Please fix paragraph highlight box to draw *rectangles* from left indent to right indent

No matter what justification I use or where the indents are set, the top and bottom of a highlight box starts with the first character of the first line and ends at the last character of the last line.

This is non-standard and ugly.

Please draw highlight boxes as rectangles, aligned with left and right indents.

This is not a bug, but how the text engine’s drawing tools work at a level we cannot easily change. Obviously we agree that boxes would look better than staggered highlights (they don’t look right on the ends of paragraphs either, terminating at the text instead of the right edge of the editor).

But that’s the tool they provide to us, a highlighter rather than a box drawing system—so it’s going to work in a way that is indeed conventional and not ugly for a line highlighter. It only becomes awkward when you have nothing else to use, and have to use it to try and draw a box.


Amber, please don’t take “bug” like a trigger word and quibble.

Bugs are not limited to code that doesn’t work like it was intended. There are also usability bugs where the code is perfect, but the results are not what the USER intended.

And then there’s just plain old sloppy or ill-advise GUI design.

I was going to let this one go, but I stumbled onto a style I created with an old Beta version that became version 3.

So, Scrivener DID do what I’m looking for. I just haven’t used it for so long I’d forgotten. And I’m sure the fact that it used to do it is why I expected it to do it.

As you can see, the style is called Block Quote Grey and the highlighting works exactly as I want it to.

My problem, now, is that I can’t find a Scrivener command or menu item that enables me to create that kind of block quote box instead of the highlighter-style box. Until I can do that, I’m stuck with this lone style that I can’t make changes to, as far as I can see.

And yeah, it would be better if the right side of the box were not jagged, but at least the left side does what I want it to do.

Bug or not is irrelevant at this point. I just didn’t appreciate your snide tone and dismissiveness.

So, how can I create that kind of shading box with Version: (1918386) 64-bit - 01 Feb 2023?

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In your screenshot what we see is not the style’s background, but rather a simple highlight that would have saved as a character attribute in your style.

If that’s the way you like it, highlight your text before defining a style that includes character attributes. (You’ll be able to easily remove it at compile, in the styles panel.)
But note that this comes at a cost: highlights. You won’t be able to efficiently use them in the editor anymore. All highlights will be lost whenever you’ll assign a style that saved a highlight as part of the character attributes to a paragraph.

A bad idea in my opinion.

Else, you can’t. I use styles a lot and managed to get used to it.
I suppose it helps to think of it as related to a segment – a zone – of the overall text, rather than as a paragraph’s decoration.

You should turn your sensibility setting down a couple of notches.
There is nothing in @AmberV’s reply that even remotely qualifies as such.


LOL at your last comment. Note taken: you think you’re in a position to judge and advise me. Good to know.

My “sensibility settings” are just fine. I was a Beta user for this version. AmberV was just as snippy then, too. I’d say that the sensibility settings on LnL’s end ought to be toughened up a bit. And since we’re being so free with advice: it’s always a bad idea to irk your customers. It’s even worse to double down and annoy them further.

All I originally did was point out the wart on baby’s nose. I still love baby. Why do you think I’m relying on it?

OK, I finally get it.

When I use the "Draw highlight box around text, I should expect a box that behaves like a line-by-line highlight, kinda. (I’ve literally never seen either a highlight box or a line-by-line highlight behave like this, and I’ve been using writing apps since the mid-80s – remember the Lisa?) Oh, and there’s no way to alter its dimensions.

And when I use the line-by-line highlighting feature, I should expect a quasi-box.

At least I know what to do now.

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I have been struggling with style-highlights and character highlighting for a while now.

I would advise to avoid the default option:

Formatting: Save all formatting

See this thread: Character style lost on Compile, one cause isolated

It’s basically the worst of both worlds.

Now that I am trying to compile with that highlight intact, I will change my recommendation there from the paragraph-only style and into the character only style (you can’t change a Par-only into a char-only, need to make a new one).

If you use the Styles feature at the front, before you type/highlight, it will still set stuff right initially and let you overwrite the styling w/ italics, ect as you go. Trying to apply a character style after the fact will nuke your formatting. Para-only would be appropriate there, as some character styling will be spared.


Right now, I’m in the process of removing the style-highlighting, instead swapping it to actual character highlight. If Scrivener allowed me to export Compile that kind of highlight, I would not need to do this.

Also, you are not crazy. I myself experienced the exact same culture-shock when trying to find solutions to my issues.


Right now, I am struggling to get the Compile to behave and actually match the colors right.
PDF actually Compiles with the correct faint highlight, but .docx and .doc always change it into a max saturation / top row highlight color, which is atrocious.


If anyone reading this has experience solving this issue, please chime in. I’m going to keep poking around a bit for other existing threads that are close, but will probably need to make a separate topic asking for help if/when I can’t find existing talk of this issue.

Double-click to edit the compile format for the DOC/DOCX and in the Compatibility tab, set the option for compiling Highlighting with exact background colors. Since MS Word (and some other word processors) only offers specific highlight colours, the highlight colours in those file formats display as the nearest option. Switching on this setting will keep the colour as in Scrivener; it will be recognised as paragraph shading in Word (rather than a highlight).

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Nice! I’m not too picky right now about the color, just the shape. Thanks!

This is exactly what I was hoping for, thank you :pray:


No idea why that is not the default (and impossible to set or use w/ the default Compile format) but whatever.


Oh man, this software can really test my patience.
It really just does not want to let me update the style to actually highlight the text. Can’t even consistently get it to do a whole chapter at a time.

Half the time I apply a style, it does not even change the font, have to swap to an unrelated style first, then swap to the one I’m trying to assign.

AND if I ever have the gall to ctrl-z Undo a style assignment, my cursor jumps to the top of the document/file, every fucking time. And a Redo does not return it to the spot. So I have to hunt for my place every single time. Maddening.


Holy shit.

I just used Libre Office to apply the highlights on the blanked .docx. Side of things.
Just one R-click and change per style / character voice, highlight color, apply, done.
Propagated through the whole document instantly, worked perfectly.

Unreal that Scrivener struggles so much with this.

Even with your fix, trying to work around Scrivener’s landmines is NOT the way to go in my case.

Thanks a bunch for your help.


IMO, if any reader of this wants to have color-highlighted styles:

  • Use the Styles-box-highlight for readability on the Scrivener side while still using Styles
  • Keep a reference sheet for the hex color codes you like/want for each character / style
  • Compile w/ the highlights removed
  • Use Libre Office / other program after export. Modify / Edit each style that came w/ it and paste in those hex color codes.


Edit: After more headbanging:
there seems to be something really wrong with Scrivener’s paragraph styles. No matter what I try, I cannot apply highlighting at a paragraph level, only at an individual character level. No tricky set of keystrokes / careful highlighting and updating or new-making paragraph styles will save that highlight.

And because the “select all text w/ style” command does NOT work, any attempt paragraph level highlighting seems unsupported by Scrivener right now. There’s just the Styles-highlight-box UI thing, which itself needs work.

I feel ya. Yeah, I’m resigning myself to the prospect of drafting in Scrivener for its organizational features and using Word for formatting afterwards. The styles might not look great going into Word, but at least they’re there and Word propagates style changes flawlessly.

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