. If you select a regular document and hit Ctrl-N, you’ll get a regular document. In cases where what you have selected isn’t a text file, it will use whatever was used last.

There are no “zones” in Scrivener where files will end up using different formats depending on where you made the file.

Well hopefully whatever happened is done pestering you. :slight_smile: If you do see it again, let us know what lead up to it, where you were clicking, how you made a new file, etc.

I just did remember one small “bug” of sorts—I don’t believe it still exists, but for a while there changing the default formatting would not impact empty files, because we were storing the RTF file even though the file was empty, and the RTF had the old formatting in it. So if one tends toward duplication or splitting to creating new documents, then old formatting could indeed proliferate.

It sounds to me more like your settings were somehow reverting, however, so it may not be a procedural, text file or binder issue.

Thanks. I’ll keep an eye on it. Now that I know enough to recognize the problem, I will be better able to provide information, hopefully useful.

I don’t know enough to know if it matters or not, but I’ll mention it anyway: I imported the book into the template as one big MS-WORD file. Then I used the “split with selected as title” to work my way through it and create named documents. When I was done with that, the next step was to convert those that had just chapter titles in them to folders. Not having to retype titles saved a bunch of time. It didn’t take long at all to convert the chapters to folders. The scenes were automatically attached.

I had to manipulate the chapters with the mouse to move them up to the same level as the ‘chapter’ in the template and that was a bit fussy and tedious, but in the end it was remarkably effective and took very little time.

The fonts were not quite right all the way through but I was so new when I did it I thought the font issues were my fault. I still do.

I’ll do another import after the manuscript is reviewed. I’ll get a chance to test the updated template at that time.


For organising things in the outline, we have keyboard shortcuts for moving things around in the Binder as well. Just use the arrow keys in combination with Ctrl. Up/Down for sibling order, and Left/Right for indent level. And of course, the standard Shift with Arrow keys for selection. So you can split out five scenes from the original chapter file, Shift-Up a few times to select them all, then Ctrl-Right to indent them all together. Maybe you find the mouse easier, but for me I prefer the precision of the keyboard (especially since I’m usually on a laptop).

You’ve probably found it at this point, but the Documents/Convert/Formatting to Default Text Style command can save tons of time—should be able to clean up any rogue Courier documents you discover, too.

But yes, fonts can be a little “unstable” when going between word processors that use fundamentally different text engines. It’s usually all right, but especially where certain features are not supported by one or the other, you can see odd things happen.

That was a very helpful reply.

I did find the Documents | Convert | Formatting To Default Text Style. The first time it was a disaster because I hadn’t done a competent job of setting the default text style.

I imported another document, an 18 chapter short story, using my latest and greatest template to experiment with it.

I was disappointed that the ruler from the template did not prevail. The ruler in the template has the right margin at 14" which is what works best for on screen display. When I used the convert formatting command the ruler moved the right margin to ~7" in every document which is where the imported text wrapped. There seems to be no way to apply the template ruler except on a document by document basis. I have to select the text in the document and move the ruler right margin to the right edge.

I don’t understand why the template ruler didn’t get applied to the whole document with the convert formatting command, but it didn’t.

I hadn’t realized I could adjust folder/document levels in the binder using Ctrl commands. That is a huge help. I either missed it or the 72 year old cranial media had a divot in it where that was stored. I experimented with it. Imported an 18 chapter short story using the keys to reorganize the binder after doing the splits. After a couple of ‘learning experiences’, the order in which things are done is important, it went very quickly.

That will make any future importing much easier. Any clues on how to apply the ruler to an imported document on a wholesale basis would be appreciated.


The paragraph spacing presets from the template don’t seem to apply to new documents. Even new documents created in Scrivener. The template paragraph spacing is 6 points before, 12 points after. I don’t want to use indents. The before and after spacing isn’t applied when I click on the green dot with the + in it to create a new document. I consider that a bug.

The spacing occurs when I use Format | Text | Spacing, and applying that to the first couple of paragraphs seems to cause it to apply to the rest. This after I selected the whole document and did the convert to defaults thing.

It could be I’m still doing something wrong but on screen formatting continues to be at best erratic and a distraction. The template is not what happens, not with any certainty, at least if one imports a file on in some cases with documents created in Scrivener. Since a lot of importing is going to be done if any work is to be done in Scrivener following editing by those who don’t have Scrivener, which is every reviewer I use, this is not a good thing. If I am going to use Scrivener, I want to use it for the whole process.

I imported a 16 chapter short story using three different procedures and two file formats, .doc and .rtf. I selected the whole document and told it format | convert | apply defaults. It sort of did if you don’t count the paragraph spacing. The template has nothing but TNR-12 in every thing but menus and the binder, everyplace but the script mode, so the fonts were fine.

I still think there should be one place where the user can setup the document template with all the options for on screen appearance and have it applied reliably. At the moment there isn’t.