Not indenting the first line of a scene or chapter


I’m trying to set the formatting so that the first line of a new chapter/section, or the first line after a space break, does not get indented. I want the first line to be flush with the body of the text.

I’ve tried moving the arrow on the ruler, but that can mess up things like bullet points and move them too far to the left as well.

I’ve also tried setting the first paragraph as BODY via the drop down “presets” menu, but for some reason that also changes the line spacing of the paragraph to 1.0 when the default spacing for the rest of the project is 1.5.

Isn’t there a simple way to set the default so that every new paragraph is indented except the first after a space?


I am looking for a way to do this as well. Hope someone knows!

As far as I can recall from previous official responses, this isn’t something supported in Scrivener and is something that must be done in your “finishing” program. Scriv is more about the writing than it is about layout.

I posted the original question about 6 weeks ago haven’t come across a solution yet.

The best workaround I’ve found is to set the defaults via TOOLS - OPTIONS - EDITOR so that there is no first line indent (top slider on the ruler all the way to the left), and then indent each new paragraph manually using Tab, like on a regular word processor.

On the Mac version, in Compile > All Options > Formatting, if you click the “Options…” button to the right of “Overwrite text and notes formatting”, you get an option “Remove first paragraph indents”. Has that not made it into the Windows version yet?

Mr X

I can’t find it in mine. I’m guessing that it will be a little bit before we get caught up on that one.

Not yet, no.

The only options that brings up on Windows are ‘Insert subtitles between text elements’ and ‘Place notes after main text’.

OK both. Sorry, but I thought it worth bringing up. Hopefully, it’ll be coming along with version 3.


Mr X

Yes, it was definitely worth checking :smiley:

The latest Windows version is 1.9, so hopefully this will be one of the features that comes with the next major update.


I created two styles for novel writing called first_para (no indent) and para (with indent). This requires clicking on styles and selecting first_para at chapter opening and after scene break and once more for para for rest of scene, but it keeps the layout novel-like.

I didn’t realize this before, but I’m curious why this is something people are interested in having. Publishers are going to lay out the manuscript however they want, anyway, with the author not needing to add a lot of input into how it looks on paper. Ebooks are sort of the same way, in that each individual device or app has different formatting options, many of which can be customized by the reader.

So my question is, what’s the benefit of having the no-indent first line? Is it purely a self-publishing/vanity press kind of thing?

It’s just the standard formatting for books. Look at any novel and the first line after a line break is never indented. Publishers may want to change the font or layout, but I still want the basic formatting of text, such as paragraph indents, to be correct.

I get that it’s standard formatting, but if you don’t set it that way, the publisher is going to do it anyway. Standard manuscript format for submissions doesn’t include the first line thing, and yet almost every book ends up that way, so it has to be a normal thing for the publishers to change. It’s all good, though, I was just curious about the motivations behind it.

Thanks. That is the best way I’ve found of doing it yet :smiley: .

There’s no option that’s actually called “styles” on the Windows app, so in case anyone else reads this thread with the same problem, this is how I did it.

I set up a page with the line spacing I wanted and a single line of text with no indent (top pointy thing on the ruler slid to the left). I then saved this as a preset by using …


… and named it First line (no indent). This style can then be accessed from the presets dropdown menu - the blue thing that looks like ain inverted “P” in the top left hand corner of the editor. If I apply that preset to the first line of text, it works!

But it won’t work on compile, unless you add “Preserve Formatting” to the preset. And remember, if you want all the other paragraphs to have the first-line indent, you’ll have to make sure that that is set as the standard format everywhere necessary in the Compile options.

One of the strengths of Scrivener is the fact that you can edit in any font, any size that you find comfortable on screen, but have it compile to a different single font.

Also, as far as I’m concerned, Scrivener is a fabulous drafting tool, not a page layout app. I use colour to distinguish different paragraph styles, and then use my WP to apply cascading styles to the document—I’ve macroized the process, so the whole thing is done with a single keyboard shortcut to run the macro, but I use a Mac only WP called Nisus Writer Express, so you’ll have to work it out for yourself/selves on Windows and whatever WP you use.

Mr X

Thanks. :mrgreen: (I nominate this smilie to mean “I appreciate your input but don’t have any other point that I want to make” - I’m sure it will catch on!)