Paragraphing mess

Okay, not quite sure how I did this, but my paragraphs are different throughout my Draft, sometimes even within single documents.

I’ve gone to “Convert–> Formatting to Default Text Style” and gotten the font and spacing the same. But some of my indents are different lengths than others. I think it’s because sometimes I’ve used “tab” and sometimes the ruler.

Is there anyway without going through every single line and fixing it to get everything the same indentation?

And how many inches is standard indentation?

And if I do have to do this by hand, line by line… what’s the best way to do it? Should I use tab? Or the ruler?

Clearly, I have no idea what I’m doing! Thanks!

Remove all tabs in one swoop:
With Edit Scrivenings selecting your entire project, select one of the “tab” spaces, copy it, and open the “Find/Replace” window. Paste the copied tab into the Find section, and make sure to delete anything in the Replace section. Hit “Replace All”.

It’s better to use the ruler for the paragraph things like that.

Very clever, thank you! That did the trick!

Now… is there some systematic way to get all my first lines non-indented?

So you want to have block paragraphs instead of tabbed paragraphs? (Block paragraphs have the blank line between each paragraph; tabbed paragraphs have the first line indented.)

I just tested this (and lost my chapter title pages’ special formatting—oops!—but no biggie, since it’s only 21 chapters), so it should work:

  • Open Preferences (command-comma).

  • Set up the preferences on the Text Editing page to what you want everything to look like, including with the blank line in-between. (You set that in that in the “Spacing” drop-down menu that’s in the ruler; pick “Other”, and look at the last two options that let you add space before and/or after each paragraph.) So play with that until it matches what you wan.

  • Do the Edit Scrivenings thing again. :slight_smile:

  • Convert to Default Formatting. You can’t undo this feature, so you may want to duplicate the folder you’re doing it to, first, so you can go back if something messes up.

That work for you?

Sorry, I wasn’t clear… I want paragraphing, with no spaces between paragraphs, but I want the first paragraph of every new section and chapter to not be indented.

Thanks so much for all your help!

This is something that should better be done in the text processor to which one exports the final draft. Scrivener is for creating content, not for creating layout.

OH!!! :blush: Sorry, I was writing a confused reply and JUST realized what you’re saying. Okay. In that case, you’ll probably have to go in and set it manually, changing the ruler, unless there’s some setting I don’t know about.

But also bear in mind that Scrivener is meant as drafting software, not formatting (and therefore not page layout) software.

Put your cursor in an un-indented paragraph.

Select from the menu Text/Ruler/Copy Ruler

Move the cursor successively to each of the first paragraphs and select Text/Ruler/Paste Ruler.

Happy Un-indenting!


Thanks everyone! Actually, I’m fairly happy to go through and just fix my first lines manually. At least now I know how to do it and the text looks a LOT better than it did with all its uneven paragraphs! Thank you!

Dave, I tried your suggestion and it didn’t seem to work. I’m not sure why, it makes sense, but nothing seemed to happen.

That’s odd. It will not affect indents made by using tab characters or multiple spaces however.


Have you tried changing the formatting in the Text Editor pane of the Preferences so that it has no first line indent and is set how you want, and then selecting all documents you want to affect and using Documents > Convert > to Default Text Style?
All the best,

Remembering to press the “Apply” button on the Preferences when you’ve set it the way you want and before closing the Preferences.

Easy to forget!


P.S. I note you said you used Convert > … in your first post, but that is before you had fixed up tabs - that is the way to make indents universal though.

Just to muddle the waters further, I’ll toss in the comment that although you can adjust the indenting for all paragraphs using the project preferences and convert, as explained above, you can’t make just the first paragraph of each section different (yet). If I’m confused by what you want, ignore me, but it sounds like you’re looking to have most paragraphs indented on the first line but the first paragraph per section/chapter not indented. So:



–> blabh labhab lhab

–> blabhlalbhablh

If that’s the case, it’s probably easiest to not worry about it, if you can handle it, and just fix it in a word processor later when you do the final formatting. This might be a 2.0 option, though–comes up in older posts where people’ve asked, so if that’s the case then come next month all your problems will be solved! :slight_smile:

What is aiming at is standard book page design: most novels on your bookshelf will have the opening paragraph of every chapter set flush left, and all other paragraphs with a first-line indent. The indent is traditionally one em, or (say) five keyboard space-bar characters.

This could well be left for your page makeup program to do.

Robert Bringhurst has written the best text book on type design ever: The Elements of Typographic Style.

Sorry, all, fell off the face of the earth for a bit! Yes, jtranter and MimeticMouton, that is what I’m trying to do! Would be great if that was a feature one of these days, but for now happy to do it in Word when I finally print. Thanks!

But you can do this in Scrivener. Just create two paragraph styles, one with first line indent, one without, and apply them to your text until it looks the way you want. Then compile the draft with Override text formatting turned off. (Or just export the file to rtf.)

Admittedly, this is a rather inefficient way to achieve what you want. But Word is no more efficient. In Word you will still need two styles: body-text and body-text-after-heading, and you will need to apply them manually throughout.

What you need to accomplish what you want efficiently is a kind of conditional formatting so that you can set up a rule: basic body text looks different if it is in the paragraph immediately after a heading – and there is no word processor that does that (as far as I know). For example, people do the same thing in Mellel. (LaTeX does this right, of course.)

What you see is what you get, meaning you have to set all you want to get. :slight_smile: That’s the rich text way, but while most word processors struggle with this it seems, in Scrivener 2.0, there will be a way.

[size=80]Unchanged compiled RTF sample.[/size]