Italics lost in compile

I’ve recently updated to V3 for Windows. Imported my manuscript, but none of my styles or compile formats.
I tried a basic compile to word doc, but it removed all the italics in my document. I can’t find anywhere to tell it to keep all the italics. Help please.

Hello @VeronicaS! Welcome to the forum.

I am no expert on the Scrivener Compiler, but just understand the basics. Some of the formats ignore all formatting information in your manuscript, italics, bold, indents, etc. To help you diagnose what’s going on with your italics, please tell us which format you are compiling for and how you assigned your section types to the section layouts of this format.

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Thank you for responding and sorry for my delayed reply. I was trying both an imported format from an earlier version and a manuscript format. I discovered the sections layout had all defaulted to ‘none’ so I’ve tried a few of these, and eventually was able to save all the italics. Still doesn’t take all my styles, but I’m working on it :grin:

Having the same problem. I have tried numerous options (including “as is” and “formatting will be based on how text appears in the editor”), but my resulting Word document has no bold/italics and has ignored most of the styles I created and used in Scrivener.

Any idea why?

After hours of detective work on videos and manuals, I discovered that you shouldn’t put styles in the main text of your manuscript. Like you, I had used several different styles and none were showing in compile.
Once I changed the style to ‘no style’ the compile picked up all the italics and bold that I had used,
This was very time consuming as I had 35 chapters and 160K words to revert. But it’s done now.
I also needed to make them all ‘chapters’ and they picked up the headings too.
Good luck.

Perhaps my comment was unclear: I need to italicise some words (e.g. book titles), and that’s what disappearning.

More widely, the styles in Scrivener are completely useless if they don’t translate into the compiled document, so I feel either L&L have loused this up completely or (more likely), I just don’t understand the compile process and am missing something.


This is a known bug that was unfortunately accidentally filed as middle priority when it should have been high.

The problem, incidentally, seems to be confined purely to paragraph styles that also override character attributes. Those that do not (most of the stock style settings) should not see the loss of direct formatting in paragraphs.

To clear up some potential misconceptions:

  • You are absolutely intended to be able to use styles in the editor! Any video tutorial or book that told you otherwise is feeding you bad information that makes no logical sense. If you were not meant to use styles in the editor, we wouldn’t have made that feature or the host of support features surrounding it—like for instance why would there be a compile setting that can change the name of an editor style on output if you weren’t meant to use editor styles and compile styles to output?! I’m not venting this at you to be clear, it just boggles my mind that someone would think to sit down and make a video, or write a book saying you should use a feature at all. Sorry you got lead down a wrong path on that one.

  • The only possibly confusing exception to that is that Scrivener is not a program that requires you to use styles, and works better without wall-to-wall styling. It can be used that way, to be perfectly clear. But the use of styles is designed to force editor formatting. It is a way of exerting control where needed. So you can see a powerful tool like that is immediately at odds with the concept of a compiler that is meant to freely reformat text. Those that use body styles everywhere run into a wall when trying to use Manuscript-Times.

    But you can, and for the same reason you can use Block Quote with Impact 24pt font while writing, and Manuscript-Times reformats it correctly—you just have to do a whole lot more learning and configuration to work that way. That means it makes more sense to give the up-front advice to not use body text styles, and save styles purely for exceptionally formatted text, as described in §17.1, Think Different.

  • Styles should translate into the compiled document—again we would not have a styles pane in the compiler if styles were not meant to output. There wouldn’t be an optional setting in that pane that excluded styles from the output, if styles were always excluded.

    I cannot reproduce that condition myself. I would try simplifying your conditions to see where it breaks, starting perhaps from a blank project test that has one lorem ipsum paragraph with one word styled to Emphasis, compiled to RTF (because everything else involves third-party conversion utilities, which increases complexity and contaminates the test).

To circle back around to the top: the main issue here is a bug that nukes formatting if the styled text has character attributes applied to it. It basically seems to be taking the style and reapplying it to the paragraph during compile, which has the effect of normalising the text in the paragraph to what is styled.

If you can get away with not having character attributes in the editor style, then that is your workaround. Consider that your compile settings can be set up to have a matching style that further transforms the formatting and that approach does not seem to trigger this bug.

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I’ve been informed this issue should be fixed in the next software update. That should mean that unless you need to compile right now, you should be fine using the features as they are intended to be used.

