Japanese Text - Italic only cannot be selected

Hello Keith,

Japanese text in Scrivener iOS cannot be converted to italic. This is despite being able to select Japanese text and convert it to bold or underline.

I have a screen capture attached showing the selected Japanese text.

Looking forward to your guidance.

Cheers! :slight_smile:


Hi Darren, sorry for the late reply! The Apple text system (on both iOS and macOS) can only display bold and italic for fonts that have those variants installed; it doesn’t “fake” italics by just taking the regular variant and displaying it at a slant. So it sounds like the Japanese font you’re using has a bold variant available but not an italic one. If you drill down to the font name in the formatting palette at the top of Scrivener’s editor, you can tap the circled “i” button to view the available variants.

You can import fonts into Scrivener, as described in this knowledge base article, so if you do have an italic variant available on your Mac or can download one, it can be made available for your iOS Scrivener project.

Jen, I don’t know about Windows, but none of the CJK fonts normally installed on a Mac have italic variants. I wonder if there are any at all. I have always switched to a different, more italic/handwriting font in Chinese to achieve the same effect.

By the way, there is another thread in which Darren raised the same question; I answered at length there.



Thanks, Mark! I’m not familiar enough to know what CJK fonts might have italic variants; I don’t recall seeing them on Windows, either, but the text system there is different, so you can do the faked italic display on most fonts on Scrivener there, though it won’t carry over to other platforms so I’d discourage it if going between iOS and Windows Scrivener. If the font needed isn’t available on all the working platforms, it’s probably best to mark the italic sections another way, then do a replacement for compile, and only compile from the device with the needed fonts.

It seems to me that the concept of ‘italic’ is totally alien to the Chinese writing system—and by historical derivation, Japanese and Korean writing systems, though I can’t be sure, particularly of the latter—as the history and development of the characters is totally different from that of the various Roman scripts.

Furthermore, with Roman scripts, italic is not merely slanted, but letter shapes, particularly “a” are usually completely different. A Roman script system is dealing with a very small number of letters; the Chinese writing system has a base of 14,400 characters, though that is far from the total number of separate characters that are used. Imagine having to make an italic variant of that; essentially, you are talking about another font.