No styles? Thanks, but no thanks.

Maybe its an age thing.

I started my document writing in the '70s with GML. GML begat SGML begat HTML, XML, Docbook, etc. In the late 80’s the dubious advantages of WYSIWYG arrived, first in WordPerfect (think Betamax) and then MS Word (think scratchy old VHS). So I have seen mark-up tag :h1 became

and then the Style H1 in WYSIWYG.

This week I downloaded Scrivener. Its brilliant, it handles the creation process beautifully and hits on one of MS Word’s major weaknesses. In seconds I’d pulled together and organised 5 or 6 sub-documents (these came from email text and email attachments) into one project without a single copy or paste operation, just drag it into the binder. How easy is that?

Right, lets edit; and I need to start with the heading. Hum, cannot find H1 (or H2 or H3) so let’s create it. Oh! This is crap, it cannot be right? What can Google find if I enter “ markup tags H1”. WHAT no hits?! There MUST be something.

So I found this forum “Using MS Word templates”. Oh dear, Scrivener doesn’t interface to the styles in HTML, MS Word, etc. Sadly, this old dog firmly believes that you have to specify the style as you write; otherwise you’ll get a load of frustration at the end of the project, time-scales will be getting tight, the evenings getting dark, you’ll be wanting to get home and you’ll have lots of little print layout problems.

So, very sadly, I’ll not be buying Scrivener until I can interface to the styles in the target WP (Pages and MS Word) or HTML.

PS For what its worth, I’d suggest you maximise the fact that Scrivener is not WYSIWYG and help users add mark-up to the text (as you do when adding topics to this forum). The extra tool bar (as in this forum) would simply add mark-up tags to the text and when Scrivener exports the text, depending on the file type of the target, so the style is set for the target WP / browser to process. Of course you could add an extra folder to the binder to hold a css file and then Scrivener could give a preview of the finished document, but I guess you’re way ahead of me anyway…

Please keep me posted.

Bill, are you familiar with Markdown? It’s a very simple semantic markup language built to translate to XHTML (it also translates to RTF, but you lose the style info) and it’s fully supported within Scrivener. Take a look at the MultiMarkdown forum. I’ve been using it for a year on a large project, and it works great. It doesn’t, by design, have all the features of XHTML, but it certainly supports H1-6 tags, lists, and so on.

I’m in the same boat as you: I don’t want WYSIWYG anything while I’m writing, not even bold and italics. And Scrivener is totally there for me.

As mamster says, if you like marking up your text, you can use MultiMarkdown in Scrivener, which will preovide styled XHTML and LaTeX if you need it.

Scrivener, however, is built on the OS X text system which doesn’t really handle styles. It’s also based on RTF. I understand some people like styles, but Scrivener was built for writing long texts such as novels rather than texts that need lots of different layouts and stylings. In truth, in the fifteen-odd years I’ve been using word processors - Word, mostly, but others too - and in my time writing dissertations, theses, stories or whatever else, I have not used styles once. So I really wouldn’t be the guy to implement at good styles system anyway.

Thanks for your feedback, though. I totally understand that Scrivener won’t suit everyone.
All the best,

Thanks for your replies guys. I’ll certainly checkout Markdown - and no I hadn’t heard of it.