Thanks for the information. I wish I’d had this answer at the time of my earlier query.
And it did seem nonsensical to have the ability to use styles and then ignore them, no matter what combination I tried - and I tried many.
I look forward to a fix in the software, however it will likely be too late for me - for this story. I have several more hours of updating paragraph styles to no styles so that I can compile in the next few days. And yes, I was trying to use the Manuscript - Times as is the requirement for many submissions, editors etc.
The frustrating thing was that the minimal paragraph styles I had in place in the earlier version of Scrivener worked beautifully in compile. I wouldn’t consider any of them the ‘wall-to-wall styling’ you mention, but all carry the differing POV for particular characters, and made it easier to read.

I look forward to some official Scrivener videos on formatting manuscripts and paperbacks in the new windows version.

Apologies for not having come across your post earlier. There are hundreds of posts every week, and only so many of us that have the time to go through them.

The frustrating thing was that the minimal paragraph styles I had in place in the earlier version of Scrivener worked beautifully in compile. I wouldn’t consider any of them the ‘wall-to-wall styling’ you mention, but all carry the differing POV for particular characters, and made it easier to read.

I’m not sure of the particulars in how you used the older version, but one thing to be aware of is that it never had styles. That’s a new feature entirely. The old version has formatting presets, which were a way of implementing hard-coded formatting directly. Once you applied a preset that was it, it was just formatted text. There was no way at all to produce a stylesheet-friendly document, without going in after the fact in Word and manually doing so, line by line.

So yes, that approach is fundamentally simpler since there isn’t really much complexity to it behind the scenes. Something that I think will help you out, once you have the time to and are past the deadline on this story, is to invest some time in learning the Styles pane in the compiler. Given how you describe using formatting as a writing tool and not an export tool, it will be good to know how you can take what is purely for your benefit as a writer (like POV highlighting) and make it so that in the end it prints normally like all other text.

It’s a little more work, but once you see how it fits together it’s actually not too bad, especially if you keep your compile settings up to date as you work. You add a new POV colour or whatever while writing, pop into the compile settings and make it look normal on output, save your settings and get back to writing. It’s a 30 to 60 second thing you do now and then.

I look forward to some official Scrivener videos on formatting manuscripts and paperbacks in the new windows version.

I’m not sure what the status is on those. We had to delay them since in the time leading up to the launch there wasn’t enough in place to demonstrate properly. But that aside, the core design is fundamentally the same, to the point that the Mac videos will suffice to describe exactly how to do these things. Having a Windows version of the video will thus almost be more of a theme on what you see being presented.

3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Chapters lost in compile

Thanks for your help. I will look into the Styles pane as soon as I can. Appreciate your time and response.

Just as a note, this bug was fixed in 3.1, and paragraph styles should no longer be wiping out italics and other forms of direct formatting.

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Thanks for letting me know, Amber.
I’ve booked into a webinar on the windows updates version tomorrow!

It stripped out italics for me with, but changing all 80 chapters to a style that was paragraph only worked for me. So same style with just a ‘P’ works. Same settings with a ‘P’ and ‘a’ stripped out italics.

My book is published everywhere with missing italics. Just great. At least I was only got caught with my pants down for a week. I wish I’d waited another year or two before upgrading. There’s always something with scrivener 3, or at least my luck and/or understanding.

We would appreciate any reproduction checklists that show how to cause this bug to happen with the newer version. As I said above the original bug has been fixed in all of the cases we’ve tested and been made aware of, so anything further would require some clarification.

I repeated the steps and italics worked this time. I’m going to have to make sure I check italics as part of my QA after book changes. At least it’s working now. I’m unsure how to properly break it again.

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I know this is an old topic, but I am struggling with this again and trying to figure out the best thing to do.

When I compile to .docx, all of my italics are being stripped out. (Well, almost. One word in a 222-page document stayed italic because that one paragraph inexplicably is set to “no style.”)

Since the glitch was fixed and my program is fully up to date but this is still happening, it occurred to me that because these are old files from prior to Scrivener 3 and were converted, that’s why it’s still happening.

So my question is, what can I do, if anything, to preserve all my italics when I compile these files? Changing the paragraphs to “no style” erases the italics. Updating the style to remove the font family option erases the italics. Is there something else I can do?

Thank you!

I can only reiterate what I said a year ago: we would need a working example of it not working, in order to see what is going wrong.

Even just one paragraph in an otherwise empty project that reproduces it is all we’d need.

I don’t know what you mean by “reproduce.” I can take a screenshot of my compiled Word document next to my Scrivener file showing that there are italics in one and no italics in the other, but I suspect that’s not what you’re looking for. :slight_smile: