Number of characters / lines per page


this has probably been asked a million times but I wasn’t able to come up with an anwer here.

Is there any way to specify the line numbers per page and the number of characters per line when exporting. I guess you know what I’m aiming at: I want to produce a manuscript that follows common rules for submitting them to editors (60 characters, 30 lines).

I know that Scrivener’s focus is not on layout and all that but I just wanted to check if I didn’t miss anything. If there were the above feature than I wouldn’t need any word processor at all.

What about MMD/LaTeX?



The MMD package includes an XSLT that creates a LaTeX file using the sffms class, which is designed to produce a standard manuscript format output. Beyond font size, line spacing, character width and number of lines per page, it does a number of other things to conform to standards – but to my knowledge beyond the coversheet it generates, nothing that Scrivener’s export cannot handle. It of course requires a LaTeX installation, as well as installing the sffms class itself which does not come with the default packages. It is probably more installation work than you are looking for, if that is your only purpose for using LaTeX.

Scrivener does not have a limiter on lines per page and character width, but if you set your export formatting to 12pt Courier, double line spacing, you should get very close to 60/30. Check this thread for some tips on setting things up right – including a template designed by Keith.

Do you have some very picky editors? If so, you will have to do your formatting in a dedicated application after exporting. Scrivener does enough for “standard manuscript format”, although it doesn’t limit lines per page. I am assured by a published novelist that literary agents and most editors don’t really bother too much about such rigid strictures, but of course, there may be esoteric cases where submission guidelines are particularly rigid, which is where word processing applications come in handy. :slight_smile:

All the best,

That is exactly what I was thinking. What did they say in 1964, “You used a 12 pitch typewriter! Be gone with you!”

You’re probably right. The editor that published my short story collection didn’t bother too much about the submission format. Don’t know about other editors though…

I will check out the thread you pointed me to, and I think that should be enough. If some day I feel particularily geeky I will check out MMD/LaTeX :wink:



Well, speaking as an editor (and, parenthetically, as a writer), I’ve never run across formatting requirements that were especially exacting or too far out on the edge. All we ask in manuscript submissions is the conventional double-spaced 12-point type with one-inch margins. And a one-page cover letter telling us who you are and why you wrote what you wrote, with an absolute minimum of self-puffery and hollow accomplishments.

As for agents, mine wants my stuff on CD, which he then formats to his own liking for mailing the rounds–although very often these days he submits to editors with an attached Word file, if he knows they’ll accept this.

Now when you’ve signed a contract and are sending in finished manuscript, things change rather dramatically on the formatting front, and every house I’ve worked with has its own very particular requirements. Your editor will tell you very explicitly how to format your finished manuscript and electronic file to suit his or her needs.

That’s interesting. I don’t have a lot of experience with editors, only with the tiny editor (a one man show) that published my short story collection. He just required me to send in the stories as RTF or Word file (he didn’t care either way) but without any specific layout. I always thought that the editor will take care of the final formatting targeted at the print process.

One of the surprising requirements from journal or book publishers is that they want your pre-print MS submitted in Courier, the old “typewriter” style font. Apparently it’s easier to measure page and chapter lengths in that font. (Screenplay drafting programs, like Final Draft or Montage, use only Courier.)

But, IMHO Courier is ugly and my eyes tire rapidly while reading pages or screens of it. So I compose in Times New Roman or Baskerville, fonts that resemble printed pages. Then I just re-format to Courier before submitting the MS.

They also want ragged-right margins, although I prefer to compose justified pages. It’s an odd process; I draft what looks like print but submit a raw-looking product that they convert to print. Violates the WYSIWYG principle, but that’s publishing.

Of course, in Scrivener it’s not a big deal; you can compose in one font with your preferred paragraph properties, and then export using a completely different format without affecting your original. :slight_smile:

Alas, until screens have the same resolution as printers, are based upon reflectivity instead of luminance, and ordinary software can do professional level typography in real-time, we are kind of stuck with that.