Paragraph Indent via Ruler — dumb question (*blushes*)

Really stupid question but…

I’m puzzled by the Left Indent controls on the Formatting Ruler. In most applications, the little blue widgie at the left of the Ruler which you drag around to set your indents has THREE parts. One sets indents for the first line, one sets the rest of the paragraph, and one — the most useful one by far! — lets you set both simultaneously (ie indents the whole paragraph, rather than giving you an indent/hanging indent for the first line only). But Scrivener only seems to provide the first two. Result: every time I want to manually indent a paragraph I have to individually drag two widgies (and line them up!)…

Am I missing something here? Seems like a really basic feature: to just be able to grab a paragraph marker and indent!

[ETA: looking at the manual for the Windows version of Scrivener, it appears from the illustrations like the Windows-Scrivener left indent DOES have all three parts. Is this a Mac-specific issue??..]

Thanks so much for the ongoing help with my newbie questions!

I know what you mean. IT would be nice. But as far as the ruler goes, I think you are stuck with just the two independent indent widgets.

It IS a Mac thing. Scrivener employs the underlying text system built into the Mac OS, and that is where the two-widgets-only ruler comes from. You can confirm this by opening TextEdit (which is a very basic presentation of the built-in text system) and looking at the ruler there. Same deal.


P.S. Scrivener modifies the underlying text editing system in various ways, of course, but it is an open question if this aspect of the ruler subsystem is one which can be messed with. Just depends on what resource the underlying OS provides. And of course a widget is not really necessary: any way to get the functionality would be nice, e.g., if an option-drag could be detected and forced the two settings into sync.

Interesting. How typically annoying of Apple…

Of course Word for Mac seems to manage to supply that third widgie, despite Apple’s dopey OS. So presumably it can be done. But I guess if you’re MS Word, you can afford to throw bushels of code at things : )

Yes indeed! I did try that, hoping it might be the answer — but alas it would seem not (as yet). For now, I’m relying on the run-round of storing a usable paragraph indent in my Daisy-Ctrl-V clipboard (so to speak) and pasting that formatting onto paragraphs as needed. But it’s not ideal!

Thank you for the explanation.

Not a dumb question. Scrivener is big, and there are often alternate ways to accomplish the same task. If I have trouble with the ruler, I use the indents dialog, which you can get to from Format > Text > Tabs and Indents…

Or even better, maybe, for the use case you described, Format > Text > Increase/Decrease Indents.

Hope this helps,


Thanks, Sandra! Definitely a good strategy for large-scale formatting. My frustration is that I do a lot of quick formatting on the fly, often just to tidy up a random paragraph or two of notes so they read clearly, and grabbing a ruler widgie is about as much effort as it’s worth it to me. Also, the ruler allows you to align things visually: f’rinstance where your first line starts with a word and colon (eg. ‘Question:’ or 'Answer:", and you want the rest of the paragraph to indent to where the colon happens to fall. (Sorry that’s prob TMI, but just to explain why setting tabs numerically is sometimes a frustrating substitute for dragging the ruler!).

I do realise this whole thing is kinda one of those spoilt 'but…but…what do you mean I have to roll down the car widows by hand — my other fancy car has electric windows" complaints… : )

Thanks again everyone for your trouble!

Perhaps a good solution for you would be to define a small collection of paragraph presets and assign key commands to them – so you could format on the (premeditated) fly by key cmd or popping down the style popup menu on the format bar. There is no doubt a small handful of formats that effectively capture all the meaningful distinctions you wish to visualize when working. Once these are available to you as ready-to-hand presets, you can kiss that missing third widget goodbye. That is pretty much how it happened for me.