Lost ePub paragraph formatting

Long time Scrivener 2 user, new to version 3, and very confused by changes to the compiling options.

Problem 1: Can’t get underlined text to appear as italicized text in the ePub version of the document. Somewhere in the manual it says this should have been set up by default, but it’s not happening.

Problem 2 (BIG PROBLEM): Somehow, in trying to fix problem 1, I must have made a change in settings such that the ePub version now has no breaks between paragraphs within a chapter. None. The text runs from the very first word to the last without a single new paragraph.

I even went so far as to delete Scrivener 3 from my computer and redownload it from the App Store, but that didn’t fix the problem, and nothing else I’ve tried has fixed it. I tried exporting the old version 2 format: didn’t work. Other documents still compile with separate paragraphs, so it is a setting change specific to the document.

Problem 3: On other compiling issues, such as getting the chapters not to display chapter numbers (or the word “chapter”) for some documents, or adding a prologue to another document, or dividing another document up into parts, I’m not finding the changes to the compiler to be very clear. And the manual DOES NOT explain it very well. This is going to take hours and hours to figure out, assuming I even can. Originally I just wanted some italics–that was four hours ago!!


I stumbled across a solution to problem #2. It was one of the options. Don’t ask me which one.

Now I can’t figure out how to get “Chapter X” and the first scene in chapter X to appear on the same page. WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT???

I’ve tried multiple times but I keep getting them on separate pages!!! Or I get “Chapter One” on one page with no text and then “Chapter Two” plus the first scene on the next page!!! THIS SHOULD BE EASIER!!!

Currently there is no option to turn underlines into italics in ePub 3 and KF8 - that is coming in 3.0.1.

As for the problem of paragraphs turning into a single continuous text, that sounds as though you have ticked “Convert Markdown to rich text in text and notes”. That’s not something you would want to do unless you were writing using Markdown syntax.

One thing worth bearing in mind is that Scrivener 2 had no support for ePub 3 or KF8, and these work quite differently from ePub 2 and Mobi. You might want to stick with ePub 2 format if you are trying to bring settings across from Scrivener 2.

We have a whole transition guide that goes into details on bringing across Scrivener 2 Compile settings here:

literatureandlatte.com/scriv … date-guide

I imagine the reason that you are finding it difficult is that you are trying to approach the new Compile feature as though you were still using Scrivener 2 rather than getting used to the new way of doing things. The changes in Compile are significant, making things easier for new users and providing much more flexibility and power for everyone. If you’re used to Scrivener 2, though, you need to learn the new concepts and forget some of the old ones.

I’m not sure I understand your comment making a distinction between ePub 3 and ePub2. (I see the comment that there is no current option for converting underline to italics for ePub3.)

I thought maybe that meant that there was an option to do so for ePub2. However, when I went back and compiled the document as an ePub2 instead of ePub3, underlined words still did not get converted to italics. They stayed underlined. (Which is a different result than I got for ePub3. The underlining disappeared for ePub3.) Is there an option to turn underline to italics for ePub2? I looked. Couldn’t find it.

Also, just FYI, I haven’t a clue what the difference is between ePub2 and ePub3, I just picked ePub3 because I had no clue what I had used in Scrivener 2 and figure why not go with what was presumably a more recent format.

In Scrivener 2, Compile presets - as powerful as they were - were a bit of a mess, mixing up project-specific structures and settings with settings that were just to do with the Compile format. This meant that if you created a bunch of Compile settings, you’d only be able to use them with other projects of the same structure. In Scrivener 3, project-specific settings are now separate from the Compile formatting settings (you tell Scrivener how to apply formatting to a specific project using Section Types and Layouts), so that you can use a single Compile format with any project. As a result, the options you see in the main Compile area are the project-specific ones.

Converting italics to underlines or vice versa are part of the Compile Format. The built-in “Ebook” Compile Format is not set to convert these, so you will need to create your own ebook format to do this. This is easy enough:

  1. Select ePub 2 format (because, as I say, for now ePub 3 doesn’t have this option - that is coming with 3.0,1, which will be out before Christmas).

  2. Ctrl-click on “Ebook” in the Formats area and select “Duplicate & Edit Format”. The Format editor will replace the Compile overview window. This has all of the options you will recognise from Scrivener 2 and more.

  3. Give your custom format a name.

  4. Go to the “Transformations” area and change the italics/underlines conversion checkboxes as necessary.

  5. Save your format and compile.

If you want to make further changes to your format, you can Ctrl-click on it and choose “Edit”.

Regarding the differences between ePub 2 and 3, ePub 3 is the latest version of the ePub format and is generally the best one to use. Scrivener 2 did not support ePub 3 format, only ePub 2. In order to write the ePub 3 exporter, I had to take a completely different approach, however. ePub 3 requires HTML5 internally, but Apple provides no way of exporting text to that format, only HTML4 (which ePub 2 uses). I therefore had to write my own custom exporters that pipe everything internally from rich text though MultiMarkdown to HTML5. As a user, you don’t really need to know any of this, of course, but the result is that putting together an ePub 3 format in Compile is very different to putting together an ePub 2 format. Eventually (not soon) I will phase out ePub 2 support, but I felt it was important to leave it in Scrivener 3 for Scrivener 2 users who wanted to port across ePub Compile settings from Scrivener 2, given that such settings would not work well with ePub 3.

If you’re happy using the standard Ebook Compile Format but just want to convert underlines to italics, then I recommend waiting a few days for Scrivener 3.0.1. When that’s released, you would just follow the above instructions but for the ePub 3 format.

All the best,


I used “" marks to indicate italics in my project.
Worked fine in Scrivener 2, but now, like OP, I get all my paragraphs together if I use the “Convert Markdown to rich text in text and notes” option.
And if I don’t, I get nice paragraphs, with "
” marks and no italics.
I want to export for kindle (so any format accepted by Amazon Kindle).
Do I need to manually change every “_” mark to italics in my manuscript before compiling, or is there a way around this?

Thank you fort the help.

If you tick “Convert Markdown to rich text in text and notes”, then Scrivener treats your project as though it was written in MultiMarkdown. MMD requires an empty line between paragraphs; paragraphs that follow immediately get merged. To me, it doesn’t sound as though you are writing in MMD, so you would not want to use this option (note that this option was not available in Scrivener 2 so you could have never used it before).

Why are you place underscores sound words in Scrivener to indicate italics? Scrivener is rich text, so you should just use italics. The only time you should use underscores is if you are actually writing using MMD syntax throughout - this has not changed since Scrivener 2. You can use underscores to indicate italics in document titles (which are not rich text), but for that you would tick “Convert Markdown to rich text in titles and synopses”, not “Convert MultiMarkdown to rich text in notes and text”.

All the best,

Thank you for your answer.
I used underscores because I have problem importing italics un InDesign, and wanted a quick way to find the words I would need to apply italics to.
I used the search feature in Scrivener to find those words and changed the formating.
Thanks again.

Hey! I have used Scrivener for half a decade now. It’s great for me because I need to be able to copy and paste the contents of a document as a plaintext (keeping the in-line asterisks for italics, due to some very specific submission requirements) AND I can use compile to keep the italics.

I’m running into the same issue as the person above - where in Scrivener 2, I could compile (and have it convert asterisks to italics using MMD) with the program keeping paragraph breaks, now it runs the whole document together as one big paragraph.

I’m probably not using strict MMD formatting (because I don’t know what that is and I’ve never had to), but there’s definitely been a functionality change. I want my asterisks to become italics during compile, but the document to otherwise stay the same. How can I do this (and not lose all my paragraphs)?